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"What positions for the longbowmen figurines of the WOTR?" Topic

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14 Jan 2020 5:14 p.m. PST
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Warspite107 Jan 2020 2:58 a.m. PST

And this clip 'proves' that William Wallace had an Australian accent, painted his face and wore rags…!

YouTube link

He also apparently 'invented' the Scots' long spears despite them being used by the Picts since at least the 5th Century AD.


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2020 10:34 p.m. PST

It should not be confused, we will never know if it was done in reality but what has been declared impossible by some in this subject is done by film actors: '-)

MacColla08 Jan 2020 1:38 p.m. PST

Paskal, you don't seem to understand. Hollywood is not real. Actors in a Robin Hood movie are not really trying to kill one another. It is not real.
In the real world there are two points. One I raised last year is that no-one in their right mind would get involved in close combat with a six-foot long piece of wood over their shoulder. The risk of tripping over it is obvious to anyone who is not playing a role for film/TV. Whether the bow is strung or not, the piece of wood is still six feet long. It doesn't magically get shorter when it is strung. If Sean Connery's Robin Hood falls over his longbow the scene can be re-shot. If the fifteenth century archer falls over his longbow he gets killed. He doesn't get a re-take.
Secondly, in the real world archers do not ever use the bowstring as some sort of carrying strap. The bow is only ever strung to shoot. The reason for that really is quite simple. A longbow is a straight piece of wood. Stringing the bow provides the spring that turns the piece of wood into a bow. If you keep it strung the wood may lose that spring and the string may be stretched. Either way, it loses its effectiveness as a bow. That is why the first thing you learn on an archery beginners' course is how to string and unstring a bow.
It may be you want to base your Wars of the Roses on Hollywood's idea of Robin Hood – after all it's only a game and we can all do what we choose. But I've always thought Robin Hood was presented as a contemporary of Richard I rather than Richard III.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2020 11:01 a.m. PST


I know it because according to Jean Le Fèvre de Saint-Remy, who fought for the english at Agincourt, record how there the archers' quited their stakes, threw down their bows and arrows and, seizing their swords, axes and other weapons, sallied ot open them, and … Anyway, although it is not the WOTR, this is first-rate information and of the utmost importance …


I do not know if what was practiced during agincourt was also practiced during al WOTR because if the archers put their longbows on the ground, if these arcs are objects loved by their owners there could be some problems for the recover after the fight or everyone recovers the first longbow that comes to hand.

But even if this has never been done (involved in close combat with a six-foot long piece of wood over their shoulder), it is not physically impossible as shooting from a horse with a longbow, which was certainly never done either, do you understand?

MacColla09 Jan 2020 3:58 p.m. PST

I don't think anyone on this thread has ever disputed the account of the archers at Agincourt throwing down their bows and joining in the melee with swords, axes and other weapons. I read that also in my copy of the Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet. Of course they threw down their bows – they didn't want to be tripped up by their bows in the melee as I keep posting!
Do you have any evidence at all to suggest archers in the WOTR did otherwise? I have re-read all your posts and haven't found any source. Do you have any authority at all to suggest the bows were objects loved by their owners? I can't see it. Why do you think bows were more loved in the late 15th Century than they were in 1415? Do you have evidence for this? You haven't posted it yet!
On the contrary, the contemporary muster rolls mention archers without bows; the accounts show bows being centrally supplied for the 1415 campaign. Bows have been recovered in stores on the Mary Rose. As they were being provided by the Captains/Leaders -whatever you want to call them – both before and after the WOTR, what leads you to believe there was any difference?
I am afraid I do not understand your last paragraph. If you shoot a bow more than three days per week I will of course defer to your superior knowledge of archery. However as I do not believe you have more practical experience or archery than me, I am not persuaded that putting a head and shoulder through a strung bow like Robin Hood does in the movies is anything that would ever be done in the real world. It gives no advantage and has disadvantages apparent to real world archers as described by le Fevre and de Monstrelet. It may be physically possible but why on earth would anyone want to do it?
I certainly have never suggested it is possible to shoot a longbow from horseback, that is physically impossible and that at least we seem to agree on.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

