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"Recurve composite horse-bow vs longbow?" Topic


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huevans Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 2:54 p.m. PST

I'm a bow-newbie and am trying to figure out the basic info re bow accuracy and penetration. As a starter ?, could someone tell me whether the recurve composite bow was more effective than the classic longbow?

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2008 3:13 p.m. PST

Guess it depends on how one defines effective. From what I understand, the English battlefield use of longbows was more of a long range, massed fire at large targets, while Asiatic horse archers typically were engaging at much closer ranges (e.g. under 30 feet) given their mobility. Both were pretty devestating against their historical opponents, but it's probably a subjective argument as to which approach was "better" or more "effective" since it was a lot more in play than just bow technology.

Farstar Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 3:19 p.m. PST

Horsebows also tended to have a very high draw through the early stages to allow them to be lethal in situations where a full draw was not possible. Also, being short bows, a "full draw" was not back to the ear.

Aloysius the Gaul Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 4:47 p.m. PST

Draw is irrelevant in this context. A bow is merely a mechanism for storing and releasing energy.

A well build recurve-composite horsebow was a much more efficient means of doing that than the simplistic self "longbow". The use of horn and sinew in compression and tention respectively gave it the ability to release much moer of its energy to the arrow.

so given the ability to store the same amount of energy, the recurve-composite will impart more of that energy to hte arrow than the self longbow will.

At that point it all comes down to things like arrow design and what yuor target is.

the efficiency of the recurve-composite design allowed very short bows to be made that were much easier to use from horseback, but which weer jsut as powerful as much larger bows that were used on foot – the shorter bows were probably much more expensive of course, since they required a great deal of engineering.

Patrice Vittesse Fezian Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 5:12 p.m. PST

having used both types of bows personally, i would say the longbow.
easier to use, more accurate at increased ranges, and cheaper and easier to make,
the advantage of the recurve is that it is deadly powerful, and small enough to be fired easily from horseback.
just my thoughts.

Mark Plant06 Aug 2008 5:31 p.m. PST

All archery is "mass effect" on the battlefield. The idea that the improved ability of a recurved bow allows aiming is a trivial advantage. This is not firing at targets on a range.

-- The firers are tired.
-- The enemy is moving.
-- Only a tiny fraction of the firers can see the enemy clearly (since the vast majority are at least one rank back).

Both longbows and recurved allow added power, which increases the injury rate. That is why they were effective over simple bows, not aiming.

Rate of fire is not hugely important, since the ammunition supply did not allow rapid firing anyway.

Proof? Well bows were quickly dropped for the massively inaccurate and slow loading firearms. Because power was once again a step up. That accuracy dropped was less important.

(And don't give me "it takes an hour to train a musketman and a lifetime to train an archer" nonsense. Training to use an early arquebus was not simple, and firing bows in mass does not take a lifetime to train.)

Aloysius the Gaul Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 6:23 p.m. PST

I don't think there's any great differnce in aiming either – I've used longbows and modern recurves. the recurves are marginally easier to hold drawn due to the gearing action of the tip shape, but you don't hold them drawn for any period of time so tha's not really an issue.

Longbows ARE simple bows of course – cut from a single piece of wood that's precisely what a simple bow is.

Modern people sometimes confuse the flatbow with longbows due tosimilarities in size and shape, but flatbows weer invented early in the 20th century. They are commonly made of wood laminate – a longbow has a "D" or "O" cross section and is all one piece of wood.

In any given design larger bows allow more power – so longbows are more powerful than shorter simple bows.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member06 Aug 2008 6:57 p.m. PST

Some misconceptions already here:

Shooting is the same for any bow: full draw and release: there is no half-draw technique, ever, period.

The Asiatic composite bow took a year or more to make.

It was just as stiff to pull for an archer as a longbow; 70 lbs is 70 lbs. As Aloysius says, the composite bow is more efficient (iirc, Rocky has stated it to be upwards of 30% more efficient) than self bows are. This gives it not only greater impact energy for a given draw weight, but also a greater effective range.

Contemporary sources describe quivers of many dozens and scores of arrows hung all over a Steppes warrior's horse and spare horses, including spare bows as well.

Typically they began a battle at extreme range, and showered arrows in vollies as densely as possible. The difference between technique is that Saracen horse archery was usually with the mount at a stand still, while Steppes nomads, like the various Turkic tribes, performed their shooting on the move.

