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|Battle of Auray|
|Part of the War of the Breton Succession|
| Breton – Montfort faction |
Supported by Kingdom of England
| Breton – Blois faction |
Supported by Kingdom of France
|Commanders and leaders|
| John de Montfort |
| Charles of Blois † |
Bertrand du Guesclin (POW)
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.However, John IV then paid homage to Charles V of France, rather than to his patron, Edward III of England. The Anglo-Breton military victory appeared to result in a diplomatic coup for the King of France.
Joan of Penthièvre or Joan the Lame reigned as Duchess of Brittany together with her husband, Charles of Blois, between 1341 and 1364. Her ducal claims were contested by the House of Montfort, which prevailed only after an extensive civil war, the War of the Breton Succession. After the war, Joan remained titular Duchess of Brittany to her death. She was Countess of Penthièvre in her own right throughout her life.
The War of the Breton Succession was a conflict between the Counts of Blois and the Montforts of Brittany for control of the Sovereign Duchy of Brittany, then a fief of the Kingdom of France. It was fought between 1341 and 12 April 1365.
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 of Blois-Châtillon "the Saint", was the legalist Duke of Brittany from 1341 to his death via his marriage to Joan of Penthiève, holding the title against the claims of John of Montfort. The cause of his possible canonization was the subject of a good deal political maneuvering on the part of his cousin, Charles V of France who endorsed it, and his rival, Montfort, who opposed it. The cause fell dormant after Pope Gregory XI left Avignon in 1376, but was revived in 1894. Charles of Blois was beatified in 1904.
John IV the Conqueror KG was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort from 1345 until his death and 7th Earl of Richmond from 1372 until his death.
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Sir John Chandos, Viscount of Saint-Sauveur in the Cotentin, Constable of Aquitaine, Seneschal of Poitou, was a medieval English knight who hailed from Radbourne Hall, Derbyshire. Chandos was a close friend of Edward the Black Prince and a founding member and 19th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1348. Chandos was a gentleman by birth, but unlike most commanders of the day he held no inherited title of nobility.
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