In the late 1330s, tensions between England and France heightened. Philip VI was King of France, despite Edward III’s claims to the throne, resulting in the Hundred Years’ War. There were raids on English coastal towns and the cloth trade was in jeopardy. Yet failed attacks and a series of mutinies had weakened the French navy, forcing them to assume a defensive strategy around Sluys, one of the best harbours in Europe. As the English fleet, led by Edward III, made its way to Flanders, they came across the French who had blocked the mouth of the River Zwyn by tying their ships together, rendering them immoveable in a confined, tidal area. The English attacked, utilizing the speed of their longbows, and overcame the French lines of defense, killing the crews and capturing the ships. With the destruction of the French naval fleet, Edward III was able to land forces in northern and western France.
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