They only moved in to short range when their enemy was virtually beaten and was being routed and or massacred.

Finally, Steppes archery used a thumb ring to draw the arrow and string, even past the ear; i.e. the draw length was even further than for a longbow.

Mark Plant06 Aug 2008 9:13 p.m. PST

Contemporary sources describe quivers of many dozens and scores of arrows hung all over a Steppes warrior's horse and spare horses, including spare bows as well.

Contemporary sources also speak of knights being formed so densely that "a feather could not fall between them". They may have been exaggerating.

(If figure manufacturers are to be believed, then hardly any arrows at all were carried.)

Sane Max07 Aug 2008 1:06 a.m. PST

Pass the Popcorn!

Pat

Connard Sage Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 1:16 a.m. PST

Sweet or salted?

Sane Max07 Aug 2008 1:35 a.m. PST

Either, so long as it can penetrate full plate armour at 200 yards, pops at 12 pops per minute and does more damage to human flesh, bone and Muscle than a Standard Nato Round.

Pat

Photonred Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 5:33 a.m. PST

Someones insights on the reason for switching from archery to guns is nothing short of brilliant!

And DON"T argue that teaching someone to pour a measure of powder in a tube point that tube in the general direction of your enemy and fire it is ANY easier then training peoples muscles to draw and fire either of these bows with accuracy.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 8:06 a.m. PST

They may have been exaggerating.

To make a point: knights in close order (knee to knee) were using a formation much tighter than cavalry would normally use without their level of drill. And the sources that speak of quivers of many arrows each are (iirc) from Eastern writers, not "Franj" describing anything (Rocky's purview, not mine, I am a parrot). Anyway, exaggeration allowed for, the Steppes warrior carried many more arrows into battle than any European foot archer or crossbowman did.

Mark and Photon: massed archery still requires each individual to manage his weapon competently: and unless you are years into the training your muscles will NOT be up to pulling a "warbow". A unit of peasants pulling such draw weights would be exhausted very quickly, even if they knew how to properly knock and loose much less powerful bows when out hunting: that's what is meant by "it takes a lifetime to train an archer." You can teach a newbie how to knock and loose in an afternoon: same as with teaching gun operation. Then it becomes a matter of efficiency: the gun has it 100% each time a bullet is shot: an arrow does not have efficiency unless the bow is powerful enough to impart the required energy: and that kind of bow requires years of practice to work up to. It's a case of knowing and doing: I know how to shoot a bow rather well, but I could not be inducted into Hal V's army of longbowmen, because I do not have the physical strength and stamina. I could, however, be on the musketeer firing line tomorrow, as I know how to shoot muzzle-loaders -- I was effectively self-taught in a day. Anybody can shoot a gun.

The War Event Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 8:10 a.m. PST

Pat,

Don't forget the beer!

I think I'll sit this one out and enjoy!

;-)

- Greg

show some respect for women Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 9:59 a.m. PST

You have to love discussions like this. Not one historical reference mentioned. At least one of the posters has actually had the weapons in his hands. I guess that's something.

mjc

Daffy Doug Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 10:18 a.m. PST

I'm tired. My books are downstairs. I've quoted sources before. Rocky Russo's quotations of sources are not available to me (for the multiple quivers, composite bow construction, etc.). If you are questioning what I or others have said, be specific, and maybe later I'll go look for the "historical reference".

The War Event Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 10:20 a.m. PST

It seems to me that failing to mention sources, when debating a point of view, is pretty much a common thing on TMP.

My source for this information is "TMP".

;-)

- Greg

RockyRusso Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 10:41 a.m. PST

Hi

I didn't realize we had reached the "debate" stage, but were still in the position of defining terms and answering questions.

Notice how above, the non archers say things that any archer knows is silly. My position, am an archer, have made bows, have made crossbows, have made guns, own and shoot antiques.

What source can i cite for this? Did the physics and math and wrote programs doing analysis and graphed various bows…yes.

Short draw isn't a myth, it is a misunderstanding. A short self bow is not a deep draw, and such a bow is overwhelmingly the most common pre-modern bow world wide.

A long bow is a compromise solution where longer allows a heavyier draw without breaking and a deeper draw without breaking for a self bow.

