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  La Bataille des Princes

being a report of the action fought on the first day of September in the year 2007

by Eric Hall


Bleu Arras, October, 1470 - report from the Duc de Bretagne, Noble Captain of the Dauphin's 1st and 2nd Companies in the Battle of the Dauphin.


Yeah, I say Yeah, a day of glory when God's Avenging Angel led our Dauphin through the mists to the great slaughter of the English lords. 


As we marched towards the village, we heard a great commotion as of many companies moving -- far, far, far more English than we had ever expected, or been led to expect by our spies, or could ever have believed that the English could muster or pay.  The whole host of the English nobility must have shipped over for the day. God protect us, if they ever build a tunnel under the sea.  But little good would it do them. The courage of our chevaliers was firm. We dismounted, tightened harness, hefted iron, and trod off steel-toed towards the noise.


Our train of great gonnes got lost at one instance, and we had to sound the trumps, which invited a shower of badly aimed barbs that fell out of the mist.  But the  riders of our great lord Louis's Ordnance arriving on our right soon set the gonnes back on track, and the trap we had set for the English drew tighter.  We knew not the fate of our Swiss in the fog until the mists finally cleared and we saw the great hedges of pikes already rolling forward into line with the serried ranks of our mounted brethren with his Majesty's personal standard flying overhead.  The Swiss eat well at our table, but die well at our gates.


Before, us we could not now believe what we saw.  Our royal archers, strung and ready, let fly at rank on rank of English coustilliers caught trotting around our left flank and sent them to the grace of God.  Behind them, massed blocks of English Lords and their retinues approached over the hill, mixed with those archers whom our forefathers had so feared. I shake with rage when I think how easily we now kill them as they stand.  I had thought that the King Edward was a man of canny war, until I spied the banners of the Crown Prince Edward, a mere boy of eight years old, flying in place of honour in this Battle. Our day had come.  And so it was. In line, axes and great swords rising and falling, we dissected the English beast and left it dismembered across the fields.


Yet God save His Majesty and the Swiss, who held the rest of the huge English army and the slow-moving Burgundians at bay.  As we crested the low hills before Bleu Arras, the English dying at our feet, we saw the Swiss pikes swaying at the top of a neighbouring mount, surrounded by hordes of screaming Burgundians.  King Louis and his knights were here and there, willing the enemy to leave their cowardly billets in the village, and holding the line for the Swiss before they became completely surrounded.


Had our victory before Bleu Arras come too late? Many Swiss banners were already down.  But as we laid on with redoubled fury into the backs of the fleeing English, a great shout arose from our right flank and we saw the Standard of Antoine the Bastard of Burgundy collapse into the melee. We knew not at the time, but the Bastard was dead. To lose a ruler in one battle is a terrible fate. To lose another in the next battle is a terrible mistake.  Thank God.


As I looked around, I prayed to the Saints of Bretagne. Our own Dauphin stood near me unharmed and victorious and we had lost so few. But exhausted, our men could only let the English flee off to join the disheartened Burgundians.  Was that the young English prince I saw, hanging on to the bum of his white mare for all he was worth as  his royal father seemed to be shouting some sort of encouragement at him.  A poor child, but if he does not grow quickly he will come to a bad end.


So the day ended . . . but we will not rest until the last Englishman and their Burgundian paymasters are dead or gone from the sacred realm.  As for myself, I am off to Berne to negotiate with the other cantons.  The Swiss may be crazy, but their pike is long and the English do not like it up them.


Grace Dieu!


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