Cogs, Sails and Longbows: Implications of Naval Tactics and Technology in the Hundred Years War
Department of History, Sam Houston State University, Undergraduate Essay (2005)
Battles between French knights and English longbow men were the epitome of this chivalric period and thus draw the lion’s share of the attention. In doing so another aspect of the Hundred Years War is overlooked, the struggle between the naval forces of France and England. This is not an easy topic to study with sources from the period being few and far between. What sources that do exist usually focus little attention upon naval combat. Furthermore, secondary source information is limited as well since few historians have chosen to write on this subject. The task is not impossible and through a careful study of the sources one can begin to draw a series of important conclusions about naval combat during this period. This paper will make great use of the writings of Jean Froissart. Born in 1337, he was considered the historian of the Hundred Years War. In his Chronicles, Froissart gives the war’s naval engagements some attention. Although he did not witness these events personally, his descriptions are much more complete than those of his contemporaries, such as Robert of Avesbury, Jan de Klerk, and Jean de Hocsem.