Battle of Bouvines
The Battle of Bouvines was fought on 27 July 1214 near the town of Bouvines in the County of Flanders. It was the concluding battle of the Anglo-French War of 1213–1214. A French army of 7,000 men commanded by King Philip Augustus defeated an Allied army of 9,000 commanded by Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV. In early 1214, a coalition was assembled against King Philip Augustus of France, consisting of Otto IV, King John of England, Count Ferrand of Flanders, Duke Henry I of Brabant, Count William I of Holland, Duke Theobald I of Lorraine, Duke Henry III of Limburg, its objective was to reverse the conquests made by Philip earlier in his reign. After initial manoeuvring in late July, battle was offered near Bouvines on 27 July; the long allied column deployed into battle order, leaving the Allies at a disadvantage. The superior discipline and order of the French knights allowed them to carry out a series of devastating charges, shattering the Flemish knights on the allied left wing. In the centre, the Allied knights and infantry under Otto enjoyed initial success, scattering the French urban infantry and nearly killing Philip.
A counterattack by French knights smashed the isolated Allied infantry and Otto's entire centre division fell back. Otto fled the battle and his knightly followers were defeated by the French knights, who went on to capture the Imperial eagle standard. With the Allied centre and left wing routed, only the soldiers of the right wing under Renaud of Boulogne and William de Longespee held on, they were captured or driven from the field. A pursuit was not conducted; the crushing French victory dashed Flemish hopes of regaining lost territories. Frederick II Hohenstaufen deposed Otto as emperor after the battle. King John was forced to agree to the Magna Carta in 1215 by his discontented barons and hand over English-occupied Anjou to Philip in a peace settlement. Counts Ferrand and Longespee were captured and imprisoned; the balance of power in Europe shifted, with the popes of the 13th century seeking the support of a powerful France. In 1214, Infante of Portugal, Count of Flanders desired the return of the cities of Aire-sur-la-Lys and Saint-Omer, which he had lost to Philip II, King of France in the Treaty of Pont-à-Vendin.
He thus broke allegiance with Philip and assembled a broad coalition including Emperor Otto IV, King John I of England, Duke Henry I of Brabant, Count William I of Holland, Duke Theobald I of Lorraine, Duke Henry III of Limburg. The campaign was planned by John, the fulcrum of the alliance. John's plan was followed but the Allies in the north moved slowly. John, after two encounters with the French, retreated to Aquitaine on 3 July. On 23 July, having summoned his vassals, Philip had an army consisting of 6,000 to 8,000 soldiers; the Emperor succeeded in concentrating his forces at Valenciennes, although this did not include John, in the interval Philip had counter-marched northward and regrouped. Philip now took the offensive himself, after manoeuvring to obtain good ground for his cavalry he offered battle on 27 July, on the plain east of Bouvines and the river Marque. Otto was surprised by the speed of his enemy and was thought to have been caught unprepared by Philip, who deliberately lured Otto into his trap.
Otto decided to launch an attack on what was the French rearguard. The Allied army drew up facing south-west towards Bouvines, the heavy cavalry on the wings, the infantry in one great mass in the centre, supported by a cavalry corps under Otto himself; the French army formed up opposite in a similar formation, cavalry on the wings, including the town militias, in the centre. Philip, with the cavalry reserve and the royal standard, the Oriflamme, positioned himself to the rear of the men on foot, it is said by William the Breton, chaplain to Philip at the battle, that the soldiers stood in line in a space of 40,000 steps, which leaves little clearance and predisposes to hand-to-hand fighting. William the Breton says in his chronicle that "the two lines of combatants were separated by a small space"; the French army contained 1,200–1,360 knights and 300 mounted sergeants. Philip had launched an appeal to the municipalities in northern France, in order to obtain their support. 16 of the 39 municipalities of the royal demesne answered the call to arms.
They provided 3,160 infantry, broken down as: Amiens 250, Arras 1000, Beauvais 500, Compiegne 200, Corbie 200, Bruyeres 120, Cerny and Crepy-en-Laonnais 80, Crandelain 40, Hesdin 80, Montreuil-sur-Mer 150, Noyon 150, Roye 100, Soissoins 160, Vailly 50. The balance of the infantry another 2,000 men, were composed of mercenaries; the other communes of the royal demesne were supposed to provide a further 1,980 infantry, but it is doubtful that they did. In total, the royal army totalled 6,000–7,000 men; the royal army was divided into three parts, or "battles": The right wing, composed of the knights of Champagne and Burgundy, was commanded by Eudes, Duke of Burgundy, his lieutenants: Gaucher of Châtillon, Count of Saint-Pol, Count Wilhelm I of Sancerre, Count of Beaumont, Mathieu of Montmorency and Adam II Viscount of Melun. In the front of the right wing were men-at-arms and militia from Burgundy and Picardy led by 150 mounted sergeants from Soissons; the central battle was led by Philip Augustus and his chief knights – William des Barres, Bartholomew of Roye, Girard Scophe, William of Garland, Enguerrand of Coucy and Gautier of
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