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The Fall of English France 1449-53 (Campaign) Paperback – 20 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849086168
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849086165
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 0.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

..".provides a fine narrowed focus on the battles of Formigny and Castillon which represented a change in how warfare was perceived and fought, and is a pick for any collection strong in medieval European history." --James A. Cox, "The Midwest Book Review "(August 2012)

About the Author

Born in 1944, David Nicolle worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amazon customer on 10 May 2014
Format: Paperback
The perfect gift for all history buffs is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This is a typical Osprey product, with the strengths and weaknesses of the genre. It provides a clear and focussed account of the campaigns in Normandy and Gascony, supported by detailed maps and battle plans and enlivened by lavish illustrations- not least Osprey¡¯s trademark imaginative artistic reconstructions of high points in the campaigns (due in this case to Graham Turner).

As a compendium of the basic chronology of the campaigns and the tactical and strategic environments that shaped the decisions taken by battlefield commanders it is excellent. Its assessments of the armies and their commanders are sound. On the other hand, the close attention to action in the field means that coverage of the wider political environment on both sides of the Channel is at times sketchy and a bit dated.

The complex and duplicitous manoeuvres over the English surrender of Maine, which played a major role in setting the scene for the otherwise inexplicable and suicidal attack on Foug¨¨res, are given much less coverage than they merit. The analysis of the consequences of victory on the French side glosses over the fact that, while the French political system obviously did not implode in the way its English counterpart did in reaction to defeat, the later 1450's were nevertheless a tense and edgy period with a rapidly aging Charles VII presiding over a faction-riddled court in which allegations of treasonable activity in the final campaigns of the war became common currency against those who fell from favour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Osprey Campaign title contains in fact the last two major campaigns, or more accurately, the last two sets of campaigns in Normandy and "Gascony", as David Nicolle and which, together, make up what the author has called "English France" and put an end to the "Hundred Years War" between the Kingdoms of England and France.

This title, first published in 2012, may (or may not) suffer from comparisons with Juliet Barker's book "Conquest: The English Kingdom of France, 1417-1450). In fact, the books have different scopes and cover different periods, with the Osprey title focusing on the last four years of the Hundred Years' War. Even the terms used "English France" for one, referring to the last English possessions, and "The English Kingdom of France", referring to the territories (north of the Loire) and the French won by Henry the Fifth but not to his hereditary lands in Gascony which had been held by Kings of England since Alienor of Aquitaine became Queen of England (in 1154). Even the respective purposes of the two books are different, with the Osprey title being more narrowly focused on specific events and emphasising the military campaigns, whereas Juliet Barker's more scholarly and much longer book is about the "rise and fall" of this "English Kingdom of France". In other terms, the two books are not really comparable and each should be appreciated on its own terms.

Doing this leads to assess this Osprey Campaign title as being among the better ones, although I believe it is worth a good four-stars, rather than top marks, as they are a few glitches.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Booth on 12 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good read on the ending of the Hundred Years War 21 Feb. 2012
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although I am not a super big fan of David Nicolle, I found this book to be a pretty good read on how the English dominance in France ended and how the Hundred Years War ended with a French victory as the English were driven off from France. Only the Channel Island and Pale of Calais remains when it was all over. The book traces two campaigns, one in Normandy and the other one in Gascony that spelled the end of English France with all major battles won by the French. It didn't help that by the time this war ended, England was already sliding into a destructive civil war called the War of the Roses that would last until 1485. (It would be an interesting paragraph to note that if War of the Roses could ever happened if England was victorious in France during this period.)

I found the illustrations to be pretty good but I found the maps to be very cluttered. A good example will be on page 36-37 when the map of Battle of Formigny is shown. Crease not with standing, the map is cluttered with 30 event markers with host of red and blue movements and troop positions. To followed the events of the battle needless to say, create some confusing moments. I only took a star from these maps since I was able to traced the movements and the flow and ebbs. I am an experience reader but these Osprey books are kind of gear toward the new readers and these maps will confused them all.

