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Thread: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

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    Default the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    ok i just read a book on medieval warlords,and on bertrand du guesclin,it says that the longbow was no more powerful than a regular bow,and weaker than a cross bow.now everything else i have read says the longbow had an effective range of 200-300 yards(depending on archer and bow).and in my opinion longbows kick the crap out of a regular bow.it also says that on the continent bow making was more advanced and that some composite bows were available.(never heard anything on that)oh it also said the long bow had an effective range of 60 yrds.(is that true?i dont think it is,but if you disagree please tell me)and that the only reason they cut down the french was because they were massed artillery.(also thought that the archers darted into battle unhindered by heavy armor).basically was the longbow all it was supposed to be?
    (also was the mongols bow more powerful,i have heard that it was,also that it didnt require 150+ pound pull,that would be impossible to do off a rapidly moving horse)
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    The composite bow was better than the longbow. I don't think the longbow is as dire as what your historian says.

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    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Source

    ??

    150 pounds draw?? where did that come from,

    Longbows had a maximum draw between 80 and 110 pounds - maximum

    no longobws from the early medieval period survive,
    five survive from the period to 1513 to 1545 (one is allegdly from 1464)
    All five weapons are remarkably similar and may be said to be typical longbows. They are approximately six feet tall, made of the sap and centrewood of the yew tree, are rough looking, and stiff weapons pulling between 65 and 90 pounds. Given this draw weight, a maximum effective range of approximately 200 yards with a heavy war missile is not unreasonable, especially considering the performance of the present day Royal Scottish Archers of the Queens Scottish Bodyguard.
    the bodkin, now that is another story, while not armour piercing (seriously, it was definately not - the metal used was softer than the armour of the day), the head was shaped to be very hard to remove if it found a chink or gap in the armour,
    horses were not armour plated and were the "weakest" link in a knights defence.

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    Last edited by barocca; 08-01-2005 at 23:13.
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    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Fox
    The composite bow was better than the longbow. I don't think the longbow is as dire as what your historian says.
    source
    The closest weapon in range and strength to the longbow was the crossbow. But, as the battle of Crecy (1346) showed, even the superior Genoese composite crossbow - made of wood, horn, sinew and glue - was no match for the English weapon
    rate of fire more than made up for the small advantage the Genoese crossbow had in range and penetration

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    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    note

    current "English Style" "longbows" are 55 pounders - and a 55 pound bow can be used accurately by teenagers - thirteen and up.
    I had one when i was in High School on the Archery Team

    edit - i was shorter than my bow, and i was not a "strapping lad" either, i was in the first generation of geeks

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    Last edited by barocca; 08-01-2005 at 23:23.
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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    I have always wondered why the composite bow wasnt never really adopted to Europe?While it was a superior weapon and for example key to succes of mongols and other steppe peoples.
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    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    me too,
    i think it took too long to make,

    a master boywer could (after selecting the stave) shape a long bow in under 2 hours,

    it was then taken to a range and "shot" at long range by a skilled archer a few times to test,
    after which it was adjusted and "finished"

    i would imagine the boywer would have been making the next bow during that time,
    thus a completed longbow every 3 hours (allowing an hour for "finishing") per boywer per day

    more if he had apprentices to do the finishing

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Well longbows never really cut down the French. It could be effective against cavalry that didnt have much armour on their horses or against lightly armoured militias.

    In most of the battles the English army was the defender and had prepared the battlefiled with pot holes and ditches to try and break up a cavalry charge. And later on we see the archers having stakes with them to stop the horses. That doesnt sound like they trusted their bows to stop the cavalry did it?

    AFAIK some bows could be 160 pounds draw but that was for the largest men only and therefore rare. I saw one website with one guy actually using such a longbow so it can be done. But most would have been within the 80-110 pounds yes.

    For crossbows it takes a very high draw to get higher velocity than a good bow so you wouldnt really see a big range difference between the medium strength crossbows and a longbow.

    At Crecy the rain might have had an effect on the crossbow strings but we also know they wouldnt have had that good morale as they were forced to go forward against their commander's wish.

    Even the number of crossbowmen are in doubt. The number of 6,000 that is mentioned several times is AFAIK just the average of 2,000 to 10,000 that is mentioned by different sources. Numbers used in other battles range from IIRC 1,500 to 2,500 so I find it interesting how the French suddenly could gather so many crossbow mercs at Crecy.

