Medieval longbow in Storm of Arrows . . .

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TheGrayMouser
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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:59 pm

Thing is though, the longbow didnt stop the french at all at Agincourt, the "phalanx" of dismounted french knights did reach the English center of dismounted knights , where they faced a losing battle:

exhausted from the cloying mud, bunched up together due to the crossfire of the Longbowmen (although I doudt many were killed outright , as you pointed out showers of arrows pinging off armour would be disconcerting to say the least) , so they were tired and wedged together fighting a rested bunch of knights who were likly their equals atleast in dimsounted combat , finally the longbowman did sally out and picked off the floundering kinghts near the flanks w mallets etc...

Anyways , the bowfire didnt stop the advance nor decide that part of the battle at all...

Poiters was a confusing battle where the English appear to have been fighting a rear guard action but got drawn into type of meeting engagment where the French fed in troops piecemeal, the archers played a role on the falnks (the flanks of the Fench horses to be specific where they were unbarded) howver , there was never any linear formation of archers that just stopped a French assault cold, all by themsleves

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Post by GaiusMarius » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:02 am

TGM,

Tend to agree: even at Crecy (leaving out the Genoese episode at the beginning of the battle) or Morlaix, battles in which French knights were completely mounted so the effect of the longbow should have been even greater in blocking charges, the French did reach English lines and savage hand to hand fighting developed (Harcourt division at Crecy was under severe pressure for hours). Longbow as any other missile weapon had important disruptive effects on troops and this is more or less well painted in FOG (agreeing that missile results are too random anyway): longbow is particullary good in mauling armoured and heavily armoured targets and this gives normally a good help in reducing effectiveness of knights charges.

Regarding swords and longbowmen: every source I've had access confirm that longbowmen (almost those part of a Retinue) had swords and acted as infantry joining the melee when contact between the two armies has been reached. Just to make an example, at Mauron English archers charged (!) downhill dismounted French Men at Arms. This tells a lot regarding the fact that these guys were able and trained to act as infantry and, sincerely speaking, don't think they did it simply with their knives.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:50 am

TheGrayMouser wrote: Poiters was a confusing battle where the English appear to have been fighting a rear guard action but got drawn into type of meeting engagment where the French fed in troops piecemeal, the archers played a role on the falnks (the flanks of the Fench horses to be specific where they were unbarded) howver , there was never any linear formation of archers that just stopped a French assault cold, all by themsleves
Hmm - I don't know about that, TGM. I have got Robert Hardy's book "Longbow" in front of me, TGM, and he talks about "archers all along the line" being able "to break the steadiness of the charge" ("disrupt" in FOG terms, I suppose) of the mounted French vanguard at Poitiers. He then says that some of the archers got onto the left flank of this first attack and caused further dreadful damage (pp93-4). He also says that the two massive French foot divisions were shot at from the front and flanks by English longbowmen and that they lost many men to the archers although this did not stop them reaching the English line.

Peter Reid writes in "The Rise and Fall of English Supremacy at Arms 1314-1485" that the foot divisions may have been under an arrow storm for just three minutes while approaching the English line and around 90,000 arrows would have been fired at them. As most archers were on the flanks the effect of this firing was to compress the French line into the centre so that they had less room to wield their weapons effectively.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:02 am

GaiusMarius wrote:Regarding swords and longbowmen: every source I've had access confirm that longbowmen (almost those part of a Retinue) had swords and acted as infantry joining the melee when contact between the two armies has been reached. Just to make an example, at Mauron English archers charged (!) downhill dismounted French Men at Arms. This tells a lot regarding the fact that these guys were able and trained to act as infantry and, sincerely speaking, don't think they did it simply with their knives.
No, I wasn't saying that they didn't have swords and only had knives, I was just questioning the FOG designation of them as "swordsmen". Hardy talks about them fighting with "sword and bludgeon" and in Reid's account of Poitiers he says that English archers joined the battle with their swords once they had run out of arrows. But even though they were very strong fellows I don't think that they would have done too well in melee against armoured knights unless the knights were outnumbered and in complete disarray.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:50 am

batesmotel wrote: The longbow was an effective weapon but only when properly deployed and supported. I think you will find it equally so in the game.
Chris
But if you set up your archers "properly" on the flanks with three archer BG's in a rear line with two archer BG's in front to create the wedge-like formation the historians tell us about, it means that the middle unit at the back cannot fire at all and one of the other rear rank BG's may not be able to fire if the enemy approaches from an oblique angle. Instead of getting 5 shots, you may only get 3. So your "massed fire" capability is much weaker than it should be. The same is true if you have 2 archer BG's with 1 in front - you only get 2 shots if the enemy approaches from an oblique angle.

