Claire Dodin (15th Century Weapons Expert) Timothy Pickes (Military Historian)
God forgive us, we have burned a saint
–- Alleged words of an English soldier following Joan's execution.
She managed to inspire the whole army. They believed she was holy, sent to them by God.
–Claire Dodin, 15th century weapons expert.
Joan of Arc, the teenaged French fighter whose battlefield heroics defeated England's superior army, and ended the Hundred Years War. She was chosen to fight William the Conqueror, the daring and deadly French duke who crushed his English enemies and crowned himself king.
The Hundreds Year War, combined with the Black Death, made the 1300s a period of death and destruction within Europe. Lasting between 1337–1453 (116 years) it is arguably the longest war ever fought (although the war did see temporary ceasefires).
Edwardian War (1337 - 1360)
On 1 February 1328, Charles IV of France died. On 1 April 1328 he was officially succeeded by the King Philip VI. The English King Edward III initially supported Philip's ascension: primarily so that Edward could keep his current territory of Gascony without French hostilities. However Edward quickly changed his mind, claiming that he should have been chosen as King of France instead: especially as France strengthened their alliance with England's rival: Scotland. In the following years, tensions between England and France intensified.
The English Channel
England's Edward III asserted his right to the French throne by declaring war in 1337. However while 1337 was the official declaration of war; Edward waited until 1340 to build up the resources for his campaigns.
In the Battle of Sluys, Edward's navy (despite being converted merchant boats) defeated the French navy to secure the English Channel. A truce was declared in 1341.
In 1341 the Duke of Brittany died. Edward claimed succession, broke his truce and conquered western Brittany before declaring another truce in 1342.
In 1345 Edward again broke his truce to resume the war.
In 1346 Edward landed his army in Normandy and launched multiple Chevauchees (raids that ignored occupation and focused on the destruction of enemy territory) against the French.
In The Battle of Crecy on 26 August 1346: the English used their Longbowmen to defeat a larger French army. Many powerful French nobles leading the battle were killed by the arrow volleys, creating disorder in France.
In 1347: Edward captured the port of Calais: allowing Edward to have a quick naval route to England to gain more reinforcements.
In 1348: The Black Death erupted in Europe, stalling the war for both sides.
Edward The Black Prince of Woodstock
Edward of Woodstock (called the 'Black Prince' due to his black armor) was the son of Edward III and one of his most effective generals of the war. His Chevauchees in 1355 in southern France were devastating. French King John faced him at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356: but John was captured as his larger French army could not defeat the more experienced English.
With King John imprisoned; France dissolved into chaos and civil war. The Peace Treaty of Brittany in 1360 marked the end of the Edwardian Phase. The treaty gave Edward III the south-western part of France: making the English own about 1/3 of French territory.
John died in English captivity in 1364: as the French were unable to pay his ransom.
The Caroline Phase (1369-1389)
The Second Edwardian War (1369-1377)
Edward of Woodstock was being overwhelmed with war dept and so began overtaxing his French vassals; many of whom turned to King Charles for assistance. King Charles V of France attempted to summon Edward of Woodstock to Paris; but Edward instead replied with threats. In 1369: this led to war.
This was the first campaign in the war that favored the French. Charles proved to be a successful leader in battle while Edward of Woodstock was too ill to fight and faced revolts from his overtaxed French peasants.
Charles VI and Richard II
By 1376: the English lost the majority of their French territory (excluding port towns). Edward of Woodstock died in 1376 and Edward III died in 1377. Richard II was their successor, but was only 10 year old in the year 1377. Charles V died in 1380 and was replaced by the 11 year old Charles VI. This led to succession crises in both nations, with various nobles trying to influence the children kings. Richard II ended the war in 1377 due to English political instability (including a revolt from the Welsh and invasions from the Scottish) and the mounting costs of the war.
During peacetime; Charles the VI became infamous for his mental illness and acts of insanity. The instability and poor leadership led the dukes of Burgundy and Orleans to gain independence in north-east France.
Richard II began cracking down on the nobles attempting to seize power in England. Henry Bollingbroke was one of these nobles, but returned to England to overthrow Richard in 1398. Henry crowned himself Henry IV under the Lancaster Dynasty.
Lancastrian War (1415–53)
In 1413 Henry IV died and his son Henry V became king of England. In 1415 Henry V demanded France to surrender the western half of their territory (excluding Britannia), the French refused so war resumed.
The English victory at Battle of Agincourt on 25 October 1415 was won when the French army got stuck in the mud: making them easy targets for English longbows. The English began to conquer Northern France in 1417 and the French kingdom was plunged into civil war.
In 1419 the Dauphin of France Charles VII assassinated the Duke of Burgundy John the Fearless for remaining independent from France. However this only made John's successor Philip the Good ally with the English.
