|Hundred Years' War 1345–1347|
|Part of the Hundred Years' War|
The English assault on Caen, from Froissart's Chronicles
|Kingdom of England||Kingdom of France|
|Commanders and leaders|
| King Philip VI (WIA)|
John, Duke of Normandy
|Casualties and losses|
|Unknown, light||Unknown, heavy|
English offensives in 1345–1347, during the Hundred Years' War, resulted in repeated defeats of the French, the loss or devastation of much French territory and the capture by the English of the port of Calais. The war had broken out in 1337 and flared up in 1340 when the king of England, Edward III laid claim to the French crown and campaigned in northern France. There was then a lull in the major hostilities, although much small-scale fighting continued.
Edward determined early in 1345 to renew full-scale war. He despatched a small force to Gascony in south-west France under Henry, Earl of Derby and personally led the main English army to northern France. Edward delayed the disembarkation of his army and his fleet was scattered by a storm, rendering this offensive ineffective. Derby was also delayed, but commenced an offensive in Gascony in August which was spectacularly successful. The following spring a large French army, led by the heir to the French throne, John, Duke of Normandy, counterattacked Derby's forces.
Edward responded by landing an army of 10,000 men in northern Normandy. The English devastated much of Normandy and stormed and sacked Caen, slaughtering the population. They then cut a swath along the left bank of the Seine to within 20 miles (32 km) of Paris. The English army then turned north and inflicted a heavy defeat on a French army led by their king, Philip VI, at the Battle of Crécy on 26 August 1346. They promptly exploited this by laying siege to Calais. The period from Derby's victory outside Bergerac in late August 1345 to the start of the siege of Calais on 4 September 1346 became known as Edward III's annus mirabilis (year of marvels).
After an eleven-month siege, which stretched both countries' financial and military resources to the limit, the town fell. Shortly afterwards, the Truce of Calais was agreed; it ran for nine months to 7 July 1348, but was extended repeatedly until it was formally set aside in 1355. The war eventually ended in 1453 with the English expelled from all French territory except Calais, which served as an English entrepôt into northern France that was held for more than two hundred years.
Since the Norman Conquest of 1066, English monarchs had held titles and lands within France, the possession of which made them vassals of the kings of France. The status of the English king's French fiefs was a major source of conflict between the two monarchies throughout the Middle Ages. French monarchs systematically sought to check the growth of English power, stripping away lands as the opportunity arose. r. 1328–1350) and Edward III of England (r. 1327–1377), on 24 May 1337 Philip's Great Council in Paris agreed that Gascony 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.Over the centuries, English holdings in France had varied in size, but by 1337 only Gascony in south western France and Ponthieu in northern France were left. The Gascons preferred their relationship with a distant English king who left them alone to one with a French king who would interfere in their affairs. Following a series of disagreements between Philip VI of France (
Although Gascony was the cause of the war, Edward was able to spare few resources for it, and whenever an English army campaigned on the continent it operated in northern France. IV, laid formal claim to the Kingdom of France. He then led an inconclusive and vastly expensive campaign against Tournai, after which there was a relative lull in the fighting.In 1340 Edward, as the closest male relative of Philip's predecessor Charles
Edward determined early in 1345 to renew full-scale war and to attack France on three fronts. The Earl of Northampton would lead a small force to Brittany, a slightly larger force would proceed to Gascony under the command of Henry, Earl of Derby and the main force would accompany Edward to either northern France or Flanders.The previous Seneschal of Gascony, Nicholas de la Beche, was replaced by the more senior Ralph, Earl of Stafford, who sailed for Gascony in February with an advance force.
French intelligence had uncovered the English plan for offensives in the three theatres, but France did not have the money to raise a major army in each. The French anticipated, correctly, that the English planned to make their main effort in northern France. Thus they directed what resources they had there, planning to assemble their main army at Arras on 22 July. South-western France was encouraged to rely on its own resources, but as the Truce of Malestroit, signed in early 1343, was still in effect, the local lords were reluctant to spend money and little was done.
Edward's main army sailed on 29 June. They anchored off Sluys in Flanders until 22 July, while Edward attended to diplomatic affairs. When they sailed, probably intending to land in Normandy, they were scattered by a storm and found their way to English ports over the following week. After more than five weeks on board ship the men and horses had to be disembarked. There was a further week's delay while the King and his council debated what to do, by which time it proved impossible to take any action with this force before winter. Aware of this, Philip despatched reinforcements to Brittany and Gascony. Peter, Duke of Bourbon was appointed commander-in-chief of the south-west front on 8 August.