Any longbow over about 60# drawweight is proabably also "composite" being reinforced with sinew to produce longivity.

Short bows from horseback have the advantage of being handy, and is used from horseback.

Short bows used by the steppes tribes use horn as the primary energy storage device and are a composite of horn,wood and sinew, and are usually, at a given draw weight, 20 to 30% more efficient at returning energy to the arrow.

Steppes tribes usually entered battle with muliple remounts each carrying 2 bows, and up to 200 arrows of different types. For this you can read "Emprire of the Steppes" or simply view the russian touring exhibit on the steppes tribes (they illustrate the 20 some odd different arrows used along with a lot of this material). Or one can read the section in Oman. Or the appendix in Payne-Gallway's "The Crossbow" where he refers to a bow givn by the Turkish ambassador, Or one can read Taybugha's "Saracen Archer" or many others.

As english speakers, we commonly read sources that refer to british knights being shot and pinned to their dead horse. What we are not commonly exposed to are bow use in other countries. Then, when someone is familiar with material from elsewhere, the stance is taken "well, I didn't know that, therefore no one does".

I have no idea what the russian uniforms in 1715 looked like when they faced the crimean tartars. I do know the weapons used on both sides.

The joy of TMP is that we have access to geeks who know stuff I don't. But it works better if we are also respectful of that body of expertise.

R

The War Event Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 11:53 a.m. PST

Well, there you have it!

;-)

- Greg

Grizwald Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 12:38 p.m. PST

"Notice how above, the non archers say things that any archer knows is silly."

What did the non-archers say above that is silly? (Please note, I am not wishing to pick another fight here, I am genuinely interested in your point of view).

"Any longbow over about 60# draw weight is probably also "composite" being reinforced with sinew to produce longivity."

The MR bows aren't. (Although you did say "probably" not "certainly").

RABeery Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 12:43 p.m. PST

I'd tend to rate them equal for wargame rules. However the longbow would get an armor piercing advantage at short to medium ranges. ( bodkin arrow )

Daffy Doug Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 2:47 p.m. PST

The Steppes dudes also used armor piercers.

Interestingly, I have played in non historical face-offs between Steppes armies and English longbow. The lightly armored longbowmen in close order are vulnerable before the lightly armored horsearchers are (this is the difference between the efficiencies of the two bows in question). If either side adopts open order then half of the ground the units occupy is empty and any vollying at long range is half wasted on the ground. But the density of fire is also cut in half, so there is that trade off: defensive increased, offensive decreased. If the horsearchers are wearing armor, then they become very difficult enemies for light or unarmored longbowmen to tackle: most Steppes armies had very little armor (but we all know that the Mongols were not "most" Steppes armies), so a hypothetical confrontation between English longbow and nomadic horsearchers would be quite the even affair.

Aloysius the Gaul Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 4:14 p.m. PST

Any longbow over about 60# draw weight is probably also "composite" being reinforced with sinew to produce longivity

I presume we're talking english/Welsh longboews here, and I've never seen any suggestino that they were anything other than cut from a single piece of wood with no additional materials apart from possibly bone nocks and leather grips.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 4:20 p.m. PST

Wouldn't any hypothetical leather on the MR bows be long gone? Just asking….

Mark Plant07 Aug 2008 5:08 p.m. PST

You're cheating Doug. All "muzzle loaders" are not equal. A later flintlock is doddle compared to an early arquebus.

While you might have taught yourself in a day, it is clear that training properly taught a lot longer with the early firearms. Armies drilled for years to get it right: and those that drilled were far superior to those that did not.

The problem with the "archery takes a life-time and guns are easy" school is that the actual historical evidence is otherwise.

Why is that supposedly "best" archery armies of the world have been retinue or tribal, while the introduction of firearms saw the concurrent introduction of regular units? Could it be that firearms actually require MORE drill?

If archery is better with training and practice, why is it just when the armies had more practice they chose to drop it? (This includes the WotR retinue armies too.)

Archery is clearly not as effective in practice as many people propose. Armies moved over to firearms of ridiculously low effectiveness from archery. Even with the need to add pikemen.

doug redshirt Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2008 5:30 p.m. PST

Have to dig out my sources, but the reason armies switched over from crossbows to firearms was a matter of cost. It was cheaper to cast an iron tube and lead shot, then it was to make an iron crossbow and bolts. Plus it was quicker also to cast shot up then to make one bolt. Of course this was only after gunpowder costs had come down after several centuries.

