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Old 10th February 2023, 12:47 AM   #1
Peter Hudson
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Default THE ENGLISH LONG BOW.

Reference
A http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...nt+arms+armour


Incredibly this weapon which comprises of two bits of wood and a length of string was like a machine gun when unleashed en masse on an enemy formation on land or aboard ships and was faster to reload and more devastating untill well after the advent of gunpowder.

I have designed this thread with a short starter as I have some interesting material to add as it rolls out to allow maximum input from members.

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Old 10th February 2023, 08:26 PM   #2
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Default Here is an entry ...

This weapon is actually not essentially an invention of the English, but of a neighboring people, the Welsh. In the 13th century, King Edward I (1239-1307) of England conquers Wales, accepts that some Welsh people join his army and, in this way, the bow begins to be adopted militarily. In fact, initially, the weapon was simply called a 'bow'. The oldest use of the expression 'long bow' appears in texts from the 15th century and served to differentiate it from the crossbow. Later, with its popularization in English society, it became known as the 'English Longbow archers', specialists in shooting the longbow (the Welsh longbow): the projectiles were not particularly strong, nor the range very long. It increased if the bows were fired into the air. But after describing a parabola, they fell precipitously on the targets at a speed that made them deadly. These well-trained archers achieved a rate of fire that is almost unbelievable for us today: João Gouveia Monteiro recalls that a good archer managed to shoot his fourth arrow when the first three were still flying through the air. In July 1385, loaded vessels arrived in Portugal with English fighters, mainly archers, but also pikemen, after two Portuguese ambassadors had been authorized to recruit in England, by King Richard II, as mercenaries – in a total of six to seven hundred.
In the famous battle of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385), where the Portuguese king managed to maintain the country's independence, such men have been fundamental in contributing to the battle victory.
These English archers (mostly Welsh, in fact) were positioned in two wings (one on each side), slightly ahead of the vanguard lines and organized together with Portuguese crossbowmen.



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Old 11th February 2023, 01:58 AM   #3
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I understand and to some extent sympathise with your belief in the English adoption of the Long Bow from the Welsh...however the weapon originates in paleolithic times . I do however think that the Longbow was taken to a much higher level so although it may have been inspired by Welsh performance it was in the English hands that it was perfected..Anyway it is still often called The Welsh Longbow.

Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archery

I QUOTE"Origins and ancient archery
The oldest known evidence of the bow and arrow comes from South African sites such as Sibudu Cave, where the remains of bone and stone arrowheads have been found dating approximately 72,000 to 60,000 years ago.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Based on indirect evidence, the bow also seems to have appeared or reappeared later in Eurasia, near the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic. The earliest definite remains of bow and arrow from Europe are possible fragments from Germany found at Mannheim-Vogelstang dated 17,500 to 18,000 years ago, and at Stellmoor dated 11,000 years ago. Azilian points found in Grotte du Bichon, Switzerland, alongside the remains of both a bear and a hunter, with flint fragments found in the bear's third vertebra, suggest the use of arrows at 13,500 years ago.[10] Other signs of its use in Europe come from the Stellmoor [de] in the Ahrensburg valley [de] north of Hamburg, Germany and dates from the late Paleolithic, about 10,000–9000 BC. The arrows were made of pine and consisted of a main shaft and a 15–20-centimetre-long (5+7⁄8–7+7⁄8 in) fore shaft with a flint point. There are no definite earlier bows; previous pointed shafts are known, but may have been launched by spear-throwers rather than bows. The oldest bows known so far comes from the Holmegård swamp in Denmark. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana County, Kenya, obsidian bladelets found embedded in a skull and within the thoracic cavity of another skeleton, suggest the use of stone-tipped arrows as weapons about 10,000 years ago.[11] Bows eventually replaced the spear-thrower as the predominant means for launching shafted projectiles, on every continent except Australasia, though spear-throwers persisted alongside the bow in parts of the Americas, notably Mexico and among the Inuit.

Bows and arrows have been present in Egyptian and neighboring Nubian culture since its respective predynastic and Pre-Kerma origins. In the Levant, artifacts that could be arrow-shaft straighteners are known from the Natufian culture, (c. 10,800–8,300 BC) onwards. The Khiamian and PPN A shouldered Khiam-points may well be arrowheads.

