Battle of Gerberoy

Last updated
Battle of Gerberoy
Part of the Hundred Years' War
Francais 5054, fol. 83, Bataille de Gerberoy.jpg
The battle depicted in Vigiles de Charles VII, c.1484
Date9 May 1435
Location 49°32′06″N1°51′02″E / 49.535°N 1.8506°E / 49.535; 1.8506 Coordinates: 49°32′06″N1°51′02″E / 49.535°N 1.8506°E / 49.535; 1.8506
Result French victory
Arms of France (France Moderne).svg Kingdom of France Royal Arms of England (1470-1471).svg Kingdom of England
Commanders and leaders
Armoiries des compagnons de Jeanne d'Arc - La Hire.svg La Hire
Armoiries des compagnons de Jeanne d'Arc - Jean Poton de Xaintrailles.svg Jean de Xaintrailles
Blason Thomas Fitzalan (mort en 1524) 10e Comte d'Arundel.svg John FitzAlan  (WIA)
600–1,800 3,000
Casualties and losses
20 - 30 1,000

The Battle of Gerberoy was fought in 1435 between French and English forces. The French were led by La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who were victorious. The English losses were heavy, which later included their commander, John FitzAlan, 14th Earl of Arundel.



In spring 1435 the Hundred Years' War, after a few years of relative calm began to come back into a hot phase. The English armies were operating from northern France and Aquitaine. They also controlled Paris, Saint-Denis and the whole of Normandy. Nevertheless, the situation in the occupied territories for the English during the last decades had become more difficult. Although Joan of Arc was captured in 1430 and executed in 1431, it seemed to be more difficult to rule France and enforce the Treaty of Troyes.

During the year 1434 the French king Charles VII increased control over the territories north of Paris, including Soissons, Compiègne, Senlis and Beauvais. Due to its position Gerberoy appeared as a good outpost to threaten the English occupied Normandy and even stronger to protect the nearby Beauvais of a possible reconquest. The French hoped to expand into the city already in 1432, but due to the low state revenues they could not raise sufficient troops and gave up the project at first. In spring 1435, the project was taken up again and corresponding expenditure in the defense budget was prepared. According to the writings of the canon Jean Pillet (the first historian of Gerberoy), there was a troop of 600–1800 men positioned for this, and under the command of Jean Poton de Xaintrailles and La Hire, both former commanders with Joan of Arc. They arrived secretly at Gerberoy and set to work to restore the old defenses.

At this time, in Gournay-sur-Epte, Normandy (now Gournay-en-Bray in Seine-Maritime), about a dozen kilometers southwest of Gerberoy, sat an English army under the command of John FitzAlan, 14th Earl of Arundel, in motion. This should bring the city Rue, which had also been recently recaptured by the French, again under English control. The troops led material for a siege with them. Arundel reached with his troops in early May 1435 at Gournay and marched without special backup on Gerberoy, he believed only weakly defended. His troops (according to Jean Pillet about 3,000 men, but this figure is probably only a rough estimate) were certainly numerically far superior to the French troops.

The Battle

The Earl of Arundel appeared on 9 May before Gerberoy along with a vanguard that probably consisted of a few knights and withdrew after a brief observation of the valley, waiting for the arrival of the main English force.

The French, who had followed all the action from an elevated position from Gerberoy, quickly realized that it was merely an advance party and the main force of the English army was still on the road to Gournay. Since they had not yet sufficiently recovered their strength and repaired the fortifications for the impending siege, the French decided to take the initiative and to attack the Englishmen when they were completely unprepared.

A column of French cavalry under La Hire left the town, and bypassed the position of the English vanguard to launch a surprise attack on the English, as they were marching along the road to Gournay. The French cavalry arrived undetected in a place called Les Epinettes, near Laudecourt, a hamlet near Gournay, and then attacked the English main force. At the same time the rest of the garrison (the foot soldiers and archers) was under the command of Xaintrailles. This, in isolation from the rest of the troops took shelter behind a pile dwelling nearby.

