The Start of the Hundred Years War

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one hundred year warThe hundred years war was the intermittent struggle between France and England in the 14th – 15th Century, over a series of disputes including the question of the legitimate succession to the French crown.
The main struggle involved many generations of English and French claimants to the crown. This actually took a period of over a 100 years. It was said to have began in 1337 and ended in 1453, however there had been period disagreements over the question of English fiefs in France dating back to the 12th Century.

The Battle of Sluys- 24th June 1340.
In 1337, Edwards III of England laid claim to the French throne, which started the lengthy series of conflicts and so the hundred years war began.

The first major contact between the two sides was a naval battle off the coast of Flanders. On June 1340 a large English fleet commanded by Edward III set sail across the Channel to assert his claim to the French throne.
The French fleet were reinforced with galleys from Genoa, which were drawn up in the inlet of Sluys in Flanders.

The French placed their fleet in a defensive position. Their anchored ships were lashed together with cables to create a floating platform on which to fight. The Genoese commander, Egidio Boccanegra who was known as Barbavara, kept his galleys free behind the French lines.

The English had ships filled with knights and swordsmen between 2 ships packed with longbowmen. Back then naval battles were only fought on the restrictive confines of the ships decks.
Battle started around noon and carried on for most of the day and night. Both sides used grappling hooks to hold an enemy ship fast, while it was boarded. The French were anchored and the English were free to attack as and when English ships got the better of the battle. The English longbowmen provided a rapid and accurate rate of fire than the French and Genoese crossbowmen. It was a disaster for the French, almost 190 ships were captured or sunk and both their commanders killed only the Genoese managed to gain, seizing 2 English ships.

England’s victory actually ended the threat of a French naval invasion and brought it dominance of the English Channel.

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