As to the comparison between longbow and a composite horse bow, Venetians used both on their galleys. Up to the individual what he wanted to use. One was shorter and easier to handle on horseback and on board ship too I imagine. Or maybe the people using composite bows were men who had grown up using them. One of the greatest losses for the Turks at Lepanto was the 10s of thousands of skilled archers lost. Ships were easy and quick to replace, it took 15-20 years to replace a trained archer. Yes it does take years of training and practice to be a usefull archer in battle. Only a couple of months to train to use a crossbow or firearm.

Aloysius the Gaul Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 10:07 p.m. PST

While you might have taught yourself in a day, it is clear that training properly taught a lot longer with the early firearms. Armies drilled for years to get it right: and those that drilled were far superior to those that did not.

The problem with the "archery takes a life-time and guns are easy" school is that the actual historical evidence is otherwise.

True – apart from teh fact that it is not true at all.

Early firearms and teh armies that used them were not very highly drilled at all – the efficiency with improved drills came about much later with Frederick the Great's Prussians being the first "army" the consistantly exhibit superiority through mastery of the same drill as everyone else used.

Berfoer then there were certainly some armies that had better drills than others (eg the Dutch Drill for musketeers), but they were easily copied. And there were certainly some troops that were incompetant and/or less brave than otehrs – eg Russians vs Swedes at Narva.

But that's always been the case and has nothing to do with the weaponry.

It is a FACT that training someone to use a heavy longbow for war was a very lone term proposition – because you had to built up muscle and underlying bone structure to be able to consistantly draw a heavy (> #100) bow.

Firearms did not require that…period.

Drilling the troops to manouvre, etc. is a seperate issue again. You can drill someone all you like – but if he can't draw a heavy enough bow then he ain't ever going to be an archer….but he might be able to be a musketeer!

1stJaeger Inactive Member07 Aug 2008 11:34 p.m. PST

Regarding sources and their use in forums, I feel compelled to add the following:

this (and others) is a forum, like in Rome, where people meet and discuss certain topics. You can voice your opinion, and the others can listen (or not) and draw lessons from it (or not).
They can then investigate the statement heard further, if they like..and end up as so-called experts.
Or they can just store the remark in their brain and view other statements in a different light.

When I turned the corner and entered the forum, I was not aware that I had to bring my cartloads of books with me!!

So I leave now, go home, pack all my reference material ..and (maybe) come back with all of it for a friendly chat on topics of interest! :-))

My input for all it is worth!

Cheers

Romain

Connard Sage Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 4:32 a.m. PST

Any longbow over about 60# draw weight is probably also "composite" being reinforced with sinew to produce longivity

Got sources? Or are you guessing, you 'expert', you?

Nothing I've ever read about English longbows in history has suggested that they are really 'composite' bows, and modern replicas seem to function perfectly well as a crooked stick of yew without the addition of any pieces of animal tissue.

maryrose.org/ship/bows1.htm

link

link


Coincidentally, I watched a TV programme (The Ghosts of the Mary Rose: Revealed) a few days ago where it was suggested that the draw weight of the Mary Rose bows has been calculated as upwards of 120lbs and that the yew wood was imported from Italy

link

Grizwald Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 5:14 a.m. PST

That's a really interesting link Connard
link

A couple of quotes from it:
"One of the first things to come to light was that these bows were, on the whole, a lot bigger than many people had thought. This was not helped by the fact that the two bows, which were recovered from the ship in the 1800s, were at the smaller end of the size range of the bows on the ship."

Rather puts Mr. Saxton Pope in perspective, doesn't it?

"More recently Mark is shooting a new bow which is hickory backed Oregon yew at 138 pounds at 28 inches. This bow benefits from the information that we have gleaned from the bows that we have seen at the Mary Rose Trust and is a full 80 inches long. Much to our surprise this additional length adds to both the performance of the archer and the bow being smoother and sweeter to draw, yet delivering a powerful performance."

Hmm … interesting.

"I am inclined to agree with other bowyers that the weights of these bows probably ranged from around 80 pounds up to around 180 pounds, with the majority probably falling into the 100-to-120-pound range."