After it was La Hire and his horsemen attacked the English on the streets of Gournai, and heavy fighting between the two sides ensued with many English soldiers and French cavalry being killed. During the battle, the Earl of Arundel was badly wounded when a French knight stabbed the earl in his leg. When the French reinforcements appeared, the remaining English soldiers realised their situation was now hopeless and retreated to Gerberoy. During the retreat, the French cavalry continued to attack the remnants of the English Army, and despite inflicting losses on the English force, failed to break up the army's formation and were eventually driven off after suffering a number of casualties.

During the retreat, the French were able to kill a large number of English soldiers; the Earl of Arundel was captured, and he later died of the injuries sustained during the battle. The losses of the English army were high and perhaps went into the hundreds, while the French army are said to have lost around twenty soldiers, although it could well have been more than thirty.


Despite the victory, the French were unable to exploit their success and strengthen their position in Gerberoy area. The city was besieged again by the English in the wake of the French victory and was captured by the English in 1437. The French succeeded in recapturing the city in 1449. In 1451 when all of Normandy was back under French control, the city of Gerberoy lost its role as a strategic frontier post.

The victory of 9 May 1435 does not appear, in spite of its remarkable results, as one of the decisive French victories of the Hundred Years' War. But it illustrates well how developed the French the military situation was after the victories of Joan of Arc.

Related Research Articles

Battle of Poitiers Battle in 1356 during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Poitiers was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War. It was fought on 19 September 1356 in Nouaillé, near the city of Poitiers in Aquitaine, western France. Edward, the Black Prince, led an army of English, Welsh, Breton and Gascon troops, many of them veterans of the Battle of Crécy. They were attacked by a larger French force led by King John II of France, which included allied Scottish forces. The French were heavily defeated; an English counter-attack captured King John, along with his youngest son, and much of the French nobility who were present.

Siege of Orléans Turning point and French Victory in the Hundred Years War

The siege of Orléans was the watershed of the Hundred Years' War between France and England. It was the French royal army's first major military victory to follow the crushing defeat at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, and also the first while Joan of Arc was with the army. The siege took place at the pinnacle of English power during the later stages of the war. The city held strategic and symbolic significance to both sides of the conflict. The consensus among contemporaries was that the English regent, John of Lancaster, would have succeeded in realizing his brother the English king Henry V's dream of conquering all of France if Orléans fell. For half a year the English and their French allies appeared to be winning, but the siege collapsed nine days after Joan's arrival.

Charles VII of France 15th-century King of France

Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.

John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury

John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, 1st Earl of Waterford, 7th Baron Talbot, KG, known as "Old Talbot", was an English nobleman and a noted military commander during the Hundred Years' War. He was the most renowned in England and most feared in France of the English captains in the last stages of the conflict. Known as a tough, cruel, and quarrelsome man, Talbot distinguished himself militarily in a time of decline for the English. Called the "English Achilles" and the "Terror of the French", he is lavishly praised in the plays of Shakespeare. The manner of his death, leading a charge against artillery, has come to symbolize the passing of the age of chivalry. He also held the subsidiary titles of 10th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 6th Baron Furnivalljure uxoris.

John Fitzalan, 7th Earl of Arundel

John Fitzalan, 7th Earl of Arundel, 4th Baron MaltraversKG was an English nobleman and military commander during the later phases of the Hundred Years' War. His father, John Fitzalan, 3rd Baron Maltravers, fought a long battle to lay claim to the Arundel earldom, a battle that was not finally resolved until after the father's death, when John Fitzalan the son was finally confirmed in the title in 1433.

Peter I, Duke of Bourbon Duke of Bourbon

Peter I of Bourbon was the second Duke of Bourbon, from 1342 to his death. Peter was son of Louis I of Bourbon, whom he also succeeded as Grand Chamberlain of France, and Mary of Avesnes.

Battle of Patay Battle during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Patay was the culminating engagement of the Loire Campaign of the Hundred Years' War between the French and English in north-central France. The French cavalry inflicted a severe defeat on the English. Many of the English knights and men-at-arms on horses were able to escape but crippling losses were inflicted on the corps of veteran English longbowmen, which was not reconstituted after the battle. This victory was to the French what Agincourt was to the English. Although credited to Joan of Arc, most of the fighting was done by the vanguard of the French army as English units fled, and the main portions of the French army were unable to catch up to the vanguard as it continued to pursue the English for several miles.

