✪✪✪ Anglo Saxon Bow And Arrow

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Anglo Saxon Bow And Arrow



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Anglo-Saxon Warrior Training

Gerald of Wales commented on the power of the Welsh longbow in the 12th century:. It went right through his thigh, high up, where it was protected inside and outside the leg by his iron chausses , and then through the skirt of his leather tunic; next it penetrated that part of the saddle which is called the alva or seat; and finally it lodged in his horse, driving so deep that it killed the animal. Against massed men in armour, massed longbows were murderously effective on many battlefields. Strickland and Hardy suggest that "even at a range of yards, heavy war arrows shot from bows of poundages in the mid- to upper range possessed by the Mary Rose bows would have been capable of killing or severely wounding men equipped with armour of wrought iron. Higher-quality armour of steel would have given considerably greater protection, which accords well with the experience of Oxford's men against the elite French vanguard at Poitiers in , and des Ursin's statement that the French knights of the first ranks at Agincourt, which included some of the most important and thus best-equipped nobles, remained comparatively unhurt by the English arrows".

Archery was described by contemporaries as ineffective against steel plate armour in the Battle of Neville's Cross , the siege of Bergerac , and the Battle of Poitiers ; such armour became available to European knights and men at arms of fairly modest means by the middle of the 14th century, though never to all soldiers in any army. Longbowmen were, however, effective at Poitiers, and this success stimulated changes in armour manufacture partly intended to make armoured men less vulnerable to archery. Nevertheless, at the battle of Agincourt in and for some decades thereafter, English longbowmen continued to be an effective battlefield force.

For example, at the Battle of Poitiers , the French men-at-arms formed a shield wall with which Geoffrey le Baker recounts "protecting their bodies with joined shields, [and] turned their faces away from the missiles. So the archers emptied their quivers in vain". Modern tests and contemporary accounts agree therefore that well-made plate armour could protect against longbows.

However, this did not necessarily make the longbow ineffective; thousands of longbowmen were deployed in the English victory at Agincourt against plate armoured French knights in Clifford Rogers has argued that while longbows might not have been able to penetrate steel breastplates at Agincourt they could still penetrate the thinner armour on the limbs. Most of the French knights advanced on foot but, exhausted by walking across wet muddy terrain in heavy armour enduring a "terrifying hail of arrow shot", they were overwhelmed in the melee. Less heavily armoured soldiers were more vulnerable than knights.

Horses were generally less well protected than the knights themselves; shooting the French knights' horses from the side where they were less well armoured is described by contemporary accounts of the Battle of Poitiers , and at Agincourt John Keegan has argued that the main effect of the longbow would have been in injuring the horses of the mounted French knights. A typical military longbow archer would be provided with between 60 and 72 arrows at the time of battle. Most archers would not shoot arrows at the maximum rate, as it would exhaust even the most experienced man.

Ranged volleys at the beginning of the battle would differ markedly from the closer, aimed shots as the battle progressed and the enemy neared. On the battlefield English archers stored their arrows stabbed upright into the ground at their feet, reducing the time it took to nock, draw and loose. Arrows were not unlimited, so archers and their commanders took every effort to ration their use to the situation at hand. Nonetheless, resupply during battle was available. Young boys were often employed to run additional arrows to longbow archers while in their positions on the battlefield.

In tests against a moving target simulating a galloping knight [36] it took some approximately seven seconds to draw, aim and loose an armour-piercing heavy arrow using a replica war bow. It was found that in the seven seconds between the first and second shots the target advanced 70 yards and that the second shot occurred at such close range that, if it was a realistic contest, running away was the only option. A Tudor English author expects eight shots from a longbow in the same time as five from a musket.

The advantage of early firearms lay in the lower training requirements, the opportunity to take cover while shooting, flatter trajectory, [30] and greater penetration. Specialised medical tools designed for arrow wounds have existed since ancient times: Diocles successor of Hippocrates devised the graphiscos, a form of cannula with hooks, and the duck-billed forceps allegedly invented by Heras of Cappadocia [51] was employed during the medieval period to extract arrows. While armour-piercing "bodkin" points were relatively easy if painful to remove, barbed points required the flesh to be cut or pulled aside. An arrow would be pushed through and taken out the other side of the body only in the worst cases, as this would cause even more tissue damage and risk cutting through major blood vessels.

