Welcome back to the Extra History of England.
Once again, this spectacular tale will be told by David Crowther from The History of England podcast,
and after last week's episode, Zoey and I have been debating all week on
who's going to win this epic showdown between Edward and Philip.
Not to breach your interest, but why didn't you just research the answer yourselves?
Well, Zoey not having opposable thumbs is a bit of a page-turning hindrance for one thing, but more importantly we'd rather hear you
but more importantly we'd rather hear you tell us what happens next.
Well in that case you do, allow me to fill you in!
I think this music is.. Birth of the People? Anyway.. Let's just get to the video.
Edward and the country of maybe 4 million people,
against the most powerful country in Christendom.
A country five times it's size.
Edward was never to gain a reputation as a stay-at-home kind of lad.
He was confident bullish aggressive, a warrior.
He would bend the world to his will.
Edward had a plan.
In a letter to the pope, he wrote the best way to avoid the inconvenience as a war,
is to pursue it away from one's own country.
It is more sensible for us to fight our notorious enemy in his own realm.
Edward would attack. He would follow the strategy of the Chevauchee, French word for raid on horseback
He would impose what he called fire and sword on the French countryside
Marching on a wide 20-mile front a hideous wave of destruction and death burning and killing everything in their way
His ship also would cause enormous economic damage. It would humiliate the opposing Valois King Philip and show Philip subjects
He could not protect them and that they should instead choose Edward as their King
Philip would be forced to come and fight a set battle where Edward was sure he could win or at least that was the plan
England was small and insignificant
so Edward started by getting himself some big friends including the Holy Roman Emperor and Holy Roman Emperor did not come cheap, but in
13:39 Edward could march with his army into France head held high banners flying towards glory
In fact, his banners were flying towards humiliation and failure. The Holy Roman Emperor liked his gold very much
He was less enthusiastic about doing anything for it such as supporting a balmy English loser
So he chilled out her home spent a quiet night in with his gold instead Edwards campaign of 1339 went nowhere
he's useless allies had cost a fortune and by
1340 Edward had a pile of debt
So high he could hang glide off it and he was forced to borrow more and more from Italian banking houses in
Gascony the war was going badly worse the French took control of the English Channel with a large well-equipped
Fleet against which the English could throw up only merchant ships
Edwards councilors his naval captain's and his Nobles told him he could not break the French blockade
But Edward was angry and would not listen he snored at his council
I will cross and you who are frightened where there is no fear
You may stay at home and so in 1340 the King of England Edward the third
Against the advice of all his experts attacked a navy almost twice his size
Head-on near the town of slice off the coast of Flanders to the amazement of France and all Christendom Edward one
18,000 French sailors lost their lives
But whilst loys was a great victory which gave England back control the English Channel success on land still seemed a long way away
The only way Edward could get the money he needed to carry on was by Parliament voting him a special tax
So Edward went to Parliament to ask for the money
the Parliament was tired of the expense of Edward's war and
Refused but Edward would not give up in two small battles in Brittany
The English achieved stunning victories against absurd odds Edward had two advantages
the first was aggression and superior leadership Edward was lucky to gather around him captains of
extraordinary ability Walther money a wildly enthusiastic
Aggressive and talented tactical commander who would charge into every battle with incredible courage in the battle
Cry mani on his lips Henry of Lancaster a cultured man who had write a book called the book of holy medicines
Lamenting his misspent youth of wine women and song and advocating the religious life who was also a visionary military
Strategist and winner of another absurdly unlikely victory in the South of France the capital de bouche a gas
Co was the leading cavalry commander of his age
Together these men around Edward would make history
The second was that the English had taken the rulebook of medieval military tactics torn it into tiny tiny little pieces rewritten the rules
stamped on the tiny pieces of the old rules ground them into the mud and danced on them every
Medieval army knew the battles were won by heavily armoured
Chivalric aristocratic Knights who sat on horseback and who by the sheer weight of their charge?
