In 1346 Edward invaded finally launched the invasion he had hoped to lead in 1345. The target was Normandy a devastating raid through northern France, a glorious victory in battle followed by – well who knows. There followed a tense campaign that teetered on the edge of disaster until the two armies finally met outside the village of Crecy on 26th August 1346.
The Crecy Campaign - an animated map
Below is an animated map of the Crecy campaign. You might wonder why it looks smarter that the other ones – and that's because Andy helped me out. Thanks Andy.
After victory at Caen, in fact the Crecy campaign teetered constantly on the edge of disaster, as the problems of cross the Seine threatened a miserable end to the campaign, or a superior French army threatened to trap them.
The Battle of Crecy, 26th August 1346
And here's also an animated map of the battle of Crecy in all it's glory!
It is easy to over exaggerate the long term significance of Crecy – there are slightly potty claims made for the battle that it transformed society by making the peasant aware of their own power, that it caused the death of feudalism, transformed European relations…and really it didn’t. No one for a moment thought that now England should be thought of as the leading nation of Christendom. And militarily in some way’s it was also a bit irrelevant; Edward simply did not have the manpower to hold on to the areas he had supposedly conquered, and within 20 years most of what he’d gained was lost.
But that’s not to say that Crecy was not remarkable, because it was. The news came to Christendom like a bombshell. It gave Edward the opportunity to attack Calais, a decision which would most certainly have an impact in prolonging war . The wave of support in England the victory generated allowed Edward to tax his country to support the continuation of the war. And we have to give Edward the credit. A superb strategy – a 3 pronged campaign which confused and diffused Philip’s response. The courage of the tactical decisions Edward made which could have led to disaster at any point, the leadership to maintain English confidence in the face of overwhelming numbers; tactical mastery of the battlefield, showing restraint and discipline and well as innovation and courage.