Living off the Land: Principal campaigns and battles of the Hundred Years’ War 1339–1415

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Map Code: Ax00970

Unsupported by fixed supply sources, the English army often resorted to seizing produce and money from the local French population during its various campaigns in in France during the Hundred Years’ War. Campaigns of deliberate pillaging for supplies, known as chevauchées, were also seen as a method of reducing the enemy’s ability to defend or utilize land for agriculture. The chevauchées of Edward the Black Prince were especially brutal as he crossed the countryside, laying waste to countless villages and besieging larger towns. At the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, he captured the French king, John II, and subsequently held him for a huge ransom. The English chevauchées were effective at reducing French morale and often heightened distrust between localities when ransoms were not met and mutual protection was not provided. Raids by bands of mercenaries known as routiers were also prevalent during this time of lawlessness.

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