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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2016 2:09 pm    Post subject: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middle Ag         Reply with quote

I've been reviewing some Crusades' books and something caught my attention: in the First Crusade, there was a occasion when the turkish cavalry ambushed the christian army and began to perform their typical tactics of hit-and-run with horse archery. The Turks, as steppes' people, were archers recognized in the Near East for their prowess with the composite bow, which I suppose that was the same that mongols used in their latter conquests. However, in that said ambush, turkish arrows were unable to kill or disable the footed knights, who wore their typical maille shirts and their kite shields; I do not know if they used gambersons by this time, for the book "How Islamic Invenctions Changed the World" says that Christians copied these armours from muslims in the said Crusade, called al-qutun, or aketon.

According to this account, the reason why the Christian knights could contain the skirmishes was due to the fact that turkish arrows were unable to pierce through their armors. But wait a minute, if the Turkish bow is identical to the Mongolian one, often called "the most powerful and practical bow of the galaxy", why they werent able to do the same massacres the english longbowmen did in France and Italy?

I don't know if fourteenth century's maille has the same quality of eleventh century's ones, but they had many other more sophisticated innovations besides those: plates for the arms and legs, and in some unknown frequency, coats-of-plates.

Another thing that really gets me with a flea behind the ear is due to the fact that very many generals of the Crusades were able to crush the turkish military: Barbarossa could pave the way through Seljuk Empire facing more cavalry than his army had. Richard I of England necessarily won all battles against Saladin, sometimes making the Mamluks themselves losing their motivation.

Then, a few centuries later, the longbow simply appears and debunks the invincibility of the European cavalry in a world where crossbows were already pretty common weapons. In fact, I even think that the crossbow was responsible for making all other bow into decay in Europe. Worse than that, the same Europeans who apparently seemed to know how to deal with cavalry archers suffered disastrous defeats against the Mongol invasions in Hungary and Poland. There were knights of Military Orders there, the best ones, but even they failed to make any significant change in the fate of the battle. And if we delve more in Hungarian Kingdom, they descended from Altaic nomads who for a long time maintained their altaic style of war, but this did not seem to make much difference in the end.


After all, what the longbow differ from the other bows? What the Mongols had, that the Turks hadn't? The Mongol bow is actually better in most features than Mediterranean bows?
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Peter Spätling
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a guess, maybe, due to the construction, the bows used by the Saracens had less power than the bows used by the Mongols. Or the Mongols simply new what the word "strategy" means. The difference between 11th and 14th century maille is probably negligible.
About the English, looking at Crecy and Azincourt the reason simply is that the English commanders made the better decisions. At Crecy the English stood on top of a hill, it rained the whole day which led to the problem that the crossbows of the ~1.000-1.500 Italian crossbowmen didn't work. They also had no shields as these were at the baggage. So a big part of the french army started to desert, while charging up a hill with horses often doesn't work. Just look at Hastings, this was more luck than skill. And at Azincourt, the funny thing is, many of the riders actually made it to the English lines, alive and unhurt. However a wall of wooden spikes in the dirt do cause a problem for riders. As well as the fact that behind those sticks a big group of English soldiers waited to kick some asses. The idea of the french commander was good and could have worked really well. However if only half of your men charge and there is a physical barrier you can't breach, it might not be the best idea to do so.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2016 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
According to this account, the reason why the Christian knights could contain the skirmishes was due to the fact that turkish arrows were unable to pierce through their armors. But wait a minute, if the Turkish bow is identical to the Mongolian one, often called "the most powerful and practical bow of the galaxy", why they werent able to do the same massacres the english longbowmen did in France and Italy?


The locals considered their armour capable of stopping arrows. For example, Usama ibn Munqidh describes how 3 armoured cavalrymen were forced to retreat by 1 archer (who they were unable to reach, due to the terrain) - they felt personally safe, but retreated out of range because their horses were unarmoured and they didn't want the expense of having to replace them.
http://myArmoury.com/books/item.0140455132.html
http://myArmoury.com/books/item.B000WB4QKM.html

Archery can be very effective against unarmoured horses, but is rather less so against armoured infantry. Hence the French switch to knights attacking on foot in the Hundred Years War. In the great "longbow victories" against the French and the Scots, not so many armoured soldiers were killed by arrows. Horses and unarmoured infantry sometimes suffered badly.