Derby's force embarked at Southampton at the end of May 1345. Bad weather forced his fleet of 151 ships to shelter in Falmouth for several weeks en route, finally departing on 23 July. The Gascons, primed by Stafford to expect Derby's arrival in late May and sensing the French weakness, took the field without him. The Gascons captured the large, weakly garrisoned castles of Montravel and Monbreton on the Dordogne in early June; both were taken by surprise and their seizure broke the tenuous Truce of Malestroit. Stafford carried out a short march north to besiege Blaye. He left the Gascons to prosecute it and proceeded to Langon, south of Bordeaux, and set up a second siege. The French issued an urgent call to arms.
Meanwhile, small independent parties of Gascons raided across the region. Local French groups joined them, and several minor nobles threw in their lot with the Anglo-Gascons. They had some successes, but their main effect was to tie down most of the weak French garrisons in the region and to cause them to call for reinforcements. The few French troops not garrisoning fortifications immobilised themselves with sieges: of Casseneuil in the Agenais; Monchamp near Condom; and Montcuq, a strong but strategically insignificant castle south of Bergerac.Large areas were left effectively undefended.
On 9 August Derby arrived in Bordeaux with 500 men-at-arms, 1,500 English and Welsh archers, 500 of them mounted on ponies to increase their mobility, and ancillary and support troops, such as a team of 24 miners. The majority were veterans of other campaigns. After two weeks of further recruiting and consolidation of his forces Derby decided on a change of strategy. Rather than continue a war of sieges he was determined to strike directly at the French before they could concentrate their forces. The French in the region were under the command of Bertrand de l'Isle-Jourdain, who had concentrated his forces at the communications centre and strategically important town of Bergerac. This was 60 miles (97 kilometres) east of Bordeaux and controlled an important bridge over the Dordogne River.
Derby moved rapidly and took the French army by surprise, defeating them in a running battle outside Bergerac in late August. French casualties were heavy, with many killed and a large number captured, including their commander. The surviving French from their field army rallied around John, Count of Armagnac, and retreated north to Périgueux.Within days of the battle, Bergerac fell to an Anglo-Gascon assault and was subsequently sacked. After consolidating and reorganising for two weeks Derby left a large garrison in the town and moved north to Périgueux, the provincial capital, taking several strongpoints on the way.
John, Duke of Normandy, the son and heir of Philip VI, gathered an army reportedly numbering more than 20,000 and manoeuvred in the area. In early October a very large detachment drove off Derby's force, which withdrew towards Bordeaux. Further reinforced, the French started besieging the English-held strongpoints. 9 mi (14 km) east of Périgueux. After a night march Derby attacked the French camp on 21 October while they were at dinner, taking them by surprise and causing heavy initial casualties. The French rallied and there was a protracted hand-to-hand struggle, which ended when the commander of the small English garrison in the castle sortied and fell upon the rear of the French. They broke and fled. French casualties are described by modern historians as "appalling", "extremely high", "staggering", and "heavy". Many French nobles were taken prisoner; lower ranking men were, as was customary, killed on the spot. The French commander, Louis of Poitiers, died of his wounds. Surviving prisoners included the second in command, Bertrand de l'Isle-Jourdain, two counts, seven viscounts, three barons, the seneschals of Clermont and Toulouse, a nephew of the Pope and so many knights that they were not counted.A French force of 7,000, commanded by Louis of Poitiers, besieged the castle of Auberoche,
For the 1346 campaigning season Duke John was again placed in charge of all French forces in south-west France. In March 1346 a French army of between 15,000 and 20,000, April. On 2 April an arrière-ban , a formal call to arms for all able-bodied males, was announced for southern France. French national financial, logistical and manpower efforts were focused on this offensive.enormously superior to any force the Anglo-Gascons could field, marched on the Anglo-Gascon-held town of Aiguillon and besieged it on 1
In 1346 Edward again gathered a large army in England. The French were aware of this, but given the extreme difficulty of disembarking an army other than at a port, the English no longer having access to a port in Flanders, and the existence of friendly ports in Brittany and Gascony, they assumed Edward would sail for one of the latter; probably Gascony, in order to relieve Aiguillon. 