Classical civilizations, notably the Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Parthians, Romans, Indians, Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese fielded large numbers of archers in their armies. Akkadians were the first to use composite bows in war according to the victory stele of Naram-Sin of Akkad.[12] Egyptians referred to Nubia as "Ta-Seti," or "The Land of the Bow," since the Nubians were known to be expert archers, and by the 16th Century BC Egyptians were using the composite bow in warfare.[13] The Bronze Age Aegean Cultures were able to deploy a number of state-owned specialized bow makers for warfare and hunting purposes already from the 15th century BC.[14] The Welsh longbow proved its worth for the first time in Continental warfare at the Battle of Crécy.[15] In the Americas archery was widespread at European contact.[16]

Archery was highly developed in Asia. The Sanskrit term for archery, dhanurveda, came to refer to martial arts in general. In East Asia, Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea was well known for its regiments of exceptionally skilled archers.[17][18]"UNQUOTE.

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Old 11th February 2023, 02:20 AM   #4
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Worth recording some artwork here...and in the next post I will describe the effect of armour after being hit by hard tipped arrows...

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Old 11th February 2023, 02:30 AM   #5
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Worth recording some artwork here...
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Old 11th February 2023, 10:16 AM   #6
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Worth mentioning that it took a lot of training and required important skill to be an effective longbow archer. Their training affected the physical composure of their bodies to the extent that their remains show signs of their training. The crossbow was an innovation in that it required less training and strength to use.
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Old 11th February 2023, 12:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
...however the weapon originates in paleolithic times ...
Maybe my bad; i was only focusing on the thread topic, the English (or Welch) long bow and its influence in (low) Medieval warfare, not paleolithic bows.


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Old 11th February 2023, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
... The crossbow was an innovation in that it required less training and strength to use.
Infinitely much less training indeed. However crossbow bolts departed with a rather higher power strenght; some armour could be perforated with them.Their handicap was the time they took to re-arm.



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Old 11th February 2023, 02:58 PM   #9
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Have you guys been following Tod Cutler's bit of experimental archeology regarding longbows versus armor? That guy is having a ton of fun with it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZot...xu7ffW2Hf5s32k
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Old 11th February 2023, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
Have you guys been following Tod Cutler's bit of experimental archeology regarding longbows versus armor? That guy is having a ton of fun with it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZot...xu7ffW2Hf5s32k
Tod’s material on the use of longbows and crossbows has really opened my eyes to some of the misconceptions on these weapons. By no means concise, but it is a fantastic body of work, that’s been well presented.
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Old 11th February 2023, 07:43 PM   #11
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I wonder if the illustration of the various types of arrows shown in post #4 reflect the type's used in Long Bow arrows.
It is written that, those were mostly the Bodkin type, of heavy pointy square cross section, with great perforation power. Therefore, this type of arrow was used against heavy infantry or short-range cavalry. It is said that, these arrows were very effective against chainmail, however, they could bounce off plate armor if they didn't land perpendicular to the surface. They were relatively 'standardized' and mass produced; between 400,000 and 800,000 arrows were needed for a campaign.
The 3,500 arrows found in the wreckage of the Mary Rose measure between 61 and 81 cm (76 cm on average) and are cut from poplar or ash.



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Old 11th February 2023, 08:22 PM   #12
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The Long Bow in action in Shrewsbury (1403) and the skills of John Bradmore.


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Old 12th February 2023, 08:57 PM   #13
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Cool

Of course, the Asian compound bow also needs to be mentioned as a highly advanced distance weapon for military use.

Also the ancient method of javelin/"dart" plus "spear" thrower tends to be overlooked as an extremely efficient long-range projectile!

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Old 12th February 2023, 09:52 PM   #14
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Of course, the Asian compound bow also needs to be mentioned as a highly advanced distance weapon for military use.

