Battle of Calais
The Battle of Calais took place in 1350 when an English force defeated an unsuspecting French army. The French commander Geoffrey de Charny had planned to take the city by subterfuge. The English king, Edward III, became aware of the plot and personally led his household knights and the Calais garrison in a surprise counter-attack. Calais was vital to England’s effort against the French for the rest of the war.
About Battle of Calais in brief
The Battle of Calais took place in 1350 when an English force defeated an unsuspecting French army. The French commander Geoffrey de Charny had planned to take the city by subterfuge. The English king, Edward III, became aware of the plot and personally led his household knights and the Calais garrison in a surprise counter-attack. Calais was vital to England’s effort against the French for the rest of the war. It boasted a double moat; substantial city walls; and its citadel in the north-west corner had its own moat and additional fortifications. It would provide a secure entrepôt into France for English armies. Edward’s army laid siege to the port in September 1346. With French finances and morale at a low ebb after Crécy, Philip failed to relieve the town, and the starving defenders surrendered on 3 August 1347. It was the only large town successfully besieged by either side during the first thirty years of the Hundred Years’ War. Edward had succeeded in 1346 due to a combination of circumstances. Earlier, in 1340, Edward’s forces had fought a larger fight than his to gain access to the French port of Sluys. The town had an extremely strong standing garrison of 1,200 men, under the command of the captain of Calais, Amerigo of Pavia, who was employed as Calais’s galley master. He had command of a tower overlooking Calais’s harbour, which contained an entrance into the town’s citadel. He also had a position in the harbour which contained a small tower overlooking the citadel, which was used as a command post by the French commander.
He was taken captive to Saint-Omer and publicly tortured to death. After the battle, Edward dined with the highest-ranking captives, treating them with royal courtesy except for Charny, whom he taunted for having abandoned his chivalric principles both by fighting during a truce and by attempting to purchase his way into Calais rather than fight. This strongly favoured the English, confirming them in possession of all of their territorial conquests. The Truce of Calais was to run for nine months to 7 July 1348, but was extended repeatedly over the years until it was formally set aside in 1355. The truce did not stop ongoing naval clashes between the two countries, nor small-scale fighting in Gascony and Brittany. It also allowed the accumulation of supplies and matériel prior to a campaign prior to the Possession of Calais in 1348. The battle marked the start of the Hundred years’ War, which was to last 116 years. It ended with the capture of Calais by the English king in July 1350 and the capture and sack of Caen, to the gates of Paris in 1349. The Battle of the Bastille was fought between the French and the English in 1351. The Battle of the Somme was fought in 1354 and 1355 and saw the French take control of the Channel port of Calais.