20 mi (32 km) from Cherbourg. The English army is estimated by modern historians to have been some 10,000 strong. The English achieved complete strategic surprise and marched south, cutting a wide swath of destruction through some of the richest lands in France and burning every town they passed. Philip immediately recalled his main army, under Duke John, from Gascony. After a furious argument with his advisers, and according to some accounts his father's messenger, John refused to move until his honour was satisfied. On 29 July Philip called an arrière-ban for northern France at Rouen. On 7 August the English reached the Seine. Philip again sent orders to John insisting he abandon the siege of Aiguillon and march his army north. Edward marched south east and on 12 August his army was 20 mi (32 km) from Paris. On 14 August John attempted to arrange a local truce. Lancaster, well aware of the situation in the north and in the French camps around Aiguillon, refused. On 20 August, after five months of siege, the French abandoned the operation and marched away in considerable haste and disorder.To guard against any possibility of an English landing in northern France, Philip VI relied on his powerful navy. This reliance was misplaced given the naval technology of the time. Edward raised an army in England and the largest fleet ever assembled by the English to that date, 747 ships. The French were unable to prevent Edward successfully crossing the Channel and landing at St. Vaast la Hogue on 12 July,
Edward's aim was to conduct a chevauchée , a large-scale raid, across French territory to reduce his opponent's morale and wealth. 5 mi (8 km) 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. Caen, the cultural, political, religious and financial centre of north-west Normandy, was stormed on 26 July. Most of the population was massacred, there was an orgy of drunken rape and the city was sacked for five days. The English army marched out towards the River Seine on 1 August. It devastated the country to the suburbs of Rouen before leaving a swath of destruction, rapine and slaughter along the left bank of the Seine to Poissy, 20 mi (32 km) from Paris. The English then turned north and became trapped in territory which the French had denuded of food. They escaped by fighting their way across the Somme against a French blocking force.His soldiers razed every town in their path and looted whatever they could from the populace. The English fleet paralleled the army's route and landing parties devastated the country for up to
Two days later, on 26 August 1346, fighting on ground of their own choosing, the two armies fought at the Battle of Crécy.The French army was very large for the period, and several times larger than the English force. The French unfurled their sacred battle banner, the oriflamme , indicating that no prisoners would be taken. There was an initial archery exchange, which the English won, routing the Italian crossbowmen opposing them.
The French then launched cavalry charges by their mounted knights at the English men-at-arms, who had dismounted for the battle. These charges were disordered due to their impromptu nature, by having to force their way through the fleeing Italians, by the muddy ground, by having to charge uphill, and by the pits dug by the English.The attacks were further broken up by the heavy and effective fire from the English archers, which caused heavy casualties. By the time the French charges reached the English infantry they had lost much of their impetus. A contemporary described the hand-to-hand combat which ensued as "murderous, without pity, cruel, and very horrible". The French charges continued into the night, all with the same result: fierce fighting followed by a French repulse. Philip himself was caught up in the fighting, had two horses killed from underneath him, and received an arrow in the jaw. The oriflamme was captured after its bearer was killed. The French broke and fled; the English, exhausted, slept where they had fought.
The French losses were very heavy and were recorded at the time as 1,200 knights killed and over 15,000 others.The highest contemporary estimate of English fatalities was 300. The scale of the English victory is described by the modern historian Andrew Ayton as "unprecedented" and "a devastating military humiliation". Jonathan Sumption considers it "a political catastrophe for the French Crown". The battle was reported to the English Parliament on 13 September in glowing terms as a sign of divine favour and as a justification for the huge cost of the war to date.
After resting for two days and burying the dead, the English, requiring supplies and reinforcements, marched north. They continued to devastate the land, and set several towns on fire, including Wissant, the normal port of disembarkation for English shipping to northern France. September and besieged it.Outside the burning town Edward held a council, which decided to capture Calais. This was an ideal entrepôt from an English point of view, possessing a secure harbour and established port facilities, and being in the part of France closest to the ports of south east England. It was also close to the border of Flanders and Edward's Flemish allies. The English arrived outside the town on 4
Calais was strongly fortified, surrounded by extensive marshes, adequately garrisoned and provisioned, and could be reinforced and supplied by sea.The day after the siege commenced, English ships arrived off-shore and resupplied, re-equipped and reinforced the English army. Over time a major victualling operation drew on sources throughout England and Wales to supply the besiegers, as well as overland from nearby Flanders. Parliament grudgingly agreed to fund the siege. Edward declared it a matter of honour and avowed his intent to remain until the town fell. The period from Derby's victory outside Bergerac in late August 1345 and the start of the siege of Calais on 4 September became known as Edward III's annus mirabilis (year of marvels).
