Battle of Formigny


Battle of Formigny

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Formigny
partof=the Hundred Years' War


caption=
date=April 15, 1450
place=Formigny, near Carentan, France
result=Decisive French victory
combatant1=Kingdom of England
combatant2=Kingdom of France
Duchy of Brittany
commander1=Thomas Kyriell
commander2=Comte de Clermont, Arthur III, Duke of Brittany
strength1=4,000
strength2=5,000|casualties1=2,500
casualties2=100-200

The Battle of Formigny (April 15, 1450) was a battle of the Hundred Years' War fought between England and France. It was a decisive victory for the French.

Background

The French, under Charles VII, had taken the time offered by the Truce of Tours in 1444 to reorganize and reinvigorate their armies. The English, without clear leadership from the weak Henry VI, were scattered and dangerously weak. When the French broke the truce in June 1449 they were in a much improved position. Pont-Audemer, Pont-L'Evêque and Lisieux fell in August and much of Normandy was retaken by October. Cutting north and east the Bureau brothers oversaw the capture of Rouen (October 1449), Harfleur (December 1449), Honfleur and Fresnoy (January 1450), before moving on to invade Caen.

The English had gathered a small army during the winter of 1449. Numbering around 3,000 men, it was dispatched from Portsmouth to Cherbourg under the command of Sir Thomas Kyriell. Landing on March 15, 1450, the army was reinforced with a further 2,000 men under Sir Matthew Gough in late March.

Battle

Kyreill advanced south and captured Valognes in a bloody clash, as further south two French armies joined (around 5,000 men under Comte de Clermont) and marched north for Carentan.

The English army circled Carentan on April 12, the French declined to sally although there were a number of smaller skirmishes. Kyriell turned east towards Bayeux, reaching the village of Formigny on April 14. At the same time a third French force, under the Condéstable de Richmont, had reached St. Lô from the south.

On April 15, Clermont's forces were sighted by the English. The armies faced each other on the Carentan-Bayeux road, near a small tributary of the Aure, the English with their backs to the stream. The English formation numbered around 4,000 — with a three-to-one preponderance in archers — and gathered in a long line behind a thicket of stakes and low earthworks.

Clermont opened the engagement with attacks against the flanks and small charges; these had little chance of success and were easily turned away. He then advanced two cannons. After a period of fire that caused a few casualties, the English charged and captured the guns.

These initial skirmishes took some three hours. At this time the Breton army under Arthur de Richemont arrived from the south, having crossed the Aure and now approaching the English force from the flank. They numbered almost 1,200 Bretons - almost all mounted judging from the pace of their march.

Kyriell drew back from Clermont and shifted his force into an "L", straddling the steam. With the prepared position abandoned and split by the enemy's firepower the English force was soon overwhelmed in a series of charges. Kyriell was captured and his army shattered.

Aftermath

The English had been dealt a major blow, 2,500 killed or seriously wounded and 900 taken prisoner while French and Breton casualties were no more than 1000 dead and wounded. With no other significant English forces in Normandy, the whole region quickly fell to the victorious French. The advance continued elsewhere, quickly sweeping up all English possessions except Calais.

The battle is often cited as the first in which cannons played a pivotal role (the first "decisive" use of cannon is generally considered to have been the following battle, at Castillon). This is rather difficult to judge, contemporary accounts are dubious and it can be seen that the arrival of the Breton army of Arthur de Richemont, future duke of Brittany, Arthur III, with his powerful force of cavalry on the flank of the English, forcing them to leave their prepared defensive position, was more significant, although it should be noted that the early artillery fire from the two French guns played a role in that as well.

The cannon may have been decisive, not so much for the effect they had themselves, but in that they alerted Richemont to the fact that there was a battle going on, and so caused his appearance on the field. It was fortunate for Clermont that this was so because one of his captains wrote shortly afterwards that if the Constable (Richemont) had not come when he did, Clermont's army would have suffered "irreparable damage".


=

References

*http://www.xenophongroup.com/montjoie/formigny.htm


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Formigny — is a commune in the département of Calvados in the Basse Normandie region of France. Its postal code is 14340. The INSEE code is 14281.History*April 15, 1450: Battle of FormignyExternal links* [http://membres.lycos.fr/formigny The battle of… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Agincourt — Schlacht von Agincourt Teil von: Hundertjähriger Krieg Zeitgenössische Darstellung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Schlacht von Formigny — 49.337222222222 0.89777777777778 Koordinaten: 49° 20′ N, 0° 54′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Schlacht bei Formigny — 49.337222222222 0.897777777777787Koordinaten: 49° 20′ N, 0° 54′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hundred Years' War — Clockwise, from top left: John of Bohemia at the Battle of Crécy, Plantagenet and Franco Castilian fleets at the Battle of La Rochelle …   Wikipedia

  • Guerre De Cent Ans — Bataille de Crécy (1346) illustration tirée des Chroniques de Jean Froissart. Informations générales Date 1337 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guerre de 100 ans — Guerre de Cent Ans Guerre de Cent Ans Bataille de Crécy (1346) illustration tirée des Chroniques de Jean Froissart. Informations générales Date 1337 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guerre de Cent-Ans — Bataille de Crécy (1346) illustration tirée des Chroniques de Jean Froissart. Informations générales Date 1337 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guerre de Cent Ans — Pour la première guerre de Cent Ans, voir Capétiens contre Plantagenêt. Guerre de Cent Ans Bataille de Crécy (1346) illustration tirée des Chroniques de Jean F …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guerre de Cent ans — Bataille de Crécy (1346) illustration tirée des Chroniques de Jean Froissart. Informations générales Date 1337 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français