Historian Dan Jones sets out on a journey across Northern France, following in the footsteps of Edward III and his English army on their Crécy Campaign - one of the earliest and bloodiest raids of the Hundred Years' War.
On 12th July 1346, a huge English invasion fleet landed on the shores of Normandy. The King of England was here to claim the throne of France for himself.
But Dan isn’t just interested in the princes and lords in charge of the campaign, but the ordinary men of Edward’s army. In his latest project, the meticulously researched historic novel “Essex Dogs”, Dan has imagined what life would be like for these common soldiers battling through Normandy and beyond - this was an army that was notorious for destroying and pillaging everything in their path.
In the first episode Dan travels through the beautiful cities and fertile countryside of Normandy, just like Edward and his men did in 1346, smashing through towns like Valognes and Carentan. Meeting with Prof. Michael Livingston, Dan explores how the English army fought, and crucially, how it was supposed to operate in hostile lands.
Arriving in the medieval market town of St. Lo, Dan discovers the brutal tactics that the English employed during their campaign - and meets Dr. Elodie Giard to investigate their terrifying scorched-earth policy: the chevauchée.
Within weeks the English had rampaged across Normandy, and now stood at the gates of one of the most important cities in France - Caen. Going inside the medieval castle with archaeologist Alban Gottfrois, Dan learns all about the assault that the English made on the city - the burial place of William the Conqueror - and the devastating outcome of the attack.
But here are at least two sides to every story, so Dan also investigates the moves of Edward’s opponent, Philippe VI of France, and finds out that, although the campaign may have started well for the English, as they approach Rouen things will take a horrible turn for the worse… the hunters will become the hunted.