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  1. #21
    Immortal Stormspark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jastall View Post
    The longbow had both a great strength and weakness: it required an extreme amount of training and preparation to use. This means that English archers were the best in their business and very effective when brought to bear; no, they didn't fire wooden lasers or anything, but their fire rate and stopping power was impressive nevertheless, and being unable to pierce plate armor is less of a concern when you have enough accuracy and volume to likely kill the mount of the guy using it if he's dumb enough to blindly charge at you.

    But it also meant it took decades to train a good archer and each loss was difficult to retrain, which means that crossbowmen or "lesser" types of bows were logistically superior as they could be replaced far more easily. Having a great weapon in a vacuum is only a very small part of winning an actual war.
    When they say it takes extreme training, it's an understatement. Longbow wielders had to begin training in childhood, to develop the necessary muscles. If you started too late, you wouldn't be able to do it. And yes, training took decades.

    That's why firearms became so widely used. Because you can train any idiot to fire a gun in a short amount of time. Of course, nowadays with modern technology, we have things like crossbows and compound bows that don't require a huge amount of strength in the right places to wield, but they are still a lot more difficult than a gun, and modern firearms have orders of magnitude more penetrating power than even the best bows.

    Something like this takes a massive amount of training and muscles in the right areas (which have to be developed over a long period). Deadly in the right hands, but if you give one to someone that hasn't had extensive training they will probably just hurt themself.



    Something like this takes much less, but it's still a lot harder to effctively use than a firearm. Modern materials like aluminum and carbon fiber can make the bow itself much stronger, and much easier to draw and shoot.



    And then these, even more power and even easier to use, but still not as effective as a firearm.

    Last edited by Stormspark; 2019-06-02 at 03:50 PM.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Zelk View Post
    Longbows were very useful, but the key difference between french and english archers was the training. The french used crossbows, which were far less effective than the longbow but were very easy to use, making the conscription of nearby peasants trivial. English archers meanwhile required a lifetime of training to be able to properly use a longbow, which meant the introduction of laws and torunaments specifically designed to ensure there was always a ready body of expert archers. The effectiveness of the longbows in the periods of English ascension during the hundred years war is fairly obvious. Whenever the English managed to properly utilise their archers they won, whenever they failed to do so they were defeated. In truth the longbow isn't some magic killing machine, the key difference between it and other bows was the archers themselves and the years of training they had.

    To counter what the OP specifically said, most of medieval warfare (and actually most warfare bar WWI and II) didn't have great losses on either side. Battles were fought to win control of an area, not to kill all of the other sides soldiers. There's a reason decimate is used to describe a destruction of a force despite it's actual meaning is the loss of 1 in every ten men. Losing 10% of your forces was a disaster. On the specific point about longbows killing more horses than men, that was very much by design. Knights on horses were terrifying, and by far the most dangerous part of an enemies forces. One of the major tactical points of the English was to use their archers to dismount as many french knights as possible.
    I disagree here : battles proper led to limited casualties. The aftermath of the battle (when one army was routed) led to catastrophic casualties.

  3. #23
    Epic! Cidzor's Avatar
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    Video games and Hollywood always overexaggerate stuff like that. This applies to pretty much every weapon that exists in the real world. I mean, look at how guns work in most action movies. "Yes, watch me score like 10 headshots in a row while dual wielding pistols and not really even aiming them"

    If I understand correctly, the main advantage of a longbow is that its heavier weight and thickness make it more forgiving than other types of bows if you're a novice and make mistakes, so there wouldn't be stuff like sideways movement of the string throwing your arrow off on release (although here's a disclaimer that I'm nowhere near an expert on the subject).

    But yeah, I'm pretty sure any kind of bow in the real world isn't going to work the way Legolas made them work.
    Last edited by Cidzor; 2019-06-03 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #24
    Depends entirely on the time it was used. There are so many inaccuracies we take as granted these days, it's quite hard to tell. It starts with alot of armor being just padded and very few people actually running around in 4mm full plate steel armor and ends with materials for bows ranging from sharp rocks to extremely expensive metal tips. Somewhere inbetween longbows were important enough to go down in history as a common weapon and even persist through the age of cross-bows, yet obviously not surpassing guns in the long run.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeula View Post
    I figured chainmail's links would absorb the bulk of the impact by catching the arrow tip through the holes. But I'm no expert on the subject.
    Generally it is the combination of padding and the chainmail that will stop the arrow but using only chainmail would make the arrows penetrate a little bit. Penetration also depends heavily on the quality of the chainmail I would assume.

    Then again, it also heavily depends on the range from which you are shooting your target at.

