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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just received Bowmen of England last week. I haven't had time to read it yet. Here's the Amazon blurb:

Quote:
Donald Featherstone's study of the English longbow from its early development until the Wars of the Roses is an inspiring and authentic reconstruction in human terms in an age of courage, vitality and endurance.


Does anyone know if this book covers the info you guys are looking for? It costs less than $7, so I won't be crushed if it doesn't turn out to be the definitive word on the subject.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stay away from Featherstone's book. Apart from relying on outdated scholarship he also committed plagiarism on at least one occasion I know of (he copied a passage from Oakeshott virtually word for word without accreditation). Bradbury's book is much better, though, as noted, it should be read with caution.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW I found an example of Featherstone's plagiarism. p.37-38
"There is plenty of evidence in the chronicles of the French wars that if men-at-arms, completely covered in plate, advanced against English bowmen without their too-vulnerable horses then they would stand at least some chance of coming to handstrokes. When a body of fully armoured men-at-arms plodded with their heads bent into the storm of arrows, however powerfully the shafts struck the hard smooth curved surfaces of the armour, they would glance off unless they found lodgement where plate overlapped plate. There were no exposed joints except for the weak spots at the shoulder where the spandlers met the armholes of the beastplate...

However, if the arrows did not penetrate the armour their effects were such as though they did, for the presence of archers in the field eventually compelled the French to advance on foot. Though plate armour is not much heavier than mail, and is most flexibly jointed, it is not meant for marching in..."



Now for Oakeshott "Archaeology of Weapons" p297-298
"Plenty of evidence is found in the chronicles of the French wars that if men armed completely in plate advanced against English bowmen without their too-vulnerable horses, they would stand at least some chance of coming to handstrokes. If we imagine a body of knights armoured in the manner of Lord Cobham's effigy, plodding with heads bent into the storm of arrows, it is easy to see that however powerfully the arrows struck the hard smooth curved surfaces of the armour they would glance off unless they found lodgement where plate overlapped plate; there were no exposed joints except for the weak spots at the shoulders where the spaulders met the armholes of the breastplate.

However, if the arrows did not penetrate the armour their effect was as much as if they did, for the presence of archers on the field compelled their enemies to advance on foot. Though plate armour is not much heavier than mail, and is most flexibly jointed, it is not meant for walking in."



The next few paragraphs are also copied by Featherstone almost word for word. A most blatant case of plagiarism if ever I saw one. Featherstone's book should be thrown in the trashbin for this offence alone.
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Kevin Toomey





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael P Smith wrote:
Kevin Toomey wrote:


My feeling is that bows in excess of 100 pounds were the exception rather than the rule, but that's just me.


Why do you think that? The Mary Rose bows were almost ALL over 100 lbs, and averaged closer to 150. And this was AFTER the peak of military archery in England. I think that for Warbows, anything under 100 lbs would have been considered too light bay far. Now for hunting, there is no need to go over 60-70 lbs.


Michael, The reason is partly due to my ignorance of precisely how the draw length of these archers has been determined.. And for that matter what is it said to be ?
It has been more than just a few years since I have read any of this material, though I do seem to recall that it has been described in some historical ramblings by someone. I wouldn't mind hearing what the assumed drawlength is actually based on. In flight shooting for max range there is no static anchor. Visual descriptions by unskilled observers of what actually happens will vary widely. Iconography has its value as does the consideration of what is humanly possible.

My gut tells me the upper limits of a practical weapon is somewhere close to 120# . I believe if you could have taken a world wide survey of primative hunting bows you would find a range somewhere close to 35-50 pounds.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2005 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Mary Rose Trust did revised testing on the draw weights of their bows and found that the average was 108 lbs. The heaviest was 138 lbs IIRC. I think Hardy's most recent edition of his book includes this data.
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Dan Crowther




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Doing a bit of historical research into the weapon usage of the 5th - 7th C. Scotland..... but can anyone fill me in about the possible usage of bows?


Appearently, they weren't used. The Irish Iron age (of which 5th-7th C. Scotland is a part because of the founding of the Dal Riada colony BY Irish emmigrants) is curiously lacking in several common finds. One of which is bows, arrows, and arrowheads; the most common form of proof for archery use. The other is pottery.

"The bow was used in Ireland in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods, but the practice of archery seems to have declined in the later prehistoric period. There is no definitive evidence for the use of the bow in Ireland between the early Bronze Age and the Early Christian period (or between 1500BC-800AD). The Vikings, it seems, must be credited with the reintroduction of the bow and arrow to Ireland." - Military Archery in Medieval Ireland by Andrew Halpin

"The Archaeology of Late Celtic Britain and Ireland C. 400-1200AD" by Lloyd Lang & "Pagan Celtic Ireland" by Barry Raftery also make note of this interesting lack, but I don't have them on hand for quotes.