Consider the performance of English archers at Flodden - they failed to affect the battle significantly, since the Scottish infantry was well-armoured (at least in the front ranks).

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
After all, what the longbow differ from the other bows? What the Mongols had, that the Turks hadn't? The Mongol bow is actually better in most features than Mediterranean bows?


English longbows, judging by the Mary Rose bows, were much higher draw weight on average (150lb, for some reliable-looking estimates) than Ottoman bows (110lb, measured). But there's more to it than draw weight alone: the shape of the force draw curves matter, and the draw length matters. The reflex-recurve composite bow usually has a significantly convex force-draw curve and therefore delivers energy comparable to a higher draw weight longbow, all else being the same, so there isn't necessarily that much difference in the arrow energies. However, Arab and Turkish arrows were usually light, and would lose energy faster with distance, so while point-blank arrows might be dangerous even through armour, arrows at long range would be stopped reliably by armour.

I'm not aware of any major difference between Mongol bows and Medieval Turkish bows, although they might have been used with longer draw lengths. (More recent Mongolian bows are basically an adoption of the Manchu/Qing bow, and don't reflect Medieval Mongol bows; the Manchu/Qing bow made it as far west as the Crimea.)

The differences aren't due to different types of bows used by the English, Arabs/Turks, and Mongols. The difference is tactics - things such as effective use of field fortifications and armoured infantry to protect archers and allow sustained point-blank range shooting, infantry use of missile weapons (e.g., crossbows) to keep cavalry archers out of effective range, and combined arms tactics. (Notable English longbow defeats occurred when combined arms tactics weren't used (e.g., archers left unprotected by armoured infantry) or field fortifications were lacking due to surprise.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Jasper B.




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jun, 2016 4:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mongol bows where a bit bigger than the Turkish bows (the Medieval Turkish bows where bigger than the later ones, but still smaller than the Mongol bows).

From this, you could speculate that the Mongol bows shot heavier arrows, but I've not read any book confirming this. If it was to be true however, it could, in part, maybe explain why the Mongol archers were a bigger threat to armoured knights and infantry.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jun, 2016 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jasper B. wrote:
Mongol bows where a bit bigger than the Turkish bows (the Medieval Turkish bows where bigger than the later ones, but still smaller than the Mongol bows).


You have any references for this? More specifically, anything about the size of Medieval Mongol bows (anything before they adopted the large Manchu/Qing bow).

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
According to this account, the reason why the Christian knights could contain the skirmishes was due to the fact that turkish arrows were unable to pierce through their armors. But wait a minute, if the Turkish bow is identical to the Mongolian one, often called "the most powerful and practical bow of the galaxy", why they werent able to do the same massacres the english longbowmen did in France and Italy?


Don't believe anyone who called any kind of bow "the most powerful and practical bow of the galaxy." That's a sales pitch, not a responsible historical statement.

More to the point, there are so many factors that could have come into play here that it's really hard to know where to begin. Let's just start at random.

For one thing, it was very common for Central Asian warriors (including Turks and Mongols, probably even Arab settlers in Central Asia) to carry two bows. The reason was not always clear; but in some (not all) cases there are indications that it might have been done so that the archer could have a short stiff bow for shooting light arrows over long distances and a somewhat slower but stouter bow for shooting heavier armour-piercing arrows at short range. If this was the case, it would explain why the Turkish horse archers who harassed the Crusaders at long range were so ineffective at it -- they had heavier bows and heavier arrows that had a much better chance of getting through the weak points in European armour, but the Latin crossbowmen prevented them from getting close enough to make effective use of the shorter-ranged armour-piercing arrows.


Quote:
I don't know if fourteenth century's maille has the same quality of eleventh century's ones, but they had many other more sophisticated innovations besides those: plates for the arms and legs, and in some unknown frequency, coats-of-plates.


