The Crecy War: A Military History of the Hundred Years’ War From 1337 to the Peace of Bretigny in 1360, by Lt. Col Alfred H. Burne
Having recently read and reviewed  a book that dealt with the same period of the first part of the Hundred Years’ War, I thought it would be worthwhile to develop enough of a library to have some sort of scholarly knowledge about the Hundred Years’ War, particularly its beginning. And so I was pleased when I saw that the familiar envelope had arrived from the De Re Militari with this book to read and review that would add to the last book I read and provide a solid base as a narrative history of the first phase of that war. It is particularly striking that the first part of the Hundred Years’ War provided a measure of England’s arrival on the European scene as a military nation of considerable excellence. The previous Angevin empire  had arisen because of strategic marriage alliances, and that empire was no match for the military skill and diplomatic finesse of the Capetian monarchs. However, by the middle of the 14th century England was definitely on the ascent, and their growth in military prowess gained through the conquest of Wales and years of battle against the Scots and in other areas had given the English a considerable advantage relative to the French, which is of great interest here.
So, in looking at this particular volume as a pre-reading exercise, one notes that this book is roughly 350 pages, which is a pretty serious one-day read, and that it contains 18 maps that deal with battles as well as campaigns and maps of relevant theaters like Brittany and France after its losses in the Treaty of Bretigny, which required a large ransom to secure the release of the King of France from English captivity, where he had resided after being captured at the Battle of Poitiers some four years previously. The contents of the book appear to focus largely on campaigns and military matters, with a large section on preliminaries before it contains chapters on the 1339 and 1340 campaigns, two chapters on Brittany divided by the Battle of Morlaix, the campaign in Gascony from 1345-1347 that was the topic of the previous book I reviewed for the De Re Militari, two chapters on Crecy, a chapter on the siege of Calais, a chapter on the period between Crecy and Poitiers, two chapters on various chevauchèes, a chapter on Poitiers, and a chapter on Edward III’s final campaign before a truce ended the war. From the contents it looks like the focus will be on narratives and will look at battles both famous and obscure as well as the use of military raids. It should be noted that although chevauchèe is an unfamiliar word to many readers of military history, examples of it abound in history, perhaps most notably in American history being the tactics of various Indian wars as well as Sherman in Georgia and Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley towards the end of the Civil War, where armed raiding in order to bring the population to its knees became of great use to the victorious Union troops similar to its purposes here. At any rate, this promises to be a very interesting book about a worthwhile subject, even if the parallels are never made explicit to later conflicts.
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