    But anyway, the Italian commander mentions the English shooting three times faster and the French didnt like how the Italians routed so quick, hanging a few after the battle for treason. Outnumbered, tired, wet and not really believing in what they were doing and you have a quick rout but not a good test between two different types of missile weapons.


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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by kagemusha
    I have always wondered why the composite bow wasnt never really adopted to Europe?While it was a superior weapon and for example key to succes of mongols and other steppe peoples.
    Supposedly composite bows dont last long in our more wet climate. But it would also have been expensive to make and I actually doubt its so much more superior to be worth it. Afterall the composite bow is a short bow which is good for horse archers but doesnt matter that much for foot archers.

    It is better of course and the composite design was used for crossbows as the short staves used on crossbows gives the composite design a good advantage as it can keep the strength longer as well as giving a faster velocity that normal wooden crossbows were bad at.


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    agitated Member master of the puppets's Avatar
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    Talking Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    i have a composite and a long bow. i could say that the composite (a recurved not pulley system as some are) is much more accurate and easier to draw. the longbow i own is a medieval style and has around a 100lb draw, i have fired arrows (that i am willing to lose) up to and over 250 yards. they both have roughly the same penetrating power.

    these are just mine of course (both made of plastic) but from what i've seen using them i could tell you that a longbow would be great for peppering a distant enemy from safely behind you lines while the composite is for striking down single enemies at reletively close range. so i believe that you may deduce the best usage of each.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Oaty's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    60 yards was the range at wich they became deadly, wich would probably be what the author was referencing. Since the English were big on archers they probably had vast amounts of arrows, wich allowed them to release them at an ineffective range.

    150 pound pull! Although there might have been a few rare models that were that strong it would have been a very rare exception and not the norm. Plus there would have been only a few seasoned archers that could effectively use a bow at that strength. @ 110 pounds I can never pull the string back more than 4 times after that I'm too worn.
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    If I just could find that website again. The guy was 6 foot something and not skinny heh

    Edit: voila! http://www.primitivearcher.com/pages...es/warbow.html easy to find when I just open my eyes...


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    Last edited by CBR; 08-02-2005 at 03:10.

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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Okay, my two cents. Firstly, right, 60 yards was the deadly armour-penetrating range. Further than that you could be pincushioned (accounts of the Longbow battles in France mentioned that all French corpses on the field were pierced through with arrows) but unless it hit a chink the arrow would not be lethal.

    As to the 150 pound draw, it is entirely possible that most yeomen then could do it, as at that time the longbow was almost the national weapon, and it was a common activity to shoot longbows. I remember reading somewhere in a book about the Hundred Years that skeletons of yeomen from that era were found by forensics to have right arms significant shorter (the difference in inches) from the left (or the other way around, I remember not) and the shorter arm had significantly greater bone density indicating that huge forces were working it on it. That was what a 150-pound pull could do to your arm, and it suggests that many more yeomen (to whom shooting longbows were standard practice since that was their raison d'etre) were capable of pulling that sort of weight than possible now, because no one now has two decades to devote to shooting a longbow.

    Experienced yeomen could send off 12 shafts a minute, slightly slower if aimed (Englishmen were no Legolas). But that was highly trained and took many many years of practice and long experience and arm deformation. It was a dedicated thing, whereas the crossbow could simply be taken up by anyone and fired.

    The crossbow was qualitatively a better (or at least, an easier) weapon than the longbow. Its advantages were the much greater lethal range and by extension, greater penetrating power of the crossbow, and its ease of use. Because it made shooting an everyman business, and because it could punch through any chivalric armour sent against it, the Pope outlawed it as a satanic weapon. Simply put, the crossbowmen, if they had kept their bowstrings dry at Crecy, could have taken down the longbowmen from a range that the longbowmen could not equal, and Crecy would have been an English massacre.

    Composite bows were indeed more unsuited for warfare in Europe, and besides, its main value was in mounted warfare, not on foot. Hence since there were no French chivalry archers, it never found its way into Europe in bulk.

    The Longbow battles actually extended the shelf-life of the longbow only by chance. If the crossbows had been working at Crecy, the ascendancy of the crossbow would have begun at that time, rather than much later, because the crossbow was generally better than the longbow.


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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    The Byzantines used those Trebizond Archers.