Well the case has progressed drastically because after 106 comments what we are certain of is that 40 years before the beginning of the WOTR, the archers threw their longbows to the ground for the melee because according to Jean Le Fèvre de Saint-Remy, who fought for the english at Agincourt, record how there the archers' quited their stakes, threw down their bows and arrows and, seizing their swords, axes and other weapons, sallied ot open them, and …


and that 105,103 or 93 years after the end of the WOTR (According to everyone's thoughts), the longbowmen fought on 7 or 8 ranks at the most , because after Sir John Smythe, writing in 1590, the longbowmen units did consist but of 7 or 8 ranks at the most.

And after him the reason was this: 'that if they had placed any more ranks than 7 or 8, the hind ranks of archers would have lost a great deal of ground in vollley of their arrows at their enemies … as also the sight of the hind ranks would have been hindered by so many former ranks'.


But in 1590, the longbowmen did not have billmen in front of them to constitute the first rows of a "mixed unit", then if the units were mixed during the WOTR, the longbowmen were also on 7 or 8 ranks? Behind how many ranks of billmen?

The other questions of this topic more related to wargame were:

As you know the longbowmen figures for the WOTR, it does not miss, but they are sometimes in positions not very useful …

1/ First of all, in a unit of longbowmen figurines for the WOTR, should they be in the same position ?

2/ For example in a longbowmen unit that shoots, everyone shoots at the same time ?

3/ How do you arrange your longbowmen figurines in a unit ?

4/ Where to find 28/30 mm WOTR longbowmen figurines fighting in melee ?

Thanks for your help… '-)

Warspite113 Jan 2020 4:18 a.m. PST

Thank you for getting involved with this but the problem appears to be that Paskal asks questions but has already made up his mind and will not shift from his position.

He recently criticised me for dipping back 45/50 years to the HYW for supporting evidence of English practices and then criticised me for quoting contemporary (circa 1475) English practices in the Burgundian army (where they ARE recorded and illustrated with drawings) yet he cannot see the irony of quoting from a bad movie (Robin and Marian was dire!) as supporting 'evidence'.

I see he has now done just what he criticised me for and has jumped FORWARDS to 1590 (way way out of period) and more or less the date that Queen Elizabeth dropped the longbow from the list of acceptable English weapons.

In truth he is asking questions that we do not know the answers to, ignoring the answers and the little evidence that we do have and then commits the same 'errors' he accuses others of.

You cannot win MacColla but bless you for trying! :(


Warspite113 Jan 2020 4:24 a.m. PST

And if any disinterested readers want actual information I commend these links:

English Retinues in the 15th century – some facts
TMP link

The Bridport Muster roll (and compared with the Ewelme muster roll)
TMP link

And this is an online copy of the contemporary Burgundian illustration of mixed bill and bowmen.


You will note that these 'Burgundian' archers in this illustration are probably all English and they also follow the contemporary English tactic of putting in stakes. This illustration also confirms this:

Henry VII's army at Nottingham prior to the battle of Stoke Field (1487). The historian Leland (in his Collectanea) says the King set: "his folks in array of batell, that is to say a bow and a bill at his bak".

This is the much-quoted statement which is taken to mean that archers opened the battle with the billmen BEHIND them and in roughly equal numbers. Unfortunately Leland was a historian and not a soldier and tosses this nugget of information to his readers as if it was standard knowledge.


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2020 12:04 a.m. PST

I think that sooner or later all the theories prove to be false over time …

Anyway I do not imagine that we can reconstruct a real fight with a rule of wargame, all this is for fun.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2020 6:34 a.m. PST

Oh dear !: Damn! Damn ! Damn it !How to do? The WOTR "specialist" of this forum has not yet told us what is the best position for WOTR longbowmen figures? : '(

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