Caen’s garrison agreed to surrender if a relief force had not arrived by 19th September 1417 saw King Henry V of England renew his campaign to seize control of Normandy. His objectives included taking major ports, to ease supply. One of these was Caen, which was also the second largest town in Normandy.
In August 1417, John the Fearless launched an attack towards Paris. As aresult, the Dauphin was forced to withdraw most of his forces from Normandy, to defend the capital against Burgundy. It opened an opportunity for the English to make rapid gains. Henry seized the chance, arriving at Caen on 18th August.
Siege of Caen
Caen was a large town. It was walled and housed a strong citadel. The English manage to make several breaches to the walls. On 20th August discussions led to an agreement by the garrison of the citadel that they would surrender if not relieved within 30 days.
Henry V was not willing to sit and wait for the town to fall. He ordered further attacks. On 4th September, a series of major assaults saw large parts of the town taken. It is recorded that the English showed little mercy, some 2000 of the townsfolk are reputed to have been slaughtered by the English as the town was secured.
Others were granted 3 days safe conduct, enough time to make their way to safety. Many are thought to have travelled to Brittany, others to Falaise. It left the citadel in a much weaker position than when it had made statements that it would surrender in 30 days.
Terms for the surrender of Caen
The terms of surrender were duly renegotiated. Henry was keen to move on to his next target. The defenders were no doubt aware of the fate of those who upset the English King. On the 5th September, a new date of the 19th September was agreed for the surrender of the garrison, should it not be relieved by that date.
Siege of Caen (1417) Links
The fall of Caen. Book chapter on erenow.