The royal physician John Bradmore had a tool made that consisted of a pair of smooth tongs. Once carefully inserted into the socket of the arrowhead, the tongs screwed apart until they gripped its walls and allowed the head to be extracted from the wound. Prior to the extraction, the hole made by the arrow shaft was widened by inserting larger and larger dowels of elder pith wrapped in linen down into the entry wound. The dowels were soaked in honey , now known to have antiseptic properties. After 20 days, the wound was free of infection. The word may have been coined to distinguish the longbow from the crossbow. The first recorded use of the term longbow , as distinct from simply 'bow', is possibly in a administrative document which refers in Latin to arcus vocati longbowes , "bows called 'longbows'", though unfortunately the reading of the last word in the original document is not certain.

A will proved in York bequeaths "a sadil, alle my longe bowis, a bedde". The origins of the English longbow are disputed. While it is hard to assess the significance of military archery in pre- Norman Conquest Anglo-Saxon warfare , it is clear that archery played a prominent role under the Normans , as the story of the Battle of Hastings shows. Their Anglo-Norman descendants also made use of military archery, as exemplified by their victory at the Battle of the Standard in During the Anglo-Norman invasions of Wales , Welsh bowmen took a heavy toll of the invaders and Welsh archers would feature in English armies from this point on.

However, historians dispute whether this archery used a different kind of bow to the later English Longbow. This weapon, drawn to the chest rather than the ear, was much weaker. However, in , Jim Bradbury reclassified this weapon as the ordinary wooden bow , reserving the term shortbow for short composite bows and arguing that longbows were a developed form of this ordinary bow. What is agreed, however, is that the English longbow as an effective weapon system evolved in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. In , Edward I began to better organize his armed forces, creating uniformly-sized units and a clear chain of command. He introduced the combined use of an initial assault by archers followed by a cavalry attack and infantry. The technique was later used effectively at the Battle of Falkirk in The rising importance of foot troops, then, brought not only the opportunity but also the need to expand armies substantially.

Then as early as the late 13th century, we can observe Edward I campaigning at the head of armies incorporating tens of thousands of paid archers and spearmen. This represented a major change in approaches to recruitment, organization, and above all pay. They were less successful after this, with longbowmen having their lines broken at the Battle of Verneuil , and being routed at the Battle of Patay when they were charged before they had set up their defences, and with the war-ending Battle of Castillon being decided by the French artillery.

The longbow was also used against the English by their Welsh neighbours. The Welsh used the longbow mostly in a different manner than the English. In many early period English campaigns, the Welsh used the longbow in ambushes, often at point blank range that allowed their missiles to penetrate armour and generally do a lot of damage. Although longbows were much faster and more accurate than the black-powder weapons which replaced them, longbowmen always took a long time to train because of the years of practice necessary before a war longbow could be used effectively examples of longbows from the Mary Rose typically had draws greater than N lb f. In an era in which warfare was usually seasonal, and non-noble soldiers spent part of the year working at farms, the year-round training required for the effective use of the longbow was a challenge.

A standing army was an expensive proposition to a medieval ruler. Mainland European armies seldom trained a significant longbow corps. Due to their specialized training, English longbowmen were sought as mercenaries in other European countries, most notably in the Italian city-states and in Spain. The White Company , [63] comprising men-at-arms and longbowmen and commanded by Sir John Hawkwood , is the best known English Free Company of the 14th century. The powerful Hungarian king, Louis the Great , is an example of someone who used longbowmen in his Italian campaigns. Longbows remained in use until around the 16th century, when advances in firearms made gunpowder weapons a significant factor in warfare and such units as arquebusiers and grenadiers began appearing.

Despite this, the English Crown made numerous efforts to continue to promote archery practice by banning other sports and fining people for not possessing bows. At the Battle of Flodden in , wind and rain may have contributed to the ineffectiveness of the English archers against the Scottish nobles in full armour who formed the front rank of their advance, but when the opportunity arose to shoot at less well protected foot soldiers, the result was devastating. Despite his armour, King James IV of Scotland received several arrow wounds in the fighting, one of which may have caused his death. Flodden was the last major British battle in which the longbow played a significant part, even if not a decisive one. Longbows have been in continuous production and use for sport and for hunting to the present day, but since they have been a minority interest, and very few have had the high draw weights of the medieval weapons.

Other differences include the use of a stiffened non-bending centre section, rather than a continuous bend. Serious military interest in the longbow faded after the seventeenth century but occasionally schemes to resurrect its military use were proposed. Benjamin Franklin was a proponent in the s; the Honourable Artillery Company had an archer company between and , and a man named Richard Mason wrote a book proposing the arming of militia with pike and longbow in Richard Lee of 44th Foot advocated the military use of the longbow in The idea that there was a standard formation for English longbow armies was argued by Alfred Byrne in his influential work on the battles of the Hundred Years' War, The Crecy War. In the 16th century, these formations evolved in line with new technologies and techniques from the continent.

