Osprey Men-at-Arms 337 : French Armies of the Hundred Years War
The period immediately leading up to the Hundred Years War saw France more prosperous and powerful than it had been since the fall of the Roman Empire. The French kings, like the English, could draw upon more effective 'sinews of war' than any medieval rulers before them. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were a time of great upheaval for medieval France. In 1328 the Capetian line came to an end. This was the trigger for the Hundred Years War as successive English kings attempted to uphold their claim to the French throne. Catastrophic defeats at Crécy and Poitiers shook the French kingdom to its core. A period of respite followed under Bertrand du Guesclin, but an even more devastating assault was to follow, under the warrior-king par excellence Henry V, and the French disintegration continued until 1429. This book details how the French began a recovery, partly triggered by the young visionary Joan of Arc, that would end with them as the major European military power. David Nicolle's examination of their armies is aided by the great book of documentary evidence concerning recruitment, organisation and payment which survives from this period. The Hundred Years War played a major role in French history; the country tasted extremes of humiliation and triumph in what was really a sequence of related conflicts, which France finally won. By the time it was over France had changed from a traditional decentralised kingdom where the king was merely 'first among equals' into one of the most centralised monarchies in Europe. This book contains a wealth of illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Angus McBride.
- Background & Overview
- Naval aspects
- Further Reading
- Eight Full Colour Plates