Battle of Meung-sur-Loire

One of Jeanne’s battles following relief of the siege at Orléans.

Date: 15 June 1429
Location: Meung-sur-Loire
Outcome: French victory
Principal Combatants.
English Leadership: John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, Thomas Scales.
English Strength: Very Small
English Casualties: Light
French Leadership: Duke John II of Alençon
French Strength: 6000 – 7000
French Casualties: Light

The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire took place on 15 June 1429. It was one of Jeanne’s battles following relief of the siege at Orléans. This campaign was the first sustained French offensive in a generation in the Hundred Years’ War.

Meung-sur-Loire was a small town on the northern bank of the Loire river in central France, slightly west of Orléans. It controlled a bridge of strategic significance during the latter part of the war. Conquered by the English a few years earlier as a staging point for a planned invasion of southern France, the French offensive reconquered the bridge and hampered English movement south of the river during the campaign.

The French Loire campaign of 1429 consisted of five actions:
1. The Siege of Orléans.
2. The Battle of Jargeau.
3. The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire.
4. The Battle of Beaugency.
5. The Battle of Patay.

Virtually all of France north of the Loire had fallen to foreign occupation by the end of 1428. The bridge at Orléans had been destroyed shortly before the siege lifted. The French had lost control of all other river crossings. Three swift and numerically small battles at Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency demonstrated renewed French confidence and laid the groundwork for subsequent French offenses on Rheims and Paris. The Loire campaign killed, captured, or disgraced a majority of the top tier of English commanders and decimated the numbers of the highly skilled English longbowmen.

Tactics

English defenses at Meung-sur-Loire consisted of three components: the walled town, the fortification at the bridge, and a large walled castle just outside the town. The castle served as headquarters to the English command of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and Thomas Scales.

Jeanne d’Arc and Duke John II of Alençon controlled a force that included captains Jean d’Orléans, Gilles de Rais, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, and La Hire. Estimates of numerical strength vary with the Journal du Siège d’Orléans citing 6000 – 7000 for the French. A number that large probably counts noncombatants. Bypassing the city and the castle, they staged a frontal assault on the bridge fortifications, conquered it in one day, and installed a garrison. This hampered English movement south of the Loire.