We're not just talking about mail here. At least in the case of the Third Crusade (roughly the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century), we have accounts of Richard the Lionheart's troops being equipped with felt coats that stopped Turkish and Saracen arrows dead. We don't exactly know what these "felt coats" were but, given contemporary developments in European and Middle Eastern armour, it was likely to have been some sort of thick padded or quilted garment worn sometimes on its own, sometimes over mail.


Quote:
Then, a few centuries later, the longbow simply appears and debunks the invincibility of the European cavalry in a world where crossbows were already pretty common weapons.


Cavalry was never really that invicible against archery. A combined-arms force of archers and dismounted men-at-arms was used to stop a cavalry charge as early as the battle of Bourg-Theroulde (1124). The Normans and Byzantines in Italy highly respected the effectiveness of Sicilian Arab infantry archers, and sometimes hired them as mercenaries. And it's really hard to believe that Crusaders could understand how effective their crossbowmen were against Turkic and Saracen cavalry and yet completely fail to extrapolate that into the vulnerability of their cavalry against crossbowmen. And of course the Teutonic Knights made very extensive use of the crossbow in their conquest of the Baltic.


Anyway, there was no simple rock-paper-scissors relationship between troop types (like the "spearmen kill cavalry, swordsmen kill spearmen, cavalry kill swordsmen" thing so commonly found in computer strategy and tactical games). English longbowmen were quite vulnerable against cavalry if the cavalry had enough armour to shrug off their shots (like the Lombards at the battle of Verneuil, 1424) or when they were caught unprepared before they could establish field fortifications (such as at Patay in 1429). And their triad of legendary victories can often be ascribed to other causes. Crecy was particularly notorious because the French attacked in a piecemeal, disorganised manner; the English were able to shoot down and repel each small charge before dealing with the next. If the French force had been able (and willing) to organise themselves into one massive attack (or at least a small number of large waves), the story could have been very different. At Poitiers and Agincourt the French mostly advanced on foot, so it's not really a triumph of longbows against cavalry (except in the sense that the French men-at-arms chose to attack on foot rather than risk their horses against the longbwomen's arrows).
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Jasper B.




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Jasper B. wrote:
Mongol bows where a bit bigger than the Turkish bows (the Medieval Turkish bows where bigger than the later ones, but still smaller than the Mongol bows).


You have any references for this? More specifically, anything about the size of Medieval Mongol bows (anything before they adopted the large Manchu/Qing bow).


Unfortunately, I don't have a written source for this. I learned this in the 'The National Museum of Mongolian History' (website all in Mongolian) when I visited it (august 2005). They had quite a large section on the Golden Horde, with good section of information on the 'famous' Mongolian horse archers and their bows. They had pictures of the Mongolia bow compared to the 'Avarian'?, some Chinese dynasty (Jin?) bows and medieval Ottoman bow. Since I'm always quite interested in archery, I soaked up as much information as I could.

Archery is still popular in Mongolia, but the bows I've seen them use now are quite different from the ones depicted in the Museum and the draw weight used in archery competitions was quite low (35-45 lbs would be my guess).
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2016 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
I've been reviewing some Crusades' books and something caught my attention: in the First Crusade, there was a occasion when the turkish cavalry ambushed the christian army and began to perform their typical tactics of hit-and-run with horse archery. The Turks, as steppes' people, were archers recognized in the Near East for their prowess with the composite bow, which I suppose that was the same that mongols used in their latter conquests. However, in that said ambush, turkish arrows were unable to kill or disable the footed knights, who wore their typical maille shirts and their kite shields; I do not know if they used gambersons by this time, for the book "How Islamic Invenctions Changed the World" says that Christians copied these armours from muslims in the said Crusade, called al-qutun, or aketon.

According to this account, the reason why the Christian knights could contain the skirmishes was due to the fact that turkish arrows were unable to pierce through their armors. But wait a minute, if the Turkish bow is identical to the Mongolian one, often called "the most powerful and practical bow of the galaxy", why they werent able to do the same massacres the english longbowmen did in France and Italy?