Hello Kai, Indeed my bow is a Korean Short Bow and I have that in mind as well as Turkish and others. Im not sure about darts and Javelins etc and that could be another subject...although Border Rievers carried a Latch which was a small crossbow that fired a small arrow like a dart almost...
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Old 12th February 2023, 09:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
I wonder if the illustration of the various types of arrows shown in post #4 reflect the type's used in Long Bow arrows.
It is written that, those were mostly the Bodkin type, of heavy pointy square cross section, with great perforation power. Therefore, this type of arrow was used against heavy infantry or short-range cavalry. It is said that, these arrows were very effective against chainmail, however, they could bounce off plate armor if they didn't land perpendicular to the surface. They were relatively 'standardized' and mass produced; between 400,000 and 800,000 arrows were needed for a campaign.
The 3,500 arrows found in the wreckage of the Mary Rose measure between 61 and 81 cm (76 cm on average) and are cut from poplar or ash.



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Indeed the Bodkin ... Probably the least expensive and best overall performer seen here in the English box below with 8 other variants and in the bigger box European variants. Peter Hudson.
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Old 12th February 2023, 10:10 PM   #16
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The question a lot of people ask is what is the furthest an arrow can be fired... The answer is that the Turkish Footbow appears to have that record... and this can be viewed at https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-l...medieval-times

The weapon fires an extraordinary arrow which has no feathers and is much thicker in the middle ... rather like an aircraft fusilage and a remarkable and aerodynamic design for its day.
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Old 12th February 2023, 10:42 PM   #17
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Purely by coincidence a separate and up to now unexplored effect on piercing armour with arrows...on page 109 of The Reivers by Alistair Moffat "2017" Incoming arrows from English and Welsh bowmen at Agincourt while only slightly piercing the armour caused such agony as to force the French Knights to dismount and tear off the breast plate armour in the heat of battle...

This must have had a disastrous effect and a virtual pile up amidst deep muddy terrain and bang in front of the English line of defence.. in the killing zone.

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Old 12th February 2023, 10:58 PM   #18
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At Crecy another disaster for The French... This was probably inspired by the speed of the draw which for the English and or Welsh Bow men was about 20 a minute...five times faster than the French.

I am reminded that English Archers stuck their arrows in the ground ready to fire and here is another reminder of the lethality of the weapon...the point covered in earth was thus full of bacteria and made the damage to the enemy far worse.
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Old 13th February 2023, 12:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
The question a lot of people ask is what is the furthest an arrow can be fired... The answer is that the Turkish Footbow appears to have that record... and this can be viewed at https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-l...medieval-times

The weapon fires an extraordinary arrow which has no feathers and is much thicker in the middle ... rather like an aircraft fusilage and a remarkable and aerodynamic design for its day.
I realize that, to reach such extraordinary distances, an arrow requires a bow of dimensions greater than the one in the (quora) picture, even being the Turkish type.
Speaking of foot bows, i wonder whether the South American variant has connections with the Asian counterpart.
And speaking of long bows as per the term, remember the variant used by the Sirionó people of Eastern Colombia. Varying in size, depending upon the hunter, are all long, perhaps the longest in the world. On the average they range between 7 and 9 feet in length, although one was seen that measured 9 feet 7 inches. The Indians themselves have no explanation of why they use such a long bow, other than to say they were taught to do so by their fathers. They assert, however, that a short bow is no good. The explanation is probably to be sought in the manner in which the Sirionó use the bow in shooting. It is bent to the maximum distance allowed by the arms before the arrow is released. If a short bow were used, it is likely that the wood could not withstand the strain of the pull or that the hunter would not have sufficient strength to bend it to the desired degree.


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Old 13th February 2023, 02:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
Indeed the Bodkin ... Probably the least expensive and best overall performer seen here in the English box below with 8 other variants and in the bigger box European variants. Peter Hudson.
Interesting that the English variants seem to have "innies" whereas continental ones have "outies", i.e. with tangs.
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Old 13th February 2023, 05:56 PM   #21
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Default Flight archery

I have actually got the wrong impression of the recurved footbow, mostly due to the size of the picture.
Some of these beasts can be very heavy (200 pounds plus) and are used primarily today for flight shooting. A sort of Olympic sport, so to say. Notwithstanding this technique is based on historical inspiration


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Old 13th February 2023, 08:09 PM   #22
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In searching for more detail on Korean Bows I discovered a stone age find of a set of arrowheads in stone... and each almost 20 centimetres long .