    Really good, and with a composite bow, they were deadly.
    IMHO, the composite bow was more powerful than a longbow, but it didn't have the same range.
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    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Smile Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Imho the longbow was a revolutionary weapon , and the best in medieval times !

    From the thirteenth until the sixteenth century, the national weapon of the English army was the longbow. It was this weapon which conquered Wales and Scotland, gave the English their victories in the Hundred Years War, and permitted England to replace France as the foremost military power in Medieval Europe. The longbow was the machine gun of the Middle Ages: accurate, deadly, possessed of a long-range and rapid rate of fire, the flight of its missilies was liken to a storm (John Joliffe, trans. Froissat's Chronicle, New York: The Modern Library, 1967 p. 77.)
    Cheap and simple enough for the yeoman to own and master, it made him superior to a knight on the field of battle (O.F.G. Hogg, Clubs To Cannon: Warfare and Weapons Before the Introduction of Gunpower (London: Gerald and Company, Ltd., 1968, p. 31.)
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    The composite bows the Mongols used outranged the English longbow about 100 yards. The penetrating power of the Mongol's bows at a hundred yards more was greater than that of the longbow at a hundred yards less.

    Composite bows were held together by glue made from animals. These did not do well in humid climates, but that had nothing to do with temperature, as the Mongols had no difficulty conquering the various Russian princes in the 1220's-1230's.

    The Mongol's bows I believe shot further than the bows of the same type used by the Islamic kingdoms of that time.

    I think the Chinese were also using the same type of bows the Mongols were using.

    The Mongols used many different types of arrows, for different tactical situations and also for signaling.

    Just some thoughts.....its 2:30am and I'm a bit drunk so I apologize if I am rambling......

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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marquis of Roland

    Just some thoughts.....its 2:30am and I'm a bit drunk so I apologize if I am rambling......
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by caesar44
    Imho the longbow was a revolutionary weapon , and the best in medieval times !
    It can hardly be called a revolutionary weapon as longbows are known to have existed long before the English used them. Vikings used them too for example. But England was the first that used large numbers of archers recruited from the lower classes.

    The longbow itself seems to be a weapon that has been in existance for a very long time and is a simple bow to make. But as its a selfbow it doesnt store and release the energy as effeciently as a composite bow. I dont have numbers in how much better a composite bow but I dont think we are talking about that big a difference but its definitely there.

    The composite bow can also release an arrow faster than a selfbow which is why all the range records have been made with composite bows. These are of course with specially designed and very light arrows using an arrow guide so the arrow itself can actually be shorter than normal.

    The English did indeed win several battles against the French but the system was based on being a defender and worked wonders against a badly disciplined attacker. When the French improved on that it was no longer as easy for the English as battles like Patay, Formigny and Castillion shows.

    In the end the English lost the war against the French and the longbow more or less disappeared on the continent. Lost of English mercs found a job in the Burgundian army but unfortunately for them they faced the Swiss infantry armies that rolled them over.


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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by caesar44
    Imho the longbow was a revolutionary weapon , and the best in medieval times !

    From the thirteenth until the sixteenth century, the national weapon of the English army was the longbow. It was this weapon which conquered Wales and Scotland, gave the English their victories in the Hundred Years War, and permitted England to replace France as the foremost military power in Medieval Europe.
    I'm curious, where did you get the idea that the English conquered Scotland. I always thought that it was was the Scots that won the Wars of Independence.

    Granted that the English, especially during some of Edward I's and Edward III's campaigns, occupied much of the country. But saying that they were conquered is quite laughable really as it was Scottish resistance that repelled them in the end.
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    Boondock Saint Senior Member The Blind King of Bohemia's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Well the majority of battles the Scots faced the English the Scots were often heavily beaten and it was mainly due to the great warbow( It was never known as the Longbow until modern times). I can only think of Bannockburn and Otterburn and a few minor Bruce victories which were achieved by the Scots.

    The Longbow did not help conquer Wales as it was only after Edward the First systematic conquest that large numbers of Welsh Archers were used in his armies and proved deadly against the tightly packed formations of Scottish spearmen ( That is not to say that the best Archers came from Wales as the men of Cheshire and Macclesfield were reknown for the ability)

    The deployment and hardened battle experience of the English and Welsh archers under Charles the Bold was far from the best. The battle of Morat saw only a small number, barely 1/10 of Charles army in the field fortifications and trenches he made and saw them overrun by the Swiss with the Archers between mountain and lake killed with many barely raising their bows. Many of these Archers had been sent over during the lull in the War of the Roses and were no way of the same skill ,experience and ruthless ability of the Archer of the Hundreds Year War.

