Text from the video
At the Battle of Crécy, in 1346, the Genoese Crossbowmen placed at the vanguard of the French army got totally wrecked by the English Longbowmen. The situation got so bad that as they started to flee, the French heavy cavalry charged through their ranks to save the day at all cost. Chief among those mounted soldiers was the Duke of Alençon. Right behind him was John the Blind, King of Bohemia, who was actually blind. The Battle turned into a bloodbath and the King of France himself had to be pulled away from the battlefield by his own men as he couldn’t stand the defeat and wished to join the fight.
Since I play some of Age of Empires 2 on my free time, I wanted to test the Genoese Crossbowmen against the Longbowmen and see if the video-game was true to history. See for yourself. In this video I’m sending my Elite Post-Imperial Genoese Crosswobmen against a regiment of Elite Post-Imperial Longbowmen, equal in numbers, and I’m getting totally wrecked.
One small defeat for me. One giant victory for Medieval History.
Summary of the battle of Crécy
(quoted from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (2010), vol. 2, p. 439-440)
“In the first line were the 6,000 Genoese crossbowmen, and the blind King John of Bohemia and his mounted guard, escorted by 300 mounted men-at-arms. The second line, under the count of Alençon, was the French elite cavalry, numbering 12,000.
Shortly after noon, a downpour set in, but quickly subsided. The rain may have lessened the effectiveness of the crossbows, which were already hopelessly outmatched by the longbows. The latter could fire three times as quickly and had a slightly greater range. At about 5 p.m. the Genoese advanced to soften the target for a massive French cavalry charge, but, after releasing one volley, they suffered a devastating barrage of arrows from the longbows and began to flee. The count of Alençon, enraged, led a charge against his own crossbowmen, cutting down as many as he could. His knights, too, experienced the withering fire of the massed English longbow. King John of Bohemia ordered that he be led in an assault against the English lines. There, fighting valiantly, he was struck dead, his horse still tethered to those of his retainers. [I told that story HERE]
The French onslaught continued until almost midnight, conducting fifteen waves of cavalry attacks. When young Edward was engaged in a dire struggle, the English king famously denied him immediate reinforcements, instructing his men to allow the prince to ‘earn his spurs.’ In desperation, Philip [the King of France] attempted to lead a final charge, but John of Hainault dutifully grabbed his reins and escorted him to safety, only after two horses had already been killed under him.”
AoE2 Noob Strategy Tips
If you find yourself on the Italian end of an Italian–Briton match-up in an AoE2 online PvP, you will have to avoid at all cost to invest in your unique unit. The Longbowmen will just shred it and you know, if your opponent is playing the Britton, that he will go mass Longbowmen on your ass. The Genoese Crossbowmen would work wonders against Frankish knights or any heavy cavalry civ, but you need to adapt when faced with another archer civ. So, what can you do to avoid another Crécy disaster? I’d say go for Capped Rams loaded with Champions and add some Elite Skirmishers into the mixt. The Capped Rams can soak in the fire from the Longbowmen and once you’re close enough to them, your Champions will jump out of their cover and cut them into pieces. The Elite Skirmishers are only in there for the some tasteful note of disrespecc.