Philip vacillated: on the day the siege of Calais began he disbanded most of his army, to save money and convinced Edward had finished his chevauchée and would proceed to Flanders and ship his army home. On or shortly after 7 September, Duke John made contact with Philip, having just disbanded his own army. On 9 September Philip announced the army would reassemble at Compiègne on 1 October, an impossibly short interval, and then march to the relief of Calais.
Among other consequences, this equivocation allowed Lancaster in the south west to launch offensives into Quercy and the Bazadais; and himself lead a chevauchée 160 mi (260 km) north through Saintonge, Aunis and Poitou, capturing numerous towns, castles and smaller fortified places and storming the rich city of Poitiers. These offensives completely disrupted the French defences and shifted the focus of the fighting from the heart of Gascony to 60 mi (97 km) or more beyond its borders. Few French troops had arrived at Compiègne by 1 October and as Philip and his court waited for the numbers to swell, news of Lancaster's conquests came in. Believing Lancaster was heading for Paris, the French changed the assembly point for any men not already committed to Compiègne to Orléans, and reinforced them with some of those already mustered, to block this. After Lancaster turned south to head back to Gascony, those Frenchmen already at or heading towards Orléans were redirected to Compiègne; French planning collapsed into chaos.
Even though only 3,000 men-at-arms had assembled at Compiègne, the French treasurer was unable to pay them. Philip cancelled all offensive arrangements on 27 October and dispersed his army.Recriminations were rife: officials at all levels of the Chambre des Comptes (the French treasury) were dismissed and all financial affairs were put into the hands of a committee of three senior abbots. The King's council bent their efforts to blaming each other for the kingdom's misfortunes. Philip's heir, Duke John, fell out with his father and refused to attend court for several months.
Philip had been calling on the Scots to fulfil their obligation under the terms of the Auld Alliance and invade England since June 1346. The Scottish King, David II, convinced that English force was focused entirely on France, obliged on 7 October. He was taken by surprise by the appearance of a smaller English force raised exclusively from the northern English counties. A battle was fought at Neville's Cross outside Durham on 17 October. It ended with the rout of the Scots, the capture of their King and the death or capture of most of their leadership. Strategically the battle freed English forces for the war against France, and the English border counties were able to guard against the remaining Scottish threat from their own resources.
During the winter the French made great efforts to strengthen their naval resources. This included French and mercenary Italian galleys and French merchant ships, many adapted for military use. During March and April 1347, more than 1,000 long tons (1,000 t ) of supplies were run into Calais without opposition. Philip attempted to take the field in late April, but the French ability to assemble their army in a timely fashion had not improved since the autumn and by July it had still not fully mustered. In April and May the French tried and failed to cut the English supply route to Flanders while the English tried and failed to capture Saint-Omer and Lille.