  6. #26
    Didn’t anyone here see Braveheart to know how bows were used?
    There is no one more racist than a white liberal.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Stormspark View Post
    When they say it takes extreme training, it's an understatement. Longbow wielders had to begin training in childhood, to develop the necessary muscles. If you started too late, you wouldn't be able to do it. And yes, training took decades.

    That's why firearms became so widely used. Because you can train any idiot to fire a gun in a short amount of time. Of course, nowadays with modern technology, we have things like crossbows and compound bows that don't require a huge amount of strength in the right places to wield, but they are still a lot more difficult than a gun, and modern firearms have orders of magnitude more penetrating power than even the best bows.
    Yeah, I remember reading a saying that said "if you want to train a longbowman, start with his grandfather". They often had highly deformed shoulder and back muscles and skeletons due to the incredible rigors of drawing the weight of their weapons.

    That sounds cool and all, but in practice that should make any logistically-minded general piss himself at how incredibly irreplaceable such troops are. And for all the English's trouble, the French still ended up using boring old crossbows (and later artillery) to beat them during the Hundred Year's War anyway. There's a good reason the English ended up using guns along with everyone else when they started to be commonly available, even if on paper a longbow was superior to most firearms until the 18th or even 19th century in terms of range and rate of fire.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeula View Post
    Longbows are great against unarmored targets. That’s about it. Plate or chain mail would stop them flat. The really good arrows cost an arm and a leg to buy and so saw minimal usage.

    At least that’s what I’ve heard.
    On the other side, movies really exaggerate the use of armor also, most "normal" fighters used Boiled leather armor at best, mostly Kings used any real armor since it was expansive as hell and the weight would ensure your death in real fights.

  9. #29
    Longbow need to be viewed more like siege weapons when a group of archer fires then an actual infrantry with a weapon. Also yes at long range lowbow cant peirce chainmail and at any range it cant pierce plates. But even if they dont, its not like a breeze getting hit by them, sword couldnt pierce armors either. Basicly most of the hollywood, video game on most medieval fantasy dont even get anything correct, hell its literal common sense. Nobody in a chainmail would get their arm severed by your sword swing. Why? Because Metals doesent cut metals, they scrape each other, there is no cutting. The power of your swing cannot use metal to cut metal, because its not even physicaly possible. It takes machineries that turn at hundred to thousand RPM to (scrape metal) enough that it looks like its being cut. All the damage you suffered while in armor was blunt trauma, same for sword, hammers, spears, and yes arrows.

    So when you watch the gladiator when somehow they server limbs or their through armor, roll your eyes, its not possible. But you can still die because the blunt trauma that hits you from the impact might be enough to injure you severly. Does it look as cool as an head flying around, probably not, all youd see is a guy that got his helmet hit hard by a sword and stopped moving.
    Last edited by minteK917; 2019-06-02 at 04:02 PM.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by sarahtasher View Post
    No money-minding captain would have invested a lot in armor-piercing arrows. If the count of A... is pincushioned, it's a waste as you can't ransom dead people.
    That last bit was entirly the point. Though killing peasants wasn't a concern and thousands did die often from malnurishment, desieases and being executed if captured, knights were nobles and killing knights was both seen as a crime if you killed them as prisoners and a waste if you killed them on the battle field as it was far better to ransom them back to there rich family.

    You didn't want the archer to kill the Knight, you wanted to kill his horse so he'd be thrown off and injured/unable to get up/incapacitated so they could be easily captured.

    This is why agincourt was actualy such a shock to the medieval world, because 1. The number of knights who drowned in mud and 2. We executed all the captured knights in stead of ransoming them which drew condemnation from the pope at the time.

    What made the longbow a feared weapon was its range and stopping power to Completly drop a charging horse dead and throw the Knight flying.

    There were many types of arrow head, armour piercing did exhist and a longbow had more than enough force to punch one through plate armour, there were also hammer heads that could send a Knight flying but they wernt common on the battle field, this is because archers rarely fired flat at the knight where the longbow power was its advantage, rather they fired up for range with arrows dropping onto the horses and knights, so the simple barbed head was enough.

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Stormspark View Post
    When they say it takes extreme training, it's an understatement. Longbow wielders had to begin training in childhood, to develop the necessary muscles. If you started too late, you wouldn't be able to do it. And yes, training took decades.

    That's why firearms became so widely used. Because you can train any idiot to fire a gun in a short amount of time. Of course, nowadays with modern technology, we have things like crossbows and compound bows that don't require a huge amount of strength in the right places to wield, but they are still a lot more difficult than a gun, and modern firearms have orders of magnitude more penetrating power than even the best bows.

