Joan of Arc's Attempt to Liberate Paris
This beautiful statue of Joan of Arc is located at Place des Pyramides in Paris. Unfortunately, Joan herself never saw more than the outside walls of Paris as the attempt she made to liberate the city on September 8, 1429, ended in failure. This was Joan’s first military defeat however the circumstances that led to the failure at Paris were clearly not her fault. Perhaps the biggest factor was the delay caused by the King in launching the assault on Paris after Charles VII had been crowned King on July 17, 1429.
If Joan and her army had been allowed to immediately march upon Paris after the coronation they most likely would have gained an easy victory as there were only a small number of Burgundian troops guarding the city at that time. Instead of immediately marching to Paris, Charles hesitated and agreed upon several worthless treaties with Burgundy promising peace. The delay allowed the Burdundians the time they needed to strengthen their defenses and obtain re-inforcements from the English. Such delays in military history have usually proven to be extremely costly e.g., Napolean at Waterloo, Germans with Operation Barbarosa, Confederate Army at Gettysburg to name few.
As for Joan, she did everything she could to lead her army to victory at Paris despite the long odds created by the inexcusable actions of her King. She personally led the assault and kept her troops fighting hard all day in an effort to overcome the great walls of the city. Just after sunset Joan was wounded in her thigh by a bolt from a crossbow. Lying wounded she pleaded with her troops and commanders to continue the assault but they carried her to the rear against her wishes and the assault ended. Joan wanted to renew the assault the next day but orders from Charles VII arrived that no further attempt should be made to take Paris and the army was withdrawn several days afterwards. Joan once stated on the march to the coronation at Reims that she “feared only treachery.” It was ultimately the treachery she had feared and not the enemy that defeated Joan at Paris.
"By my staff, the place would have been taken."
This Article by Ben D. Kennedy was originally posted at http://saint-joan-of-arc.blogspot.com