The Use of Gunpowder Weaponry by and Against Joan of Arc During the Hundred Years War

Joan of ArcThe Use of Gunpowder Weaponry by and Against Joan of Arc During the Hundred Years War

Kelly DeVries (Loyola University)

War and Society: v.14 (1996)

Abstract

This article explores the possibility of a link between Joan of Arc and the evolution of gunpowder weaponry during the Hundred Years War, a thesis for which there is some evidence. Both the Bastard of Orléans and the duc d’ Alençon testified at her retrial that she was especially adept at positioning the relatively new gunpowder weaponry that the french used in their sieges. As the duc stated: Everyone marvelled at this, that she acted so wisely and clearly in waging war, as if she was a captain who had the experience of twenty or thirty years; and especially in the setting up of artillery, for the in that she held herself magnificently.

But this evidence is rather slight, based on memory, and sufficient to carry a thesis of this magnitude. Still, Joan lived in an age of gunpowder weaponry use, and it would be folly to think that she was unaffected by it in her military career. Indeed, as we will discover, there were gunpowder weapons in almost every conflict in which she fought. Moreover, her ability to win in these conflicts was sometimes dependant upon these weapons, using them in her army’s offensive tactics or in defending against their use by her opponents, the English and the Burgundians.

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