I have just conducted a bizarre experiment :oops: - I had two lines of "protected" archers shoot at one another for a while - 72 shots caused 187 percentage points casualties, which worked out at just under 2.5% damage each time. Given that archers can move quite quickly they might only have to endure one round of shooting before closing to melee - and being down 2 or 3 percentage points at the start of a melee is quite negligible really. If the range was 6 hexes then the defending archers would definitely get 2 shots in and would be 5 or 6 percentage points up at the start of a melee - still not decisive by any means, but a reasonable advantage.

I will conduct further bizarre experiments today with foot and mounted knights.

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Post by GaiusMarius » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:06 am

No, I wasn't saying that they didn't have swords and only had knives, I was just questioning the FOG designation of them as "swordsmen". Hardy talks about them fighting with "sword and bludgeon" and in Reid's account of Poitiers he says that English archers joined the battle with their swords once they had run out of arrows. But even though they were very strong fellows I don't think that they would have done too well in melee against armoured knights unless the knights were outnumbered and in complete disarray.

Pete, they are not doing well even now (being swordsmen) if catched in clear terrain by dismounted knights, they fight both in impact and melee with a POA of disadvantage which means already a substantial handicap. Against mounted knights is even worst, 2 POA's of disadvantage in impact, one in melee. Clear that, being archers, there are two extra attacks in impact and that everything changes when the fighting happens in not clear hexes/hills etc.

This leads me to the consideration that the second role of longbowmen (primary archers, secondary a good medium infantry) is well depicted in FOG.

Obviously, was not there and it's only my opinion.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:31 am

GaiusMarius wrote:Pete, they are not doing well even now (being swordsmen) if catched in clear terrain by dismounted knights, they fight both in impact and melee with a POA of disadvantage which means already a substantial handicap. Against mounted knights is even worst, 2 POA's of disadvantage in impact, one in melee. Clear that, being archers, there are two extra attacks in impact and that everything changes when the fighting happens in not clear hexes/hills etc.

This leads me to the consideration that the second role of longbowmen (primary archers, secondary a good medium infantry) is well depicted in FOG.

Obviously, was not there and it's only my opinion.

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Hello Enzo. I have just checked - whether archers are described as "swordsmen", or whether the melee weapon field is left blank, it doesn't seem to make any difference to melee outcome at all. Foot knights attacking foot archers are always 47% v 29% on contact, foot archers attacking foot knights are always 14% v 65% on contact - so it seems I am quibbling about a descriptive term and nothing else. I agree that this is a reasonable depiction as foot knights will invariably defeat archers in melee.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:45 am

Right, I'm back from my laboratory - archers took 72 shots against mounted knights and scored a total of 124 percentage points of damage (14 shots were zero), an average of roughly 1.8% per volley. Given that a well-timed charge by mounted knights on a defensive position would mean that they would only have to endure one shot before making contact, I would say that this woefully under-represents the effect of massed archery fire on charging units - and the occasional "disrupted" knight BG still can move into melee if it wants to. Foot knights would have to endure two hits before making contact but they would still only be about 4 percentage points down when the melee started - quite insignificant really and no problem at all if they were making contact with archers or billmen.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:12 pm

I agree in an experiment like that the fire power does seem tepid... Howver, the reality of the game is that isnt how it will play out. Consider that a medium drilled archer is going to do the old 2 back , one fwrd shuffle and then fire, continuously putting space between them and the aproaching enemy. With mounted knights it doenst change much, but if you increase the range to six hexes , heavy foot will take forever to close and will get shot up pretty good ( and the archers will likly stop the retreat once in terraihn/hills or bring up their own heavies in gaps they create.