In late-April the English established a fortification which enabled them to command the entrance to the harbour. 6 mi (10 km) away. Their army was between 15,000 and 20,000 strong. The English position clearly being unassailable, Philip hesitated. On the night of 1 August the French withdrew. On 3 August 1347 Calais surrendered and the entire French population was expelled. A vast amount of booty was found within the town. Edward repopulated Calais with English, and a few Flemings.In May, June and July the French attempted to force convoys through, unsuccessfully. On 25 June the commander of the Calais garrison wrote to Philip saying their food was exhausted and suggesting they may have to resort to cannibalism. Despite increasing financial difficulties, the English steadily reinforced their army through 1347, reaching a peak strength of 32,000. A Flemish force of 20,000 gathered less than a day's march from Calais. This force was supported by a force of 24,000 sailors, in a total of 853 ships. On 17 July Philip led the French army north to within view of the town,
As soon as Calais capitulated, Edward paid off much of his army and released his Flemish allies. 30 mi (48 km) into French territory. Philip attempted to recall his army but experienced serious difficulties. His treasury was exhausted and taxes for the war had to be collected in many places at sword point. Despite these exigencies, ready cash was not forthcoming. The French army had little stomach for further conflict, and Philip was reduced to threatening to confiscate the estates of nobles who refused to muster. He set back the date for his army to assemble by a month. Edward also had difficulties in raising money, partly due to the unexpected timing of the need; he employed draconian measures, which were extremely unpopular. The English also suffered two military setbacks: a large raid was routed by the French garrison of Saint-Omer; and a supply convoy en route to Calais was captured by French raiders from Boulogne. Two cardinals acting as papal emissaries found willing listeners in September and by the 28th a truce, known as the Truce of Calais, had been agreed.Philip in turn stood down the French army. Edward promptly launched strong raids up to
The truce is considered to have most favoured the English. For its duration the English were confirmed in possession of their extensive territorial conquests in France and Scotland; the Flemish were confirmed in their de facto independence; and Philip was prevented from punishing those French nobles who had conspired, or even fought, against him.It ran for nine months to 7 July 1348, but was extended repeatedly over the years until it was formally set aside in 1355 and full-scale war resumed. In 1360 the Edwardian phase of the war ended with the Treaty of Brétigny. By this treaty vast areas of France were ceded to England, including the Pale of Calais. In 1369 large-scale fighting broke out again and the Hundred Years' War did not end until 1453, by which time England had lost all of its territory in France other than Calais. Calais was finally lost following the 1558 siege of Calais.
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 in northern France between a French army commanded by King Philip VI and an English army led by King Edward III. The French attacked the English while they were traversing northern France during the Hundred Years' War, resulting in an English victory and heavy loss of life among the French.
Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster was an English statesman, diplomat, soldier, and Christian writer. The owner of Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, Grosmont was a member of the House of Plantagenet, which was ruling over England at that time. He was the wealthiest and most powerful peer of the realm.
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 during the Edwardian phase of the Hundred Years' War.
The Battle of Blanchetaque was fought on 24 August 1346 between an English army under King Edward III and a French force commanded by Godemar du Fay. The battle was part of the Crécy campaign, which took place during the early stages of the Hundred Years' War. After landing in the Cotentin Peninsula on 12 July, the English army had burnt a path of destruction through some of the richest lands in France to within 20 miles (32 km) of Paris, sacking a number of towns on the way. The English then marched north, hoping to link up with an allied Flemish army which had invaded from Flanders. They were outmanoeuvred by the French king, Philip VI, who garrisoned all of the bridges and fords over the River Somme and followed the English with his own field army. The area had previously been stripped of food stocks by the French, and the English were essentially trapped.
The Battle of Lunalonge was fought in the summer of 1349 between a French force numbering approximately 1,500 men and an Anglo-Gascon force of some 500 men, during the first phase of the Hundred Years' War. The location of the battle is thought to have been modern Limalonges in Deux-Sèvres. The outnumbered Anglo-Gascons, commanded by Thomas Coke, gained the upper hand during the day, but had to withdraw on foot during the night because the French, under Jean de Lille, had captured their horses. The French lost approximately 300 killed and an unknown but large number captured, including their leader.
The Battle of Auberoche was fought on 21 October 1345 during the Gascon campaign of 1345 between an Anglo-Gascon force of 1,200 men under Henry, Earl of Derby, and a French army of 7,000 commanded by Louis of Poitiers. It was fought at the village of Auberoche near Périgueux in northern Aquitaine. At the time, Gascony was a territory of the English Crown and the "English" army included a large proportion of native Gascons. The battle resulted in a heavy defeat for the French, who suffered very high casualties, with their leaders killed or captured.
The Battle of Caen was an assault conducted on 26 July 1346 by forces from the Kingdom of England, led by King Edward III, on the French-held town of Caen and Normandy as a part of the Hundred Years' War.
The Battle of Bergerac was fought between Anglo-Gascon and French forces at the town of Bergerac, Gascony, in August 1345 during the Hundred Years' War. In early 1345 Edward III of England decided to launch a major attack on the French from the north, while sending smaller forces to Brittany and Gascony, the latter being both economically important to the English war effort and the proximate cause of the war. The French focused on the threat to northern France, leaving comparatively small forces in the south-west.