Irresistible smashed through any opposition but Edward made English Knights fight on foot
They did not charge they waited for their enemy
Archers were set on the flanks and between the units of knights all other European
Armies used the crossbow because it needed little scale to anybody could be trained to use it
English and Welsh archers were armed with the deadly longbow
The longbow was a six foot bow of you massively difficult to draw and requiring a life of training from boyhood to use effectively
Handily, that's exactly what they had since in all the villages and towns fathers and sons practiced every week
The longbow had a longer range than the crossbow hit like a truck and could penetrate all but the best plate armor
It had a much faster rate of fire than a crossbow
Each longbow could fire a deadly storm of six arrows a minute Edward would teach the French that the most powerful weapon on the battlefield
Was a lightly armored lowborn peasant
But Edwards cause looked lost his debts were so massive that he defaulted sending to italian banking houses into bankruptcy
England had now been fighting for eight years and had very little to show for it
And edward could find no one to lend him money were still in
1346 King Philip of France
Gathered a massive army and prepared to drive the English out of France
once and for all so Edward did the only sane and rational thing when broke a massively outnumbered he spent every last penny he had
Raised an army and invaded he landed in Normandy with a small army and a plan
He would burn and destroy
French countryside as he marched north towards Flanders pulling Philip behind him and then he'd join it with a Flemish army and with the combined
Army, turn fight and destroy the French in battle
but as he marched north
He was in danger of being trapped by the rivers before he could meet the army of Flanders and it was critical that Edward found
A way over the river Somme desperately the English marched the French snapping at their heels again
And again the Fords and bridges were held against them and then one night as the French were closing in he found an Englishman living
In France, and he told them of a secret fort marked by a white stone
It was called blanched tack in the dead of night the English slipped over the ford and were away but the next day
Disaster the army of Flanders were not coming. The only reasonable thing to do now was to run for the coast England and safety
But Edward didn't like to do the reasonable thing and so at a place called Cressy without the Flemish
he turned his army to face the French it was time to fight to his son and heir the sixteen year old Edward known to
History as the Black Prince he gave command at the left wing as Philip marched his army towards Crecy
The roads were lined with French shouting kill kill on the 26th of August
1346 Philips army drew near the English force
The French was strung out for miles Phil its best commanders advise caution put on this comfy jim-jams the Queen gave you last Christmas
Don the Royal slippers get a goodnights news and everyone catch up send around the English in a river of their own blood
After a light breakfast, but Philip look to the puny English army now less than one-third his size
He looked at the contemptible English peasants and their bows
He heard the cries of kill in his ears and he ordered the attack
A wave of crossbowmen came forward to soften the English up with thousands of bolts
But before they could get him range the English bent through fired and unleashed a storm the crossbowmen ran or died
Furious philip ordered the cream of French chivalry to attack as they thundered towards the English lines
They brutally cut down any of their own cross women in the way and the flower of friendship weary started to die
even where the finest armor protected them
Horses were vulnerable and the chaos and screams of men and horses as the arrows struck home was terrible
between waves of attacks English and Welsh archers
Sprinted into the field retrieved arrows and thrust daggers into the exposed eyes or necks of the helpless. Fallen French knights
but the courage of the French was
undeniable the blind King John of Bohemia ordered two of his
Companions to tie their horses to his and lead him into the fray
All three were found at the end still linked together in death and despite
Horrible losses through sheer courage and weight of numbers many French Knights did make it to the English lines finally there
They could crush their tormentors, but the tiny contingent of English Knights would not break at one point
The young black prince was so hard pressed
The one of his commanders begged Edward to send reinforcements ed would turn to his good parenting guide teaching self-reliance section
Tell my son this is his chance to win his Spurs
The Black Prince was on his own and the Black Prince did not break eventually
Edward knew it was time to finish this as the massive French army milled in shock and chaos and pain and confusion
the English Knights mounted their horses and leveled their Lance's and the French fled and
Europe reeled with shocked at the news the flower of Christendom lay dead in a field of blood
slaughtered by English peasants