I personally have alsways dilioiked the 6 dice at impact routine that medium archers get , especially that 4 dice are melee and 2 are missle.. If anything i feel it should be reversed but even then i just dont like it (i eel it does make sence for mixed battle goups thought that have a dedicated front rank or wo of spears pavisers or whatnot)

I know this wont happen but here is an idea i have

lets say you have a knight in charge range of a medium archer and the knight charges, instead of impact and getting 4 dice vs 6 how about this :
when the knight enters the hex adjacent to the archer the game rolls a full 4 dice MISSLE attack at an additional + POA vs the attacker and the results (ie cohesion test, casualties) , happen immedietly This would represent not only a PB fire of the missle unit but the volleys on the way in....
Once this is resolved, then combat takes place normaly, 4 dice vs 4 dice for impact combat


This should result in more disruptions for the chargers and will simulate somewhat the break up of mounted formations on the way in as oppesed to be rolled into one combat result in the impact phase

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:05 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:I agree in an experiment like that the fire power does seem tepid... Howver, the reality of the game is that isnt how it will play out. Consider that a medium drilled archer is going to do the old 2 back , one fwrd shuffle and then fire, continuously putting space between them and the aproaching enemy. With mounted knights it doenst change much, but if you increase the range to six hexes , heavy foot will take forever to close and will get shot up pretty good ( and the archers will likly stop the retreat once in terraihn/hills or bring up their own heavies in gaps they create.
I suppose there is a difference between DAG games and historical scenarios here, TGM. If I set the English up in a defensive position in a scenario the "old shuffle" is not going to work and the archers would lose their stakes too. In a DAG game I think that you have a point.
I personally have alsways dilioiked the 6 dice at impact routine that medium archers get , especially that 4 dice are melee and 2 are missle.. If anything i feel it should be reversed but even then i just dont like it (i eel it does make sence for mixed battle goups thought that have a dedicated front rank or wo of spears pavisers or whatnot)

I know this wont happen but here is an idea i have

lets say you have a knight in charge range of a medium archer and the knight charges, instead of impact and getting 4 dice vs 6 how about this :
when the knight enters the hex adjacent to the archer the game rolls a full 4 dice MISSLE attack at an additional + POA vs the attacker and the results (ie cohesion test, casualties) , happen immedietly This would represent not only a PB fire of the missle unit but the volleys on the way in....
Once this is resolved, then combat takes place normaly, 4 dice vs 4 dice for impact combat

This should result in more disruptions for the chargers and will simulate somewhat the break up of mounted formations on the way in as oppesed to be rolled into one combat result in the impact phase
Yes, I understand your thinking here. It is an interesting idea. I suppose a happy compromise might be for the developers to allow scenario-builders to select 6 hexes for longbows if they want to but keep the range at 5 on the DAG lists. Similarly, I would like to be able to write scenarios where the artillery is "poor" - where it is raining hard or foggy, or where an army has siege guns instead of field guns (e.g. Scots at Flodden 1513), but again the default settings prevent me from doing this.

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Post by Gersen » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:34 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
GaiusMarius wrote:Regarding swords and longbowmen: every source I've had access confirm that longbowmen (almost those part of a Retinue) had swords and acted as infantry joining the melee when contact between the two armies has been reached. Just to make an example, at Mauron English archers charged (!) downhill dismounted French Men at Arms. This tells a lot regarding the fact that these guys were able and trained to act as infantry and, sincerely speaking, don't think they did it simply with their knives.
No, I wasn't saying that they didn't have swords and only had knives, I was just questioning the FOG designation of them as "swordsmen". Hardy talks about them fighting with "sword and bludgeon" and in Reid's account of Poitiers he says that English archers joined the battle with their swords once they had run out of arrows. But even though they were very strong fellows I don't think that they would have done too well in melee against armoured knights unless the knights were outnumbered and in complete disarray.
At Verneuill, the longbowmen guarding the baggage saw off 2 separate cavalry charges. Personally, I take it that, by and large, they were handy swordsmen (motivated perhaps by the fear of losing the fingers of your bow drawing hand if captured :) ).

Apart from the range, I would tend to agree with a few of the others in that longbowmen are reasonably well represented in FOG. Their success at the likes of Crecy and Agincourt were largely due to excellent placement, weather and other factors rather than any particular super-normal powers.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:11 pm

Gersen wrote: Apart from the range, I would tend to agree with a few of the others in that longbowmen are reasonably well represented in FOG. Their success at the likes of Crecy and Agincourt were largely due to excellent placement, weather and other factors rather than any particular super-normal powers.
Just changing the range would suit me, to be honest. Being blocked by fellow archers nearby for long-range shooting would be the next issue of importance to sort out. And after that I would want some of my archers to have mallets instead of swords! :lol:

The thing is, in my laboratory experiments today, it didn't make much difference whether archers had swords in melee with foot knights or not. By the second round of melee 3 out of 6 were "disrupted" and by the fourth round (2 turns for each player) they had all scarpered leaving 6 reasonably intact foot knight BG's holding the field. And I am completely OK with that.

