Long bow Vs gun

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by fusil89, Jun 16, 2008.

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  1. I have been watching a few documentaries recently on Britains military history, in which the long bow plays a pivotal role (Agincourt etc) it was a huge advantage to ourselves and we could boast the best archers in the world.
    So why did we abandon the bow?
    Early rifles were rubbish (and 19th century versions were not much better), their range was far less than a bow and their rate of fire was far less as well, also they could not be used in the rain, so why was archery abandoned? It does not make any sense to me.

    Imagine the battle of Waterloo with a few hundred archers. We would have massacred the French (even more so).

    I do understand that the evolution of the gun has led to the incredible weapons of today but still...
    Can anyone offer a good reason for the transition? And WHO decided to switch?
  2. Have a look here for starters -http://www.tradbow.com/interactivetradbow/read.cfm?id=118
    The book with the answers is on loan to a friend - I'll see if I can access it for you.
  3. The gun gained in popularity primarily because of the ease of use. At that time archers were trained from a young age and it was law that boys over a certain age had to be provided with a certain amount of arrows and a bow to practice regularly alongside the adult archers.

    Although there is great debate over the average draw weight of a warbow, it is certainly high enough that only a trained archer could pull and release it, and then only after years of practice.

    The gun on the other hand could be given to anyone and after a few hours practice in loading and aiming they would be proficient enough to do some damage on the battlefield.
  4. Something I read a while ago claims it was due to training time - to effectively use a bow requires years of training, practice, and building the right muscles.

    Compared to- Bite, prime, pour, spit, ram, cock, aim...FIRE!
  5. http://www.alderneywreck.com/node/59
  6. jethro: I understand that, I belive Henry V banned all other sports in order to achieve good quality archers however I deem the effort worth while plus the nature of an "archer culture" ensured a constant supply of fresh archers.

    old red cap: I appreciate the effort.

    Also watching Sharpe this week and it occured to me how daft napoleonic warfare was. Everyone WALKS in LINES toward the enemy and gets battered for their trouble. The only ones who dont are the cavalry chaps who just charge with nothing but a sword swinging around. Why does nobody run!!!?
  7. Get yourself on youtube and have a butchers at Jeremy Clarksons " the gun" documentary- theres a bit on agincourt and shortly after when the french kicked our arses after polwing a bit of cash into firearms research. The gun really came into its own with the advent of machined parts during the industrial revoloution. It also hints at there being alot of politics and money involved with the maufacurers at the time (the army didnt actually buy the best available product at the time , opting for a less accurate and reliable design cause them wot made it wos someones brothers cousins dogs auntys manservant or something similar) , sound familiar? :wink:
  8. Thanks Sandman. however in the part refering to armour; it utter nonsense. Agincourt and many other battles with the French were against heavily armoured Chivalric knights who were destroyed by English archers in fact we eliminated 70% of the french nobility in one battle (I'm sure it was Agincourt under Henry V)

    edit: it was Edward the III and the battle of Crecy (not what I previously said)
  9. Cos that was not the way they did it! There was a pride in how much pounding a regiment could take from cannon and rifle. The Scots regiments had a reputation for charging in but this resulted in greater casualties as the cohesion broke up and the defenders only had to deal with small groups. Accounts of where cavalry got in amongst foot soldiers show that "nothing but a sword" caused a heck of a lot of damage and, again, broke the attackers up into penny packets.
    If interested in Sharpe, get one or other of the original books and not a reprint of a TV show. Cornwall includes real tactics and explains why. Have a look if you can find it about the French drummers who set the pace for the walk into action. PARA in NI early on used to tap shields with baton and chant "We're coming to take you away (tap tap)" as they walked to contact. Great psychological effect but deemed politically incorrect.
  10. Not neccesarily by penetrating their armour though. Their is much debate regarding Agincourt and Crecy. It may just have been the horses that were killed by our longbowmen, the heavily encumbered knights were then mobbed and slaughtered by our bowmen using falchions, axes etc.
  11. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Those knights were eliminated after falling down in a very muddy field and dispatched either with a dagger through the visor (bit nasty) or after they surrendered as there weren't enough guards and the dastardly French were trying to make off with the supply wagons.

  12. I didn't mean that as a negative. I'm saying that the simplest forms of warfare and the simpler instruments were often far more effective in killing the enemy and not the clunky slow and unreliable musket which after your first few volleys was little more than a club (relating to my original question).
  13. a fair point. But it got the job done. So by what you are saying if the Frenchies had not been so lazy and had instead walked towards us at Crecy then they would have stood a better chance.
    But why would the Frogs possibly think that their horses would be turned into pin cushions. Another reason for English triumph. French stupidity and lazyness.
  14. With bayonet fixed it was a pike. In a sense, the musket armed infantry were pikemen with pikes that could shoot!