Battle of Crecy (1346)
The Battle of Crecy was a major battle of the Hundred Years’ War which took place near Crecy on August 26, 1346. The English army led by Edward III and his son Edward, the Black Prince decisively defeated the superior French army and demonstrated the strength of the new English weapon, the longbow. Devastating defeat of the French army predominantly consisting of knights was also a consequence of French disorganization, overconfidence and unforeseen circumstances. The French were certain in their victory over much smaller English contingent consisting manly of longbowmen and infantry.
Edward’s forces were in a strong defensive position, while the Genoese mercenary crossbowmen who started the French attack were unsuccessful against the English longbowmen and began to flee from the battlefield. At the same time made a charge the heavily armored French knights but they were unable to attack effectively because they were hindered by the retreating Genoese. They had also great difficulties walking in the mud upon a slight hill which was flanked by a marsh on the one side and by a forest on the other. English longbowmen deployed in a V formation along the crest of the hill continued shooting arrows upon the French knights who failed to break the English formation. Philip VI wounded himself ordered retreat after 16 failed attempts.
The French army suffered severe losses, while many French knights lying wounded on the battlefield were slain by English peasants with long daggers called the misericordias (mercy-givers) through unprotected underarms or trough visor slits which was against the chivalric codes.