I am certainly not arguing about "super-normal" powers, but I am saying that for a considerable period of time (1300-1450AD roughly) the longbow was extremely effective against the French and absolutely lethal against the poorly protected Scots. As early as 1138 at the Battle of the Standard in north Yorkshire, the Scottish army was basically shot to death by English archers - and as late as 1513 at Flodden the longbow was still a very dangerous part of the English war machine.

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Post by RussProv » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:31 pm

Plenty of good suggestions here but I have a slight twist to the idea of allowing archers/Longbows to shoot through friendly units. When using a Longbow, the archer seldom shot "directly" at attacking units, they fired in an arc like artillery. Why then do we not allow them to shoot though (over) friendly units BUT ONLY if the are firing at a target which is at least 3 hexes away? In effect they are firing over friendly units and I doubt even the most skilled archer could fire in a high angle arc and hit tagets 25 yards away.

I agree that as swordsmen they are far too effective, there is evidence to suggest that longbowmen had an different bone and muscle structure in the upper body, most notably the shoulders and upper arms, brought about through years of practice. This would have made your typical English/Welsh longbowman slightly deformed, and huge upper bodies are not the perfect physique for men who would be any good at swordfighting.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:20 pm

ha ha , i dont think they were deformed :D
My understanding is their forearm bones were significantly larger (much like muscle, bones will grow to handle stress) and some of the lower vertebrae were fused together... maybe this gave them back problems in their twilight years but i dont think it would have effected them in day to day life , nor in combat .

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Post by RussProv » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:26 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:ha ha , i dont think they were deformed :D
My understanding is their forearm bones were significantly larger (much like muscle, bones will grow to handle stress) and some of the lower vertebrae were fused together... maybe this gave them back problems in their twilight years but i dont think it would have effected them in day to day life , nor in combat .
Then, the English longbow was developed during the early 1300′s. These weapons had a 200-lb pull, which required enormous strength and lifelong practice and training. Studies of the skeletons of archers actually revealed bone spurs caused by their overdeveloped musculature.

http://unorthodoxfaith.com/2010/08/20/r ... ct-friday/


Whatever the facts the point still stands , they are far too effective in hand to hand combat, I doubt they had much time for sword training on top of rigourous archery training.

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Post by stockwellpete » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:49 pm

RussProv wrote: Then, the English longbow was developed during the early 1300′s. These weapons had a 200-lb pull, which required enormous strength and lifelong practice and training. Studies of the skeletons of archers actually revealed bone spurs caused by their overdeveloped musculature.

http://unorthodoxfaith.com/2010/08/20/r ... ct-friday/

Whatever the facts the point still stands , they are far too effective in hand to hand combat, I doubt they had much time for sword training on top of rigourous archery training.
Yep. :wink:

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Post by Aryaman » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:54 am

Certainly I would like to see indirect fire for archers (not just longbow) implemented in the game, so that archer units could shoot behind friendly protected units. That, or make mixed units of archers+inf the standard

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Post by Old_Warrior » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:15 pm

Indian archer vs. English Longbow - no contest. Both could be fired almost as fast as the other. The English Longbow was far more powerful being something like 5-6 feet in length vs. the Indian bow of about 3 feet. This is why they could penetrate armor easier than a standard bow.

Crossbow fired at a slower rate but were more effective in penetration. It is a trade off IMHO. All I can see is that any bow unit should be subject to running out of arrows. This is one weakness in the system that should be corrected. Some sort of ammo level should display below the unit's icon for firing troops. Slingers being pretty much exempt.

Were stakes only allocated to Agincourt? Or are they allowed in other DAC scenarios?

Are field fortifications coming soon?

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:42 pm

RussProv wrote:
TheGrayMouser wrote:ha ha , i dont think they were deformed :D
My understanding is their forearm bones were significantly larger (much like muscle, bones will grow to handle stress) and some of the lower vertebrae were fused together... maybe this gave them back problems in their twilight years but i dont think it would have effected them in day to day life , nor in combat .
Then, the English longbow was developed during the early 1300′s. These weapons had a 200-lb pull, which required enormous strength and lifelong practice and training. Studies of the skeletons of archers actually revealed bone spurs caused by their overdeveloped musculature.

http://unorthodoxfaith.com/2010/08/20/r ... ct-friday/


Whatever the facts the point still stands , they are far too effective in hand to hand combat, I doubt they had much time for sword training on top of rigourous archery training.

