In mid-July 1346, during the Hundred Years’ War, Edward III and his son Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), landed on the French Cotentin Peninsula with an army of around 16,000 men. After successfully attacking Normandy, they moved south. Under pursuit by a large army of the French king, Philip VI, they changed direction and took refuge in the Forêt de Crécy, fording the Somme to reach its north bank. Edward III prepared for French attack, strategically positioning his longbowmen around the dismounted men-at-arms and infantry. The Genoese crossbowmen who led the initial attack fell back into the first French cavalry charge. The English men-at-arms and infantry stood firm, undertaking fierce fighting against the few French who made it past the archers. As the longbowmen advanced, the French cavalry charges were repeatedly mown down. The French withdrew at nightfall, having lost almost a third of their 12,000-strong army, and Edward advanced to Calais.
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