The war of consolidation Part I
The Brittany campaign (Dec. 1422-Sept.1423)
With a thunderous crash the gates of Rennes cracked open under the relentless punding of the Battering ram of Robert de Castaings army. The few defenders the city had swiftly took flight and hid in the alleys and hovels. Castaign army secured both city and province in a few days with minimal bloodshed, the 15 000 thousand men involved in Brittany was needed elsewhere and the campaign needed to end swiftly. No looting was permitted as there simply was not time for such acts.
With the Breton Duke merely an infant at the time the command of the Breton army goes to Richard de Saint Houlam, the previous Dukes military advisor and foremost general. The Breton army’s infantry core at this time was consisting of little more than peasants armed with whatever farming tools they had been able to convert into makeshift polearms. This peasant levy was backed up by a small core of high quality Men at Arms. The Breton cavalry on the other hand was the epitome of the Feudal system. Heavily armored and armed with Long lances, a fine sword made for both cutting and thrusting and a heavy helmet crushing mace for when things got close and ugly. This is what meets the French forces under the command of Robert de Castaing when he arrives in Morbihan on the 22nd of December 1422.
By contrast the French infantry is of high quality, each man is armed with good quality chainmail and armed with Sword and/or a spear and carrying a large teardrop shaped shield for personal defense. The French cavalry is also of very high quality armored with the latest in Italian plate armor and armed with weapons of high quality steel from Iberia. With such a disparity in the quality of the two armies one might expect the outcome to be rather one-sided.
However the relative inexperience of Castaing gives the Breton forces a chance. As the French forces advance they lose cohesion and the battle devolves into a vicious melee with no commander having any real control. Rather thanthe massive French victory Castaing had hoped for the Battle of Morbihan just fizzles out without any real decisive action being taken. Nonetheless the fact is that French forces are left in command of the Morbihan province and Castaing can pursue the Breton army who is now fleeing towards Brest.
On the 29th of December the French Cavalry Vanguard caches up with the Breton army as it attempts to make camp, the demoralized, starving and freezing army including its commanding officer Richard de Saint Houlam surrenders. All of Brittany lies open for the French forces. It will however take almost a full year before all of Brittany has fallen and peace talks can begin.
(The Major engagements of the Brittany Winter campaign)
With the Brittany campaign over the 30 000 men in northern France are split, Charles will take 15 000 men and go south to assist the beleaguered Gui de Saint Germain and his Armée des Pyrenées while the Army under Castaing will remain in northern France.
(Brittany and Provence are no more)
France c. 1423
Charles VI de Valois (ADM: 8 MIL: 8 DIP: 8)
Gratia dei: rex Francorum.
(National summary omitted as the next chapter runs parallel to this one)