    Something like this takes a massive amount of training and muscles in the right areas (which have to be developed over a long period). Deadly in the right hands, but if you give one to someone that hasn't had extensive training they will probably just hurt themself.



    Something like this takes much less, but it's still a lot harder to effctively use than a firearm. Modern materials like aluminum and carbon fiber can make the bow itself much stronger, and much easier to draw and shoot.



    And then these, even more power and even easier to use, but still not as effective as a firearm.

    That why in England it was the law that every able bodied man had to practise archery every Sunday with a longbow from age 10? I think.

    It's a running joke in England that the law never got repealed so technicaly we still have to but it hasn't been enforced in century's haha. We have other odd ones like a group of 5 or more scotsman is classed as a raiding party so can be attacked and its not illegal to kill a Welsh man from the walls of Chester with a longbow.

  12. #32
    The Insane Thage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostpanther View Post
    At the time when they first appeared in warfare, absolutely. They made heavy armored mounted knights less of a threat. They needed to be protected however. having them upfront with no melee protection was a failure on the leaders if they did. Anyone who has played the total war games, knows this and even if those are games, it still reflects the need to protect them.
    Also, the English kept a body of combat-ready archers pretty much at all times.* You could substantially cripple a cavalry charge with volleys from bowmen, and infantry with pikes and other long weapons braced for the charge could cause havoc among the survivors.

    Also also, the real threat from bows came from quantity, not quality. When 200 arrows are flying in a sheet at an incoming force, odds are good you're going to score hits. Keep in mind that plate armor was extremely expensive. Most rank-and-file troops wore chain mail or boiled leather while knights would wear layered metal strips or scale; only nobles or extremely accomplished knights would ride onto the field in full plate armor for numerous reasons, chief of which being because it's difficult to move in (hence why most knights in plate armor rode horseback) and extremely limited visiblity. Plate armor became popular in fiction because it's visually impressive, but it saw little actual use in battles.

    Point of fact, longbows, and later crossbows, were fought hard against by the ruling nobles, as it made it too easy for peasants to kill nobles, which was 'ungodly' and against the established/'natural' order of things.
    Last edited by Thage; 2019-06-02 at 04:12 PM. Reason: *mixed up crossbows and longbows in opening sentence
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  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeula View Post
    I figured chainmail's links would absorb the bulk of the impact by catching the arrow tip through the holes. But I'm no expert on the subject.
    Guy did a test
    https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q...against-arrows

    Chain mail stops broad heads, but does little to stop piercing, seems it splits the rings.

    A gabison worn under chain mail stops the piercing arrow every time though, and chain mail stops broad heads.

  14. #34
    Look at the Battle of Agincourt and Battle of Crecy.
    Do you hear the voices too?

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Hunter View Post
    its not illegal to kill a Welsh man from the walls of Chester with a longbow.
    Just pointing out that it IS illegal. It's still murder. Regardless of what an ancient law says, you would still be charged with murder.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Puupi View Post
    ...and no one was wearing plate armor.
    still a fun fact IMO /shrug.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kasuke06 View Post
    As much as I love the longbow... You're talking about Fightin' Mad Jack Churchill, the mad who bastard took a town with a sack of grenades and his SMG, a bunker at swordpoint, and yes, did get the only confirmed longbow kill in a modern conflict. Dude brought bagpipes to normandy. Basically he's England's Audie Murphy, men so badass, they'd have to tone down the biopics because it wouldn't be believable if they included all the crazy shit.
    yes! glad someone knew! first time i heard about him i like no way this is true... oh wait it is....
    Member:BFA Alpha, Member since 2/7/2018

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by isoluu View Post
    Yes they were a white man's invention so it was probably actually developed by African king lords and later appropriated by the barbaric Anglo-Saxons
    They waz kangs. Wakanda for life.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by smityx View Post
    They waz kangs. Wakanda for life.
    Despite only being 13% of the population, they were responsible for 50% of the inventions....

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Itori View Post
    I would say no, video games tend to make everything seem way more badass than it is. Not saying longbows are weak, but youre not gonna shoot anyones arm off or drop a dragon from the sky if they existed xD
    See in a fantasy world with dragons, the person firing the bow at a dragon has far more strength (possibly augmented by magic) than anyone on our world and the arrow and bow may be made by esoteric materials and also have their own enchantments. And that's not counting that person being an elf who has practiced with that bow for centuries.
    Longbows being amazing in fantasy worlds makes sense because they are fantasy worlds not because of longbows.

  20. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by ParanoiD84 View Post
    Look at the Battle of Agincourt and Battle of Crecy.
    Crécy, yes.

    Poitiers and Agincourt, it seems the arrows hit the horses far more than their riders.

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