The Battle of Calais took place in 1350 when an English force defeated an unsuspecting French army which was attempting to take the city. Despite a truce being in effect the French commander Geoffrey de Charny had planned to take the city by subterfuge, and bribed Amerigo of Pavia, an Italian officer of the city garrison, to open a gate for them. The English king, Edward III, became aware of the plot and personally led his household knights and the Calais garrison in a surprise counter-attack. The French were routed by this smaller force, with significant losses and all their leaders captured or killed.
The Gascon campaign of 1345 was conducted by Henry, Earl of Derby, as part of the Hundred Years' War. The whirlwind campaign took place between August and November 1345 in Gascony, an English-controlled territory in south-west France. Derby, commanding an Anglo-Gascon force, oversaw the first successful English land campaign of the war. He twice defeated large French armies in battle, taking many noble and knightly prisoners. They were ransomed by their captors, greatly enriching Derby and his soldiers in the process. Following this campaign, morale and prestige swung England's way in the border region between English-occupied Gascony and French-ruled territory, providing an influx of taxes and recruits for the English armies. As a result, France's ability to raise tax money and troops from the region was much reduced.
The Truce of Calais was a truce agreed to by King Edward III of England and King Philip VI of France on 28 September 1347, that was mediated by emissaries of Pope Clement VI. The Hundred Years' War had broken out in 1337 and in 1346 Edward had landed with an army in northern France. After heavily defeating Philip and a French army at the Battle of Crécy the English besieged Calais, which fell after 11 months. Both countries were financially and militarily exhausted and the cardinals acting for Pope Clement were able to broker a truce in a series of negotiations outside Calais. This was signed on 27 September to run until 7 July 1348.
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Lancaster's chevauchée of 1346 was a series of offensives directed by Henry, Earl of Lancaster, in southwestern France during autumn 1346, as a part of the Hundred Years' War.
The Crécy campaign was a series of large-scale raids (chevauchées) conducted by the Kingdom of England throughout northern France in 1346 that devastated the French countryside on a wide front, culminating in the eponymous Battle of Crécy. The campaign was part of the Hundred Years' War.
The Black Prince's chevauchée of 1356, which began on 4 August at Bordeaux and ended with the Battle of Poitiers on 19 September, was a devastating raid of Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King Edward III of England. This expedition of the Black Prince devastated large parts of Bergerac, Périgord, Nontronnais, Confolentais, Nord-Ouest, Limousin, La Marche, Boischaut, Champagne Berrichonne, Berry, Sologne, south of Touraine and Poitou.
The Black Prince's chevauchée, also known as the grande chevauchée, was a large-scale mounted raid carried out by an Anglo-Gascon force under the command of Edward, the Black Prince, between 5 October and 2 December 1355 as a part of the Hundred Years' War. John, Count of Armagnac, who commanded the local French forces, avoided battle, and there was little fighting during the campaign.
Lancaster's chevauchée of 1356 in Normandy was an English offensive directed by Henry, Earl of Lancaster, in northern France during 1356, as a part of the Hundred Years' War. The offensive took the form of a chevauchée, a large mounted raid and lasted from 22 June to 13 July. During its final week the English were pursued by a much larger French army under King John II that failed to force them to battle.
The siege of Guînes took place from May to July 1352 when a French army under Geoffrey de Charny unsuccessfully attempted to recapture the French castle at Guînes which had been seized by the English the previous January. The siege was part of the Hundred Years' War and marked the resumption of full-scale hostilities after six years of an uneasy and ill-kept truce.
The Treaty of Guînes was a draft settlement to end the Hundred Years' War, negotiated between England and France and signed at Guînes on 6 April 1354. The war had broken out in 1337 and was further aggravated in 1340 when the English king, Edward III, claimed the French throne. The war went badly for France: the French army was heavily defeated at the Battle of Crécy and the French town of Calais was besieged and captured. With both sides exhausted, a truce was agreed that, despite being only fitfully observed, was repeatedly renewed.
The siege of Breteuil was the investment of the Norman town of Breteuil, held by partisans of Charles II, King of Navarre, by French forces. It lasted from April to about 20 August 1346. It was interrupted on 5 July when a small English army commanded by Henry, Earl of Lancaster relieved and resupplied it. The French king, John II attempted to bring Lancaster to battle with the much larger French royal army, but Lancaster marched away and the attempt failed. John then renewed the siege of Breteuil.