Again, very interesting, it would appear that there is a normal frequency distribution (or thereabouts) of draw weights with the mean falling around 110lbs.

Jovian1 Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 10:05 a.m. PST

Having reviewed most of the sources quoted above and read extensively on both the longbow and the composite bow, both were very effective weapons. Both had relatively high draw weights over 100lbs in nearly every instance I've reviewed with most in the 120 to 160 lb range. Both would have required tremendous strength to pull and fire accurately. The archers firing either would have to have extensive experience with that particular bow to fire it accurately at any given distance. As for which is better – the debate rages on, and on, and on. From my perspective, neither was "better" than the other, as they were used very differently by the troops in question. Now, if one were writing a set of rules – I would rate them virtually the same as they have very similar performance characteristics overall. The real trick is making the game fun as no one wants to play a game where the archer (either type) rules the battlefield without question under the rules.

As for bows versus firearms – I am certain of one thing that made the firearm take precedence on the battlefield. Firearms last longer, perform the same virtually every shot, and making munitions for them was a relatively simple affair by comparison with any arrow or bolt. Also, if one ran out of bullets, one could always thrown in the odd handful of gravel or rocks. Besides these most evident points of longevity and survivability on the battlefield, firearms also had the advantage of the shock value in terms of the sound, smoke, and the devastating wounds inflicted by comparison to an arrow or bolt. The initial use of firearms was a limited affair as they were not as easy to make, but as the technology of manufacture improved, their used gained popularity and the mass use of firearms created a new development in warfare.

The argument that archers take a lifetime to create is also a fallacy. Anyone can learn to be a good archer, with practice and a bit of training. The time to become a good archer is probably the same length of time that it would take to be a good shot with an arquebus or musket, perhaps less. One can work very hard over six to 12 months to become a good archer, just as one can train during that same timeframe to become a good shot with a gun. Both require training and dedication. The argument that bows were dropped because firearms are more effective is neither true or false. It is the process of evolution to standing armies of paid soldiers and to weapons which were typically more lethal. Firearm wounds were more lethal than arrow wounds due to infection. Black powder is very nasty stuff in a wound, especially in the days before proper medical care. Trauma is also a large factor, arrows cause less tissue trauma than a lead slug.

So, in response to the first question, neither the longbow nor the composite bow is "better" until you refine your question to ask for which purpose or instance of use.

Just my thoughts based on my reading and studies.

RockyRusso Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 11:05 a.m. PST

Hi

Mike, liked the snarky response, so which of these experts who disagree with me and each other do I now change my mind and agree with? You, who has never used or made any of the weapons. Or the other scholors who did reading ("I never read that") who, of course, know everything?

I will repeat. You are correct, there are 100# bows. But the engagment ranges when looking at battles do not show that as the AVERAGE engagement range.

this is similar to the above misunderstanding about training time gun versus bow. A smoothbore musket has a moa of ca 36…meaning a man standing still at 100 yards being shot at at 100 yards has about a 40% chance of being hit with a 'perfect shot'. I supposes in a few days with a light longbow, short bow, composite bow, we could get a newbie archer to get that sort of accuracy as well.

unfortunately, the longbow myth that Mike has people hitting targets at 300 or 400 or so yards. Which no musket will ever do, and we aren't talking about the average anything.

Let me make it simple. The physics are this, the smaller the bow, the less energy is spent BY the bow moving it back into position. This is the simple reason the short composite bow is more energy efficient. Moving half the mass.

Like Romaine, I have realzied that spending the time during my coffee break to pull out books and quote sources always leads to "my sources or watching TV(TV!!!) trumps your sources or actual hands on making.

Doug, the "leather" on the MR bows isn't the issue. It is aa common boyer practice to run a thin layer of sinew on the front of a heavy draw weight wood bow. For long term durability. Similarly, none of the bowstrings survived either.

Mike, the statements about archers, I said in our previous discussions that sevearal of your ideas about short draw and the like would go away if you just went and did a day's bow shooting at a range with a rented bow. Things like draw, aiming, arrow matching and so on.