I do not think that website is all that accurate. (Journey thru Life and Faith??)
The wreck of the Mary Rose indicates the bows, as best as they can determine, had draw weights of 100-180 lbs, the biggest cluster being of about 150-160 lbs. Since this was Henry 8's flagship, no doudt only the finest, most impressive bowman were recruited to man the riggings of this ship.

Certainly the bows were powerful yet draw weight alone doesnt necasarily imply transfer of kinetic energy. The mass of the bow arms themsleves need to be overcome, the larger more mass the arms have, the greater the inertia needed to be overcome to give velocity to the projectile.

Although ammo levels would be neat , i think the developers have stated it doesnt fit into the game system.

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Post by Chock » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:47 pm

There is sometimes far too much made of the oft quoted chestnut that English longbowmen alone were committed to a life of practice, since pretty much all soldiers expecting to fight with a bow would do so anyway as a means to hunt food. It is true that all men (i.e those over the age of 14) in England at the time of battles such as Potiers and Agincourt, were legally required to undertake practice with a bow for two hours every day, an undertaking which often took place in churchyards since it was invariably someone from the local clergy who would be selected to oversee such practice. This is a law which is apparently still on the statute books in the UK, although I doubt you'd be tried for treason for not having popped down to your local church in a while to nock a few arrows up with the padre, and to be honest, I suspect it is unlikely that it was an organised everyday practice even back when Henry was on the throne, since who would enforce such a law?

Beyond this, a longbow is an effective hunting tool in the hands of someone good with it, so it is likely that a fair bit of poaching and hunting went on with the things, which means people would be pretty well practiced with them anyway. Furthermore, we can see that being held under the grip of such a draconian practice law wasn't actually necessary to be brilliant with a Longbow from the fact that a good many of the best archers at Agincourt were not English at all, but Welsh and thus not subject to the oft-quoted every day practice law.

It's reckoned that a field of Longbowmen would be doing well to loose off somewhere around five to six arrows a minute in combined area fire, presumably under the command of someone directing such drilled firing at specific targets for area effect. Obviously they'd be able to fire a bit faster when given the independent shoot at will command. There's little doubt that the estimated 6,000 Longbowmen that were in condition to fight at Agincourt (many weren't because of dysentry, a fact which meant that the ground they stuck their arrows into prior to firing them was sodden with diseased watery mud, which probably contributed to killing those injured by their arrows) proved devastating to the French, who it has to be said, were tactically disadvantaged owing to the muddy uphill terrain they were advancing across, not to mention also being intellectually disadvantaged owing to the ridiculously superior attitude of many French noblemen who assumed they would trounce mere commoners whom they outnumbered and thus insisted on being right at the front of the failed assault. As we know, it ended up with the English army gaining what is reckoned to be a ten to one kill ratio overall, but there is no doubt that circumstances were certainly on their side on the day of the battle.

When it comes to what are often incorrectly regarded less powerful bows of the kind used by other medieval armies, on account of them being smaller, it's as well to remember that these were often composite in construction, thus displaying better tension across the draw range and not simply relying on the weight of the arrow in descending flight as the English Longbow does when used as an area weapon, so the size doesn't tell the whole story and nor does the draw weight. In addition to being trained in pinpoint accuracy, mounted archers such as the Saljuqs, Fatamids and Ghulams were also trained in dropping groups of arrows into areas in a manner similar to the longbows at Agincourt. It's a fact that mounted archers firing smaller composite bows managed to stop an armoured Crusader charge with no assistance from any infantry at the battle of Gaza, and this whilst shooting on the move from horseback, so these smaller bows are not to be sniffed at, moreover, Mamluk archers such as these were often to be seen with four or five arrows clasped between their fingers to improve the rate of fire, and it is known that they could get well over double the rate of fire of that seen at Agincourt, these being individually aimed shots too. It's true that these would probably not have the range of Longbow area shooting, but being fired from skirmishing horseback, this hardly matters.

In short, if you think the bows and arrows of the English have no equal, then you'd be wrong. They were a devastating weapon, but they had to be used in the right tactical fashion to become one. In melee fighting, assuming the guys fighting the archers were not knackered and traumatised from having slogged through miles of mud whilst watching their colleagues get cut down en masse, they'd probably slaughter a bunch of archers, the trouble is, you've got to get into melee range to do that.

Al

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