Hope this helps.
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Greg Griggs




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,
Glad someone finally got back on the question originally asked, LOL. All this has been very interesting and informative. If I understand you correctly, the resources you are quoting state that while it was once in use perhaps up to the early Bronze age, that during the specified time period it was completely out of favor. That's something I had been told before in the argument against archery being a part of Caledonian or Argyll lore. Thanks for the resource quotes. Thanks to everyone for the discussion about Longbows: Welsh and English, and the "other" bows.

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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: English vs Welsh bows         Reply with quote

Eric Myers wrote:
[
Thanks. I'm curious also if they were self bows like those made of yew. One aspect of a traditional yew bow is that it naturally laminated - the sapwood on the back being strong in tension and the heartwood on the belly being strong in compression, so I wonder if they did something similar with elm. A D-section design increases the strain on the back and belly of a bow, but this is somewhat offset in the length of the traditional bows.


As far as I know, they were always of self-construction in the Middle Ages. The "naturally laminated" characteristic of yew is what makes it so desireable of course.

Mike
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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The Mary Rose Trust did revised testing on the draw weights of their bows and found that the average was 108 lbs. The heaviest was 138 lbs IIRC. I think Hardy's most recent edition of his book includes this data.


Hi Dan,

Strickland and Hardy's new book revisits the subject. Apparently, there was an error in the original computations. The average for the Mary Rose bows was more like 140-150 lbs and the heaviest being in the 160-180 lbs range.

These were BIG bows. I can;t even imagine pulling a bow that powerful. My longbow is 60 lbs and I feel it after a day of shooting.

They also have a great section on the energy of a war arrow strike. A 3.3 oz war arrow from a 150 lb bow at point blank range has an initial energy of 138 J and strikes with about 90 J at maximum range (about 260 yards). Those are amazing numbers. However, even against mail, they are marginal. Alan Williams estimates that you need 120 J to defeat mail and the padding beneath, meaning that mail would prevent penetration at more than 20 yards or so. He estimates that 2mm thick armour struck at 30 deg off square would require 280 J to defeat the plate and padding.... unless the armour is faulty or struck at a weak spot (occulria, etc), it looks like plate will stop the arrow from penetrating.

Still, getting continually struke by such hard blows would be very distracting, and maybe a bit painful, especially in the mail.


When I get back off my travel, I'll try to dig up the relevent passages.

Edit: Here is the summary of the revised model from the Great Warbow.

Quote:
According to the Kooi method, then, the draw-weights ranged from around 100lb (45kg) to around 180lb (81.5kg). The largest weight group among the bows was in the 150-160 lb range (68-72.5kg).


These new estimates have been confirmed by the limited testing done to validate the model.

The main objector to the original very high estimates, Commander W.F. Patterson, withdrew his objection after it was demonstrated that there was an error in the model he used which produced results half of what they should have been been.

I do not think Dr. Kooi's work has been refuted, and as far as I know, his work stand as the official Mary Rose Trust estimates now.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmmmm: At bad breath range you might be able to penetrate maille Eek!

I really like the fact that numbers have been quoted as this is much more convincing to me than previous statements about how difficult maille would be to penetrate.

It's not so much that I thought those statements were erroneous as much as being impressed by the power of the bows that were / are supposed to be incapable of penetrating maille.

From these numbers the occasional maille failure seems possible but maille seems very VERY good protection.

Oh, at this close range the very elite archers should be able to hit something the size of a quarter: Visor slits, chinks in armour, and any unprotected areas: But wouldn't have much time to fire more than once or twice at that range, unless some obstacles would halt or slow down the heavily armour closing to sword range.

So we have long range harrassing fire against the heavily armoured, long range deadly fire against lightly armoured infantry or the horses of the cavalry and close range accurate fire against anyone, some penetrating and most bouncing off armour.

Any info about the amount of joules generated by a 1200 pound draw crossbow in comparison ?
Oh. and how many joules would a .85cal musket ball at 1500 ft/sec. or a .62 pistol ball at 1200 ft/sec. ?

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Greg Griggs




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting thing about whether or not maile could be penetrated by these bows. Not long ago, I was watching one of the history channels and a short series was showing with an English gent who did demonstrations with ancient weapons, as well as LH stuff. He would get a group of younger guys, dress them up in period specific armor, weapons, etc and show just how hard it was to do well. One of the points he would make in each show was to take armor made as closely as they could to the time, put it on a maniquin, and show just what and what not could be done. The longbow against maile and plate were shown on two separate occasions. With the heavily padded maile, both a flight arrow and a broadhead would penetrate through rings, padding, and into the dummy. Don't remember the range, nor the pull on the bow, but could see it was in excess of 20-30 yards.
Wish I had ordered the set of videos to that show. It was all the proof I needed to see that maile and padding could be penetrated.

