EU4: How To Beat England as FranceThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
As France, you can easily crush the English with your superior army size.
However, you can’t fully annex England in one war, especially if they’ve conquered territory in Ireland. You’ll need to do it in three phases:
- The first phase for recovering Normandy and Gascony
- The second for establishing beachheads on the British Isles
- The third for finally finishing off the English
Step 1: Set England as a rival.
This gives you:
- +25% Spy Network Construction Speed in England
- +25% Prestige from winning battles against them
It also increases your Power Projection for doing actions against them, such as:
- Annexing provinces: +0.5 per development
- Insulting: +5 for a regular insult or +10 for a scornful one
- Embargoing: +1–10 depending on your impact on their trade
- Declaring war: +10
Power Projection gives benefits to all aspects of your nation. Its military are:
- +0.1% Fort Defense per point
- +0.1% Army Morale
- +0.1% Navy Morale
- +1 Leader starting at 25 Power Projection
- +1 to all mana starting at 50 Power Projection
Step 2: Dissolve your alliance with Provence.
They usually get excommunicated by the Pope at the start. This gives you the “Excommunicated Ruler” CB against them.
You’ll also free up one of your Diplomatic Relation Slots, which is better spent on Castille or Burgundy.
You can also get permanent claims on most of Provence from your mission tree.
Step 3: Ally Scotland.
One of your missions requires that a British nation that’s not England or Britain has:
- At least a total of 70 Development
- At least 100 Opinion of France
Scotland is already guaranteed by France at the start. They also already have more than 70 Development. You just need to improve your relations with them.
Following this mission branch rewards you with claims on every British province held by England.
Lastly, allying Scotland is crucial for completing Phase 2 of your campaigns against the English.
Step 4: Build a spy network in Brittany and fabricate claims on their lands.
The first in the aforementioned mission branch is to fully annex Brittany. You’ll need claims on their provinces to attack them.
Fabricate claims cost 20 Spy Network Strength. Each existing claim increases that by +5.
You can get a +25% spy network construction speed by toggling your merchant to do “Hostile Trading” in the Bordeaux trade node.
Step 5: Build a spy network in England.
This increases the effectiveness of your sieges. Each spy network point is equal to +0.2% siege ability.
You may also assign your other merchant to do “Hostile Trading” in the English Channel trade node.
However, you won’t get that much trade income yet until you’ve reconquered Normandy and invested in its trade centers.
Step 6 (Optional): Try to get a royal marriage with Burgundy.
You can potentially get Burgundy as a junior partner by winning the “Burgundian Inheritance”. The odds of this incident lean toward France.
You only need a royal marriage and at least 100 Opinion with Burgundy.
If you do get a personal union over Burgundy, this will complete the mission that rewards you with a permanent claim on Calais.
Step 7 (Optional): Ally Castille and ask for military access.
England and Portugal are allies, while Castille will usually rival England.
If you ally Castille, you’ll get vision on most of Iberia. You‘ll be able to see if there’s an enemy army coming from the south.
Once you’ve gained 10 favors with Castille, you can also ask them to join your war.
Step 1: Reorganize your armies to fit your generals’ skills. Position them around Normandy.
You start with a couple of two-star generals:
|Jean de Dunois||4||3||3||1||n/a|
|Jean Bureau||4||4||1||3||+15% Siege Ability|
Assign Jean Bureau to an army of 7 infantry regiments. If they’re sieging a level 3 fort, temporarily give them more infantry to bring them up to 10 regiments. These are the recommended numbers for sieges, which this unit will mostly be doing.
The rest can be led by Jean de Dunois. Recruit more infantry for him so that his cavalry won’t get the “lack of support” penalty.
Step 2: Set your vassals’ war focus to “Supportive”.
This determines how your subjects will act in war. You can do this in the Subjects tab.
Step 3: Toggle the “Allow Attach” on your main army.
This allows your vassals’ armies to link up with yours. You and your vassals have a total of around 46 regiments at the start.
Use this numerical advantage to overwhelm your enemy.
Step 1: Grant privileges to your estates. The recommended ones are:
- “Religious State”
- “Monopoly on Wool”
- “Religious Diplomats”
- “French Strong Duchies” [Already granted at the start]
- “Primacy of the Nobility”
- “Monopoly on Livestock”
Tip: Reserve the fourth slot for the “Nobility Integration Policy”. This makes it -5% cheaper to peacefully annex your vassals, which becomes possible at 1454.
- “Land of Commerce”
- “Patronage of the Arts”
You can also grant the “Indebted to the Bourgeoisie”. This gives you five 1% loans. You may need that cash to hire advisors or mercenaries.
Step 2: Seize land to get 5% crown land.
Don’t be afraid of the penalties from having low crown land. You’ll get more from annexing provinces.
Step 3: Hire advisors.
France has three prospects that are -50% cheaper. Two of them are admin advisors, while the third is a diplomatic advisor. However, they’re relatively old and have a high chance of passing away.
