LORDS OF FRANCE
Chapter 3: Ending the 100 Years War, part 3
Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order goes over the origins of governmental structures to 1800. In his section on early modern Western Europe, he notes that the invasion of the British isles by French knights drove the creation of modern states in both England and France. However, the different questions that the two nations had to answer led to the massive disparity in French and English government up to the 19th century.
In France, the question was "How are we to organize such an attack?" The British isles hadn't been successfully invaded since William the Conqueror's attack, nearly 500 years before. In order to coordinate the different institutions which were be necessary to successfully invade England (which included the spy networks, the army, the navy, the French mercantile elite and the diplomatic corps), a centralized Council was formed, with each of the aforementioned institutions plus the treasury represented. This Conseil was retained after the war's end, continuing the cooperation between the different institutions in the French government and military. Charles VII's attempt to make the French embargo 'bite' harder is probably what led him to fire his personal Artist and replace him with the largely unknown Mint Master, Robert D'Avignon
For the English, the question was "How do we afford a defensive force?" The English treasury was already nearly depleted by the time the Army of Aquitaine was destroyed. The amount of money required to recreate a new English army was large enough that it required that the English Crown take out multiple loans. In order to find the cheapest loans, the government hired the Hansa trader Frederic Rudolph to help the government find cheap loans and alternative methods of funding the growing English army. Frederic Rudolph became the first in a series of Hansa and then native English traders to serve as Minister of Commerce, acting as a go-between between the European mercantile community and the English crown, supporting English traders and finding cheaper loans for the English government. (England took Shrewd Commerce Policy as their first NI, I took Cabinet. The reason I took Cabinet is because in MM it is a step towards both Scientific Revolution and LEF, and it prevents an event where you either give up 5 prestige or lose an adviser. After getting that event 4 times in 5 years in my practice game, I decided that Cabinet would be a better idea, plus it illustrates the difference between the French and English responses to the 100 Years War: the English focused on funding and thus went for a mercantile idea, the French on coordination and thus went for a governmental idea.)
The command structure set up to deal with the logistical difficulties of the invasion of England would remain after the war, turning into an early form of the modern Cabinet
The plan of action was this: Ambassador d'Ursine would build support for French claims to Calais and Gascony abroad, focusing on Castille, Burgundy, and the Holy Roman Empire. While this was happening, the cavalry corps which dealt with the pretender rebellion would be sent to England to curtail any English military buildup and inform the Scottish king that his English foe was weak. Because of an earlier battle, the French navy only had 4 transport flotillas. This lack in materiel was compounded by a lack of adequate leadership: France had never maintained a naval officer corps, and most French captains were either commissioned civilians or army commanders who had somehow offended those higher up in the chain of command. Luckily, the French navy had an accurate notion of its own capabilities, and the representatives of the navy gave their honest opinion to Charles VII: only one invasion could reasonably be achieved, and even then, large amounts of preparation and risk would be involved. This drove the decision to use the cavalry corps: 4 regiments wouldn't be nearly enough to besiege any city of importance on the British aisles, so instead the cavalry regiments, who already had a reputation for harshness, would be sent with the orders to destroy the English countryside. Generals Bureau and de Xaintrelles would command two regiments each, and de Villenueve would be the Commander in Chief of the operation. Charles VII would remain in charge of the continental forces, guarding against a British counterattack.
The transportation of the French cavalrymen to England was a harrowing, nail-biting experience. The navy was split into three groups: one group on each side of the English channel, scouting for the feared British Red Squadron, which was comprised of 30 capital ships, and one group comprised of the 4 transport flotillas and protected by the carrack Ile de France. Although the transport operation went off without a hitch, the fleet guarding the Atlantic approach to the English channel was soon engaged by the Red Squadron. Although the fleet was able to retreat successfully, one of France's galley flotillas was captured by a squadron of barque ships.
Forgot to take a screenshot of the amphibious assault. Oh well, here's a picture
The reactions of Bureau and de Xaintrelles to their orders came from the difference in their respective backgrounds. Bureau, before being promoted to general, was in command of the Parisian garrison, and viewed his orders from a policing perspective. Further, Bureau's soldiers were primarily light cavalrymen who were used to attacking logistical centres and supply wagons. Thus, the area of the English theater that Bureau commanded (comprised of Cornwall, northern England, and Wales) ended up far less damaged, because his form of raiding focused primarily on attacking recruiting parties, intercepting military supply wagons and using the money/food from those wagons to buy off the local populace, and generally separated the people from their government services. As such, these areas were less damaged, but it is generally agreed that the Welsh rebellion which came soon after the war was a result of Bureau's raiding efforts.
On the other hand, de Xaintrelles and his troops were all military men. De Xaintrelles, in particular, saw his task as curtailing the English was effort by any means necessary, and because of his lack of familiarity with insurgent and counter-insurgent styles of warfare, was often driven to excess by his sublieutenants. It can be said that while Bureau targeted the English government, de Xaintrelles targeted the English people. Atrocities such as cutting off the middle fingers of all the service-suitable males in the town of Hastings can be blamed on de Xaintrelles being a novice in the kind of warfare he was ordered to implement, as well as the blood-thirstiness of his soldiers. But it was the burning of England's harvest that led to the largest amount of pain. De Xaintrelles' cavalrymen dispersed through the English countryside, salted the land, killed cow and sheep herds, destroyed ferries, and otherwise laid waste to the English agricultural economy.
