The Battle of Crecy was an important battle that took place during the Hundred Years War. It was regarded as one of the most decisive battles in history.
The English army was led by Edward III, the French by Philip VI.
On 12 July 1346, Edward III with his son Edward, the Black Prince landed at St Vaast-la-Hogue in Normandy, France with their army. As they marched northwards, they were unable to cross the river Seine. The French policy had been to destroy bridges on the way to Calais to hinder the English advance, however the English were able to repair the bridge at Poissy, and finding no French opposition, they marched onwards. When reaching the town of Crecy, they halted and waited for the French assault.
On 26 August, Philip VI’s army attacked.
Edward had prepared well for battle, although heavily outnumbered he strategically positioned his army on high ground. His army consisted mainly of longbowmen and the high ground gave them advantage over the French.
There had been heavy rains and the ground became muddy and hard to traverse. French knights in their heavy armour, on their horses struggled to trample uphill through the mud.
The English used longbows against the French, a superior weapon to the crossbows the French used. Longbows were faster to fire, travelled further and landed with more force than a crossbow.
The English rained arrows down on the enemy. Each time the French knights attacked a barrage of arrows cut them down as they struggled uphill on the boggy ground.
The English then charged downhill and annihilated the French forces.
Following the English victory at Crecy, Edward and his army laid siege to Calais. After Calais surrendered, it would stay under English control for many years.