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The Battle of Bauge

According to Wikipedia the Battle of Bauge was a decisive battle in liberating France from England during the one hundred years war. Apparently the battle was won by a five thousand strong Franco-Scots army, though nowhere does the article go in to such minute detail as to be clear up on how much of this Franco-Scots army was made up of Scots.

Battle of Bauge, Wikipedia

The Battle of Baugé, fought between the English and a Franco-Scots army on 22 March 1421 at Baugé, France, east of Angers, was a major defeat for the English in the Hundred Years' War.

5000 strong Scottish army

As the article continues, the editor does drop Franco-Scots army in favour of Scottish army, though considering earlier in the article it was a 5000 strong Franco-Scots army, it might give the impression that this is a mistake, or even slight political bias.

Background, Wikipedia

On Easter Saturday, one of these foraging groups captured a Scots man-at-arms who was able to provide the Duke of Clarence with intelligence on the 5000 strong Scottish army.

Question

Given the historic and extremely competitive love hate relationship between England and Scotland it might be interesting to know exactly how many of this Franco-Scots army was made up of Scots?

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  • Good question. When I first looked at it I thought it must be Scots for 'Battle of the Bulge' :D
    – Ne Mo
    Oct 7 '21 at 11:31
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Short Answer

The available evidence strongly suggests that the Franco-Scottish army at Bauge was primarily made up of Scots, probably in the region of 4,000 to 5,000 with perhaps slightly more than 1,000 French.


Details

The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet give only numbers for casualties, while the chronicles of Jean Le Fevre and Jean de Wavrin state only that the English were outnumbered two-to-one by the 'daulphinois' (i.e. Scots and French). However, the composition of the Franco-Scottish army can be tentatively deduced from the fact that Scots were the mainstay of the anti-English forces at the time.

A Scottish army of around 6,000 sent to France in 1419 under the Earls of Buchan and Wigton. These were split up, with some being used in garrisons while the bulk were in the field. Further recruits arrived the following year; how many exactly is unknown, but they were fewer in number than the original force. The only other forces available to the French Dauphin (the future Charles VII) at the time were those of Gilbert Motier de La Fayette, who had only around 1,000 men, and an unknown but small number of recent local recruits. The French Dauphin's recruitment efforts were hampered by a lack of funds, which accounts for the Scots being the mainstay of his forces at the time.

As for the battle itself, two noted academics for the period have come up with roughly the same estimates:

Buchan’s Scots were accompanied by a smaller French force commanded by Gilbert de Lafayette, a well-known figure who had already made a name for himself as the defender of Falaise and Lyon. They were joined on their way by fresh recruits raised locally in Anjou and Maine including the celebrated routier captain La Hire. In all, there must have been between 4,000 and 5,000 Scots and about 1,000 French troops.

Source: Jonathan Sumption, 'The Hundred Years War, vol IV: Cursed Kings' (2015)

Juliet Barker, in Conquest: The English Kingdom in France, 1417-1450, also gives a figure of 4,000 Scots:

On 22 March 1421 his [English King Henry V] brother and heir, Clarence, to whom he had given supreme military command in France during his absence, had unexpectedly intercepted a newly arrived contingent of four thousand Scots at Baugé in Anjou.

Evidence relating to the aftermath of the battle further suggests that the Scots formed the large majority of the Dauphin's army at Bauge; it was the Scottish commanders who were rewarded by the Dauphin and the Scots held most of the English prisoners, profiting greatly from ransoms paid by the English:

If the Scottish chronicles are to be believed, the French tried to steal the glory of victory from the Scots and were only found out when it became clear that the latter had the majority of the prisoners; Charles is reputed to have scolded his nobles for having described the Scots as "Mangeurs de moutons et sacs de vin" in the past. Certainly the profits flowed to the Scottish leaders.

Source: B. G. H. Ditcham, 'The employment of foreign mercenary troops in the French royal armies 1415-1470' (PhD thesis, 1978)

Note that it's hard to pin down precise numbers for most battles during the Hundred Years War; even the size of the armies of more famous ones such as Agincourt and Crecy are much disputed. Chroniclers often disagreed on numbers, if they stated them at all.

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