Siege of Calais (1346–1347)
The Siege of Calais occurred at the conclusion of the Crécy campaign, when an English army under the command of King Edward III of England successfully besieged the French town of Calais. On 3 August Calais capitulated. It provided the English with an important strategic lodgement for the remainder of the Hundred Years’ War and beyond. The port was not recaptured by the French until 1558.
About Siege of Calais (1346–1347) in brief
The Siege of Calais occurred at the conclusion of the Crécy campaign, when an English army under the command of King Edward III of England successfully besieged the French town of Calais. The English army of some 10,000 men had landed in northern Normandy on 12 July 1346. They embarked on a large-scale raid, or chevauchée, devastating large parts of northern France. On 26 August 1346, fighting on ground of their own choosing, the English inflicted a heavy defeat on aLarge French army led by their king Philip VI. A week later they invested the well-fortified port of Calais, which had a strong garrison. Confronted with a well-entrenched English and Flemish force of more than 50,000, he withdrew. On 3 August Calais capitulated. It provided the English with an important strategic lodgement for the remainder of the Hundred Years’ War and beyond. The port was not recaptured by the French until 1558. Edward raised an army in England and the largest fleet ever assembled by the English to that date, 747 ships. They devastated the country for up to 5 miles inland, taking vast amounts of loot; after their crews filled their holds, many ships deserted. They also captured or burnt more than 100 French ships; 61 of these had been converted into military vessels. Most of the population of Caen, the cultural, political, religious and financial centre of north-west Normandy, was stormed on 26 July. There was an orgy of drunken rape and the city was sacked for days for days until the English army marched out towards the River Seine.
They left a swath of destruction, rapine and slaughter along the left bank of the Seine, 20 miles from Paris. They escaped by fighting against a French force blocking their way across the Somme blocking the French way. They turned north to reinforce the French army facing Edward, who had become trapped in territory which had been denuded of food and had become a den of denuded food. By 1337 only Gascony in south-west France was left. The status of the English king’s French fiefs was a major source of conflict between the two monarchies throughout the Middle Ages. On 24 May 1337 Philip’s Great Council in Paris agreed that Gas Cony and Ponthieu should be taken back into Philip’s hands on the grounds that Edward was in breach of his obligations as a vassal. This marked the start of the Hundred Years’ War, which was to last 116 years. Although GasconY was the cause of the war, Edward was able to spare few resources for it; whenever an EnglishArmy had campaigned on the continent, it had operated in northern France and beyond. Edward’s aim was to conduct a large scale raid across French territory to reduce his opponent’s morale and wealth. He razed every town in their path and looted whatever they could from the populace. The army is estimated by modern historians to have been some 10k strong, and consisted of English and Welsh soldiers and a small number of German and Breton mercenaries and allies.