The 1557 War in Picardy and the Battle of Saint-Laurent
by E. Lemaire, H. Courteault, E. Fleury, E. Theillier, E. Eude, L. Dejardin, H. Tausin, and A. Patoux
Translated by G.F.Nafziger
Size: 8.5″ x 11″
Illustrations: 12 B&W
Pages: 69 pages
In 1557 the King of Spain, Philip II, sent an army from the Netherlands into Northern France as part of his ongoing war with Henry II, after the Peace of Crepy-en-Valois, signed in 1544, had been broken. A Spanish army containing a mixed force of Spanish, Flemish, Walloon, and German troops marched south, ravaging their way towards Paris. Standing in their way was the fortified city of Saint-Quentin. Its tiny garrison of about 2,000 troops would face over 40,000 of France’s most powerful enemies. The city was besieged and the bombardment begun when a French relief force arrived and attempted to send in reinforcements. The Battle of Saint-Laurent was a disaster for the French and few of the relief force got into Saint-Quentin. The siege went on unabated and the fate of Saint-Quentin was inevitable. The sacrifice of the city, and Admiral Coligny, its commander, would be immense, but for France it was the equivalent of the 300 Spartans at Thermopoly. The time consumed in taking Saint-Quentin allowed Henry II to rebuild his army and it undercut Philip II’s army by wasting his finances. Saint-Quentin’s valiant sacrifice would save France as had it not held out, Philip II would surely have taken Paris and destroyed the French Kingdon.