Following the death of King Charles IV of France 1328 and the crowning of Philip VI in his place, the English king, Edward III, launched the Hundred Years’ War. In 1346 he crossed the channel with 15,000 men to claim his succession to the French throne. Edward transported his army aboard 750 ships and, after five days of unloading at St Vaast-la-Hogue, made quick progress east, sacking Caen in just one day. Here he found documents detailing an earlier French plan to invade England, which strengthened his recruitment drive for English soldiers in future campaigns against France. The French employed a scorched earth policy and destroyed bridges across the Seine to keep the English south of the river where Philip was assembling a large army near Paris. After finally crossing the river at Poissy, Edward marched north and secured a famous victory at Crécy, aided by his longbowmen. Finally he besieged Calais, which then remained under English control for 200 years.
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