The Free Companies were one of the worst side effects of the Hundred Years War. They were bands of mercenary troops, often of mixed nationality, who took control of large areas of France, often from an occupied castle. From their base, they would raid and pillage the local countryside and caused great destruction, particularly during periods of peace, when their numbers were swelled by suddenly un-needed troops. The Free Companies only disappeared with the end of the war.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (31 August 2000), Free Companies, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_freecompanies.html