Hundred Years War

Battle of Patay
Battle of Patay ©Graham Turner
1429 Jun 18

Battle of Patay

Patay, Loiret, France

An English reinforcement army under Sir John Fastolf departed from Paris following the defeat at Orléans. The French had moved swiftly, capturing three bridges and accepting the English surrender at Beaugency the day before Fastolf's army arrived. The French, in the belief that they could not overcome a fully prepared English army in open battle, scoured the area in hopes of finding the English unprepared and vulnerable.


The English excelled at open battles; they took up a position whose exact location is unknown but traditionally believed to be near the tiny village of Patay. Fastolf, John Talbot and Sir Thomas de Scales commanded the English.


On hearing the news of the English position, about 1,500 men under captains La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, composing the heavily armed and armoured cavalry vanguard of the French army, attacked the English. The battle swiftly turned into a rout, with every Englishman on a horse fleeing while the infantry, mostly composed of longbowmen, were cut down in droves. Longbowmen were never intended to fight armoured knights unsupported except from prepared positions where the knights could not charge them, and they were massacred. For once the French tactic of a large frontal cavalry assault had succeeded, with decisive results.


In the Loire campaign, Joan had won a great victory over the English at all of the battles and drove them out of the Loire river, and routed Fastolf back to Paris where he had departed from.

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Last Updated: Mon Mar 13 2023