Inter-frontal Cooperation in the Fourteenth Century and Edward III’s 1346 Campaign
Harari, Yuval Noah
War in History, 1999 6 (4)
The spatial scale of medieval wars was often as extensive as that of modern ones, and could involve fighting on several fronts hundreds of kilometres apart. For example, during the first two decades of the Hundred Years War the fighting was never limited to a single front, and in 1346 fighting took place in Northern England, Artois, Brittany, Normandy and Gascony. However, it is far from clear whether such simultaneous operations were conducted as parts of a single over- all plan. For most of the Scots, Flemings, Bretons and Gascons who fought in 1346 these conflicts had local causes and aims, and had little or nothing to do with events elsewhere. As for the commanders, the communication difficulties they faced were so great that it is questionable to what extent they could have cooperated with each other even if they had wanted to.
Though the question whether there was strategy in the Middle Ages has aroused much interest and controversy in recent years, the issue of inter-frontal cooperation has received little attention. Characteristically, Rogers’s recent article on the strategy of Edward III, not withstanding its other merits, completely ignores this issue.