On August 26, Philip’s army attacked. The Genoese crossbowmen led the assault, but they were soon overwhelmed by Edward’s 10,000 longbowmen, who could reload faster and fire much further. The crossbowmen then retreated and the French mounted knights attempted to penetrate the English infantry lines. In charge after charge, the horses and riders were cut down in the merciless shower of arrows. At nightfall, the French finally withdrew. Nearly a third of their army lay slain on the field, including Philip’s brother, Charles II of Alencon (1297-1346); his allies King John of Bohemia (1296-1346) and Louis of Nevers (1304-46); and some 1,500 other knights and esquires. Philip was wounded but survived. English losses were considerably lower.
The battle marked the decline of the mounted knight in European warfare and the rise of England as a world power. From Crecy, Edward marched on to Calais, which surrendered to him in 1347.