Loire Campaign (1429)

Last updated
Loire Campaign
Part of the Hundred Years' War (1415–53 phase)
Jeanne d'Arc - Les vies des femmes celebres.jpg
Joan of Arc, the leader of the campaign.
Date12 October 1428 – 18 June 1429
Location
Result

French victory

Belligerents
Arms of France (France Moderne).svg Kingdom of France
Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg Kingdom of Scotland
Royal Arms of England (1470-1471).svg Kingdom of England
Arms of the Duke of Burgundy (1404-1430).svg Burgundian State
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Jeanne d'Arc.svg Joan of Arc
Arms of Jean dAlencon.svg John of Alençon
Blason Etienne de Vignolles (La Hire).svg La Hire
Blason Jean Poton de Xaintrailles.svg Jean de Xaintrailles
Arms of jean de dunois.svg Jean de Dunois
Blason Gilles de Rais.svg Gilles de Rais
Blason famille Brosse.svg Jean de Brosse
Talbot arms.svg John Talbot   White flag icon.svg
Blason Thomas de Scales.svg Thomas de Scales   White flag icon.svg
Coat of Arms of Sir John Fastolf, KG.png John Fastolf
Arms of De La Pole.svg William de la Pole   White flag icon.svg
Montacute Arms.svg Thomas Montacute  
Strength
about 19,900 troops about 11,200 troops
Casualties and losses
over 2,500 about 9,000

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.

Contents

Campaign

The English attack Joan of Arc's positions at the Siege of Orleans. Siege orleans.jpg
The English attack Joan of Arc's positions at the Siege of Orléans.

The English under John, Duke of Bedford ordered John, Lord Talbot to besiege Orléans with his subordinates, the Earl of Suffolk and the Earl of Salisbury. The English nearly succeeded. However, Joan of Arc led a series of counterattacks. Joan, aided by Gilles de Rais, Jean de Dunois, and Jean de Brosse attacked the English siege positions. The English could not stand these attacks. Lord Talbot had to retreat and break off the siege.

The Battle of Jargeau

The English are mowed down by arrows at the Battle of Jargeau. Battle of Jargeau Martial d'Auvergne (1508).jpg
The English are mowed down by arrows at the Battle of Jargeau.

Then, Joan and John II, Duke of Alençon marched to capture Jargeau from the Earl of Suffolk. The English had 700 troops to face 1,200 French troops. Then, a battle began with a French assault on the suburbs. English defenders left the city walls and the French fell back. Joan of Arc used her standard to begin a French rally. The English retreated to the city walls and the French lodged in the suburbs for the night.

The following morning Joan of Arc called upon the defenders to surrender. They refused. The French followed with heavy artillery bombardment using primitive cannons and siege engines. One of the town's towers fell. Suffolk entered surrender nominations with a minor French captain, La Hire. This breach of protocol antagonized the French command.

Joan of Arc initiated an assault on the town walls, surviving a stone projectile that split in two against her helmet as she climbed a scaling ladder. The English suffered heavy losses. Most estimates place the number at 300–400 of some 700 combatants. Suffolk became a prisoner. The French had some 1200 troops and their losses appear to have been light. Joan moved her army to Meung-sur-Loire. There, she decided to launch an assault.

The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire

Then, Joan began her attacks. English defenses at Meung-sur-Loire consisted of three components: the walled town, the fortification at the bridge, and a large walled castle just outside the town. The castle served as headquarters to the English command of John, Lord Talbot and Thomas, Lord Scales.

Joan of Arc and Duke John II of Alençon controlled a force that included captains Jean d'Orléans, Gilles de Rais, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, and La Hire. Estimates of numerical strength vary with the Journal du Siège d'Orléans citing 6000 - 7000 for the French. A number that large probably counts noncombatants. The English force's numbers remain uncertain, but are lower than the French. They were led by Lord Talbot and Lord Scales. Bypassing the city and the castle, they staged a frontal assault on the bridge fortifications, conquered it in one day, and installed a garrison. This hampered English movement south of the Loire.

The Battle of Beaugency

The Castle at Beaugency still stands today. Chateau Beaugency ballon.jpg
The Castle at Beaugency still stands today.

Then, Joan continued her campaign. She launched an attack on Beaugency. Joan of Arc and Duke John II of Alençon controlled a force that included captains Jean d'Orléans, Gilles de Rais, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, and La Hire. John Talbot led the English defense. Breaking with siege warfare custom, the French army followed the 15 June capture of the bridge at Meung-sur-Loire not with an attack on that town or its castle but with an assault on neighboring Beaugency the next day.

Unlike Meung-sur-Loire, the main stronghold at Beaugency was inside the city walls. It survives to the modern age and forms an imposing rectangular citadel. During the first day of fighting the English abandoned the town and retreated into the castle. The French bombarded the castle with artillery fire. That evening de Richemont and his force arrived.