I don't know if fourteenth century's maille has the same quality of eleventh century's ones, but they had many other more sophisticated innovations besides those: plates for the arms and legs, and in some unknown frequency, coats-of-plates.

Another thing that really gets me with a flea behind the ear is due to the fact that very many generals of the Crusades were able to crush the turkish military: Barbarossa could pave the way through Seljuk Empire facing more cavalry than his army had. Richard I of England necessarily won all battles against Saladin, sometimes making the Mamluks themselves losing their motivation.

Then, a few centuries later, the longbow simply appears and debunks the invincibility of the European cavalry in a world where crossbows were already pretty common weapons. In fact, I even think that the crossbow was responsible for making all other bow into decay in Europe. Worse than that, the same Europeans who apparently seemed to know how to deal with cavalry archers suffered disastrous defeats against the Mongol invasions in Hungary and Poland. There were knights of Military Orders there, the best ones, but even they failed to make any significant change in the fate of the battle. And if we delve more in Hungarian Kingdom, they descended from Altaic nomads who for a long time maintained their altaic style of war, but this did not seem to make much difference in the end.


After all, what the longbow differ from the other bows? What the Mongols had, that the Turks hadn't? The Mongol bow is actually better in most features than Mediterranean bows?
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2016 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
English longbows, judging by the Mary Rose bows, were much higher draw weight on average (150lb, for some reliable-looking estimates) than Ottoman bows (110lb, measured). But there's more to it than draw weight alone: the shape of the force draw curves matter, and the draw length matters. The reflex-recurve composite bow usually has a significantly convex force-draw curve and therefore delivers energy comparable to a higher draw weight longbow, all else being the same, so there isn't necessarily that much difference in the arrow energies. However, Arab and Turkish arrows were usually light, and would lose energy faster with distance, so while point-blank arrows might be dangerous even through armour, arrows at long range would be stopped reliably by armour.


I have a friend who has some practice with longbow archery. He claims that some longbows, by the time of the War of Roses, have curved design in their limb's end. I don't know the technical term, but would be something slightly like this:
http://s108.photobucket.com/user/OzarkRamblr/...e.gif.html

This actually happened?

-------
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

For one thing, it was very common for Central Asian warriors (including Turks and Mongols, probably even Arab settlers in Central Asia) to carry two bows. The reason was not always clear; but in some (not all) cases there are indications that it might have been done so that the archer could have a short stiff bow for shooting light arrows over long distances and a somewhat slower but stouter bow for shooting heavier armour-piercing arrows at short range. If this was the case, it would explain why the Turkish horse archers who harassed the Crusaders at long range were so ineffective at it -- they had heavier bows and heavier arrows that had a much better chance of getting through the weak points in European armour, but the Latin crossbowmen prevented them from getting close enough to make effective use of the shorter-ranged armour-piercing arrows.


So, they also had two quivers to differentiate one type of arrow of the other one, right? These "armor piercing" arrows come to be something like a Bodkin or is not the case?

By the way, a longbowman's training required years of pratice, perhaps even a decade. Would the training of a turkish or mongolian archer be equally long? I mean, from what I understood, the main reason for the longbow be so difficult to master has to do with the draw weight force, which requires a lot of arm strength, meaning that archers should first had lighter longbows before getting the stronger, heavier ones (something like hypertrophy's logic in a gym). But the steppes' archers also followed this kind of training? Eastern bows required as much arm strength as for a longbowman?
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Will S




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 3:54 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


I have a friend who has some practice with longbow archery. He claims that some longbows, by the time of the War of Roses, have curved design in their limb's end. I don't know the technical term, but would be something slightly like this:
http://s108.photobucket.com/user/OzarkRamblr/...e.gif.html

This actually happened?


No.
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 5:50 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Will S wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


I have a friend who has some practice with longbow archery. He claims that some longbows, by the time of the War of Roses, have curved design in their limb's end. I don't know the technical term, but would be something slightly like this:
http://s108.photobucket.com/user/OzarkRamblr/...e.gif.html

This actually happened?


No.