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There would be only a limited need for carefull aiming at close range, the sheer weight of rapid massed archery will probably ensure both pentration of vulnerable spots in the armour as well as unit disruption and disorganisation. And of course th eEnglöish archeryalone never won a battle against (well) armoured enemies, wihout the English men-at-arms in support ready for the decisive melee the archers would have been routed or cut down if they stood their ground.

Such tests look great on TV but how fair and scientific were they? Were the mail properly made and riveted? Were the paddign accurately recornstructed? Were th arrow heads hardend steel or iron? And so on. Experimental archeology depends a lot on having the proper tools for the test. So far few of the test shown by discovery or the History Channel approach the level of accuracy needed for the test shown to be valid. Could arrows pentrated mail? Of course! The written sources are quite clear on this, even plate armour and helmets had their vulnerable spots pentrated as late as 1415.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the only certainty I can see is that I'm CERTAIN that I'm UNCERTAIN. Razz Eek! Laughing Out Loud

In those tests the odds are good that un-riveted maille was used as riveted maille wasn't as commonly available only a few years back. ( But who knows? Actually does anybody know how rigorously scientific were those tests ? )

The written sources and current belief ( Tests ) seem to contradict each other to some degree: At this point, I find the arguments interesting and worthwhile but my level of certainty about what was and what is the protective qualities of maille very up in the air. Confused Confused Confused

OOOOPS: Are we drifting to the usual maille versus arrow discussion ? We need some scientific test here !

So what was the original topic again ?

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Jaroslav Petrina





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anybody who claims that an arrow from a big bow cannot penetrate a mailie has never seen any, apart from very badly made TV show. And I m asking him what bow is he shoting and whatever is he able to make proper arrows with proper heads.

TV shows including mythbusters, discovery and bunch of others were made most stupid way, not even using proper equipment and shooting, jumping into conclusions without bearing proper tests and asking people which know how to acomplish the task how to do it. I m speaking namely about Mark Stretton, Simon Stanley, Hector Cole (archers and arrowsmiths all of them) or Chris Boyton, which inherited 400 years bowmaking trade from late Richard Galloway.

The tests conducted for The Glade by Marc Stretton showed clearly that mailie on padding and dead pig has about as much resistance to arrow as morning mist. Aside of few clean passes the arrows have been shot completelly through - means they have to beat mail, padding, pig and again padding and mailie and have been sticking out most of the lenght. It was riveted and of thicker wire than most mediaval counterparts.

To beat a mailie is a feat which I managed with rather mediocre ash longbow pulling only 60 pounds AND PROPER ARROW.

I shot also 100# longbow beating 1.2 mm hardened armour, 1.6 mm soft (which is harder feat to acomplish getting penetration 12 to 14 cm and get partial penetration on 2.0 soft iron sheet. That all supported with padding and either sack of beans or sandbag.
I did also some testing with 120# yew longbow.
Most late anti plate bodkin stick regardles the angle of impact up to 60 degrees. Anything you have to do is to go to Hector Cole let yourself to show proper arrowhead.

Heck I actually seen to beat breastplatte on padding, the sack of beans AND to split the 2´´X2´´ log on which that all was mounted. (That was rather heavy arrow from 160# bow).

It is possible to beat plate with an arrow and its childish easy to beat mailie -thats the reason why in the peak of mailie use everybody was using such a big shield and that the arrow mortality was so high.

As I said I have seen most of these things, I m shooting heavy bows and I have done them. With regards to books, anybody who wants to know shall meet heavy bow archers and see what their arrows do.

Fortunatelly kinetic energy is not most important factor of arrow killing power or penetration, as clearly shown in fine paper by Mr. Ashby from australian bowhunting association, who holds degree in physics.
It is MOMENTUM, which shows rather high figures with heavy arrows.

Anyway 130 J anyway makes 90 J or so on impact - any traumatologist can tell you that 60-70 J with blunt point on unprotected chest can cause pneumothorax or heartstop and death..in good deal of causes.


As for bow usage in viking and protovinking era, if it was weapon ineffective against mail, shield and other types of armour it wont be used so wide. Unfortunatelly for doubters it was used by just about anybody as we have from large account from Heimskringla, Njala and Egills, where also penetration of mail and death of wearer is described in most graphic way and often, that all with bows not reaching high mediaval poundage and arrowheads which will get 500 years of development since then up to peak of the performance.

For 6. - 7. century bow look for Nydam bows, which are almost identic to late mediaval bows that all up to lenght, tiler, profile, material and everything exception the strenght and overall sturdiness.
Nydam bows are bit more elegant and the poundage can go up to 70#, that all with whip tilered and elegant tips will give them high performance with period arrows.
See fine report by bow archeologist Harm Paulsen, which I met last year at Hedaby and discussed these matters with him.

