Battle of Auray

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Battle of Auray
Part of the War of the Breton Succession
Battle of Auray 2.jpg
Date29 September 1364
Location
Auray, France
Result Decisive Anglo-Breton victory
Belligerents
Breton – Montfort faction
Supported by Kingdom of England
Breton – Blois faction
Supported by Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
John de Montfort
John Chandos
Charles of Blois  
Bertrand du Guesclin   (POW)
Strength
6,000 4,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown but comparatively lighter 1,000+

The Battle of Auray took place on 29 September 1364 at the French town of Auray. This battle was the decisive confrontation of the Breton War of Succession, a part of the Hundred Years' War.

Contents

In the battle, which began as a siege, an Breton army, led by Duke John de Montfort, assisted by English forces commanded by John Chandos, opposed a Breton army led by his rival Charles of Blois and assisted by French forces led by Bertrand du Guesclin.

Prelude

At the beginning of 1364, after the failure of the negotiations of Évran, Montfort, with the assistance of John Chandos, came to attack Auray, which had been in the hands of Franco-Bretons since 1342. He entered the town of Auray and besieged the castle, which was blockaded by sea by the ships of Nicolas Bouchart coming from Le Croisic.

Without food supplies, the besieged agreed to surrender the place, if help did not arrive before Michaelmas (29 September). Two days before, Charles of Blois had arrived east of the abbey of Lanvaux. Bertrand du Guesclin, who commanded the vanguard of the French troops, was in nearby Brandivy.

On 28 September, du Guesclin landed on the left bank of the river, and took up position before the castle. To avoid being caught between the castle and the French Army, Montfort evacuated Auray and took up a position facing the enemy, on the slope of the right bank of the river.

On the 29 September, attempts at agreement having failed, Charles of Blois prepared for the attack. His army crossed the river and lined up facing south, considered a bad position by some of his commanders because it was on a marshy plain north of the town and castle. Montfort followed the movement and lined up facing north, in a more dominating position. Rejecting the advice of du Guesclin, Charles of Blois then ordered the attack against Montfort's forces.

Involved forces

Franco-Breton army of Charles of Blois

On the left the Count of Auxerre, on the right Du Guesclin, in the center Charles of Blois. A weak reserve was not used. Each division had roughly 1,000 men.

Anglo-Breton army of John of Montfort

On the right Olivier de Clisson, on the left Robert Knolles, in the centre John of Montfort and John Chandos. A significant reserve, under Hugh Calveley, was also on hand ready to intervene.

Battle

The battle of Auray. The battle of Auray.jpg
The battle of Auray.

The battle began with a short skirmish between the French arbalesters and the English archers. The men-at-arms then engaged directly without seeking to maneuver. It was a bloody combat because all wanted the battle to be decisive to put an end to the long and cruel war. Moreover, orders were given on both sides not to give quarter to captives.

Each Anglo-Breton corps was attacked head on, one after the other, but the reserves restored the situation. The right wing of the Franco-Breton position was then counterattacked and driven back and since it was not being supported by its own reserves, it was folded up towards the centre. The left wing then folded in turn, the Count of Auxerre was captured, and the troops of Charles of Blois broke and fled. Charles, having been struck down by a lance, was finished off by an English soldier, obeying orders to show no quarter. Du Guesclin, having broken all his weapons, was obliged to surrender to the English commander Chandos. Du Guesclin was taken into custody and ransomed by Charles V for 100,000 francs. [1]

Consequences

This victory put an end to the war of succession. One year later, in 1365, under the first Treaty of Guérande, the king of France recognized John IV, the son of John of Montfort as duke of Brittany. [lower-alpha 1] However, John IV [lower-alpha 2] then paid homage to Charles V of France, rather than to his patron, Edward III of England. [lower-alpha 3] The Anglo-Breton military victory appeared to result in a diplomatic coup for the King of France.

Notes

  1. Joanna, the widow of Charles of Blois, was permitted to retain the title Duchess of Brittany for the remainder of her life without power or the right to reign; she also retained her title as well as rights and properties as Countess of Penthievre suo jure.
  2. John of Montfort, John IV's father, had died early in the Breton War of Succession. The numbering of Breton Dukes differs between the British (English) and the French treatment because of the question of French recognition of John IV's father, John of Montfort as recognized Duke.
  3. In 1360, Edward III of England had withdrawn his claim to be king of France, only to renew it in 1369.

Related Research Articles

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John of Montfort, sometimes known as John IV of Brittany, and 6th Earl of Richmond from 1341 to his death. He was the son of Arthur II, Duke of Brittany and his second wife, Yolande de Dreux. He contested the inheritance of the Duchy of Brittany by his niece, Joan of Penthièvre, which led to the War of the Breton Succession, which in turn evolved into being part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France. John's patron in his quest was King Edward III of England. He died in 1345, 19 years before the end of the war, and the victory of his son John IV over Joan of Penthièvre and her husband, Charles of Blois.

Charles, Duke of Brittany

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This is a timeline of the Hundred Years' War between England and France from 1337 to 1453 as well as some of the events leading up to the war.

Hugh Calveley

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Jean, or Jehan de Beaumanoir, marshal of Brittany for Charles of Blois, and captain of Josselin, is remembered for his share in the famous Combat of the Thirty during the War of Breton Succession (1341–1364) between the partisans of competing claimants for the Dukedom.

House of Dreux

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Hundred Years War (1369–1389)

The Caroline War was the second phase of the Hundred Years' War between France and England, following the Edwardian War. It was so-named after Charles V of France, who resumed the war nine years after the Treaty of Brétigny. The Kingdom of France dominated this phase of the war.

The Battle of Champtoceaux, often called the Battle of l'Humeau, was the opening action of the 23-year-long War of the Breton Succession, a dynastic conflict in Brittany which became inevitably embroiled in the Hundred Years War between England and France. This battle should have decided the war at a stroke, as John of Montfort, the leader of one faction, was made prisoner. However his wife, Joanna of Flanders, and young son John escaped imprisonment. Their escape and continued support from his ally, England, allowed continued resistance to flourish and eventually turn the tide.

The first treaty of Guérande, signed April 12, 1365 ended the Breton War of Succession.

Following the defeat of Mauron during the Hundred Years' War, the Bretons, led by Bertrand Du Guesclin, took their revenge at the Battle of Montmuran on April 10, 1354.

Guillaume Boitel, was a knight and the faithful companion of the French knight Bertrand Du Guesclin. He was originally sent by king Charles V of France to assist Du Guesclin during the Anglo-French war in Normandy and the Breton War of Succession between Charles de Blois and Jean de Montfort (1363-1364).

References

  1. Turnbull, Stephen. The Book of the Medieval Knight. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1985. ISBN   0-85368-715-3

Coordinates: 47°40′07″N2°58′53″W / 47.6686°N 2.9814°W / 47.6686; -2.9814