Mark Plant and Al the limepainted Gaul(love the screen name) the "drill" wasn't with the weapon, but with drilling to keep formation and "present" to the enemy. I don't think any army did a lot of target practice or practice loading in their drill. Later, the prussians did, the brits did, but these things are noted as the unusual, not the usual. As late as the 19th century, most armies would perhaps assign 40 rounds a year for practice. The nature of smoothbore muskets is such that the issue of accuracy wasn't the point.

Doug Redshirt. yup, the italians did use both self bows and composite bows. The issue was cost. Eventually, first Venice, then others, imported boyers from the crimea to build their composite bows IN ITALY. As a side note, this is the common reason for people surnamed "Turco" in italy. The comp bow takes a year to brew up. Starting with the yew, the bone and sinew are gathered at different points of the year, and the glue is imported from the Black Sea. The bow itself is glued up and kept in a "mold" as it were for months. Very much more costly than a self bow.

I taught my wife to shoot guns. However, she could never draw any bow heavier than 35# draweight. But she was tiny.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 11:19 a.m. PST

Jovian1. "Better", more impact energy at a greater range. The composite bow has the longbow beat in both.

Where longbowmen could give horsearchers a bad time is if they have the horsearchers in range, at all: then the massed vollies of up to 16 ranks deep will simply pincushion exposed horse and man flesh into oblivion. Cavalry bow cannot equal the density of infantry bow. As I said, most Steppes nomads lacked armor; many or most English yeomen had at least quilted jacks and helmets: the nomads would have to get closer to overcome these in sufficient numbers. Then the longbowmen could drench the horsearchers with their dense "arrow storm." The horsearchers could not deploy equal numbers across the same frontage and would get worsted.

You seem to ignore/deny the already stated factor of getting sufficient physical strength and stamina built up to shoot a powerful "warbow." Yes, an archer can become a good shot relatively quickly: the muscles and stamina to pull a heavy "warbow" come only over years of development.

An arrow does not possess "shock" like a heavy roundball does. That's true. But the arrow that penetrates causes quite enough tissue damage to cause heavy bleeding, much of it internally. And the comparison of infection between bullets and arrows is not accurate: both would have been nasty in the extreme, as arrows were extremely filthy, especially if they had just been removed from a manure strewn, plowed field.

The War Event Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 11:44 a.m. PST

This is getting good…

Got my popcorn and cold beer on hand …

:-)

- Greg

brevior est vita08 Aug 2008 12:32 p.m. PST

I'll bring some chips and dip. :-)

Cheers,
Scott

Grizwald Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 2:30 p.m. PST

"Mike, liked the snarky response, so which of these experts who disagree with me and each other do I now change my mind and agree with?"

Thought you'd rise to my bait … "These experts who disagree with me AND EACH OTHER" – that's just the point. The only one the experts disagree with is you, they appear to agree with each other.

"You, who has never used or made any of the weapons. Or the other scholors who did reading ("I never read that") who, of course, know everything?"

Since I agree with the "other scholars" (because they are experts and have done research that I am sadly unable to do), you can take your pick.

"I will repeat. You are correct, there are 100# bows. But the engagment ranges when looking at battles do not show that as the AVERAGE engagement range."

I will also repeat, since when does draw weight affect ENGAGEMENT range? Yes, it will affect maximum effective range but engagement range is determined by the tactical situation. Your argument that the engagement range at Agincourt proves a particular draw weight is fatally flawed.

"Mike, the statements about archers, I said in our previous discussions that sevearal of your ideas about short draw and the like would go away if you just went and did a day's bow shooting at a range with a rented bow. Things like draw, aiming, arrow matching and so on."

Don't know where you got that from. I have NO IDEAS about short draw – the longbow was drawn to the ear. And yes I have shot a bow.

Doug:
"Yes, an archer can become a good shot relatively quickly: the muscles and stamina to pull a heavy "warbow" come only over years of development."

Did you actually read the links provided above? I'll give you a quote so that you can read it here:
"The first bow that I built for him was 70 pounds at 28 inches. It took him six weeks to master it. His second bow was 140 pounds at 32 inches, which took him a little longer to get to grips with."

Years of development … six weeks … go figure …

Grizwald Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 2:38 p.m. PST

Oops, missed one:
"unfortunately, the longbow myth that Mike has people hitting targets at 300 or 400 or so yards. "

Where'd you get THAT iidea from? I have always maintained that the effective range of the longbow is around 250yds
Another quote from that useful link above:
"With the war bows he has shot around 250 yards with arrows of 800 grains and around 225 yards with arrows of 1,545 grains. This would suggest that distances of 200 yards and more were achievable by our archers with seriously heavy projectiles."

