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"Medieval" Archery Tricks


Sturgeon
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It smells of BS, though I buy the idea that sometimes follow ups were held in the shooting hand.

I don't really see how it would make much of a difference either way to shoot from the dom or nondom side. I doubt archers were doing the kind of Hunger Games-esque BS that Mr. Whatshisface is doing in the video, in the Middle Ages.

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The thing that's usually missing is that in any sort of battle there were a line of archers. Perhaps behind some sort of fortification or a shield wall or whatever. And if enemy ever got that close, I'd wager they were running or going for their cudgels, short swords or even using an arrow.

 

Neat video.

 

I'd wager back in the olden days, you had archers that were experimenting with all sorts of - shall we say - tactical shooting stances and whatnot. But when the time came for actual killing, everyone probably resorted to the tried and true stance.

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A good comparison might be modern western fast-draw and trick shot experts: impressive, but not useful in any remotely realistic situation.

 

My take is that this guy is using a very light-weight (and ugly) bow, combined with a very short draw. Basically he's optimised speed shooting over putting any actual energy into the arrows.

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Having watched a newer video, it seems as if his basic thesis (historical archery was more naturalistic, used a variety of draws/arrow holds and used the quiver mainly for long-term storage) is pretty uncontroversial. It is also known that a snatched draw and release gets you a bit more energy per unit of draw length.

I still think he short draws, though.

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I think he admits that the medieval archers were more fit and used more powerful bows. Being no expert, I highly suspect there were different techniques between - say - an Egyptian chariot archer, a Mongol rider, a Japanese samurai and a bluff English yoeman, owing to different tactics, bow shape, composition and draw weight.

I doubt you'd be able to do all of those fancy tricks with an English longbow of 75-100 pound draw weight. And considering that the English DID in fact target shoot at butts, it's no wonder that it is the stationary, upright archery practice handed down to us from Agincourt, fighting heavily armored, steel-clad knights, which is the technique that survived and was handed down to our very Eurocentric, Anglophile country.

How the arrow is knocked and aimed is plausible though.

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Having watched a newer video, it seems as if his basic thesis (historical archery was more naturalistic, used a variety of draws/arrow holds and used the quiver mainly for long-term storage) is pretty uncontroversial. It is also known that a snatched draw and release gets you a bit more energy per unit of draw length.

 

 

Interesting.  I would have thought that a given draw distance would perform the same work on an arrow regardless, since for a Hookean spring the average of initial and final force times distance would be total work performed.

 

Are bows made from slightly elastomer-ish material or something?

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Interesting.  I would have thought that a given draw distance would perform the same work on an arrow regardless, since for a Hookean spring the average of initial and final force times distance would be total work performed.

 

Are bows made from slightly elastomer-ish material or something?

Elastic hysteresis happens in bows too.

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I wonder about indirect fire from bows, a technique that is really never used anymore. I assume archers practiced it? Did they have ranging marks on their bows to tell if the arrow will drop 75, 150, 200 yards away? Or was it just Kentucky windage with archers just shooting by feel?

I'm sure the medieval texts have instructions.

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I've wondered as well. I got to practice a bit on a farm once, and the best I could figure was that the maximum range is fairly constant so you fire once troops come into that zone and simply angle down as they move in. Then you only need to get good at estimating a single range.

 

I remember reading accounts of prepared defences that included white stones as range markers, but can't recall any specific examples.

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I'd love one of those and inexplicably I really want to fire one of the post-WWII Papua New Guinean bows with huge heads forged from rebar with a very far front of center center of gravity talked about in this PDF: http://www.alaskabowhunting.com/PR/Ashby_Papua_New_Guinea_Bows_and_Arrows.pdf

 

They've got a weird stance and carry spare arrows in the hand in comparison to what we do, but it's effective even if it isn't descended from our rigid traditions.

 

Also, interesting bit about signs of heat treating for armor piercing purposes: http://www.royalarmouries.org/what-we-do/research/analytical-projects/armour-piercing-arrowheads

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Already linked the first :)

 

For what it's worth, long arrows are a great solution for archer's paradox, energy retention and wind shear. The fact that they keep getting reinvented again and again should say something. As should the fact that Western-style archery and bowhunting seems unable to break out of the mold of small, light arrows which then suffer from low terminal effectiveness.

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Reading some accounts of the Old West, the smart guys paying attention had a barometer as to when the Indians were thinking about going on the warpath based on how industriously the squaws and children were salvaging discarded tin cans from refuse piles. Cans = Arrow heads.

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I'd assume that to be the case. I dig Native American culture and I'm blessed to live in an area that has some of the best Indian artwork produced (Pacific Northwest Indians lived the good life).

But they were primitive technologically and their short bows weren't anything to send a smoke signal home about.

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Living in a country where high-poundage, long-draw bows never developed, I have come to realise that wood quality is hella important to bow making. We just don't have anything that is well suited to developing long bows and recurves*, so it never happened. Hell, I still don't have access to anything better than balau (and even this in limited quantities) and so my bow making career has been an endless series of failures.

 

I suspect the Pacific Northwest (which, from what I hear, is infested by pines) may have suffered from something similar.

 

While I am dispensing wisdom, I have also come to realise that bows are a ridiculously unintuitive invention. The idea of careful tillering and working, without which your bent stick will last about 10 shots before breaking and hitting you in the nuts, is just not that obvious a step.

 

Bows are hard, basically.

 

* Without having access to a sawmill

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