Formations with a central core of pikes and bills were flanked by companies of "shot" made up of a mixture of archers and arquebusiers , sometimes with a skirmish screen of archers and arquebusiers in front. More than 3, arrows and whole longbows were recovered from the Mary Rose , a ship of Henry VIII 's navy that capsized and sank at Portsmouth in It is an important source for the history of the longbow, as the bows, archery implements and the skeletons of archers have been preserved. The bows range in length from 1. Draw lengths of the arrows varied between 61 and 81 centimetres 24 and 32 in with the majority having a draw length of 76 centimetres 30 in. The longbows on the Mary Rose were in excellent finished condition.

There were enough bows to test some to destruction which resulted in draw forces of N lbf on average. However, analysis of the wood indicated that they had degraded significantly in the seawater and mud, which had weakened their draw forces. Replicas were made and when tested had draw forces of from N to N to lbf. In , before the finds from the Mary Rose , Robert E. Kaiser published a paper stating that there were five known surviving longbows: [1]. The importance of the longbow in English culture can be seen in the legends of Robin Hood , which increasingly depicted him as a master archer, and also in the "Song of the Bow", a poem from The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

During the reign of Henry III the Assize of Arms of required that all "citizens, burgesses, free tenants, villeins and others from 15 to 60 years of age" should be armed. From the time that the yeoman class of England became proficient with the longbow, the nobility in England had to be careful not to push them into open rebellion. It has been conjectured that yew trees were commonly planted in English churchyards to have readily available longbow wood. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A type of ranged weapon. This is thought to infer that someone was using a longbow that had a draw weight that was less than that person's body weight. At the time of the Hundred Years' War archers drew the arrow back to the ear rather than to the chin. Cambridge University Press. ISBN Retrieved 16 January Rich: gen. Published by J.

These bookes are to be sold [by H. Disle] at the corner shop, at the South west doore of Paules church in London. Armour-piercing arrowheads". Archived from the original on 24 March Retrieved 28 September Andrew Villalon and Donald J. Kagay Leiden: Brill, : 37— History Extra. Retrieved 23 March Longbow Archers. Seaxe of Beagnoth from the British Museum. The longer types were almost of sword length and must have been used as slashing weapons. Like swords, a seax could be well decorated and even pattern-welded beneath the non-cutting edge where some were even inlaid with silver. The shorter handseaxes were slung across the midriff from a belt. These were short hafted throwing axes called franciscas. Usually, they were thrown at the enemy before an infantry onslaught.

This is the weapon of the housecarl of the later Anglo-Saxon period. These types appear in abundance on the Bayeux Tapestry, mainly in the hands of well armoured men on the English side, although there is one which is being transported by the Normans to the battlefield and another in the hands of the Duke of Normandy himself. The occurrence of so many Dane axes in the Bayeux Tapestry might lend weight to the idea that the English King Harold had with him numerous Danish mercenaries. A dane-axe depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry. The only drawback with wielding these weapons was that the user had to sling his shield over his back to wield the weapon two-handed.

This led to a vulnerability when the weapon was held high. However, the effectiveness of the weapon was widely acknowledged across Europe. The axemen were not exactly killed off by the advent of the Normans in England, either. Further adventures would be experienced by those dispossessed axe-bearing warriors who left England and took service in the Byzantine Varangian Guard. In the east, the Dane axe had a new lease of life which lasted for at least another century. Just one lone English archer appears on the main panel of Bayeux Tapestry, as opposed to the serried ranks of Norman bowmen. He is unarmoured and seemingly smaller than the mail-clad warriors around him and he creeps out from the English shield wall.

Some people believe this indicates the lack of military use of the bow by the Anglo-Saxons, the idea being that they dismissed it as the weapon of a poacher or hunter. Socially, it is certainly true that bowmen were treated disdainfully throughout the Anglo-Norman period. The famous poem Beowulf includes a description of a mass deployment of bows, indicating at least a knowledge of how they could be effectively organised:. So, perhaps our lone archer on the Bayeux Tapestry requires another explanation. Was he a hostage of the English, only permitted to have a bow to fight with, or was he merely a skirmisher? The mystery of the lone archer and the lack of English bowmen in seems set to continue.

Paul Hill has been writing history books about Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman warfare for eighteen years.

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