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Thread: The Longbow vs. The Crossbow

  1. #11
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    You must be able to fire on rainy and windy days,
    What did for the crossbowmen at Crécy was the fact that their strings had become soaked in the torrential rain and lost their elasticity. The more experienced archers on the English side had kept theirs dry

    Just think about it much skill it requires to a) get your arrow beyond the slit - b) succeed in it every time c) then hit someone running below the castle or city walls
    As regards that photo of an embrasure, the archer or crossbowman would stand immediately behind the opening and not have to fire from several yards back as (I think) is being suggested. So getting an arrow or bolt through the slit was really not that difficult.

    Incidentally, the ones in the form of a cross were made for both types of weapon.

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  3. #12
    Sound methods Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonPagan View Post
    As regards that photo of an embrasure, the archer or crossbowman would stand immediately behind the opening and not have to fire from several yards back as (I think) is being suggested. So getting an arrow or bolt through the slit was really not that difficult.
    Do you think there's room for that? I saw a docu in which they explained that archers would stand a few meters away from the slit, using a longbow here would be out of the question anyway, I think. Which would certainly be safer too, because otherwise you could expose yourself too much to another very skilled enemy archer who could aim for that slit.
    “Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no-one is too poor to buy.” - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

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  5. #13
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    If you consider the angles involved, how would you ever hit (or even see) an attacker close to the wall by standing several metres back?

    Here is a Wikipedia photo of an embrasure at nearby Corfe Castle*, that I've visited several times ...


    Notice that the caption says: "An arrowslit at Corfe Castle. This shows the inside - where the archer would have stood".

    * Useless historical fact: my wife was born just a few hundred metres from Corfe Castle

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    I've also been to Caen Castle in Normandy and there's an interesting embrasure into which can be fitted the nozzle of a cannon ...



    Here is a close-up ...



    Mind you, if things ever kick off again I wouldn't want to be living in that house opposite

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  9. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chlodovech View Post
    I'm sure I can learn to fire a longbow in a few weeks, SB, but not on a battlefield - which is what interests me (all the more so because we don't have guns over here and war with the invaders could very well turn out to be pretty Medieval in nature!), I would be combat ineffective with a few weeks of experience under my belt. Hitting something at a distance of twenty yards isn't good enough. If you're not an Olympian or a professional archer in our world, you can simply forget about even beginning to compete with Medieval military archers.
    OK forget about the English long bow for a second, use a modern take down recurve. As with most things when it comes to bows the new ones are far more forgiving and you can make 60 yard kill shots with practice.

    There's so much to learn too, beyond mere technique as well:

    You must be able to fire on rainy and windy days, you need to learn to use the wind or to at least work with it - and often there will be wind on the open space of the Medieval battlefield and it changes everything - not something you'll pull off in a few weeks or months. If you can't use your bow anymore if there's gonna be a breeze on the battlefield, you're useless as a soldier
    You should be able to fire a flaming arrow
    You need to learn all about direct and above all indirect, suppressing fire, the latter being done in group and more common
    You must shoot up-tempo, firing 5 times a minute is not good enough - a Medieval archer has one arrow on his bow and at least one or two if not more in one of his hands while firing
    You need to cope with the battlefield stress, an unsteady arm or eye also makes you useless
    You need to learn all about skirmishing, which is done in group - and involves constant tactical movement and falling back, as well as keeping an eye on whatever the enemy skirmishers may be up to if they're present
    You must be able to hit a vital body part or at least skin when firing directly - across a distance of 40 yards as well as 200 yards or more .... that's the heart of the matter, that takes experience and strength, which you can't build up in only weeks or months - to do this without thinking you must train on a regular basis for years, it must become second nature - only then you are a soldier ... you won't always be successful, but if you're never successful, you're useless
    You need to think on your feet: if you're out of arrows for example, you pull the enemy's arrows out of the trees or the soil and return them to sender
    Your targets may not be stationary at all, but moving around themselves - a whole new challenge and even harder than aiming for stationary targets
    And then you must learn to fire through these slits in castle/city walls during sieges - I've seen trained modern day archers fail to do that. Just think about how much skill it requires to a) get your arrow beyond the slit - b) succeed in it every time c) then hit someone running below the castle or city walls d) hit to injure e) do it under pressure because the walls are being assaulted, otherwise there would be nothing to shoot at

    It's also important not to get caught, cause some enemy commanders, knowing what it takes to make an archer, will simply cut off a few of your fingers before they will release you, that solves their little problem.
    Do you think some of these things are easy with a modern gun?
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    using a longbow here would be out of the question anyway, I think. Which would certainly be safer too, because otherwise you could expose yourself too much to another very skilled enemy archer who could aim for that slit.
    Well no position is ever invulnerable but a narrow slit at least reduces the target. Check out this short video ...


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  12. #17
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    A video I saw four years ago - it's my favorite video on YT. I'm sure some of you have seen it, if you haven't already - watch it. You won't regret it and you'll never forget it. Truly astonishing.

    A bow in the hands of Lars Andersen (Denmark) becomes like a handgun or a semi-automatic rifle in the hands of another man - and Lars can shoot a fly sitting on your nose without as much as scratching your skin, he's that accurate. And he can do it from all angles and even hanging upside down and while running or sitting on a motorcycle. When you shoot at him with a bow, he'll grab your arrow out of the sky with his bare hands or hit an incoming arrow with one of his own, then fire right back at you. He'll fire ten arrows in a row in (much) less than ten seconds. I'm not exaggerating. When he has his bow on him or near him, he's supremely armed and dangerous. He makes the most of what a man can do with a bow - almost the most, because Lars could stand losing some pounds to reach peak fitness and become the ultimate archer and assassin.

    However, some of the video's and Lars' claims are unfounded ("this is what historical archery looked like, it all comes straight from historical Arab and European handbooks on archery", ... that isn't fully the case ... and also "archers didn't carry quivers" - yes, they did, how else would they've carried their arrows around and into battle - Medieval archers had quivers beyond all doubt, we know so for a fact), but all that is irrelevant. Just enjoy his speed archery, stunts and tricks and his insane level of skill and ridiculously fast rate of fire, you'll be sitting in front of your screen mouth agape as the video progresses. Naturally, it took him ten years of training to get where he is today and to make his bow a natural extension of his arm.

    Isn't he the baddest bastard with a bow you've ever seen? LORD OF WAR!



    Lars Andersen has his chan own YT chan where he teaches his viewers his trade and he appeared on television before too.
    “Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no-one is too poor to buy.” - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

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  14. #18
    Mein Glaube ist die Liebe zu meinem Volk. Juthunge's Avatar
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    Some interesting and impressive, especially for "amateurs", video I came across today. That must be the most historically accurate test of a Longbow and its' effect I've seen to date. Much more realistic than the stuff you see in the usual documentaries in any case.

    The actual test begins at 14:00, in case you're not interested in the details of the arrows and breast plate involved:



    I'm fascinated by the ingenuity of the (defensive) weapon smiths of old, they really knew exactly what they were doing out of sheer experience. The simple addition of a steel "V" prevents ricocheting arrow from sliding up into your throat, without the need of a heavy bevor.

    So it seems, if you owned a halfway decent breast plate (which the French front rank certainly did in the majority of battles), it couldn't be penetrated with a Longbow of average drawing strength even when horizontally shot at. Which probably happened rarely in a battle situation so the power of the arrows would usually be even less when falling from the sky.

    Still, even in that breast plate I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a few dozen arrows, with wood splinters and arrowheads ricocheting of the breast plates of my comrades coming my way from freak angles.
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