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Thread: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

  1. #41
    hessia78's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    actually it was both the depletion of suitable wood producing trees such as yew and the decline in the amount of people who physically condition and trained to use a warbow to its maximum effectiveness. There was a phrase about when training a longbowman you start with his grandfather, as it pretty much took a lifetime to master the bow and learn the required skills to pass down to the next generation. Training firearm equipped troops on the other hand took only a few weeks with basic instructions. While a musket or crossbow were better at penetrating armour, a longbow in the hands of a trained yeoman had a greater rate of fire and was more accurate at long range.

  2. #42

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    The other data-point is the steady decline in the use of shields, particularly large shields such as would be good defense against arrows, by those with access to heavy armor (especially plate). Assuming we allow that well made shields and armor in concert would have been effective against a war bow (which I suspect is uncontroversial), and that the former is not a significant expense to anyone capable of affording full armored panoply for war (speculation on my part), why would they be abandoned if the armor itself wasn't a worthy protection against enemy shot? The big advantage gained by not having them was the ability to use the two-handed weapons best suited to engaging plated opponents, but there were still weapons that could be used with a shield that would do the job, like a good pick. The halberd might be more effective to fight with, but that doesn't matter if you're shot down thirty paces from the nearest foe. So it's hard for me to imagine people with the means choosing to discard proven defenses in favor of one that doesn't work for limited advantage. (In contrast to the later decline of armor, which had hit a point where sufficient armor to be of benefit was impractical thanks to weapons developments)

  3. #43

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Great thread, should be stickied at the top of every forum discussing medieval weaponry.

    Not much to add. As pointed out above, developments in missile weapons and armor drove, and were driven by, improvements in the other. Melee weapons, on the other hand, were pretty much always lagging behind armors until they caught up, if ever. Beyond anything else, the central tenet of RC was meant to be that medieval weaponry was generally overmatched by contemporary high-end armors.

    Unfortunately the hardcoded M2TW combat model has a too-flat weapons-vs-armor curve, ie weak weapons have a too-strong effect versus strong armors, significantly beyond the liklihood of 'lucky hits' versus visors etc.

    If people find the missile weapons too powerful, or conversely the opposite, they can alter the missile-weapons-accuracy global tuning values. I can't remember the file name right now, it's been a while. The values at present in RC are:
    vs infantry 1.0
    vs cavalry 1.5
    vs elephants 2.0
    Last edited by Point Blank; December 23, 2016 at 05:21 AM.

  4. #44

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Dr Sam Willis has done a 3 part TV prog on British weapons from medieval to present day.
    I suspect ppl outside UK might have problems accessing this - but the prog is here :
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...y-1-cut-thrust

    Nice little sequence regarding longbows. Shows how a 140lb warbow in the hands of someone actually able to use it could go through two layers of mail - depending I suspect on what was worn under the mail. But even at short range a 70lb bow wealded by someone with little experience could get through a single layer of mail at close range.

    And then came arquebusiers and they could shoot through 2mm plate steel with ease.

  5. #45

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Not so, especially with improved metallurgical techniques.

    Look up Armor of Proof, and see this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/London

    But yes pretty much nobody wore mail without underpadding, and by the time that more shooters were armed with 140lb etc bows plate was in common use.

    Did that bbc show do any tests vs plate?
    Last edited by Point Blank; January 15, 2017 at 07:22 AM.

  6. #46

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    No they didn't try longbows vs plate armour,
    The arquebus was a replica of one from 16th century, used to illustrate Battle of Pavia 1525.
    Unable to penetrate into the wood without dismounting, the French were blasted off the battlefield. The remnants of the French chivalry were destroyed by the Landsknechts. Pavia and Bicocca showed that three or four close range volleys from arquebusiers were sufficient to shatter any unit in Europe.
    https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2015/0...ttle-of-pavia/
    After which Henry VIII - along with anyone else still using - longbows switched to gunpowder weapons

  7. #47

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    No they did not, especially in England.
    The ship Mary Rose from Henry's reign, sunk in 1545 and recovered with a large stock of bows.
    Archery training still compulsory.
    Last recorded battle on English soil using bows in 1642.

    And crossbows?

    The destruction of the French cav at Pavia was a specific tactical circumstance where the range was very short and the cav was bunched and hemmed in.

    From memory, Bicocca was three large Swiss pike formations advancing over open ground under heavy fire and even then completed the crossing in good order. They failed in their final assault under point blank fire largely because the shooters were behind raised and heavy earthworks.