For your military advisor, prioritize the ones who give these bonuses if they’re available:
- +5% Discipline
- +10% Army Morale
- +10% National Manpower
- +20% Fort Defense
Step 1: As soon as it’s December 11, 1444, declare war on England using the “Reconquest” casus belli.
You can also wait for the “Surrender of Maine” event, where England will declare war on you with the “Hundred Years War” CB.
Since this is a defensive war, your allies will automatically join you.
The downside to this is that this event may take 12 months to trigger.
Step 2: Set your war target as Maine and quickly occupy it.
You’ll get the +1 ticking war score for each month you control Maine. You can get up to 25 war score from this.
Step 3: Siege Caen and the surrounding provinces.
Keep track of the English army’s location. They’ll have at least a total of 29 regiments, but they’ll usually be split into two armies.
If they’re attacking from the south, you can leave your siege force on Caen and have your main army intercept the English.
Set the “Defensive” edict on forts that are besieged. This adds +33% Fort Defense, which’ll slow down the siege.
If the English are hidden behind the fog of war, keep your main army close to your siege force. They may get wiped out if England tries to ferry troops into Caen.
You may also want to detach 7 regiments to siege Calais, which is nearby.
Step 4: Once Caen and Calais fall, go for Gascony next.
Be careful when sieging Labourd. It’s a woodland province, which has a -2 combat penalty for you if you get attacked there.
Step 5: After Gascony, strike fast into Portugal.
You can get Portugal to drop out of the war by capturing Lisboa and a few surrounding provinces.
If you want to take a province (which is a good idea), detach pairs of regiments from your main army. Use them to carpet siege Portugal.
You don’t need to occupy Ceuta. Focus on Portugal’s capital states.
Tip: Aveiro and Coimbra are reasonable provinces to annex. They’ll extend your colonial range for when you want to start colonizing the Americas later.
Step 6: Negotiate a peace deal with England.
You need around 68 war score to demand the return of Normandy and Gascony. Once you’ve reached that, sue for peace.
This results in an 11-year truce with England. Don’t demand for anything else — not even money — if you don’t want the truce to be longer.
During the truce, you’ll want to consolidate your region. Consider doing any of these:
Once you’ve fully annexed them, dismantle any forts in Caen, Finistere, Haut-Poitou, and any grassland province that’s not on your borders.
You can leave Chartres standing until you’ve acquired better forts in the Low Countries.
Build a dock in Finistere. This is part of the mission branch for getting claims on the British Isles.
This specific task rewards you with 5 heavy ships and a shipyard in Finistere.
(Optional) Annex Provence
Your truce with Provence will have ended by now. If they’ve been excommunicated, declare war on them using the “Excommunicated Ruler” CB.
This CB halves the impact to Aggressive Expansion from annexing territory.
(Optional) Annex Picardie
If you didn’t win the “Burgundian Inheritance”, you can try attacking Burgundy and seizing their provinces in Picardie. You need those to get the permanent claim on Calais.
However, this generates a lot of Aggressive Expansion, especially in the HRE. A coalition will most likely band against you.
Step 1: Ask Scotland for military access and fleet basing rights. Ferry your armies across the Channel.
Scotland is Britain’s backdoor. Going through them lets you bypass England’s Royal Navy.
Have your transports land your armies on Roxburghshire or Dumfries. Those’re on the Scottish-English border.
Your vassals can take care of security in the mainland.
If you want, you can leave one regiment behind or hire a mercenary company. Let your vassals attach to that one, and you’ll be able to guide them more effectively.
Step 2: Once your forces have safely arrived in Scotland, declare war on England.
If you’ve been doing your missions, you should already have claims on all of England’s provinces.
Tip: You can also complete the mission during the war with England.
You’ll want to invite Scotland to join this war. Spend favors for this instead of promising them land.
Step 3: Besiege Northumberland.
This is the only fort standing between you and the rest of England. Once this falls, the country will be open to you.
Step 4: Besiege London.
London’s a level 3 fort since it’s their capital. You’ll need a 10-regiment army to siege it.
Taking an enemy capital will give you a lot of war score. Your enemy’s war exhaustion will also rise more rapidly.
High war exhaustion can make them more compliant when negotiating a peace deal.
Step 5 (Optional): Hunt down England’s army.
While you’re sieging London, have your main army seek and destroy the English. Try to pick off stragglers first before engaging the bulk of their army.
After decimating them, you’ll be able to carpet siege the country without interference.
Step 6: Once you have control of London and most of England, sue for peace.
Demand any amount of provinces that your war score allows. Prioritize taking their southern coast.
With those, ferrying troops will become quicker and safer. You won’t need to make a detour to Scotland again.
By the time you reach this phase, you’ve already grown far stronger than England. There’s only one thing left to do.
Use all that you’ve learned for this final task:
Vive la France!