Hundred Years War

Battle of St Pol de Léon
©Graham Turner
1346 Jun 9

Battle of St Pol de Léon

Saint-Pol-de-Léon, France

The commander of the Anglo-Breton faction was Sir Thomas Dagworth, a veteran professional soldier who had served with his overlord King Edward III for many years and was trusted to conduct the Breton war in an effective manner whilst Edward was raising funds in England and planning the invasion of Normandy for the following Year. Charles of Blois ambushed Dagworth and his 180-man bodyguard at the isolated village of Saint-Pol-de-Léon. Dagworth formed up his men and led them in a rapid withdrawal towards a nearby hill, where they dug trenches and prepared positions. Blois dismounted all of his soldiers and abandoned his horse himself and ordered his superior numbers to make a three-pronged assault on the Anglo-Breton lines. The assault and the others that followed it during the afternoon were all repulsed by accurate archery fire, which decimated the attackers' ranks, and some desperate last-ditch hand-to-hand fighting. The final assault came at last light with Charles himself in the vanguard, but even this failed to achieve victory, and the Franco-Breton forces were forced to abandon their attack and return to Eastern Brittany, leaving behind dozens of dead, wounded and captured soldiers on the hillside of the battlefield. Charles of Blois, who had a reputation as a fierce and intelligent commander, had again been defeated by an English commander, and one of common stock at that. Indeed, Charles failed to win a single one of the five significant battles he fought against the English between 1342 and 1364, although he proved more efficient at siegework and lengthy campaigns. The Breton nobility had now been given pause for thought in choosing their side in the ongoing war.

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Last Updated: Tue Mar 14 2023