Thats all from me....

Sorry for rather large post, but I have met the people doing the things practically and I have repeated the tasks for myself. I m bowmaker and archer by trade, I m forging arrowheads, I m making the arrows and I m making period shields. And I m shooting -most important.....

Jaroslav
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Petrina wrote:
Anybody who claims that an arrow from a big bow cannot penetrate a mailie has never seen any, apart from very badly made TV show. And I m asking him what bow is he shoting and whatever is he able to make proper arrows with proper heads.

Any anyone who thinks they can has not seen mail that even remotely resembles that which was actually worn in period. This subject has been covered ad nauseum here and on other fora. Heavier variants of mail were perfectly capable of resisting arrows under battlefield conditions. Blunt trauma is another issue though.

Quote:
The tests conducted for The Glade by Marc Stretton showed clearly that mailie on padding and dead pig has about as much resistance to arrow as morning mist. Aside of few clean passes the arrows have been shot completelly through - means they have to beat mail, padding, pig and again padding and mailie and have been sticking out most of the lenght. It was riveted and of thicker wire than most mediaval counterparts.


Maybe you can tell us what sort of mail was used and how it resembles historical mail. People who know anything about mail will tell you that "riveted" does not necessarily equal "authentic." The weapons you use can be as authentic as you imagine but the test is a waste of time if the armour is not a reasonable facsimile of what was actually worn historically. Hopefully the upcoming ARS tests will lay this issue to rest.
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Kevin Toomey





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I feel a little bad for Greg, now that his topic has gone everywhere except on point ,that happens alot in Archery I suppose.

because the arrows on the MR are of a certain length we are to assume they were drawn to that length? I remain unconvinced.


Bows made from woods such as elm are best if made from only sapwood to answer the question about that.
the Nydam bows as I recall are the ones with two sets of nocks cut directly into the stave.
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Jaroslav Petrina





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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2005 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard - as I m saying send me one I ll send it back to you full of holes. Mailie cannot withstand heavy arrow. And I m asking you - have you see real arrow? The thing I used to shoot the cars door or car hood at 60 yards? If you have a mailie which you think can withstand arrow fire, take it to Towton lads, mount it on sandbag with padded jack uderneath and they will destroy your precious piece of equipment in a salvo or two. Heck you can even use arrowhead such as a long bodkin which desnt need to cut more than ring or two to make a lethal depth.


As for historic mailies - thinking they were superior to wire what we can have now is foolish.
You can have only certain gauge of wire and you can also only have certain diameter of rings.
Too much or too little of either and it wont work.
I have seen numbers of these in armories in Graz, some here in czech some in tower and what these examples have in common is that they are from rather light gauge wire.
I also have fine paper on metalography of steel or iron used on some samples....The steel or iron can also have only given amont of strenght. Not more, unles its made by elven smiths :)

It doesnt matter if its hardened (it actually breaks more easy) or whatewer its soft (it shears more easy) - either way mailie was never meant to withstand piercing force and in the time mailie was most widely used everybody was using swords with cuting and crushing ability rather than pierscing and everybody was using rather large shield. And to say more some very spectacular spearheads with needle points made for undoubt reason.

Later 14. and even more 15 century stuff is something else.
Take a look into Froissart (flemish edition-15.cent). Men at arms have plate mail, everybody else brigandy. Brigandy and some forms of padded Jackets (such as worn by archer on Jan van Eyck Crucifiction) are to extent arrowproof, but for such type of padded jack I havent seen good reproduction yet.
Brigandy is most arrowproof armour, which can stop most arrowhead types, but it can be shoot through with luck in some percento of attempts by some heads based on British museum samples.
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Jaroslav Petrina





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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2005 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One have to think what actually flyes toward him - head as heavy as 60-100 gram mounted on shaft which si tapered or barelled 1/2´´ diameter. That is for heavy bow.

http://www.sweb.cz/hawkwind/heavybodkin.JPG

That is after some arrowheads from British museum.



Back to 6.7 century bows. Nydam bows are selfnocked, most made of yew, one or two of northern pine, but no possibility of replication as pine today doesnt grows as dense as back then (with SG 0.6). So what you want is yew. As for elm being used - from all about 80 viking bows found around western europe only single one of I know is made of other wood than yew and that is elm.
The elm bow is of the same shape as the yew bows, but its shallow and flat - guess that ancient bowmaker knew its properties very well.
Viborg longbow which might be also of interest is made of Oak, which can be replicated in red oak of today...

Jaroslav
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Folks,
Let's ease up on the hostile tone that's been used in the more recent posts in this thread; do not let this thread degenerate any further. Information can be shared without the defensiveness or hostility that's being shown.

Happy

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Jaroslav Petrina





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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2005 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I m sorry if I let my self to carry avay. As any enthusiasist....
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