While Bureau's corps mainly attacked the English crown's ability to deliver basic services, de Xaintrelles' raiders attacked the English people themselves. Shown here is an artistic rendition of the burning of Rye, a town close by Hastings.
By the time that the French raiders had gotten to Scotland, minor battles, disease, and the dispersal of troops to do more damage to the countryside had led to widespread attrition in the French force: what was 4 fully stocked divisions, or 4,000 men and another couple thousand officers and supporting staff, now amounted to a fighting force that could scarcely be counted above 500. They had done their damage though: conservative estimates of the number of people directly killed and injured by the raiding force went over 25,000, and perhaps 50,000 Englishmen and women died in the winter of 1457 from starvation. Furthermore, the raiders had intercepted and either captured, dispersed, or killed 8,000 newly recruited English soldiers, which led to a cost of roughly 80,000 additional pounds recruiting more men.
However, the Scottish army hadn't yet reacted to the signs of English weakness, even though their numbers amounted to more than 12,000 men and 3,000 horse. Although we do not know the reasoning behind this inaction (the Scottish national archives were destroyed in the English counterattack), it seems that the Scots were trying to retain the threat posed by their army, as opposed to sending it into the field and diminishing their negotiating abilities. Another theory points to Anglo-Scottish trade: the mutual Franco-English embargo did not extend to Scottish traders, and by the late 1450s the Scottish crown was reliant, mainly, on tariffs exacted from trade in London and thus on Anglo-Scottish relations. (Personally I blame the fact that they took bureaucracy as their first NI). What we do know is that by the time the Scottish army was moved to besiege northern England, it was too late.
De Xaintrelles' hamhanded style of raiding is widely seen as one of the major factors in the creation of the modern English nation. The tens of thousands killed, maimed, or starved as a result of French raiding became martyrs for the anti-French cause. Although the English were forced to take out another loan to fund the creation of an elite 10,000 man Royal Guard, they didn't even need to pay the majority of the new soldiers who flocked to the banner. By the end of the siege of Lincolnshire, the newly raised English army was 50,000 strong.
de Xaintrelles' raiding did more for the cause of English nationbuilding than it did for the French war effort ALSO WTF
Cumbria was quickly retaken, and the French raiders stationed in Edinburgh were forced to retreat north, continuing their attacks on English supply lines as they moved into the Highlands. Charles was prompted to ship a diplomat to Oslo in order to get military access to the island of Orkney post-haste, and though de Xaintrailles force was able to escape to the desolate isle, Bureau's corps was caught by the 20,000 strong Army of Scotland in Fife, where they immediately surrendered. With the exception of Bureau, who was ransomed, the 1,000 remaining cavalrymen in the Bureau corps was, to the man, tortured and killed. But the French soldiers weren't the only men who suffered the wrath of the English army.
The atrocities committed to the English peasants were renewed and recommitted a hundred fold upon the Scottish populace. When the Edinburgh garrison surrendered, the Sack of Edinburgh approached a level of destruction not seen since the Vikings. Not only were the Cathedral and the marketplace put to flames, the very small area of arable ground in southern Scotland was salted.
All of this news came to general de Xaintrelles through both the Scottish refugees who came crossed the Pentland Firth and the English soldiers who crossed the border to fight the remnant of the French raiders. It is without question that this weighed heavily on the General's conscience: not only did he regret the horrifying actions he and his soldiers had committed, but in the last months of his life, he lived among the men and women who had become refugees as a result of his actions. He died in the winter of 1458 a defeated and regretful man.
The failure of the French offensive did have one upside: it had bought enough time for Ambassador D'Ursine to arrange international support for French claims to Gascony and Calais. This was helped along by English support for privateers: the men and women of the provinces came to rely on the French military for anti-piracy support, and the knowledge that Henry VI, their nominal King, was supporting the actions which impoverished them went a long way towards bringing the English continental territories into French arms.
Magna Mundi features a 'long wait' event which triggers after a province is occupied for a variable number of years
The news that Gascony and Calais had defected to France exacerbated English rage. Although tired and depleted by the Scottish campaign, the English army had soon moved to Gascony and had engaged the French Armee Royale. This was a massive mistake: had Henry VI cut his losses and arranged a white peace, he could likely have finished the war without destabilizing his own country. But as it happened, the inexperienced & undisciplined English army did battle with the far more experienced Armee Royale, and they died in droves.
The destruction of nearly 40 English regiments occurred with relatively few French casualties
This abject failure left England war-exhausted, destabilized, and depopulated. Although the people simply wanted peace by now, the Crown would not swallow the embarrassment of loss and Charles VII wanted war indemnities. Over the next several months the peace talks went on, angering the English populace which had seen 55,000 soldiers get killed or captured due to English incompetence. Eventually England and France came to a conclusion: the current territorial status quo, in which England had no continental territories, would be affirmed. Charles VII had won. France was not, fully, French.
Did this a couple of times, figured screw the English after this ridiculous war. Note the English gains from Scotland, and the fact that they're at -2 stability because they wouldn't fork over 25-50 ducats.