Seev https://www.museum.go.kr/site/eng/re...w?relicId=2043
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Old 14th February 2023, 11:22 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
In searching for more detail on Korean Bows I discovered a stone age find of a set of arrowheads in stone... and each almost 20 centimetres long .

Seev https://www.museum.go.kr/site/eng/re...w?relicId=2043
That reminds me i have a few examples from American natives in my curiosities collection.
(Age certified by an archeologist).

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Old 14th February 2023, 11:29 AM   #24
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Please see https://www.google.com/search?q=fire...id:X6sr0HlSmVY

Just to re align with my original post on THE ENGLISH LONGBOW....
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Old 14th February 2023, 02:21 PM   #25
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Default Fire Arrows

This is the war head on an arrow for fire. Its the right hand one ...below.
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Old 14th February 2023, 04:34 PM   #26
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Default Excellent Archery Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D1GkX1T6gQ is an interesting Video covering nearly everything about the English Longbow and a few other forms ...

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Old 14th February 2023, 04:42 PM   #27
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I have always wondered what the effect is when arrows are greased before firing? Something tells me that the speed is either maintained better or increases the hitting power when goosegrease is put on the arrows...somehow preventing friction thus increasing delivery speed to the target...suggesting it was better for armour penetration... but I have no direct evidence to quote ...it being something someone said once? Can anyone throw some light upon this ?

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Old 14th February 2023, 05:26 PM   #28
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If you don't have goosegrease at hand, do it with beeswax .
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Old 14th February 2023, 05:47 PM   #29
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I seem to recall Tod tested a few greased arrows at some point. He also tested the thinner armour used for the appendages and side armours. He also tested glancing arrows coming off the breastplate, along with the helmets above, some shattered and splinters went in thru the eye slits, which would have put a knight out of action (unless maybe he wore safety goggles ) Later helmets had narrower eye slits and snout breathing holes, decreasing their effectiveness at seeing, hearing, and breathing to where knights often raised their face covering when they thought they were out of range . Breastplates developed a diversionary V raised area or rib to redirect splinters. didn't always work. Early pate armour had thick mail around the neck at the front to stop arrows. It also didn't work all the time - plus the force behind even a stopped arrow hitting them there would smart. Later armour changed to articulated neck plates.


In any case, Tod did a few more video on arrows vs. plate, best to watch them all if interested. He even developed an arrow thrower device so he didn't need a 160 lb. draw bowman and could shoot arrows consistently ad infinitum.


Experimental arcaeology at its best. (I love his series on his trebuchet, and he makes more. I liked his rondel dagger vs. mail & plate armour as well, and got him to make me one!)



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Old 14th February 2023, 08:06 PM   #30
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Quote:
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I have always wondered what the effect is when arrows are greased before firing? Something tells me that the speed is either maintained better or increases the hitting power when goosegrease is put on the arrows...somehow preventing friction thus increasing delivery speed to the target...suggesting it was better for armour penetration... but I have no direct evidence to quote ...it being something someone said once? Can anyone throw some light upon this ?

Regards,
Peter Hudson.
Making a suface greasy or non-stick doesn't necessarily reduce it's friction drag (viscous drag). If it did we would coat airplanes with teflon and save a lot of money in kerosene. So any improvement that you would see will not be due to drag reduction.

Aerodynamic drag in the low subsonic speed range that arrows travel in, is due to 2 reasons: viscosity of the air and longitudinal pressure distribution over the arrow.
The viscous part is due to the air sticking to the exposed surface of the arrow. So to reduce viscous drag you need to reduce this wetted area in ratio to the arrow's mass. Or change the material to a higher density. Like kinetic armour piercing rounds APFSDS for tanks use depleted uranium or tungsten due to their high density. Of course you will need to use a stronger bow to maintain initial velocity. Coating with a lubricant will not work.
The pressure drag is due to high pressure in the front, and a low pressure wake developing in the rear. For an example of a optimized shape, look at a symmetric airfoil. Blunt in the front (required for wings but not for arrows) and long gently tapering back (always a necessity).

So, for a medieval archer to improve, I strongly recommend a research and development programme in the field of computational fluid dynamics and material science, towards the development of depleted uranium arrows of an optimized cross-section distribution. Oh, and to train more, so he can chuck the damn things with gusto. I don't know... maybe hit the gym.

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