This is indeed part of the ongoing discussions about the english longbow. So far no proof for this claim has been presented. For further details on the matter I woudl recommend Hugh D.H. Soar, Secrets of the english warbow.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Harald Schneider wrote:
Will S wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


I have a friend who has some practice with longbow archery. He claims that some longbows, by the time of the War of Roses, have curved design in their limb's end. I don't know the technical term, but would be something slightly like this:
http://s108.photobucket.com/user/OzarkRamblr/...e.gif.html

This actually happened?


No.


This is indeed part of the ongoing discussions about the english longbow. So far no proof for this claim has been presented. For further details on the matter I woudl recommend Hugh D.H. Soar, Secrets of the english warbow.


I don't Know for English longbow, but Burgundian longbows did have slightly recurved ends in the later 15th century.
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Will S wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


I have a friend who has some practice with longbow archery. He claims that some longbows, by the time of the War of Roses, have curved design in their limb's end. I don't know the technical term, but would be something slightly like this:
http://s108.photobucket.com/user/OzarkRamblr/...e.gif.html

This actually happened?


No.


This is indeed part of the ongoing discussions about the english longbow. So far no proof for this claim has been presented. For further details on the matter I woudl recommend Hugh D.H. Soar, Secrets of the english warbow.
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 6:15 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

[quote="Luka Borscak"][quote="Harald Schneider"]
Will S wrote:
[quote=
I don't Know for English longbow, but Burgundian longbows did have slightly recurved ends in the later 15th century.


That is true and part of the claim stems from the intensive exchange of military personal between England and Burgundy. English archers employed in Burgundy were quiete common and the Duke of Burgundy even lend an Armee to Edward IV of York enabling him to reclaim the throne from the House of Lancaster
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 7:35 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

quote
So, they also had two quivers to differentiate one type of arrow of the other one, right? These "armor piercing" arrows come to be something like a Bodkin or is not the case?

By the way, a longbowman's training required years of pratice, perhaps even a decade. Would the training of a turkish or mongolian archer be equally long? I mean, from what I understood, the main reason for the longbow be so difficult to master has to do with the draw weight force, which requires a lot of arm strength, meaning that archers should first had lighter longbows before getting the stronger, heavier ones (something like hypertrophy's logic in a gym). But the steppes' archers also followed this kind of training? Eastern bows required as much arm strength as for a longbowman?[/quote]

Let me adress the topic of the quiver first. Western archers have a tradition of carrying the arrows mostly tip down with nock and feathers pointing up. This is extremely usefull if the archer carries only one typ of arrows. Asian archers carry their arrows often the other way round, tips up and feathers down, enabling them to choose the arrow designed for the required purpose. A second quiver would only enlarge the numbers of arrows carried and often be a hindrance. You might look up pictures of japanese quivers of the Ebira and Utsubo type and the Zargalant quiver dated around the 7th Century.

About archery training requiring years to reach a level of expertise is not related to the type of bow you are training with. English yeoman were obliged to compete in archery every sunday after church from childhood. Arm strength is only a smaller part, more important are Shoulders and Back.

Steppes people treated archery among others as a matter of survival. If you lacked the skills requiered you died, life was that simple. Mongol parents tied kids on the back of sheep at the age of 4 to teach them riding. No Kindergarden with a migratory lifestyle, everyone had to provide to ensure the survival of the family, tribe, nation, no exemptions were made.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 9:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Harald Schneider wrote:
Let me adress the topic of the quiver first. Western archers have a tradition of carrying the arrows mostly tip down with nock and feathers pointing up. This is extremely usefull if the archer carries only one typ of arrows. Asian archers carry their arrows often the other way round, tips up and feathers down, enabling them to choose the arrow designed for the required purpose. A second quiver would only enlarge the numbers of arrows carried and often be a hindrance. You might look up pictures of japanese quivers of the Ebira and Utsubo type and the Zargalant quiver dated around the 7th Century.


