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Re: (TFT) More long bow reflections

> I grew up thinking the English longbow was the ultimate pre-manufacturing
> technology bow. I've learned a bit more since then and I know that other
> bows -- laminated, recurved, etc. -- may have actually out-performed the
> old cloth-yard shaft, but there is no doubt that a six foot long yew bow
> could put a three foot long arrow clear through a suit of decent armor at
> a hundred paces -- and it didn't make much difference if there was a body
> in there or not. Yes the shot had to be dead on to penetrate that well,
> but these guys practiced a lot. There were laws on the books in the UK
> until the 1950's (unobserved) that required Englishmen to practice at the
> butts weekly. And you don't need to penetrate the armor every time to
> incapacitate the target. A neck wound, leg wound, even a hand wound would
> put a serious hurt on a guy -- and don't forget old Harold who got shot in
> the eye by a Norman archer.

There are lots of bow designs out there. On advantage of any self bow is
that it can be made in the field (try laminating horn or sinew in field
conditions). I'm less convinced as to how often arrows killed through
armour. Persons who have studied the existing records far more than I
dispute it. As for wounds, there's an awful lot of accounts of people
continuing to fight while wounded.

And unfortunately, no one has done an accurate modern test. There's
usually problems with the bow, the arrow, the armour material, the armour
form, and the range. Modern armour isn't mild steel, for example. Nor is
it modern medium-carbon steel.

And Harold doesn't count, as the armour wasn't penetrated for that hit. So
there. Nyah.

There were also English laws on the books about not playing football on

> The long bow is a bad news weapon. But it has to be used at range. It's
> worse than useless in a hand to hand fight, Legolass notwithstanding, and
> it is typically limited to lower class fighters (Robin of Loxley being a
> possible exception). No historical sword wielder would use a bow. Swords
> throughout all cultures have traditionally been marks of gentry, if not
> nobility. Gentlemen fight face to face. Even to this day, we issue rifles
> to the troops and pistols to the officers.

This is not correct, except for western Europe after a particular date
(pre-Norman Norse used bows). Samurai were originally mounted archers.
Eastern Europe had sword-carrying nobility who were also mounted archers.
Though we also issue (dress) swords to modern officers.

Neil Gilmore
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