In 1356, Edward III, the victor at the Battle of Crécy, sent his son, Edward the Black Prince, to lead a chevauchée through northern Bordeaux. This scorched earth warfare was designed to weaken the French populace’s support for their king. John II, king of France and known as ‘the Good’ assembled a force estimated at 16,000 – 20,000 men and forced an engagement south of the ancient city of Poitiers. Edward’s forces were considerably smaller than John’s and he had no wish for a battle. His interests were to escape to Bordeaux. He arrived at the Abbey de Nouaillé.
01b Battle of Poitiers: 19 September 1356
A French Battlefields “Virtual Battlefield Tour” [This battlefield is not included in Fields of War.] Unfortunately, the battlefield of Poitiers is not well served by Google Maps streetview. Few of the roadways near the battlefield have been photographed utilizing this process.
Edward positioned his forces with their backs to the Bois de Nouaillé; Earl of Salisbury’s division to the north; himself in the center; and Ear of Warwick’s division to the south. The French ‘battles’ were in four rows with a small group led by Marshals de Clermont, d’Audrehem, and Brienne in front followed by the Dauphine, duc d’Orléans, and King John in the back. The main French body, led by the Dauphine, was unable to break the English line and fell back. Upon seeing this, the duc d’Orléans also withdrew, leaving the battle to King John’s division, which advanced upon the tiring English. Edward sent Captal de Buch in a sweeping arc to the east and north to come upon the French flank. Attacked on two sides, French resistance crumbled and John was captured.