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Thread: a question about horse archer training

  1. #1
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default a question about horse archer training

    hi,

    So I figured I'd put this to the wider EB forum community, and ask the following questions, so as to at least get more historical information on their efficacy:

    1-how were horse archers trained in the period?

    2-what were the standards of accuracy and speed expected of them? how did they vary from place to place? bear in mind these were days before stirrups, when a man could just stand on his stirrups to shoot. And how were these standards translated to the battlefield?

    3-what do we know about the power of the bows from the time, and their effective range? by the former I mean poundage, and latter, I mean the range at which a horse archer would consider his shot worth trying. I read on the Comitatus website that a composite bow had a poundage at the time of no greater than 80 pounds draw the range being 60-80 pounds pull), and was wondering if it was possible to go higher or be more efficient.

    I would be happy for sources on this as well, preferably ones easy to obtain.

    finally, as it is relevant to EBII: what are the plans to implement these facts on the matter? I know that in EB I, horse archers were (arguably) overpowered: perhaps this is avoidable in the next version?

    thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Ibrahim; 02-22-2014 at 09:39.
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    ΤΑΞΙΑΡΧΟΣ Member kdrakak's Avatar
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    Default Re: a question about horse archer training

    1), 2) Horse archery skills came from living, not training for the Steppe peoples. As for sedentary people they probably used nomads in their armies as mercenaries or incorporated them into service (because that's what makes sense as possibilities). There were Bactrian horse archers in EB though they are not attested for anywhere in the sources as far as I am aware. This should not be dismissed as an unhistorical slip on the EB team part. It makes perfect sense.

    Edward Luttwak's "The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire" explains how the roman (byzantine) armies made the switch to HA following the Hunnic devastation. Training and composite bow specifications are to be found there, though they pertain to the asymmetrical composite bow IIRC. In EB time-frame the nomad's composite bow is symmetrical. This was prior to the advent of stirrups. In the book you can also read a lot on later periods and new elements (stirrups, lance straps on the back) introduced to the west via Constantinople by the Avars.
    While the discussion ranges over a very wide time period, the basics are pretty much the same. Just read how Odysseus strings his bow (a gift) after all the suitors have failed.
    All in all it's very interesting stuff.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: a question about horse archer training

    I doubt horse archers were OP in EB especially how all the missiles got nerfed greatly compared to vanilla and many other mods. Then most units have vastly improved defense and many got huge armor buffs.

    The one thing that did make them powerful in game was cantabrian circle.

    If given the choice I would take 8 fast cavalry and the rest be Roman heavy infantry and just cover the whole map in a melee rush. (Phalangites are good too as heavy cavalry can't do anything head on against them)
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    COYATOYPIKC Senior Member Flatout Minigame Champion Arjos's Avatar
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    Default Re: a question about horse archer training

    Iirc asymmetrical bows, with stiffeners, already existed in our time-frame. Some had been found in the Lake Baikal area, they had been termed Hunnic, but possibly already spread to other parts of Eurasia way before the 4th century CE...
    BTW about stirrups, it is unclear whether the Avars imported them or actually invented them in Europe. Nevertheless leather loops or socks already existed in several places and EB's timeframe :)
    Last edited by Arjos; 02-22-2014 at 17:53.

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    ΤΑΞΙΑΡΧΟΣ Member kdrakak's Avatar
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    Default Re: a question about horse archer training

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Iirc asymmetrical bows, with stiffeners, already existed in our time-frame. Some had been found in the Lake Baikal area, they had been termed Hunnic, but possibly already spread to other parts of Eurasia way before the 4th century CE...
    BTW about stirrups, it is unclear whether the Avars imported them or actually invented them in Europe. Nevertheless leather loops or socks already existed in several places and EB's timeframe :)
    The Hunnic bow had been a big surprise for late Romans according to the sources, since it could penetrate shield and armor at a range that was previously considered safe. An asymmetrical bow allows for a longer draw which may account for this change in effectiveness. If it existed, I imagine it must have been a less powerful version or unknown in the west.
    As for the invention of stirrups, lance straps and the like the they are all referred to as being of the Avar arsenal, which the Byzantines adopted. This does not negate what you say but it's the only written source related evidence that I am aware of.
    It's hard to really know isn't it?
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