    The weapon, by no means a new invention, was revolutionary in the sense that England trained huge numbers of Archers who could shoot faster and in more quantity than the French Armies whose firepower mostly came from Crossbowmen of Genoa. Many countries had Archers but didn't have the time to train huge numbers of them. An experienced Welsh or English Archer in France could fire up to twelve to sixteen arrows for every two or three crossbow bolt which answers in it self how devasting the weapon was in trained hands. Most HYW Archers would fire their first arrow and have the second and third in the air before the first one hand landed which shows the speed and skill of them.

    The firepower was effective though only when the Archers were in strong numbers so they could produce a rain of arrows, mainly killing the French Knights horses, bringing down a horse was one, putting down the power and mobility of the Knight, a Knight pinned underneath his destrier was an easy target for the dismounted English Men at Arms protecting the Archers. For seconds the dead horses disrupted advances from the attacking enemy, this is clearly seen at Crecy where the flower of French chivalry cut down.

    The Archers were not meant to stop a cavalry charge but meant to add as much arrrows into it to break the power and impact of the charge. The dismounted Knights and Men at Arms were there for the Butchers work and when the Archers quivers were empty they would cut down tired and exhausted enemy to support the infantry units.

    The English battle plan relied on defense, mass archery and all the army dismounted
    Last edited by The Blind King of Bohemia; 08-02-2005 at 13:46.

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    Member Member Rank Bajin's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blind King of Bohemia
    Well the majority of battles the Scots faced the English the Scots were often heavily beaten and it was mainly due to the great warbow( It was never known as the Longbow until modern times). I can only think of Bannockburn and Otterburn and a few minor Bruce victories which were achieved by the Scots.
    Well you are right that the English won the majority of battles during the various Anglo-Scots wars but I am curious that you have discounted other large battles such as Stirling Bridge 1297, Myton 1319, Byland 1322, Otterburn 1388 and Sark 1449, not to mention other several smaller victories I can think of offhand, where the Scots were victorious. Despite England having greater advantages in population, wealth and geograhical position that is not bad going for such an 'arsed-kicked' nation.

    You would be much interested in the Battle of Sark, which is a very maligned battle in English history. Here a large English force consisting of mainly longbowmen got gubbed by a Scottish force consisting of pikemen. Here is an article on it. Enjoy.

    Battle of Sark 1449

    AFTER the burning of Alnwick, a truce for seven years was agreed upon between the two kingdoms; but, owing to the commotions in both, resulting from the weakness of their respective Governments, it was soon broken, the English in this instance being the aggressors. A large body of them, under the command of the younger Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, made an incursion into Annandale, burning several villages, and carrying off all the goods they could lay hands upon. Luckily, Douglas was not far distant from the post of duty and danger. Falling upon the retiring English, he made them accelerate their retreat, and yield up all the spoil with which they were burdened. So far, so well; but Douglas, for reasons of his own, wished to widen the area of the war-field, in order to counteract the coalition formed against him by King James, now aged seventeen, the questionable Crichton, and Kennedy, the patriotic Bishop of St. Andrews. He therefore mustered a large army, and, under the plea of revenging a wrong for which he had already exacted a heavy penalty, entered Cumberland. Not contented with imposing upon it an ordinary amount of punishment, he acted with such merciless severity that it was reduced to the condition of a desert. Not only the barons on the English side of the Border, but the whole nation, felt aggrieved and indignant on account of this ferocious Douglas raid: forgetting how often Dumfriesshire had been gratuitously pillaged by them, and that for one complaint against the Scots, the latter could have preferred fifty against those who were loudly crying for vengeance, and busy preparing to exact it with their might.

