Lancaster's Normandy chevauchée of 1356

Lancaster's chevauchée of 1356 in Normandy was an English offensive directed by Henry, Duke of Lancaster, in northern France during 1356, as a part of the Hundred Years' War. The offensive took the form of a large mounted raid—a chevauchée—and lasted from 22 June to 13 July. During its final week the English were pursued by a much larger French army under King John II that failed to force them to battle.

Lancaster's Normandy chevauchée of 1356
Part of the Edwardian Phase of the Hundred Years' War
Date22 June – 13 July 1356
Location
Northern France
Belligerents
Kingdom of England Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Henry, Duke of Lancaster John II
Strength
2,300–4,000 Unknown but very large
Casualties and losses
Few Unknown

King John had turned against a group of senior Normandy-based French nobles, headed by Charles II of Navarre, whom John believed to be treacherous. Seeing an opportunity, Edward III of England diverted an expedition planned for the Duchy of Brittany under Lancaster to the Cotentin Peninsula in north-west Normandy. From there, after gathering some local reinforcements, Lancaster set off south with 2,300 men. He then pillaged and burnt his way eastward across the Duchy of Normandy. King John moved to Rouen with a much stronger force, hoping to intercept Lancaster, but after relieving and supplying the besieged citadel of Pont-Audemer the English turned south. They supplied another friendly fortification, Breteuil, then stormed and sacked the important town of Verneuil-sur-Avre. John pursued but bungled several opportunities to bring the English to battle.

The English made long and rapid marches back to the safety of the northern Cotentin. In 22 days the English travelled 330 mi (530 km), a remarkable effort for the period. Two besieged fortifications had been supplied, the expedition had seized a large amount of loot, including many horses, damage had been done to the French economy and prestige, new alliances had been cemented, there had been few casualties and the French King had been distracted from the English preparations for a greater chevauchée from south-west France.


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