“King of England, if you do not do these things, I am the commander of the military; and in whatever place I shall find your men in France, I will make them flee the country, whether they wish to or not; and if they will not obey, the Maid will have them all killed. She comes sent by the King of Heaven, body for body, to take you out of France, and the Maid promises and certifies to you that if you do not leave France she and her troops will raise a mighty outcry as has not been heard in France in a thousand years” (Joan of Arc, Halsal).
For my fifth blog I will be examining Joan’s military strategies. After convincing Charles VII to sponsor her mission, Joan was sent to the Siege of Orleans with a small army of troops. On April 29, 1429, while the rest of the French forced distracted the English on the west side of the city, Joan entered through the Eastern side. She brought with her troops and supplies, and gave speeches to inspire the French forces. The next week, Joan launched an offensive against the English. Joan played an active role in the battle, even getting injured. On May 8, the French were victorious, and the English retreated. Joan’s most significant battle strategies visible from the battle of Orleans was her clever entry of the city, ability to motivate her fellow soldiers, and tenacity to launch an assault (History).
The next battle Joan participated in was the Battle of Jargeau, Joan’s first offensive battle. It occurred as a result of a group decision of military leaders and the Dauphin, who wanted to clear the Loire Valley. First, the French forces launched an assault on the suburbs (Richey). The assault was successful, and the English retreated into the city while the French rested in the suburbs overnight. The next morning, the French began a siege of heavy artillery. Joan began an attack on the walls, and climbed up a ladder herself. Ultimately, it became an overwhelming French victory (DeVries).
Joan had once again demonstrated her commitment to her cause and her tenacity for accomplishing her goals. Joan fought in more battles until the culminating battle of the Loire Campaign, the Battle of Patay, which can be seen depicted in the picture above. The English attempted to use a strategy that had previously worked well for them: using many longbowmen, defended by large stakes in the ground in front of the army. However, it put the English at a disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat, which the French took advantage of. French scouts discovered the position of English archers and the position of the stakes. The French immediately launched an assault with Calvary, and massacred the English. Again, Joan’s willingness to charge full-steam ahead, allowed the French to secure another victory (Allmand).
Joan’s willingness to jump into battle gave France the much-needed boost to turn the tide of the war. Her bravery and conviction not only motivated her fellow soldiers, but gave them strategic advantages in war.
Allmand, C. The Hundred Years War: England and France at War c. 1300–1450. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)
DeVries, Kelly. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader (Glaucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1999).
Halsall, Joan of Arc (Paul. “Medieval Sourcebook: Joan of Arc: Letter to King of England, 1429.” Fordham University Sourcebook (1996).
History. Joan of Arc relieves Orleans. April 1996. 25 April 2014.
Richey, Stephen W. Joan of Arc: The Warrior Saint. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003)