The Battle of Crécy was the first major victory on land by the English in the Hundred Years War. Fought on 26th August 1346, the battle of Crecy was well recorded by contemporaries.
Prelude to Crecy
Two days prior to the Battle of Crecy the English overcame obstacles and French forces at Blancetaque.
Battle of Crécy
English tactics at Crecy
“They [the English] quickly dug a large number of pits in the ground near the front line, each a foot deep and a foot wide, so that if the French cavalry approached, their horses would stumble in the pits. The archers were assigned a place apart from the men-at-arms, so that they were positioned at the sides of the army almost like wings; in this way they did not hinder the men-at-arms, nor did they meet the enemy head on, but they could catch them in their cross-fire.”
Geoffrey le Baker’s Chronicle
French losses at Crecy
t was a simple but highly effective strategy.
“After a fierce and prolonged conflict, the adversary was twice driven off, and a third time, having gathered his men, the fighting was fiercely renewed. But, by the grace of God, two kings were killed in the battle: the king of Bohemia and the king of Majorca. Two archbishops were also killed, the archbishop of Sens and another whose name is unknown. In addition, the duke of Lorraine, the counts of Alencon, Blois, Flanders, Aumale, Beaumont and Harcourt with his two sons, and six German counts were killed, besides numerous other barons and knights, whose names are not yet known; but according to the French prisoners, the flower of the whole knighthood of France has been killed.”
Richard Wynkeley, 2nd September.
Edward III on Crecy
Edward III too wrote of the battle:
“The next morning we went in pursuit of the enemy, and killed more than 4000, men-at-arms, Genoese and other armed men. And our adversary, after his defeat, went to Amiens, where he had many of the Genoese killed, claiming that they had betrayed him… And now we have moved toward the sea to get reinforcements and supplies from England… we do not expect to leave the kingdom of France until we have made an end of our war.” Edward III, 3rd September 1346 at Calais.