I doubt it is necessary to quote examples to prove that, (as in other periods of history, unfortunately), conquering armies in Medieval and Early Modern times, say circa 500 AD – 1700, sometimes committed rape. This question is not when wartime rape actually happened but about writings of the time showing society’s attitudes to it, so fictional literature of the time as well as historical and other factual works are relevant.
In Shakespeare’s play ‘Henry V’, written in the sixteenth century depicting historical events from the fifteenth century. In Act 3, Scene 3, King Henry, who is supposed to be the hero of the play, so his attitude is probably meant to be acceptable for the time, pursuing a claim to the Crown of France, is besieging the town of Harfleur. He warns the citizens to surrender while his army is still under his discipline. Otherwise, if his men have to go through the dangers of fighting their way into the fortified town they will no longer be in any mood to be controlled and Henry cannot be responsible for what they do:
What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause, If your pure maidens fall into the hand Of hot and forcing violation? What rein can hold licentious wickedness When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
… in a moment look to see The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters…
At this, the citizens surrender, and Henry orders ‘Use mercy to them all’
I take this to show Henry (and presumably therefore Shakespeare and his audience):
do not approve of it, but regard it as impossible to prevent, that the English army, forced to capture the town by storm, and probably having been away from women for a long time, will run amok and among other crimes rape many of the French girls there.
would if militarily necessary order the storming of Harfleur knowing that this will happen, and to use the threat of it to make the townsmen surrender.
-Henry suggests that if that happens it will not be his fault but the leading citizens’, for not having the sense to surrender. However, probably even by the standards of those days, it would be a very rough justice for Harfleur’s virgins to suffer rape as punishment for the folly of their fathers.
Were these the general attitudes? Did other Medieval / Early Modern writers e.g. condemning wartime rape, calling for it to be prevented / punished, even condoning or excusing it?