English Longbowman (Medieval Archer)

men-at-arms the English longbowmen 14th to the sixteenth century though the bow has been used in warfare for thousands of years it was not until the 14th century that the appearance of the longbow did it become for a while the supreme and dominant force on the battlefield of europe especially in the hands of the English and their Welsh subjects a particular skill were men from Wales and Cheshire regions that became synonymous with English longbow the simple design consisted of a slightly curved bow made of wood that was as tall as a man and had incredible range power and accuracy to use it took practice and skill as well as great strength as the bowstring had to be pulled back over 30 inches when firing it they were made from a single piece of yew tree branch it took months or even years to produce one as it had to be dried and then worked into the correct shape slowly over time cheaper versions of the longbow were also crafted but were made from inferior materials and were therefore much faster to construct but they tended to quickly distort which caused them to become inaccurate and they swiftly broke apart most of the time English archers were not operating as a soldier so they used their long bows to hunt with and provide food for their family most sought as a wise investment to buy the best quality longbow that they could find the longbow needed extensive training to use and this was part of the reason it was not widely adopted across Europe but England recognized the true value of the weapon passing laws encouraging regular archery practice and even put in place taxation to help with the funding of the special wood needed to make them to show the importance the English placed on the military value of the longbow at its peak during the medieval era it was typical that an English army would be made up of over half its number in longbowman the longbow was accurate up to about 250 feet but in good conditions and fired by experienced archers an arrow could reach a range of nearly 1,000 feet though accuracy was only effective if fired on mass at these kinds of distances when used in a large formation of rank upon rank of long moment they could be a devastating and effective force as proved at crécy and 1346 and again at Agincourt in 1415 were both times the English heavily defeated the French by firing massive volleys of arrows in coordinated unison it was found that the best tactics suited to using these kinds of archers was to deploy them in large groups and use them like artillery pounding the advancing enemy with wave after wave of arrows raining down on them from high above in some situations longbow men were able to fire between three to six arrows per minute and were often given between sixty and seventy two arrows for the duration of the battle however this would require a large level of physical exertion and archers would rarely attempt this firing rate in contrast the crossbow favored not a lot of European armies could only fire at a fraction of this rate archers were vulnerable to hand-to-hand combat as they were lightly armed and armored to counter this they would be placed behind a defensive line of infantry or a natural defensive geographical feature like a slope or purpose-built ditches at first long bowmen were using the highly accurate but expensive broadhead arrows but over time these units needed something cheaper and able to counter the trend of medieval infantry becoming better Armour especially Knights so they started to use heavy bodkin arrowheads and the shafts which were chisel shaped and less costly to produce which was the medieval equivalent of an armor-piercing round though the plate armor that knights used was still hard to penetrate by the 16th century the longbow had well and truly had its day has ever improving muskets and cannons were now starting to dominate the battlefield the last recorded use by actual army units was in very limited numbers in the English Civil War during the 1640s low in world war ii an eccentric highly decorated British officer called mad jackal Churchill successfully used a longbow along with a sword during combat with German soldiers and one of the longbow as a military weapon became obsolete long ago it is still popular today for recreational use such as for hunting and target practice it also has a special place in English culture being frequently mentioned in stories featuring the medieval period and being associated with English heroes such as Robin Hood you
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWtoLSk_11k

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