I don't know about "often". Sometimes, for sure, but most art and photos I've seen show tip-down/nock-up. But the usual Asian tip-down/nock-up quiver isn't just an open-ended tube that the arrows rattle around in, so I don't see why there'd be any big difficulty in choosing a desired arrow (as long as keep the same types in the same places in your quiver).

Looking at the quivers, I'm not surprised that the tip-up quivers (closed quivers) aren't more common than they appear to be - they're longer (since they have to be longer than the arrows) and likely heavier. Meanwhile, the tip-down quivers are quite short.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Harald Schneider




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2016 12:59 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

[quote="

I don't know about "often". Sometimes, for sure, but most art and photos I've seen show tip-down/nock-up. But the usual Asian tip-down/nock-up quiver isn't just an open-ended tube that the arrows rattle around in, so I don't see why there'd be any big difficulty in choosing a desired arrow (as long as keep the same types in the same places in your quiver).

Looking at the quivers, I'm not surprised that the tip-up quivers (closed quivers) aren't more common than they appear to be - they're longer (since they have to be longer than the arrows) and likely heavier. Meanwhile, the tip-down quivers are quite short.[/quote]

I was not talking about Art because of the uncertainty imbued in the so called "artistic license" but about grave findings and preserved traditional quivers. You are right in adding they used tip down quivers, too, by means of binding the arrows or placing them in defined compartments. I do not think that the additional length of tip down quivers mattered much to the mounted archer. The shorter bow meant the arrows could be shorter, too compared to a longbow shaft and you have to keep the elevated position on the horse in mind. The same applies to additional weight of closed quivers and the increased protection against loosing or breaking the arrows more than make up for some extra 20 gramm. But I was referring to a quote inquiring about the need to carry several quivers for different types of arrows. I am aware that a couple of other solutions exist, like different feathers, markings ectr. and there are historical circumstances to consider. The english archer could rely on mass produced arrows, comissioned by the gouverment, the mongolian archer had to produce his own or had them made by members of his family or tribe, the japanese daimjo had them custom made with his personal sign.. And the need for a vast number of arrows is documented on several historical confrontations, e.g. the roman defeat against the Parthians at Carrhae.
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Brian Jones





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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2016 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For me the difference between the two culture's archery is less about the equipment (although I suspect, with no real scientific knowledge) that the longbow might have better range than the short composite bows of the east, but more about tactics.

In the battles where the English longbow was such a devastating factor the key was numbers. The sheer mass of raining arrows descending on the approaching enemy were daunting indeed. lightly armored opponents and horses would be particularly vulnerable. I always pictured in my mind that Mongols, for example, were more like snipers, quick and devastating while shooting from their horses at closer range and the English longbow was more like a mass artillery barrage...
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2016 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Harald Schneider wrote:
[quote="

I don't know about "often". Sometimes, for sure, but most art and photos I've seen show tip-down/nock-up. But the usual Asian tip-down/nock-up quiver isn't just an open-ended tube that the arrows rattle around in, so I don't see why there'd be any big difficulty in choosing a desired arrow (as long as keep the same types in the same places in your quiver).

Looking at the quivers, I'm not surprised that the tip-up quivers (closed quivers) aren't more common than they appear to be - they're longer (since they have to be longer than the arrows) and likely heavier. Meanwhile, the tip-down quivers are quite short.


I was not talking about Art because of the uncertainty imbued in the so called "artistic license" but about grave findings and preserved traditional quivers.[/quote]

Most preserved Asian traditional quivers I've seen are tip-down. Most photos of traditional archers show tip-down quivers. When art agrees with those, it seems dangerous to simply reject art as a resource.

I haven't looked for grave finds of quivers, but have seen some. Predominantly closed tip-up quivers. Two points:

1. The grave finds are older than the bulk of the art and preserved quivers, and much, much older than the photographs. It could represent a change in patterns of usage over time.

2. Closed quivers might survive better.

Harald Schneider wrote:
You are right in adding they used tip down quivers, too, by means of binding the arrows or placing them in defined compartments. I do not think that the additional length of tip down quivers mattered much to the mounted archer. The shorter bow meant the arrows could be shorter, too compared to a longbow shaft and you have to keep the elevated position on the horse in mind.