    Early in 1449, an army, that has been variously estimated at from 14,000 to 40,000, entered the County by the ordinary passage, and encamped on the banks of the Sark – the little stream that, after forming the boundary line between the kingdoms for a few miles, flows into the Solway. The force, which probably did not exceed 20,000 men in number, was commanded by the Earl of Northumberland and his son, the later anxious to wipe out the disgrace of his defeat in the preceding year. Not encountering any opposition, the invaders began forthwith to pillage and destroy. Whilst so employed, news was brought by their scouts that a Scottish army was advancing, as if for the purpose of giving them battle- information which proved strictly correct, the force from the north being about 12,000 strong, under the leadership of Douglas’s brother, George, Earl of Ormond. The conflict that ensued was, says Chalmers, “one of the greatest fought between two spirited nations, from the engagement at Homildon, in 1402, till the battle fought in Dumfriesshire since the formation of the Scottish monarchy.

    As the Scots drew near, the English recalled their marauding parties, and prepared for the threatened encounter. They had the advantage of choosing their own ground; and, having selected what seemed to be a favouable spot, adjoining their tents, they calmly waited the coming onset. The centre was commanded by the two Percys; the right by one whose valour, bodily strength, and implacable hatred of the Scots, gained for him that distinction – a warrior whom the chroniclers of the period call Magnus Redbeard; while the left, composed chiefly of Welshmen, was entrusted to Sir John Pennington. [Pitscottie.] The centre of Ormond’s force was directed by himself; Herbert, the first Lord Maxwell of Carlaverock [He was twice married: first to a daughter of Sir Herbert Herries of Terregles, by whom he had two sons, Robert, second Lord Maxwell, and Sir Edward Maxwell, from the latter of whom are descended the Maxwells of Linwood and Monteith; and secondly to a daughter of Sir William Seton of Seton, by whom he had, with other issue, George, ancestor of the Maxwells of Carnsalloch, and Adam, of the Maxwells of Southbar.], and Sir Adam Johnstone of Lochwood, led the right wing, in opposition to Sir John Pennington; while Wallace of Craigie, a lineal descendant of the great patriot, conducted the left against the redoubtable Magnus.

    Ormond, we are told, delivered a spirited address to his countrymen, based chiefly on the idea that “thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just.” He prudently said nothing about his brother’s excesses, but dwelt strongly on the fact that the guilt of first breaking the truce lay with their old enemies the English. Justice was on the side of his countrymen; and they might therefore, he said, expect victory to smile upon their efforts. They had their homes to protect, their country’s honour to maintain – considerations which ought to stimulate their valour; and then, if success crowned their bravery, they would cover themselves with glory, and purchase a lengthened peace for the district and the nation. If the leader of the invaders said anything to them, the burden of it would doubtless be revenge for the cruel Douglas raid; but he either was silent, wishing to speak by deeds, and not by words, or there was no reporter in the camp to take down his eloquent address, or chronicler to put one into his mouth worthy of the occasion.

    As usual, most of the Scots were armed with the national weapon – a pike or spear – the length of which was fixed by Parliament at six ells, or eighteen feet six inches. A phalanx so armed was all but invincible. “Standing at defence,” says the author of the “Journal of Somerset’s Expedition,” “they thrust shoulders likewise so nigh together, the fore ranks well nigh kneeling stoop low before, their fellows behind holding their pikes with both hands, and therewith in their left their bucklers, the one end of their pike against their right foot, and the other against the enemy, breast high, their followers crossing their pike’s point with them forward; and thus each with other so nigh as space and place will suffer, through the whole ward, so thick, that as easily shall a bare finger pierce through the skin of an angry hedgehog as any encounter the front of their pikes.”

    Had the Scots at Sark been on the defensive, and attacked hand to hand by the enemy, the pikes would have vindicated the truth of the national motto, as they had often done on former fields: but when Wallace of Craigie marshaled his spearmen, there was no foe within reach; and a shower of missiles was rained down upon them from a distant eminence with irresistible effect. In this ominous way the battle was initiated, and seemed almost on the point of being decided against the Scots. Great gaps were formed in their left wing, which wavered in consequence, and appeared on the verge of being thrown into inextricable confusion – the sure prelude of a general panic and flight.

    It is at a crisis such as this that generalship is invaluable. Wallace possessed military genius worthy of his great ancestor: he apprehended at once the full import of the danger in which, not only his own division, but the whole army, was placed; and he was not slow in devising relief. Addressing his soldiers, he said, “Why do we stand for thus, to be wounded afar off? Follow me, and let us join in hand-strokes, where true valour is only to be seen!” His men were reanimated by this appeal. They had not the passive endurance to enable them to stand much longer the arrow flights that were drinking their hearts’ blood; but they had courage sufficient to assail a host, however numerous or strongly posted.