But overall, I thought this was a pretty good effort in explaining how the Hundred Years War ended and how medieval warfare was slowly sliding into the modern warfare mode as weapons of gunpowder began to take more dominate role. The book also show how the English longbow slowly fell from importance as the major destructive weapon. I thought they were still quite formidable if they were used properly but the French adjusted and adapted against the longbow by changing tactics and embracing gunpowder more. The English did not adjust and adapted that well against the French. Pretty good read all in all.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The End of the Hundred Years War 7 May 2012
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although I haven't been a big fan of David Nicolle's Medieval histories, which I generally find are erudite but don't pack a lot of military detail or analysis, his latest volume in Osprey's Campaign series, The Fall of English France 1449-53, is considerably different. This volume covers the final years of the Hundred Years War, where the French finally got their act together and eliminated the English footholds in Normandy and Gascony. While not as exciting as the big-pitched battles like Crecy or Agincourt, the operations in this phase of the conflict were fast-moving and more professional in many respects. The author puts considerable effort into teasing an unusual amount of military detail out of Medieval literary sources and is able to compile it into an interesting and coherent campaign narrative. Overall, The Fall of English France 1449-53 is a good campaign history and one of the author's best efforts in recent years.

The introductory sections are a bit brief - no section on opposing plans - but provide good background. The author highlights French efforts to reform and professionalize their army after decades of defeat, while English military resources were severely constrained by financial limitations. The French emphasis on standardizing and improving their artillery also paid dividends in the campaign. On the other hand, the author notes that the English armies devoted their resources toward fortifying their possessions, but fell behind in terms of tactics and technology. The campaign narrative is divided into two main sections: the fall (or liberation) of Normandy in 1449-50 and the fall of Gascony in 1451-53. The volume has one 3-D BEV map of the Battle of Formigny in 1450 and two of the Battle of Castillon in 1453. In both cases, the better led and organized French armies managed to defeat numerically-superior English forces. There are also numerous 2-D maps in the volume, which are generally helpful, but some are a bit too crowded. However, one item that is missing is a map of the siege of Bordeaux, which would have been helpful. Taken together, the text, maps and artwork by Graham Turner are effective in conveying the essential elements on these two campaigns. The author also provides a 2-page bibliography and a number of photographs of the terrain today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Two sets of campaigns in one volume 15 Jan. 2014
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This Osprey Campaign title contains in fact the last two major campaigns, or more accurately, the last two sets of campaigns in Normandy and “Gascony”, as David Nicolle and which, together, make up what the author has called “English France” and put an end to the “Hundred Years War” between the Kingdoms of England and France.

This title, first published in 2012, may (or may not) suffer from comparisons with Juliet Barker’s book “Conquest: The English Kingdom of France, 1417-1450). In fact, the books have different scopes and cover different periods, with the Osprey title focusing on the last four years of the Hundred Years’ War. Even the terms used “English France” for one, referring to the last English possessions, and “The English Kingdom of France”, referring to the territories (north of the Loire) and the French won by Henry the Fifth but not to his hereditary lands in Gascony which had been held by Kings of England since Alienor of Aquitaine became Queen of England (in 1154). Even the respective purposes of the two books are different, with the Osprey title being more narrowly focused on specific events and emphasising the military campaigns, whereas Juliet Barker’s more scholarly and much longer book is about the “rise and fall” of this “English Kingdom of France”. In other terms, the two books are not really comparable and each should be appreciated on its own terms.

Doing this leads to assess this Osprey Campaign title as being among the better ones, although I believe it is worth a good four-stars, rather than top marks, as they are a few glitches.

Perhaps the main quality of this title is that the author does manage to make almost all of the main points and provides quite a lot of political and military context for both sets of campaigns, however briefly. There are many illustrations of this and they are spread across the whole book, even if most of them appear in the sections explaining “the origins of the campaign” (sic) and the opposing armies.