The English gained influence through both military conquests and politics. In 1420 the Treaty of Troyes officially declared King Henry V of England as the successor for King Charles VI of France. However in 1422 the two kings died within two months of each other's deaths. While Henry VI was the official successor, a power vacuum formed. Dauphin Charles VII claimed his right to the throne and starting in 1422 he led the French forces for the remainder of the war.
Joan of Arc
On 17 August 1424, the Battle of Verneuil had the English crush the French forces; allowing the English to conquer Northern France. In 1428 the Siege of Orleans began. This siege is considered the climax of the war since France by this point lost about half of its territory and was at risk of being completely conquered if they lost the Siege.
Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc), also known as the Maid of Orléans (circa 1412- May 30, 1431), is a national hero of France and a Catholic saint. Born in Eastern France at a time when the English and their allies controlled much of the country, she was the daughter of Jacques d'Arc; a minor nobleman, tax-collector and farmer.
Joan claimed to have experienced visions of Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Margaret of Antioch while she knelt in a field at the age of twelve. When she was sixteen, these Voices told her to drive the English out of France and bring the Dauphin (heir to the throne) to Rheims for his coronation.
After meeting the Dauphin and getting his permission to be trained and equipped for war and placed at the head of his army, Joan turned the longstanding Anglo-French conflict into a religious war. She arrived at the siege of Orléans on April 29, 1429, and rejected the cautious strategy that French leadership had displayed in earlier campaigns. In just eight days, the French forced the English out with a series of bold attacks. Though Joan was wounded in the neck by a bolt, she recovered and returned to lead the final charges. On 8 May 1429, the English forces were prepared to fight the French army on the battlefield, but decided to retreat and break the siege instead.
Joan led the French army to victory several more times over the next year, but was captured after a skirmish on May 23, 1430. The Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, attempted to charge Joan of witchcraft and sorcery, but Joan was declared innocent. Pierre ordered Joan to be tortured to force a confession, but Joan's health was poor during her imprisonment and they didn't want to risk her dying before the execution. Pierre declared in Joan's trial that her visions from God were considered lies. Pierre forced Joan to confess infront of the Abbey of Saint-Ouen, and she was found guilty of heresy. Despite recanting her claims of seeing visions from God, she was executed by burning on May 30, 1431 at the age of 19. After she expired, the English raked over the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she had escaped alive, then her body was burnt twice more to reduce it to ash, and was cast into the Siene.
Joan's mother Isabelle Romée spent a life long mission to appeal to the Holy See to overturn the verdict of Joan's trial. On July 7, 1456: Pope Callixtus III overturned Joan's trial, pronounced Joan innocent, and declared her a martyr. In 1457; Pope Callixtus III excommunicated Bishop Pierre Cauchon in 1457 for Joan's trial and execution. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a saint on May 16, 1920.
With their defeat Orléans, as well as the loss of Thomas Montagu (4th Earl of Salisbury), the English forces were devastated by their losses and forced to fall back for the next 24 years.
In 1435 Pope Eugene IV attempted to negotiate peace. While peace-talks failed; during negotiations the Burgundians signed the Treaty of Arras to recognize Charles VII as King of France. This allowed France to accelerate the reconquest of their former territories from the English.
In 1444 the Truce of Tours was a ceasefire that was signed to last until 1450 (but was broken in 1449).
Battle of Castillon
The re-declaration of war in 1449 allowed the French to retake Normandy at the Battle of Formigny in 1450.
On 17 July 1453, the Battle of Castillon, the English were defeated by French Hand Cannons and surrendered.
While 1453 is considered the end of the Hundreds Year War; conflict between England and France continued: with The Siege of Calais in 1558 allowing France to retake the last piece territory of their mainland. However this battle is considered to be part of The Italian War of 1551–59.
The French and English continued to be rivals even when both nations became powerful global empires. Only until WWI in 1914 did the two superpowers become allies. They are both currently Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, Nuclear Powers and leaders of NATO.
Finisher: Joan bumps her opponent with her sword or her mace and say "This is not my doing!" and hits her opponent dead. (P.S.: In the finale part of aftermath live, Mack explain this finisher is every woman's dream of ancient fighting.)
The battle begins with Joan knelt in prayer before William's castle with sword in hand. After making the sign of the Cross, Joan rises and rallies her troops to prepare the siege cannon. On the inside, William orders his men to prepare the Torsion Catapult. Two crossbowmen also begin to open fire, one from the ramparts and one from an arrow slit, but Joan's pavises defend her troops. Back outside, the siege cannon takes its first shot, blasting through the castle wall and killing the arrow slit soldier. Joan takes a moment to survey the damage done and calls for a reload. Meanwhile, the catapult is loaded with a large stone and fired. The stone flies to the outside and kills a retreating Frenchman.
