The Battle of Nancy! (The Town, not the Lady)

05 Jan 2022
by Samuel Taylor

On this day, the 5th of January 1477, the last battle of the Burgundian Wars was fought outside Nancy, France. It pitched the Duke René II of Lorraine (famous for their quiches) against Charles the Bold and his Burgundian State (famous for their burgundy wine).

Now they weren't fighting over whose foodstuffs were better (although they were French so maybe), but rather Burgundy and its counties were resisting the expansion of the Swiss Confederacy and their allies.

Three battles were fought over three years, but finally it ended in 1477 with our titular combat.

Charles was attempting to retake Nancy from René, and was encamped outside the walls in siege. René arrived in the morning of the 5th, his large army bolstered by a Swiss army retinue.

Despite a strong defensive position, and plenty of field guns, Charles was overcome by numbers and harsh wintry conditions. He was surrounded, and his army broke and took to flight.

It's said that a small band of Swiss troops managed to engage Charles and his staff, with a quick strike from a Swiss halberd to Charles' head finishing him off.

Even with the commander dead, the battle remained ongoing, until eventually his army fully broke into retreat. It took 3 days for his body to be identified.

Burgundy became a part of France shortly after. A couple cathedrals were built, and René called it a job well done.