"Battle of the Herrings" in the Hundred Years' War

"So they took back the road to Orléans in which they acted not honorably but shamefully." (Journal de Orléans)

13 February 1429: Today, 584 years, Sir John Fastolf successfully defended a convoy with supply for the English troops besieging Orléans in the "Battle of the Herrings".




The 
rather quaint name of the engagement fought north of Orléans relates to the barrels of herring the English carried for those who observed the dietary rules in the Lenten season - Ash Wednesday was on February 9th in the year of 1429.

A relief army about 4.000 strong and led by Charles, Count of Clermont, tried to bring the convoy to bay with artillery while Sir John arranged his wagons into a laager, a formation the Hussites perfected about the same time in their wars against Church and Empire a 1.000 miles to the east in Bohemia.

While 600 English archers and allied French crossbowmen returned fire, Clermont's Scottish contingent obviously grew impatient and tried to charge Sir John's wagon fort - generally not a very good idea. 
While the rest of the French slowly decided to follow up in obvious disarray. the Scots were mowed down almost to a man by the deadly English longbows -  Sir John decided to attack the straggling French with what cavalry he had and put them to flight. The convoy reached the English siege lines and French morale in Orléans was at a historical low.

But the tables began to turn - on the same day, Jeanne d'Arc convinced de Baudricourt to support her mission to see the Dauphin in Chinon. The "Maid of Orléans" finally broke the siege three months later while the Great English Longbow that dominated the battlefields of the Hundred Years' War since the days of Edward III and the Black Prince sung of victory for the last time on the continent.


More on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Herrings