The cannon is soon reloaded and fired again, knocking down the catapult operators and disabling the catapult. The operators help each other to their feet as Joan signals for her men to advance through the wall as the crossbowman takes another shot. The bolt is deflected by a large shield and the French crossbowman counter-fires his steel crossbow, killing the bowman atop the ramparts. Joan picks up the French banner and leads on, but another of William's men fires his crossbow from the hole at her, temporarily knocking her down. Joan's crossbowman desperately tries to reload his crossbow, but is stopped when another of William's bowmen shoots him through the eye. Joan regains herself and fires her crossbow at the Norman bowman, hitting him in the throat.
Joan's army storms through the besieged wall as William gives the order to attack. A Norman swordsman makes short work of an advancing French soldier, but Joan follows up by half-swording him through his chainmail. Joan and her remaining soldier advance on, each running up different flights of stairs. The soldier soon meets William at the top, sword and shield in hand. The lone swordsman blocks an overhead chop and manages to throw away William's shield, but William counters by striking him in the back, causing him to fall to his death from the steps into the courtyard.
Joan soon finishes coming up the other flight of stairs and begins her showdown with William. Joan's inexperience is easily countered by William's swordsmanship, but he cannot slash through her steel plate armor. As Joan slowly backs down the stairs, William rushes in. Before he can strike, Joan stabs him through the left thigh. William raises his sword again, but Joan stabs him again in the thigh, forcing him to kneel down. William tries for a backhand chop, but Joan grabs his hand and runs him through the chest. The defeated Conqueror rolls off the stairs and into the courtyard, landing next to Joan's fallen bodyguard. Joan of Arc then stands atop the stairs, raising her sword and giving a loud victory yell.
The reason why Joan won was because of her advanced technology like her siege cannon, her steel crossbow and her armor (which protected her more than and allowed her far more flexibility than William's chainmail). These technological advantages are what allowed Joan to win the day.
According to some historians, Joan never actually killed anyone in combat (she herself insisted at her trial that she bore her banner to avoid killing anyone and was successful in this effort). However she was injured in combat and almost died from a crossbow bolt to the shoulder (near the neck).
Joan gave herself the title of 'The Maid' or 'La Pucelle' as a reference to her virginity. At that time; it was believed that only virgin women could see holy visions.
Theologian scholars under Charles VII cited various myths regarding a divine maiden who would one day save France; including prophesies allegedly made by the legendary mystic Merlin.
The reason why Charles VII sent Joan to the Siege of Orléans was to confirm her divine visions. It was concluded that if Joan died in the battle, then her visions were fabricated or sent by demons. Charles VII was sending a relief force to Orléans anyways, so there was little risk in allowing Joan to join the Siege.
Despite being a French Catholic and an enemy of England, Joan is actually more decorated and honored in English Protestant churches than in France. The reason for this is twofold: Joan was seen as defiant of the Faith due to her being tried by a Catholic court, and she also sent letters suggesting that, if the English but restored France to her rightful ruler, even the Duke of Bedford might "come into her company" and ally with her. So while still seen as a figure in Catholicism; Protestants (Christians who reject the Catholic Pope) see her as a martyr against the tyranny of the Catholic Church.
This is despite the fact that Joan of Arc openly threatened to launch a Crusade against the pre-protestant movement the Hussites.
Both France and England used Joan in military propaganda; especially in WWI.
The Vietnamese religion of Caodaism (with 6 million followers) has Joan of Arc as a major holy figure.
While seen as divine by religious scholars, some historians argue that Joan of Arc's 'divine visions' were fueled by mental disorders and bipolarism.
One of the most infamous facts about Joan of Arc is about her commander-in-arms Gilles de Rais: who was found guilty of using his authority to perform serial killings against innocent children.
Joan of Arc is also unusual in that she was a minor noble, whereas the ancient male warriors were mostly from royalty.
At 125lb, Joan of Arc is the lightest warrior yet. This is a big contrast to William, the heaviest ancient warrior (tied with Saddam Hussein) at 215lb (a 90lb difference).
Joan of Arc first entered battle at age 17 and died at the age of 19, making her the youngest named warrior yet to appear on the show (and second only to the Khmer Rouge who's average age was 16). By contrast, most of the male warriors began fighting in their 20's, with William Wallace dying at the youngest age (age disputed as being 31 to 33 years old at time of death).
Joan is the only named warrior whose historical death was shown on the show.
Joan of Arc is the first female warrior (as leader) to have been announced for Deadliest Warrior, while being the third female warrior on the whole show (two women were used in the KGB vs CIA match, a Viet Cong prostitute was shown killing an American soldier).