Daffy Doug Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 3:57 p.m. PST

Did you actually read the links provided above? I'll give you a quote so that you can read it here:

"The first bow that I built for him was 70 pounds at 28 inches. It took him six weeks to master it. His second bow was 140 pounds at 32 inches, which took him a little longer to get to grips with."

Years of development … six weeks … go figure …

link

"At the same time I built him some laminated longbows for flight shooting at around 100 pounds at 28 inches. After learning to shoot the big bows he made the flight bows look like training bows. He could shoot them almost effortlessly, a frightening sight for mere mortals like me!"

Even the bow builder was not up to shooting heavy bows, being a "mere mortal." Obviously his chosen specimen was as close as he could expect to replicate a lifelong shooter, a walking anecdote: the guy is a Brewster Beefcakes, hardly typical of "mere mortals." How many of medieval England's yeomen were as big and muscled as this guy is, do you think? And if there were a lot of them, how many got that way sitting around, or do you think maybe shooting stronger and stronger bows for years as they grew up might have had something to do with it?

A question I would ask is, "How long can you shoot one of those heavy bows before you get tired out?" To draw and loose experimentally is not the same as to shoot in battle without fatiguing.

lugal hdan08 Aug 2008 4:15 p.m. PST

Does it really matter how long you can shoot such a bow without tiring? How many arrows were carried on average, and what was their usual firing pattern?

I suspect that commanders knew how many shots their men could get off before they needed a break (or simply ran out of arrows).

Daffy Doug Inactive Member08 Aug 2008 5:29 p.m. PST

Once you are fatigued it takes hours to get back your strength for any length of time. Reloads were common practice in English armies; implicit evidence of this is the ammount of ammo carried on campaign; wagons with hundreds of thousands of arrows in sheafs of 24. An archer carried one or two sheafs at a time. Asiatic horsearchers, as already stated, carried a lot of arrows on their remounts, and spare bows too. If you were using a bow that was at the upper limit of your strength you would tire quickly. Then if the battle wasn't over, or it resumed, you'd be cooked.

The War Event Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 7:21 a.m. PST

Actually, some very good points have been made. While I will refrain on commenting on recurve bow vs longbow, there have been some good arguements/debates/discussions, whatever you choose to call it, regarding sources.

While I fully support naming a credible source, someone made statements regarding their own personal experience with these weapons. There is no substitute for personal experience. One does however, always have the problem convincing others that one's personal experience is credible, and not an idle boast.

I started shooting bows at the age of six, and eventually wound up taking on bow hunting for a few years, so I really understand a person's point on personal experience with a bow.

While there are certainly differences in performance of different bows, in my own experience, the absolute defining ingredient for determining the quality and effectiveness of any weapon is the user, not the weapon.

A man that knows the capabilities of his weapon, and who knows his own limitations is a deadly adversary in anyone's book.

- Greg

Daffy Doug Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 7:59 a.m. PST

That's true. A crack shot peasant with a 40 lb short (self) bow, would know how to thread his arrow point through the eye slits of any man at arm's helmet, as neatly as if the armor wasn't even there. He would know how to position himself and wait within range for such a shot. Now, translating that to the battlefield? And finding 5,000 of those "crack shot" peasants? That's a whole different kettle of fish….

The War Event Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 8:08 a.m. PST

I don't think I'd want any part of going toe to toe with 5,000 "crack shot" peasants!

:-)

- Greg

Grizwald Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 8:22 a.m. PST

"Obviously his chosen specimen was as close as he could expect to replicate a lifelong shooter,"

Correct. See another quote below:

"He is a very solidly built man who works with heavy machinery and also does some blacksmithing. In many ways he could well be typical of the sort of man that would have been available to the armies of the period and, therefore, was as likely as anybody would be to be able to match the achievements of these people."

