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June 12, 1429: Joan Of Arc Comes Onto The Scene

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On June 12, 1429, Joan of Arc achieved her first offensive military victory, winning a battle near the small town of Jargeau on the southern bank of the Loire River in central France.

By the end of 1428, writes historians, “the English and their allies from the Burgundian faction had occupied almost all of France North of the Loire River. Many strategic points along the Loire had also been seized, and Orléans, the last maajor city on the river, had been under siege since October of that year (1428). If the English had been able to secure complete control of the Loire valley, the southern part of France, the last remaining position of the Dauphin would be open to invasion.

In early March 1429, Joan of Arc arrived at Chinon to meet with Charles VII and, after being examined by church officials in Poitiers, joined a large force which set out to relieve the siege at Orléans. This operation proved successful as the siege was lifted by May 9.

Following the lifting of the siege of Orléans, Charles VII’s forces spent the next month or so recruiting and growing in strength for the next phase of military operations. In early June, at a meeting of French military leaders in the presence of Charles VII, it was decided to pursue a strategy of clearing the Loire River valley of English troops. The Bridge at Orleans had been destroyed by the English at the end of the siege. The other bridges on the Loire (including Jargeau) were in English hands. The army was assembled at Orléans where Joan rejoined them on June 9. That same day, they departed for Jargeau.”

The battle began when the French laid siege to Jargeau. The English initially resisted the French assault, but the arrival of Joan of Arc and her soldiers turned the tide of the battle. The French breached the town’s walls and eventually captured it, securing a major victory over the English, propelling Joan of Arc to fame.

Joan’s leadership and military tactics were instrumental in securing the French victory. It also marked the beginning of a series of French victories against the English, eventually leading to their removal from France altogether.

The battle was not without its casualties, however. Both sides suffered significant losses, and many soldiers on both sides were killed or injured.

Today, the Battle of Jargeau is remembered as a pivotal moment in the Hundred Years’ War and to this day is still celebrated across France.

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