Battle of Pontvallain
The Battle of Pontvallain took place in the Sarthe region of north-west France on 4 December 1370. A French army under Bertrand du Guesclin badly defeated an English force that had broken away from an army commanded by Sir Robert Knolles. The English had pillaged and burnt their way across northern France from Calais to Paris.
About Battle of Pontvallain in brief
The Battle of Pontvallain took place in the Sarthe region of north-west France on 4 December 1370. A French army under Bertrand du Guesclin badly defeated an English force that had broken away from an army commanded by Sir Robert Knolles. The English had pillaged and burnt their way across northern France from Calais to Paris. The French harried the surviving Englishmen into the following year, recapturing much lost territory. Though the engagements were comparatively small, they were significant because the English were routed, ending a reputation for invincibility in open battle they had enjoyed since the war started in 1337. The battle consisted of two separate engagements: one at PontvAllain where, after a forced march, which continued overnight, Du GuesClin surprised a major part of the English force, and wiped it out. The other was at Vaas, where Louis de Sancerre caught a smaller English force the same day, also wiping it out, and the two are sometimes named as separate battles. The Hundred Years’ War, starting in 1369 and known as the Carolinian phase, was significantly different from the previous one. It would concentrate on reversing recent French gains in Poitou and Poitiers. This was now an offensive war for the French, and English and the French were ill-prepared for it. Fighting in this phase took place largely Aquitaine, meaning the English had extremely long borders to defend. They relied on Fabian tactics: avoiding pitched battles and using attrition to wear down the English forces and only attacking dispersed or isolated English forces.
It was a difficult time for the English, and they were hampered by recent battles experienced by the Black Prince, the experienced Prince of Wales. In 1369, on the pretext that Edward had failed to observe the terms of the treaty, Charles V declared war once again. Men who had fought in earlier English campaigns, and had already won fortune and fame, were summoned from their retirements, and new, younger men were given commands. In August a French offensive attempted to recapture castles in Normandy. This phase of the war was called the ‘Carolinian phase’ The French were well prepared militarily, and immediately went on the offensive. They were well situated in terms of financial and human resources. Edward III was growing senile, his heir was crippled by illness, and once the turmoil of the previous phase had subsided Charles was able to benefit from France three times the wealth of England. The war was to last 116 years. The terms of Brétigny were meant to untangle the feudal responsibilities that had caused so much conflict. It ceded large parts of south-west French to England as its sovereign territory, while Edward renounced all claims to the French throne. This had been part of English royal estate in France since the reign of Henry II, and by the treaty it andPoitou became fiefdoms of Edward’s oldest son, Edward the Black prince.