One point that is well-made and made up-front is that one of the turning points of the Hundred Years’ War, and one which somewhat compromised the long-term viability of English-held territories North of the Loire, was the decision of the Duke of Burgundy to break off his alliance with England in 1435 and to reconcile himself and ally with his cousin Charles VII. This had a considerable impact on future military operations. It meant that Charles VII no longer had to fight on two fronts against two powerful enemies. Instead, it is the English territories north of the Loire that would be attacked by two enemies. In fact, it got even worse when the Duke of Britany was also detached from England and brought back (however reluctantly, as mentioned by Nicolle) to the French side.

The point that David Nicolle did not make, however, is that Burgundy’s change of alliance and the subsequent loss of Paris and its surrounding region the very next year after military defeats would probably not have happened, or at least not so fast, if John Duke of Bedford had still been alive (he died in 1435, shortly before the Treaty of Arras). It is thanks to his efforts as Regent, as often despite his Beaufort rivals in England, that “English France” was held together for thirteen years after the death of his brother Henry V in 1422.

A related element is that while the financial difficulties of England and the increasing unwillingness of the English to pay in money and blood to maintain “English France” is two points that are both well-made, the relative lack of commitment of Bedford’s successors also played into the hands of the French King. David Nicolle does show rather well that the French won the military contests because they had learnt their lessons, and not only in the development of what was the largest artillery train in Europe at the time. He also claims that, contrary to the French, did not modernise their tactics and troops but still relied on the supremacy of English archers. Here again, I am not quite sure to what extent this did them a disservice. What is much clearer, however, is that the financial burden of funding the war seems to have grown and its attractiveness seems to have declined as the tide slowly but increasingly turned against the English after the battle of Patay (in 1429).

The campaigns themselves are rather well-presented and described. One interesting aspect is that, while the French won in both cases, Nicolle shows rather well that by no means was the outcome obvious from the start. He also quite correctly dismisses claims that the English forces because they were hopelessly outnumbered. The claims are quite questionable when considering the battles themselves. Besides, this had not stopped English armies from winning at Crécy, Poitiers and Azincourt (not to mention the more recent Verneuil in 1424, which is sometimes called “the second Azincourt”).

As David Nicolle shows rather well, the English lost the battle of Formigny because the French cut off their retreat and cornered them (as they had down in the first three battles mentioned above) but this time attacked them from two sides, instead of waves of unimaginative frontal attacks. At Castillon, it was the English that were attacking and the French defending, but the attackers lost, for reasons that are also well explained in the book and which I will not mention to avoid spoilers.

To conclude this review, and while I found that the plates and photos were well-made, illustrative and helpful, I was not impressed by the maps and diagrams which I found cluttered, with too many elements crammed into each of them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A very good succinct examination of this conflict 24 May 2013
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dr. David Nicolle, a leading academic in the field of European and Middle East Medieval history, has done a very good job at examining these final few years of the 100 years war in so short a book (only 96 or so pages, about a third of which are illustration). In the typical Osprey "campaigns" format, of which this book is a part, he discusses, very well the geopolitical situation at the time of the wars, the armies, officers and high level political figures, morale, weapons, etc. He then goes about examining how the campaign progressed. This is quite a task as the campaign was over three geographic regions that were far apart from each other in France. There "campaign" did not consist, predominately, of a single battle as so many campaigns of the Hundred Years war did (i.e., Agincourt, Crecy, etc.). The book is particularly well illustrated with maps showing the battlefields and how the battles progressed on them as well as photographs and illustrations showing weapons used, etc.

However, this reviewer cannot give this book a five star rating. This is because the three factors most important in contributing to French victory, all very long-term in nature, are barely touched upon in the book. They were: 1) the French crown's ability to finally consolidate its power internally while the English crown, on the other hand, was facing problems in Scotland and the North of England; 2) The French state had established a professional army, as opposed to making use primarily of levees; 3) The French were making more extensive use of more advanced technology, gunpowder and the accompanying weapons, than were the English
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book 29 Sept. 2012
By Alexandra Antiquary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very pleased with the quality and depth of this book, one of a series in military history as all of you aficionados out there well know. Very interesting, and happily came in perfect condition.
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