    The leader’s words were followed by corresponding action. What avail bow and arrow to the gallant English archers, who had so nearly decided the day, now that two thousand Scottish spearmen have crossed the intervening ground, and are grappling in close quarters with their assailants! Magnus the Redbearded stands aghast as he sees his ranks thinned and reeling. Why, when the right wing is decimated and threatened with total ruin, does no supporting force come to it from the centre? Whether it was that the nature of the ground forbade such a movement, or that Northumberland was so engaged in baffling Ormond that he had no men to spare, certain it is the leader of the English right found, to his dismay, that it was doomed to fight and suffer unaided. If the prowess of an individual could have redeemed the fortunes of the field, the superhuman exertions made by Magnus would have accomplished that result. He could not revive the courage of his followers, nor arrest the merciless march of their assailants; but he could die in harness like a dauntless warrior as he was. Surrounded by a few personal adherents, he kept his ground, nay, actually advanced in face of that bristling forest of spears, anxious, it is supposed, to engage in a personal combat with the Scottish chief – a fate which was not vouchsafed to him, as he fell, by some unknown hand, among heaps of slain.

    The overthrow of the right division of the English might not in itself have led to their entire defeat; but when that disaster was followed by the death of Magnus, and both events became known over the entire army, a sore discouragement was the result. It would seem that the fighting on other parts of the field was mere child’s play, as compared with that in which the divisions led by Magnus and Wallace were engaged. The English fully anticipated that their archers would decide the battle in their favour; and being disappointed in this respect, they appear to have lost heart. At all events, they made no adequate effort, in the centre and left, to atone for the loss of the right division and its leader. They fought on doggedly, however, for a while – hopeless of success, yet loath to retire – till, pressed on all sides by the impetuous and exulting enemy, they at length gave way along their whole line. When the general retreat took place, the slaughter in their ranks was terrific. Three thousand of their numbers fell whilst the battle raged, and more than that number perished by the sword of the pursuer, or in the blood-dyed waters of the Sark, on whose banks they had the day before indulged in merry wassail. The Sark, as has been mentioned, is only a small river, but the retreating English found it swollen by the tide, and rushing fierce, like the conquering Scots, as if the latter had been in league with the Solway against the enemies of their nation.

    Many men of rank, including the younger Percy and Sir John Pennington, were made prisoners, together with hundreds of gentlemen and common soldiers. According to Buchanan, the spoil in money, arms, and equipments that rewarded the victors “was greater than ever had been known in any former battle;” and a tradition, still current in the locality, tells of fabulous heaps of gold pieces being found by fortunate rustics on the banks of the Sark, generations after their luckless owners perished by flood or field. In this memorable battle the Scots lost only six hundred men, in addition to the wounded, who may be estimated at three times that number. There was, however, on sad drawback to their triumph – the brave Wallace of Craigie, to whose skill it was chiefly due, having died three months afterwards of wound he received during the heat of the conflict.
    'But I have dreamed a dreary dream
    Beyond the Isle of Skye
    I saw a dead man win a fight
    And I think that man was I.'


    Ballad of the Battle of Otterburn

  22. #22
    Boondock Saint Senior Member The Blind King of Bohemia's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    I didn't point out Stirling Bridge because the Scottish victory occured over the Englsih cavalry and some infantry divisions with hardly any archers getting involved due to fear of hitting their own men.

    Also Myton was a victory over untrained lnfantry levies under the Archbishop of York, hardly no archers were involved. The Bywater was a great victory but by the time the battle had took place poor leadership and errors (not knowing Bruce had concealed 2/3rds of his army) under Richmond caused mass desertions and disease had already decreased the strength of English army.

    The English army tactics were only perfected after the battle of Dupplin Muir in 1332 with the subsequent Halidon Hill in 1333 which was the first staging post for the new English battle plan with no levies, dismounted cavalry and men at arms and mass archers in defensive formations and the apart from the odd victory and fighting successfully in Guerilla campaigns the Scottish armies didn't really have an answer for it.

    I actually mentioned Otterburn in my original post

  23. #23

    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Composite bow supposedly not up to use in damp European climate.....
    It did not seem to adversely affect the Huns. Neither did the Mongols suffer too badly in Eastern Europe and Russia.