Hearing news of an English relief force approaching from Paris under Sir John Fastolf, d'Alençon negotiated the English surrender and granted them safe conduct out of Beaugency. The Battle of Patay followed on open territory on 18 June.

The Battle of Patay

The French and English joust into battle. In reality, the English had no horse in the battle. Patay.JPG
The French and English joust into battle. In reality, the English had no horse in the battle.

An English reinforcement army under Sir John Fastolf departed from Paris following the defeat at Orléans. The French had moved swiftly, capturing three bridges and accepting the English surrender at Beaugency the day before Fastolf's army arrived. The French, in the belief that they could not overcome a fully prepared English army in open battle, scoured the area in hopes of finding the English unprepared and vulnerable.

The English reconnoitered with remaining defenders at Meung-sur-Loire. The French had taken only the bridge at this location, not the neighboring castle or the town. Retreating defenders from Beaugency joined them. The English excelled at open battles; they took up a position whose exact location is unknown but traditionally believed to be near the tiny village of Patay. Fastolf, John Talbot and Sir Thomas de Scales commanded the English.

The standard defensive tactic of the English longbowmen was to drive pointed stakes into the ground near their positions. This prevented cavalry charges and slowed infantry long enough for the longbows to take a decisive toll on the enemy line. However, the English archers inadvertently disclosed their position to French scouts before their preparations were complete when a lone stag wandered onto a nearby field and the archers raised a hunting cry.

On hearing the news of the English position, about 1,500 men under captains La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, composing the heavily armed and armoured cavalry vanguard of the French army, attacked the English. The battle swiftly turned into a rout, with every Englishman on a horse fleeing while the infantry, mostly composed of longbowmen, were cut down in droves. Longbowmen were never intended to fight armoured knights unsupported except from prepared positions where the knights could not charge them, and they were massacred. For once the French tactic of a large frontal cavalry assault had succeeded, with decisive results.

Captain Jean Dagneau captured the famous general John Talbot. After this feat of arms, Dagneau was ennobled in March 1438 by Charles VII, King of France, which is at the origin of the family name of Dagneau de Richecour.

Aftermath

Joan had won a great victory over the English at all of the battles. The campaign drove the English out of the Loire river, and routed Fastolf back to Paris where he had departed from. The French pushed on to victory, pointing the finger at Joan of Arc.

Related Research Articles

Joan of Arc 15th-century French folk heroine and Roman Catholic saint

Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" or "Maid of Lorraine", is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in the Vosges of northeast France. Joan said that she received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory at Castillon in 1453.

Year 1429 (MCDXXIX) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar.

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.

Loiret Department of France

Loiret is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of north-central France.

La Hire

Étienne de Vignolles, called La Hire, was a French military commander during the Hundred Years' War.

The following is a list of the 21 cantons of the Loiret department, in France, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:

John Fastolf 15th-century English knight

Sir John Fastolf was a late medieval English landowner and knight who fought in the Hundred Years' War. He has enjoyed a more lasting reputation as the prototype, in some part, of Shakespeare's character Sir John Falstaff. Many historians argue, however, that he deserves to be famous in his own right, not only as a soldier, but as a patron of literature, a writer on strategy and perhaps as an early industrialist.

Battle of the Herrings 1429 battle of the Hundred Years War in Rouvray, France

The Battle of the Herrings, also called the Battle of Rouvray, was a military action near the town of Rouvray in France, just north of Orléans, which took place on 12 February 1429 during the siege of Orléans in the Hundred Years' War. The immediate cause of the battle was an attempt by French and Scottish forces, led by Charles of Bourbon and Sir John Stewart of Darnley, to intercept a supply convoy headed for the English army at Orléans. The English had been laying siege to the city since the previous October. This supply convoy was escorted by an English force under Sir John Fastolf and had been outfitted in Paris, whence it had departed some time earlier. The battle was decisively won by the English.

Ambroise de Loré was baron of Ivry in Normandy, a French military commander, and companion of Joan of Arc. A reforming commisar of trades and police and "Garde de la prévôté de Paris", he became Provost of Paris from 1436 to 1446. He also fought at the battles of Agincourt, la Brossinière, Orleans and Patay.

Battle of Patay 1429 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 a corps of 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.

Jargeau Commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

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

Battle of Jargeau 1429 battle of the Hundred Years War

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 Meung-sur-Loire Battle during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire took place on 15 June 1429. It was one of Joan of Arc's battles following relief of the siege at Orléans. This campaign was the second sustained French offensive in a generation in the Hundred Years' War.

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.

Events from the 1420s in England.

Château de Meung-sur-Loire

The Château de Meung-sur-Loire is a former castle and episcopal palace in the commune of Meung-sur-Loire in the Loiret département of France.

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.