Battle of Blanchetaque
The battle was part of the Crécy campaign, which took place two days after Blanchetque. The main French army under Philip VI was defeated at the Battle of Crercy. Edward ended the campaign by laying siege to Calais, securing an English entrepôt into northern France.
About Battle of Blanchetaque in brief
The Battle of Blanchetaque was fought on 24 August 1346. It took place during the early stages of the Hundred Years’ War. It was fought between an English army under King Edward III and a French force commanded by Godemar du Fay. The battle was part of the Crécy campaign, which took place two days after Blanchetque. The main French army under Philip VI was defeated at the Battle of Crercy with heavy loss of life. Edward ended the campaign by laying siege to Calais, securing an English entrepôt into northern France which was held for two hundred years. The status of the English king’s French fiefs was a major source of conflict between the two kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages. By 1337 only Gascony in south-western France and Ponthieu in northern France were left. Edward determined to attack France on three fronts: a small force would sail for Brittany; a slightly larger force would proceed to Gas Cony under the command of Henry, Earl of Derby; and the main force would accompany him to either northern France or Flanders. In March 1346 a French army numbering between 15,000 and 20,000 marched between the Anglo-Gascons and the French. The French were enormously superior to any force that could march between them and the Anglo. In 1345, Edward defeated two large French armies at the head of an Anglo-Gascony campaign at the battles of Bergerac and Auberoche. He also captured most of the most strategic French fortifications in Agenais and gave the English possessions to John, Duke of Normandy, the son and heir of Philip VI, who was placed in charge of all French forces in Normandy.
The English then marched north, hoping to link up with an allied Flemish army which had invaded from F Belgium. They were outmanoeuvred by the French king, Philip VI who garrisoned all of the bridges and fords over the River Somme and followed the English with his own field army. After a mêlée in the river, the French were pushed back, more English troops were fed into the fight, and the French broke and fled. By 22 July, although the situation was unresolved, men and horses could be confined on board ship no longer and the fleet sailed, probably intending to land in Normandy, but it was scattered by a storm, and individual ships found their way over the following week to various English ports where they disembarked. Edward was unexpectedly threatened with the loss of his Flemishes allies, and to avoid this was forced to attend to diplomatic affairs. By the time it proved impossible to do anything major with the main English army, by which time it was impossible to make any major gains. During the whirlwind Gasy campaign, Edward led a whirlwind campaign through GasCony and captured two large towns and fortifications, including Bergerac, Auberac and Prigérigon, and captured much of much of the French army.