Road to Crecy 1346 – Battle of Oisemont

Jan 19th, 2009 | By | Category: AD 1346 Crecy

The First Somme Campaign – August 1346
(The Road to Crecy)

by Garry Harbottle-Johnson

Battle of Oisemont August 1346

Illustration of Battle of Crecy August 1346 from Chronicles of Jean FroissartA Forlorn Hope

The action on this day did not restrict itself to outside the walls of Abbeville, for Edward following with the mass of the army, and learning of the defeat by messenger, turned the army westward towards Oisemont. That town’s inhabitants, reinforced by the entire population of Vimeu, left their homes led by the Sire de Boubers, and in “an orderly manner” advanced on the English.

However the feudal militia was no match for the longbow armed English yeomanry supported by Welsh pike.

After a brave struggle in which vast numbers of French were killed or injured, they retreated. The English captain, John Chandos, capturing de Boubers and many others.

Details of the deployment for each side are non-existent in chronicles, therefore the suggested positions in the map below are hypothetical.  Click map to see a larger view.

Edward’s forces in this action were restricted in having the bulk of the cavalry at Abbeville.  This left him with approximately 8,000 foot longbow and 1,800 Welsh pike, and possibly the 200 horse from his personal retinue.

His opponent appears to have had few regular soldiers and even fewer knights, suffering greater feudal conscription to Philippe’s army, than de Ver in the freetown of Abbeville.  As both Vimeu and Oisemont were much smaller than Abbeville, it would seem probable that fewer than 3,000 men could be fielded – and many of these would be youths and old men.

The key statement in contemporary descriptions of the battle is that the French “advanced” on the English.  This would imply that potentially they did not give the English army any time to deploy into line.  Factoring this into your game plan could make for an interesting scenario – reversing the normal situation of French columns advancing into an arc of fire from a steady English line.

It is suggested that 50 men per figure be used unless you are wargaming the battle in 6mm scale.  At 20 men per figure, the 11,000-strong combined armies would otherwise require 550 figures on table.

ENGLISH FORCES

  • Edward III + 4, B class heavy infantry with 2 handed cutting weapon.
  • Spencer + 8 units of 10 figure light infantry longbow ‘C’ class.
  • Cobham + 8 units of 10 figure med infantry longbow ‘C’ class.
  • Chandos + 2 units of 18 figure med-heavy pike ‘C’ class.
  • Northampton + 4, ‘A’ class knights (including Edward Prince of Wales).

N.B. realistically, Chandos’ forces should be 6 units of 6 figures.

FRENCH FORCES

  • de Boubers + 3, ‘A’ class knights.
  • Mayor of Vimeu + 12, ‘B’ class heavy infantry, 2 hand cutting weapon.
    • 1 unit of 15 figures ‘C’ class light infantry + pole arms
  • (The ‘Old & the Bold’ feudal levy)
    • 3 units of 10 figures ‘C’ med infantry, feudal levy mixed crossbow & peasant pole arms.

Earlier articles in this series

Later articles in this series

  • Road to Crecy 1346 – Battle of Blanquetaque Ford – Knights are not Marines (onsite 26 Jan 2009)
  • Road to Crecy 1346 – Bibliography, Conclusions, and Hindsight (onsite 2 Feb 2009)
 

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