    I repear, see Armor of Proof and the link above.
    Last edited by Point Blank; January 15, 2017 at 11:49 AM.

  8. #48

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    I'm just summarising the program for those who can't watch it.
    It was very superficial run through of weapons.
    As for Mary Rose longbows - the ship was sailing out to do battle, but the longbows and arrows were still neatly packed away in boxes.
    I'd agree that there wasn't an instant change from longbows to gunpowder weapons, it must have taken many years.

  9. #49
    +Marius+'s Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Huh, it is quite embarrassing going through my posts in this thread and looking at how I used to argue.


    On to it;

    Quote Originally Posted by Used2BRoz View Post
    Dr Sam Willis has done a 3 part TV prog on British weapons from medieval to present day.
    I suspect ppl outside UK might have problems accessing this - but the prog is here :
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...y-1-cut-thrust

    Nice little sequence regarding longbows. Shows how a 140lb warbow in the hands of someone actually able to use it could go through two layers of mail - depending I suspect on what was worn under the mail. But even at short range a 70lb bow wealded by someone with little experience could get through a single layer of mail at close range.

    And then came arquebusiers and they could shoot through 2mm plate steel with ease.
    That show is quite flawed, and so are the tests.

    It is stated in the show that the age of armor ended in the 1510s/1520s, that the range of a 17th century New Model Army musket was "50 yards if you were lucky" and had no accuracy


    There are videos popping up on youtube onto how bad certain segments are, one such video on the sword part;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfo-YX-Sdoo


    As to the archery, the target looked as a cardboard box, eliminating the issue of the arrow travelling through the torso, also, more importantly, the padding was quite obscure and not identifiable.

    As everything with the ever lovely archery expert and bowman Mr. Stretton, it is somehow always an utter win for his longbows.

    In reality, a 70lbs bow will have quite a difficulty penetrating mail(I would say, it is actually improbable), while a 140lbs bow will most likely puncture it, but may not puncture the gambeson underneath, as presented in this documentary featuring Mike Loades;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcHoqXChcyY&t=27m0s

    The archers are from the English Warbow society, and you will notice that one of the archers is none other than Mark Stretton himself, the same man shooting the bow in your documentary

    Aside to that, we have loads of historical sources mentioning mail+gambeson protecting from arrows quite well, Baha Din describes Saladin's archers as basically useless against it, while del Carpini states that a double linked mail shirt will even stop a quenched arrowhead fired from a Mongol bow.

    The same thing goes for the musket test, if armor was so easily punctured(won't even go into the fact that they were shooting at a fixed sheath), than armor would start disappearing already in the 1480s-1490s.

    In reality, plate armor was still in widespread usage even into the 17th century(even among ordinary footmen), obviously it worked at least some of the times;

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  10. #50

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Exactly.

  11. #51

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    but it does not means that if something hit you,and not touch your skin,body,only your armor that it will not hurt you .

  12. #52

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Were you able to find the problem with the not-working campaign?

  13. #53

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    I have the laptop that has the files back, but it will not boot so will try to image it's drive. Once that is done will find the error and do a final run-through of the EDU to take acccount of changes to some weapon stats and then publish.
    Last edited by Point Blank; January 22, 2017 at 07:18 AM.

  14. #54

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    Reading Hugh DH Soar's "Secrets of the English War Bow" (with among others the ubiquitous Mark Stretton).
    Has a chapter where Stretton tests out various arrowheads against various targets.

    Couple of interesting observations :

    1) Penetration of armour greater if the target is moving towards the shooter.
    Basic physics - the kinetic energy is dependent on the relative momentum of arrow vs target. A horse and rider moving at full gallop would receive more on impact than one that is stationary. (but then you'd aim at the horse not the rider at close range, it presents a much larger target and is more vulnerable.)

    2) Brigandine proved very resilient. Most of the arrows fired against it, at even close range just bounced off. Stretton had to design entirely new arrowhead to get one that could penetrate at all. Understandable that archers favoured it.

    That said the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403) shows what longbowmen were capable of :

    The action began with a general advance by the royalists. They had to move forward uphill, through a large field of peas (unlike today, the ground was unenclosed by hedgerows), whose stems had been woven together by the rebels in an attempt to impede the advance. As royalist ranks became disordered, Hotspur's archers opened a devastating fire: "so thick and fast that it seemed to the beholders like a thick cloud." The king's men went down "like apples fallen in the autumn…when stirred by the south-west wind." Royalists archers attempted to reply, but were evidently overwhelmed.

