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"Battle of Saint Aubin du Cormier, July 28, 1488." Topic


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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 11:56 p.m. PST

Someone among you possesses an order of battle and a progress for the battle of Saint Aubin du Cormier more precise than this one below ?

All additional documentation is welcome…

On July 28, 1488, the army of the duke of Brittany presents himself, in front of that of the king of France, organized thus:

the Breton ost, including François de Rohan (son of John
II), who died there;
The Breton compagnies d'ordonnance;
The Breton francs-archers;
2500 infantrymen and crossbowmen Gascon and Bearnese;
landed in Quimper, accompanied by 1000 Aragonese;
700 to 800 German lansquenets (A novelty dating from 1487!),
reliefs of the small army of Maximilian of Austria;
300 English archers, survivors of the Dinan ambush;
a number of Castilians;
the gentlemen accompanying the French princes;

a total of 11 to 12,000 men.

To this heterogeneous composition, is added a disparate command, which include the Marshal of Rieux, opponent of the Duke of Brittany in 1487, the Duke of Orleans, future Louis XII, and other great feudal.

The Breton artillery includes about 700 pieces of all qualities at the end of the fifteenth century, including pieces of strongholds and outdated pieces; on the battlefield, it is lower than its french counterpart.

Few noble Bretons joined this army, and some even took up arms in the royal army (As usual, these bastards wanting to keep their pensions paid by the children of Louis XI).

This army faces the royal army of 10,000 men including 12 Swiss infantry enseignes (4,000 men), 25 French compagnies d'ordonnance, 200 archers of the french royal guard, plus the arrière-ban of Normandy and 700 to 800 crossbowmen.

It is commanded by Louis II de la Trémoille.

Among the knights of the king's army, there are also Breton nobles including Viscount Jean II de Rohan ,a bastard wanting to keep his pension paid by the children of Louis XI.

Royal artillery was the most powerful in Europe at the time.

Rieux has put on 1,000 Bretons francs-archers hiccup adorned with a red cross of the English archers.

The left wing and vanguard of the ducal army is commanded by Marshal des Rieux; the center is led by Alain d'Albret, with the artillery behind (on the right flank during the battle) and the cavalry.

The royal troops arrive on the battlefield in small dispersed groups, with in the vanguard Adrien de l'Hospital, the main body led by La Tremoille, and the rear guard by Marshal Baudricourt.

On the "conspiratorial side", the Duke of Orleans, Lord Scales, and the Prince of Orange fight on foot with their men to cheer them up.

The battle begins with an exchange of artillery, which starts the forces on both sides.

The Breton army waits until 14:00 pm for the Royal Army to set up, but before it has finished holding its council of war, the attack is launched with a charge on the right flank of troops royal.

This charge succeeded in driving the royal ranks strongly, to the cry of Saint Samson (saint of the day).

The Trémoille leads the offensive in the middle of the battle, and creates a rift in the Breton front.

As in most medieval battles, the decisive moment is less than a quarter of an hour away.

The rear guard remains behind.

The fault is immediately exploited by the royal artillery and a charge of the Italian cavalry led by Jacomo Galeotta.

De Rieux and Albret flee, one to Dinan, the other to Rennes.

It is then the massacre, no request for mercy for ransom being accepted, neither on the field of battle nor during the pursuit which follows.

During the battle that lasted four hours, 7 to 8,000 fighters remain on the moor of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier against 1,500 in the royal camp.

As Leon Le Meur writes, "The Battle of Saint-Aubin sounded the death knell of Breton independence."

Don Sebastian16 Jan 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

Paskal, what is the source of all this information about the armies?

Herce Salon de Guerre16 Jan 2019 6:23 p.m. PST

I have walked the field a number of times and conduct a tour of the battlefield then return to wargame the battle at our Maison.

a simple list from my Research

Breton Army
Vangaurd
2400 Breton companies of prescription; mounted MAA (600) and 1500 Archers, 300 Infantry
1700 levy foot militia
440 English Archers (Lord Scales)

Main body
2500 Gascon and Bearn Mercenary Crossbow and foot
1000 Castillion and Aragonese infantry (Alain de Albrecht)
840 German Landsknecht pike (Bavarian and Saxon)
1000 Breton companies of prescription Archers and foot
3 Culverne

Rear guard (Lord Chateaubriant)
2000 mounted and light cavalry

11840 men

Royal army of 11000 men

12 Swiss infantry bands (3000 pike and Halberd)
25 companies of prescription 4000 MAA (1200 mounted) & archers
200 archers of the royal guard
3000 back-ban of Normandy Archers, Pike and halberd (based on the swiss model)
700 Gascon crossbowmen
4 Large couleuvrines (culvernes) (100 artillery crew)
1 demi-culverin

reargaurd Duc de Alencon
(not in the battle and may of been still in Fougeres)
1000 Swiss
3000 back-ban of Normandy Archers, Pike and halberd (based on the swiss model)
2200 Anjou-Maine companies of prescription


Memoirs of Calmette et Durville
letters of Charles VIII of France
Histoire des faicts, gestes et conquestes des roys de France Paul Emile
The Valois: Kings of France 1328-1589 By Robert Knecht
plus a few more reference documents from Châteaubriant, Laval, Rennes and Fougeres

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2019 11:43 p.m. PST

@ Don Sebastian

Bibliographie :

Collectif, L'État breton Éditions, t. 2, Morlaix, Skol Vreizh, coll. « Histoire de la Bretagne et des pays celtiques », 1966.

