In the sea fight at Sluys, with Edward in personal command, the longbow men dominated the English armament, with one ship of men-at-arms placed between every two ships of archers, plus extra ships of archers for reinforcement if need arose. Not naval power but the strength of soldiers and archers on board ship determined sea battle in this era. They operated from high-decked cogs of 100 to 300 tons fitted with fighting platforms or “castles’ for the archers ...No one dared tell the outcome of the battle to Philip IV until his jester was thrust forward and said, “Oh, the cowardly English, the cowardly English!’ and on being asked why, replied, “They did not jump overboard like our brave Frenchmen.” The King evidently got the point.The fish drank so much French blood, it was said afterward, that if God have given them the power of speech they would have spoken in French.
Monday, July 7, 2014
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1978