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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:56 PM   #21

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Thanks for your input Sperro old mate and I agree wholeheartedly with your second paragraph. On your first point I think you are guilty of anachronistic thinking. It may only be of academic interest today whether the longbow could penetrate plate armour but it obviously mattered to the medieval weapon developers of the day. Why else would they invest so much resources into developing metal piercing arrowheads or conversely improving the resistance to them of plate armour? The psychological effect alone of an arrowhead that could pierce armour and take out the military elite of the time would I suggest have been devestating. For this reason alone I think it is a debate worth pursuing.
One big and fundemental point is being overlooked here and that is, that medieval armies did not entirely consist of armour suited troops. this means that the Longbow, however humble, could be used to great effect on the men at arms who invariably wore whatever armour they could lay their hands on. This means that they may not have been entirely covered, and an arrowstorm would strike terror into them.

Regarding my first point, I was trying to suggest that the sucess of an arrow piercing armour could not be relied on and that there was no guarantee that it would or it would'nt, sometimes it did and sometimes it did'nt
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:13 PM   #22

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JUst watching THIS programme that is reconstructing/rebuilding and testing the weapons of the Battle of Towcester, incuding the Longbow.
Instruments of Death, it is viewable here Instruments Of Death - Series 1 - Episode 2 | Yesterday - Entertainment inspired by history
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:29 AM   #23

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JUst watching THIS programme that is reconstructing/rebuilding and testing the weapons of the Battle of Towcester, incuding the Longbow.
Instruments of Death, it is viewable here Instruments Of Death - Series 1 - Episode 2 | Yesterday - Entertainment inspired by history
Thanks for that I will give that a watch later as I have to go to work. Von is that the documentary that you had watched.?
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:43 AM   #24

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Thanks for that I will give that a watch later as I have to go to work. Von is that the documentary that you had watched.?
Yes it is Crystal and I would thoroughly recommend it :

Ancientgeezer thanks for the link.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 05:41 AM   #25

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I for one have doubts about longbow, or any other bow been able to penetrate armour, especially plate on regular basis.
.........................

For third, use of longbow by English on the other hand declined, not increased. Had it been battle winning weapon as it is presented, you would expect the opposite. I have to admit however, that there might have been other reason for its decline, like availability of trained archers.

For fourth, Europeans developed and used in increased umbers stronger and stronger crossbows. Like arbalest. That was heavy, clumsy weapon, very slow to load and in the end, it needed another soldier just to shield and protect crossbowman while he was reloading it. Its only advantage was sheer penetrating power of projectile. There must have been reason why were they used.
In Edward III's time a Longbowman commanded 6d per day, the same as a master carpenter, while an ordinary footsoldier with a billhook or a spear merited 2d, slightly more than a day labourer.
By the time of the Wars of the Roses an archer, who had spent at least ten years mastering his art and was physically tall and powerful for his day ( 5' 9"-5' 10" from Towton and 6' 1"-6' 2" from the Mary Rose) was worth 10d per day and a foot soldier 3d.
Arbalest were used by "professionals" in companies who hired themselves out--I haven't found the pay rate, but it must have been more than a Lomgbowman.
The War of the Roses period hand cannon were relatively easy to produce and required next to no training to use, at Towton and Bosworth, they could be put into the hands of a standard-peasant at 3d per day. They were inferior in range and rate of fire to a Longbow, but triple the numbers of cannoneers could be deployed for the same amount of money.
Medieval monarchs were tightfisted bastards.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 06:13 AM   #26
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Cost of wages is not the total cost of fielding a soldier. Supply/Organizational overheads are very significant, just coz they got paid 1/3 you cannot just field 3 time the troops.(dont know the cost of supplies v cost of wages in overall monetary costs anyone got some figures? just curious) Very good troops have the same supply burden as poor ones. and less organizational overhead. (poor trained/organized troops will take more organization cause delays limit maneuverability etc. An army composed of well drilled troops will be able to march better, etc)
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:58 PM   #27

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[QUOTE=Von Ranke;1265617]Yes it is Crystal and I would thoroughly recommend it :

Ancientgeezer thanks for the link.[/QUOTE
Thank you I found that very interesting, It made me think about if barbed arrow could penetrate a full armored King at Bosworth.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 01:32 PM   #28

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[quote=Crystal Rainbow;1266053]
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Yes it is Crystal and I would thoroughly recommend it :

Ancientgeezer thanks for the link.[/QUOTE
Thank you I found that very interesting, It made me think about if barbed arrow could penetrate a full armored King at Bosworth.
Could you be thinking of Richard's spine?
If Richard was cut off and surrounded as suggested, a short-range shot may have penetrated his armour depending on how it was articulated.
But then, remember what happened to Gadaffi, maybe the Welshmen stripped and mutilated him after he was unhorsed and cut down, firing an arrow into a body already stripped of its outer plate.

Rear articulation of late 15th C armour.
Click the image to open in full size.


Another style at Back view of armor by Helmschmied | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old November 24th, 2012, 08:40 AM   #29

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Arrows could wind you with that armour put would not penetrate even a barbed one. Richard had been attacked by his own men. The Earl of Surrey had attacked from behind when Richard had led the charge to reach Tudor. It was at the time when Tudors standard bearer William Brandon was killed when the Earl of Surrey had attacked Richard as they must have pulled him of his horse and taken of his helmet as he had blunt force trauma to the back of the skull with a pole axe. The Earl of Surreys action did take Richards men by surprise but they did not go down without a fight as the Earl had received injuries from that battle. As for that barbed arrow head its a long shot why would they shoot some who is already dead. It has been documented that his body was draped over a horse naked with by felons halter and displayed at Leicester for all to see. I am sure I have seen no record of any arrow at spine ,I wonder if they can lay a body flat with an arrow in the spine. The documentary just got me thinking.
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Old November 29th, 2012, 01:46 AM   #30
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The english/welsh longbow has passed into folklore as the most decisive weapon of its era, with victories at Crecy and Agincourt being attributed to its armour piercing capability. At Crecy this was no doubt true, but plate armour had not been developed to its true potential at this time. It is worth remembering that padded bodkins were worn beneath body armour and as armour thickness increased so the effectiveness of the longbow diminished. Even at Potiers arrows were seen to bounce off and only when targeting was switched to the horses was the French charge halted in its tracks.
Certainly mail armour was ineffective at stopping arrows fired from longbows at medium to short ranges, and the rate of fire from longbows was imprerssive. an army of 5000 archers could sustain a firepower of 40000 rounds a minute for some time and thats enough to put the wind up anyone.
A mass volley would likely kill a lot of horses, hit some riders/infantry in the face, legs and arms and so on. A few dozen horses dying at the point of a galloping charge would cause the following riders to crash into them and fall.
Riders in heavy armor falling off and being rendered pretty much useless even if they survive such a crash, troops in lighter armor or none whether on horse or foot would get killed in their hundreds.
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