    A guy I know used a 160 lb Longbow in a distance shoot and managed 400 odd yards with a 'flight' arrow, much less than distances achieved by composites. Now I have read that early longbows were 80 - 110 lbs draw weight but that later 'rennaissance' ones like those found on the Mary Rose were up to 170lbs. I would have to confirm this first but I would doubt very much that an 80lb longbow would cast a heavy war arrow to a distance of 280 yards. I have seen a guy at Warwick Castle demonstrating the longbow and his was 100lbs. It could cast a normal field type arrow around 150 yards. I know a guy who used to shoot longbow until I introduced him to Mongol and Hun bows. He purchased a Hungarian composite made by Csaba Grozer and he is now considering selling his longbow.

    There is more to the reason why composite bows were superior to self bows besides construction materials, though the materials used are even today, still on a par with materials like carbon fibre. The fish bladder glue is better designed for the purpose than any modern equivalent. The reflex shape was another major factor, creating more stored energy in the strung state. The introduction of Siyahs to the ends of the limbs created a leverage effect, making the draw smooth and easier while at the same time punching out the arrow faster. While these steppe 'horsebows' were short they were not as tiny as those depicted in Angus McBride plates. The Huns used a bow ranging from 52 - 61 inches. That of the Mongols was around the same.

    There is some evidence that some later longbows had reflexed limb tips but by this time they were being phased out by the introduction of firearms

    .....Orda

  24. #24
    robotica erotica Member Colovion's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orda Khan
    He purchased a Hungarian composite made by Csaba Grozer and he is now considering selling his longbow.
    I checked out that guy's site - he makes some beautiful bows
    robotica erotica

  25. #25

    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colovion
    I checked out that guy's site - he makes some beautiful bows
    Yes he does indeed. I must admit to being somewhat envious of my mate, I ordered a basic Hun for my wife and I. That being said, I have absolutely no complaints about the bows, they are stunning and shoot beautifully. My wife is the current British Ladies Traditional Champion, so no complaints there

    .....Orda

  26. #26

    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    I personally wonder to what extent it was the longbowmen rather than the longbow which won the battles. In French eyes, they were basically peasants but it would seem that they were more likely to be professional soldiers. The
    English system of rewards for ransomed prisoners would certainly have given some great incentives for taking that knight that you have made suddenly vunerable by shooting the horse out from under him.

  27. #27
    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    It was a combination of both. Without the longbow you could not have knights being shot down so rapidly and accurately. Without the longbowmen you could never have people who could a) draw the long bow, b) shoot fast and accurate, and c) win the battles.


    EB DEVOTEE SINCE 2004

  28. #28
    Member Member RollingWave's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    In terms of technological aspect, composite bows were certainly better than longbows in the sense that it was harder to make and could theorically be better.

    The difference is really not the bow but the men that wielded it, the Welsh longbow was not only successful because it was made from yew, but more importantly was that fact that the men wielding them were trained for a long time in using them, something quiet uncommon during that time period. they trained long using a bow that's designed for military use. no matter what bows it is, it would take quiet a lot of training to get someone to pull over 150 pounds and fire accurtaly.. let alone getting a whole army being able to do the same. the power of the bow always relied on large numbers. the Welsh simply had this training.

    A fair comparason would be asking why the settled people often lost to nomads during history dispite greater number / technology , the answer is the same, the nomads were simply much more adapt at warfaring skills (horse riding and archery) then the army of a settled civilzation, while no farming civilzation could afford to keep the vast majority of their men training for and fighting wars, the life of the nomads already accomplish this.

  29. #29
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    medieval longobws were 80 to 110 pound draws,
    even the ones from the Mary Rose

    suggested articles

    link

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    will be next to go.

  30. #30
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: the longbow,sucky,or all powerful?

    I remember a story a guy I know told me about when he was doing his training for the Navy quite a few years ago. He was presented with a standard issue rifle and told "These rifle has an effective range at 360 yards and can fire 12 rounds a minute. At the battle of Agincourt, the English Longbows had a maximum range of 360 yards and could loose approximately 12 arrows a minute. Hasn't technology improved?". The real reason why the longbow was abandoned in the 16th century was that it was much cheaper and easier to train soldiers to use a musket, whilst training to use a longbow would have to start from around the age of 12.
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