It helps to read the whole article.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 9:59 a.m. PST

Oh, I did, I did. Anecdotes do not an average group of yeomen make.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 10:15 a.m. PST

The yeomen who got selected to go to war, what were they, do you think? Archers who upgraded in six weeks to 138 lb bows, or men who practiced from boyhood and eventually built up the strength and stamina to pull 138 lbs, but in battle pulled half that (just in case they got into a real long scrape, and (or) had to fight with a weakened body due to privation and illness)? Is it conceivable that archers back then noticed that really huge bows did not offer the returned energy for the increased draw weight, in sufficient quantities to justify risking such demanding weapons in battle? If an 80 lb draw weight puts the arrows out there sufficiently far and causes the damage needed to win battles, it would be stupid to "show off" in battle with more powerful bows that can only be pulled when in peak condition.

The MR bow staves are interesting and I will repeat something: in ship to ship fighting, missiles are supreme, boarding actions are much secondary, ergo the longest possible range would be the premium quality. That's most likely why the MR bows are all in excess of 100 lbs (excepting the 2 taken in the 1800's -- odd that both of them, and only those two, would be c. 80 lbs: I detect an highly unlikely happenstance here, and wonder what could account for it).

RockyRusso Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 10:37 a.m. PST

Hi

Mike, everyone of your suppositions start with "probably" or "maybe" or "possibly". I don't have the time to go back thorugh the other threads to pull out the misconceptions you presented as truth that suggested you had no real bow background.

You take my "average" numbers, as meaning "no". given that your language skills would tell you the difference, I think you are being argumentative.

As I said, I have shot 175 pound bows. What I would not do is march across half of europe, then shoot 12 rounds a minute for 4 solid minutes with a 175. Most archers and "show off" with a bow that is at least twice what they would use if they were shooting sustained volleys.

The MR bows at 100, fine, but 130 bows doesn't prove that 5000 at agincourt were 100, or the 150,000 archers in england all used 100.

You claim you never promoted 300 or 400, but in a previous thread you linked to a table showing 350-400 yard shots with modern bows as proof of your point.

Now you assert a 250 engagement range. OK, but the point is in the battle. When the french don't advance, the longbow advance beyond the stakes to come to range and start shooting. Casualties while standing with no response the French charge. That set of volleys are maximum range. And we both agree this is 225-250(yours or mine). And all I am saying is that this is a 75pound bow, or a 100 average, but only if boyers then are inferior to modern boyers.

As I doubt that those ancient guys knew less about bow building than I do, I am according them 70-75 as the average in the Hundred Years war.

R

Connard Sage Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 10:46 a.m. PST

Mike, everyone of your suppositions start with "probably" or "maybe" or "possibly".

Why are Snorbens' suppositions less valid than yours?

To wit


Any longbow over about 60# draw weight is probably also "composite" being reinforced with sinew to produce longivity

I'm still waiting on a source for that factoid BTW

When the french don't advance, the longbow advance beyond the stakes to come to range and start shooting. Casualties while standing with no response the French charge. That set of volleys are maximum range

Source?


…and it's 'bowyer'

Grizwald Inactive Member09 Aug 2008 11:27 a.m. PST

"The yeomen who got selected to go to war, what were they, do you think? Archers who upgraded in six weeks to 138 lb bows, or men who practiced from boyhood and eventually built up the strength and stamina to pull 138 lbs, but in battle pulled half that (just in case they got into a real long scrape, and (or) had to fight with a weakened body due to privation and illness)?"

Given the fact they you have asserted elsewhere that the 5,000 archers at Agincourt were the best then I'm sure as a recruiting captain I would have chosen the big guys who could pull 100lbs plus even with a weakened body.

"The MR bow staves are interesting and I will repeat something: in ship to ship fighting, missiles are supreme, boarding actions are much secondary, ergo the longest possible range would be the premium quality."

How do you balance this statement against the accounts of Sluys where the battle was decided by boarding actions?

"That's most likely why the MR bows are all in excess of 100 lbs (excepting the 2 taken in the 1800's -- odd that both of them, and only those two, would be c. 80 lbs: I detect an highly unlikely happenstance here, and wonder what could account for it)."

I am seriously beginning to doubt your ability to read what is actually written. I'll quote it again here to save us having to scroll back through the posts:
"I am inclined to agree with other bowyers that the weights of these bows probably ranged from around 80 pounds up to around 180 pounds, with the majority probably falling into the 100-to-120-pound range."

Now, where does it say that ONLY the two bows recovered in the 19th century are 80lb bows?

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