Korean and Japanese closed quivers tend to be about 1m long, while Chinese and Korean open (tip-up) quivers are usually 15-30cm long (judging by surviving examples). That's a fairly large difference.

A shorter bow doesn't allow shorter arrows. You can use very short arrows with a long bow. A shorter bow might force you to use shorter arrows (or at least a shorter draw, in which case you usually use shorter arrows). But (a) there are plenty of long-draw short bows, and (b) there are Asian bows that are comparable in size to European longbows, and were used with longer draws and longer arrows.

Harald Schneider wrote:
The same applies to additional weight of closed quivers and the increased protection against loosing or breaking the arrows more than make up for some extra 20 gramm.


I haven't seen weights for the different types of quivers. At least for some types, the weight different looks to be far more than 20g. Considering that tip-down open quivers often carried more arrows, the difference in weight per arrow might be quite large.

I don't expect much different in weight or weight per arrow for Indian and Persian long quivers, but a much larger difference for Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Japanese quivers.

Harald Schneider wrote:
But I was referring to a quote inquiring about the need to carry several quivers for different types of arrows.


My point was that Asian archers (at least East Asian archers didn't choose tip-up quivers to allow two (or more) different types of arrows to be carried in the same quiver. They managed this satisfactorily with tip-down quivers. So in East Asia, different types of arrows in one quiver doesn't explain the use of tip up quivers. Your comment above about extra protection for the arrows is the usual explanation (at least for the Japanese case, protection from weather was the key motivation for military use of tip-up closed quivers).


Two somewhat related points:

Closed quivers seem to dominate in sub-Saharan Africa.

Modern re-enactors/re-creators of Asian-style archery often use tip-up quivers but put their arrows in them tip-down. Tip-up closed quivers don't appear to be as well-known as they should.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Harald Schneider




Location: Diez
Joined: 10 Jun 2015

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 1:14 am    Post subject: Re: Why Longbow? An analysis about archery's impact in Middl         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:


Most preserved Asian traditional quivers I've seen are tip-down. Most photos of traditional archers show tip-down quivers. When art agrees with those, it seems dangerous to simply reject art as a resource.



That would explain how you came by this impression. I do not reject art as a source in general, I only stressed the problem of taking it face value. Art always stands in its historical context (like who ordered this piece of art, what were his intentions, ectr.)


Quote= I haven't looked for grave finds of quivers, but have seen some. Predominantly closed tip-up quivers. Two points:

1. The grave finds are older than the bulk of the art and preserved quivers, and much, much older than the photographs. It could represent a change in patterns of usage over time.

2. Closed quivers might survive better.[/quote]


Survival of artifacts depends on the material of the object, the conditions of the suroundings it was buried in and whole lot of luck in preserving it over the course of time.

[quote="
A shorter bow doesn't allow shorter arrows. You can use very short arrows with a long bow. A shorter bow might force you to use shorter arrows (or at least a shorter draw, in which case you usually use shorter arrows). But (a) there are plenty of long-draw short bows, and (b) there are Asian bows that are comparable in size to European longbows, and were used with longer draws and longer arrows.[/quote]

On the contrary the shorter bow allows a shorter arrow, but it is also capable of shooting longer ones (up to a certain weight) without loosing to much efficancy in the progress. Using a longbow (without a help like the Ottoman siper) is trading of range and penetration power on a higher level. But you are certainly right about the draw. I should have made this more clear in my previous post.


[quote="My point was that Asian archers (at least East Asian archers didn't choose tip-up quivers to allow two (or more) different types of arrows to be carried in the same quiver. They managed this satisfactorily with tip-down quivers. So in East Asia, different types of arrows in one quiver doesn't explain the use of tip up quivers. Your comment above about extra protection for the arrows is the usual explanation (at least for the Japanese case, protection from weather was the key motivation for military use of tip-up closed quivers).[/quote]

It is still part of a fascinating topic what different solutions mankind developed making use of the range of materials and suroundings. As to tip up and tip down quivers being preferred by (East) Asian archers we shall agree to differ.
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