    It was normal practice for an archer to carry two quivers, or arrow bags, giving him a total of 48 arrows. The average archer could be expected to fire at a rate of about ten shots per minute. Assuming that Percy's men opened fire at a range of about 300 yards, and that about 3000 archers were involved, they could in theory have fired some 60,000 arrows in the time it would have taken the Royalist troops to reach their position.

    King Henry's men never got that far. Both Stafford's and the King's divisions began to fall back in disorder. Stafford was killed, and many of his men, including a number of Cheshire troops, made off, stealing mounts from the horse lines to the rear. The King's division, though shaken, managed to halt approximately back on its start line. Henry, Prince of Wales was seriously wounded in the face by an arrow, though he remained in the field to encourage his men.
    from here : http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...al/shrewsbury/

    Note - 300 yards is too long a range to start shooting arrows. Standard butts were around 200-240 yards, effective range would be less than that. Hotspur's archers did have significant (terrain) height advantage. How well armoured were their opponents is difficult to say, many of the Royalist forces were local militia levy troops who may have had minimal armour. But Stafford was serious nobility and if anyone could afford to be well-protected he was. Yet the arrows killed him outright.

  15. #55
    +Marius+'s Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?

    No offence, but people should seriously stop using websites alone for historiography.

    Firstly, the arrow storm was immense and many died, however, they did not halt the advance and the forces did "got that far" and did clash in melee.

    Secondly, Stafford was not killed by arrows but by Archibald Douglas, along with Sir Walter Blount, he killed them both with his sword, however he was wounded in the groin by a third man, but he survived.

    Here is the account of Archibald's and Percy's final breakthrough into the enemy ranks in order to capture the king, described in The Chronica Maiora;

    "Indeed Henry Percy, the enemy commander, and earl Douglas(Archibald) the Scot, the bravest soldiers anyone has ever seen, cared no thought for the arrows being shot by the king's side or the ranks of armed men packed close together, and roused their strength and turned their weapons against nobody but the person of the king. Thinking that he was worth ten thousand of his men, they looked for him, mowing down those who stood in their way and searching for him with death dealing spears and swords. But when the earl of Dunbar saw their purpose, he led the king awayfrom this station, a deed which on that occasion saved the king as the royal standard bearder was laid low by the raging rebels, the standard thrown on the ground and all those around it killed. Among these fell the earl of Stafford and Sir Walter Blount, a knight of the king."

    However, it all failed because of the death of Percy;

    "Meanwhile Sir Henry Percy was at the head of his men in the battle, and without thought of danger, penetrating the enemy ranks, when he was unexpectedly killed and fell, it is not certain by whose hand."


    The capture of Douglas;

    "But the earl of Douglas was captured in this battle, which made it twice in one year. Fighting against the English, he always met with bad luck. For in the first battle he was wounded in the head and lost an eye, and in the second he was wounded in the genitals and lost his smaller ball, and came under the yoke of a second captivity."


    The Scotichronicon, about Archibald Douglas mighty onslaught on foot into the kings personal ranks;

    "...he wreaked so much slaughter that besides the others he killed with his great mace three men disguised as kings in the hope that each was the real King Henry."

    Also, same wounding story;

    "...lost one testicle, just as earlier at Hombleton he lost one eye."



    Quote Originally Posted by Used2BRoz View Post
    How well armoured were their opponents is difficult to say, many of the Royalist forces were local militia levy troops who may have had minimal armour. But Stafford was serious nobility and if anyone could afford to be well-protected he was. Yet the arrows killed him outright.

    The Chronica Maiora, on the battle casualties;

    "On the king's side fell ten knights, many squires, several servants and about three thousand were seriously wounded. On the rebel side, most of the knights and squires of Cheshire fell, in number about two hundred, not counting servants and foot soldiers, whose numbers I do not know. The battle was fought on the eve of the feast of St Mary Magdalene, and it was thought that no fiercer battle had ever been fought."


    So, in total, of the estimated 25-30 000 men in total and 5-7 000 estimated direct casualties by modern historiography;

    10-50 knights died,

    scores of squires,

    an unknown(probably very high) number of regular foot soldiery.


    Also, prince Henry was famously shot in the face by an arrow, but continued fighting and survived.


    So yes, those arrows most likely took out plenty of men and were quite an important part of the battle, but the battle was still decided in the melee.
    Last edited by +Marius+; January 29, 2017 at 01:57 PM.

  16. #56

    Default Re: English Longbows w/ No Penetration?


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