Philippe Contamine et Jacques Garnier (dir.), « Bataille de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier », dans Dictionnaire Perrin des guerres et batailles de l'histoire de France, Paris, Perrin, 2004.

Jérôme Cucarull, « Identité et commémoration. La constitution d'un lieu de mémoire Breton : la bataille de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier (XVIe – XXe siècles) », Annales de Bretagne et des pays de l'Ouest, vol. tome 106, no 4,‎ 1999, p. 99-127 (lire en ligne [archive]).

Georges Minois, Anne de Bretagne, Paris, Fayard, 1999, 571 p. (ISBN 9782213603346 et 2213603340).

Philippe Tourault, Anne de Bretagne, Paris, Perrin, 1990.

Collectif d'universitaires des universités de Brest, Nantes, Rennes, Toute l'histoire de Bretagne, dans l'Île de Bretagne et sur le continent, Morlaix, Skol-Vreizh, 1996, 800 p.

Jean Kerhervé, L'État breton aux XIVe et XVe siècles, vol. 2, Maloine, 1987 (ISBN 2-22401703-0 et 2-224-01704-9).

Arthur fr La Borderie, Histoire de la Bretagne, 6 volumes in-quarto, Rennes, Plihon Éditeur, Imprimerie Vatar, 1905-1914.

Jean-Pierre Legay et Hervé Martin, Fastes et malheurs de la Bretagne ducale 1213-1532, Rennes, Éditions Ouest-France Université, 1982, 435 p.

Antoine Dupuy, Histoire de l'union de la Bretagne à la France, vol. 2, Paris, Librairie Hachette, 1880, 447 p et 501 p.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2019 12:43 a.m. PST

@ Herce Salon de Guerre

This would give us:

Breton Army: 11880 men without the gunners and three pieces of artillery.

Breton vanguard:

2400 men from Breton Ordonnance Companies; 600 Men-At-Arms and 1500 Mounted Archers (with longbows,Archers fighter on foot but moving on horseback), 300 Infantrymen (with crossbows?)

1700 Bretons Militiamen (Breton Francs-Archers with longbows?)

440 English Mounted Archers ( Ordered by Lord Scales.Archers fighter on foot but moving on horseback, they were 300 in Dinan and after the ambush, they are 440?)

Total 4540 men?

Battle :

2500 Gascon and Bearn Foot Crossbowmen and Mercenaries (Which weapons for those who do not have crossbows? How many of each type of these infantrymen?)

1000 Castillion and Aragonese Infantrymen (Alain de Albrecht) (What weapons for them that do not have crossbows?)

840 German Landsknecht Pikemen (Bavarian and Saxon) (No handguns or crossbows, no halberds and espadons?)

1000 Archers (Archersfighter on foot but moving on horseback) and Infantrymen from the Breton Ordonnance Companies(How many archers? How many Infantrymen with crossbows?)

3 Culverines (Big artillery, how many servants?)

Total 5340 men without gunners?

Rear-guard (Lord Chateaubriant):

2000 Mounted and Light Cavalry (Feudal Troops ? How much of each type?)

Total 2000 men?

French Royal army: of 11000 men and five artillery pieces.

Vanguard and Battle:

3000 Swiss Pikemen and Halberdiers in 12 infantry bands (No Handgunner or Crossbowen?)

25 French Ordonnance Companies (1200 Men-At-Arms and 2800 Mounted Archers with longbows,Archers fighter on foot but moving on horseback)

200 Archers of the Royal Guard (French guards? Archers fighter on foot but moving on horseback ?)

3000 Archers of the Arrière-Ban of Normandy(only with Pikemen and Halberdiers on the Swiss model?)

700 Gascon Crossbowmen

4 Large Culverins with 100 artillery crew.
1 Half-Culverin (artillery crew?)


Total 2000 men?

rearguard Duc de Alencon (not in the battle and may be still in Fougeres):

1000 Swiss (Pikemen and Halberdiers with handgun or crossbows or is it the Handgunners and Crossbowmen of the 12 Swiss bands mentioned above?)

3000 Archers of the Normandy Arrière-Ban (only with Pikemen and Halberdiers on the swiss model?)

2200 Cavalrymen from the Anjou-Maine Companies d'Ordonnance (660 Men-At-Arms and 1540 Mounted Archers with longbows?Archers fighter on foot but moving on horseback ?)

Griefbringer17 Jan 2019 2:26 a.m. PST

I have to admit that I am not familiar with this battle, but based on the descriptions of the sides involved it looks like it would make for a very colourful battle on the tabletop with all the different contingents.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2019 10:09 a.m. PST

Yes I think it's the same armor as during the end of the war of the two roses, except that the poor little duchy Breton fights for his existence against the French giant so powerful that he will then endure eleven wars of italy and eight wars of religion in 104 years without flinching, also as Leon Le Meur writes, "The Battle of Saint-Aubin sounded the death knell of Breton independence."

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