Jean Poton de Xaintrailles 15th-century French noble

Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, a minor noble of Gascon origin, was one of the chief lieutenants of Joan of Arc. He served as master of the royal stables, as royal bailiff in Berry and as seneschal of Limousin. In 1454 he was appointed a Marshal of France. Jean Poton was a leading figure on the French side in the Hundred Years War.

Jean de Brosse

Jean de Brosse (1375–1433), Lord of Boussac, Sainte-Sévère and Huriel, was a councillor and chamberlain to Charles VII of France; he was made a Marshal of France in 1426.

Battle of Verneuil Battle during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Verneuil was a battle of the Hundred Years' War, fought on 17 August 1424 near Verneuil in Normandy. The battle was a significant English victory. It was a particularly bloody battle, described by the English as a second Agincourt.

Jargeau Commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Jargeau is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France.

Battle of Jargeau

The Battle of Jargeau took place on 11–12 June 1429. It was part of the Loire Campaign during the Hundred Years' War, where Charles VII's forces successfully recaptured much of the region following their victory at the siege of Orleans. The battle ended in victory for Charles VII and is notable as Joan of Arc's first offensive battle.

Battle of Beaugency (1429)

The Battle of Beaugency took place on 16 and 17 June 1429. It was one of Joan of Arc's battles. Shortly after relieving the siege at Orléans, French forces recaptured the neighboring district along the Loire river. This campaign was the first sustained French offensive in a generation during the Hundred Years' War.

Siege of Meaux

The siege of Meaux was fought in 1421-1422 between the English and the French during the Hundred Years' War. The English were led by King Henry V. Henry became ill while fighting this long battle, which took place during the winter months. He died on 31 August as a result.

Hundred Years War (1415–1453) Third phase of the Hundred Years War

The Lancastrian War was the third and final phase of the Anglo-French Hundred Years' War. It lasted from 1415, when King Henry V of England invaded Normandy, to 1453, when the English lost Bordeaux. It followed a long period of peace from the end of the Caroline War in 1389. The phase was named after the House of Lancaster, the ruling house of the Kingdom of England, to which Henry V belonged.

Battle of La Brossinière A battle during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of La Brossinière or Battle of la Gravelle was a battle of the Hundred Years' War on 26 September 1423. It occurred at La Brossinière, between the forces of England and France, shortly after hostilities had resumed, following the battle of Agincourt (1415).

Loire Campaign (1429) A military campaign during the Hundred Years War

The Loire Campaign was a campaign launched by Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years' War. The Loire was cleared of all English and Burgundian troops.

Siege of Paris (1429)

The siege of Paris was an assault undertaken in September 1429 during the Hundred Years' War by the troops of the recently crowned King Charles VII of France, with the notable presence of Joan of Arc, to take the city held by the English and the Burgundians. King Charles's French troops failed to enter Paris, defended by the governor Jean de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam and the provost Simon Morhier, with the support of much of the city's population.

March to Reims

After the lifting of the Siege of Orléans and the decisive French victory at the Battle of Patay, the Anglo-Burgundian threat was ended. Joan of Arc convinced the Dauphin Charles to go to be crowned at Reims. The march though the heart of territory controlled by the hostile Burgundians was successful and would give the throne of the French monarchy to Charles VII, who had been ousted therefrom by the Treaty of Troyes.

The siege of Saint-Denis was the last instance of cooperation between the English and their Burgundian allies in the Hundred Years' War. Saint-Denis, the traditional burial place of the kings of France, was located in the outskirts of English-held Paris, and had been captured by the French a couple of months earlier. The enemy presence there critically endangered the English position in the capital, and, aiming to retake it urgently, the English moved onto the town in August with a handful of Burgundian auxiliaries. The siege was undertaken during the peace congress of Arras, during which no end to the fighting was seen, as both sides struggled to gain ground around and over Paris. The English were victorious at St. Denis after the French garrison surrendered due to lack of external support.