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"The battle of Shrewsbury," Topic


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373 hits since 27 Oct 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2016 11:14 a.m. PST

"By the beginning of the 15th century, the English longbowman was one of the most effective killing machines in Western Europe. For over half a century he had dominated the battlefields of France and Northern Spain, winning for England's Plantagenet monarchy an extensive continental domain. The battle of Shrewsbury, described by a contemporary writer as "the sorry bataille of Schrvesbury between Englysshmen and Englysshmen", witnessed the dawn of a new and more terrible era in English warfare, when, for the first time in a major engagement, the English longbowman turned their deadly power against each other. It was a foretaste of the bloodbath which would follow half a century later in the Wars of the Roses, and would also provide William Shakespeare with the inspiration for one of his greatest plays – King Henry IV Part One.

The English War Bow

A great deal has been written about the origins of the English longbow, but much of that is actually either inaccurate or unsubstantiated. For example, although I use the term here for the sake of clarity, there is no evidence that the terms "longbow" or "longbowmen" were actually used in the Middle Ages- "bow", bowmen" and "archers" were much more usual descriptions. Bows had been used in English (and Welsh) warfare for centuries, and the evolution of the "great bow", a weapon of tremendous power, was gradual.

Despite their great role in history, no English medieval war bow is known with certainty to have survived. So we have to make certain assumptions when trying to decide exactly what they were like. The average war bow probably measured about 6 feet in length, and was made of yew. It probably had a "draw weight" of 80-160lb, and a range of up to 300 yards with lighter arrows, though less with some of the heavier-headed armour-piercing "bodkin" type which were increasingly used against armoured knights and men- at-arms…"
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Amicalement
Armand

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