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Just how did muskets overtake the bow?

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: General History
Forum Name: Military History
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Topic: Just how did muskets overtake the bow?
Posted By: Guests
Subject: Just how did muskets overtake the bow?
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:07

Hi guys,

The other day, I shot one of my friend's blackpowder match-lock muskets.  The gun was slow to load, the powder  and lit-match was dangerous to keep in large quantities and it fouls up the barrel after like 5 shots.  Seriously guys, after 5 shots, you would've had to start cleaning out the gun.  And in terms of accuracy, I could barely hit a man-sized target at 25 yards, and missed every shot but one at 50 yards.  The burning match is a constant danger being so close to the powder.   Worst of all, every shot produced a huge cloud of foul smoke, so that even if I had a second gun loaded and ready to fire, I would still have to wait like 10 seconds for the smoke to clear up and take aim.  Overall, I think this weapon is a piece of crap.

Now in comparison, my recurve bow seems almost magical.  I can shoot off like 5 or 6 arrows a minute and have 3 or 4 hits on a man-sized target at 100 yds.  The recurve bow is so less than 1/2 the weight of the musket and shorter as well.  Additionally, carrying 20 arrows isn't exactly as dangerous as carrying a quarter pound of blackpowder and lead. 

So the question is, how the heck did this weapon over take the composite or long bow?  An army of longbowmen or horse archers would've slaughtered an army musketmen.  And you can't exactly shoot a musket from horseback.  So how did this happen?        




Replies:
Posted By: Vamun Tianshu
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:36
Tell this to the man who used the musket effectively against his enemy.Nobunaga's army effectively used the musket in the Battle of Nagashino against the Takeda Calvary,and ultimately left the Takeda to their doom.3000 Muskets fired upon the calvary,and whisked them away.I think the dependency of the musket in the ages of gunpowder were too heavy.However,I don't think it mattered on how one couldn't use the musket,but how good they really were.Just think of the Indians and how they adapted the musket to actually work on horseback,and make the American settlers who were moving west kind drive back.The Native Americans in the South Plains used the musket sometimes,and it even replaced the bow and arrow at some point.

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In Honor


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:43
The native americans were armed with simple stick bows with stone arrow heads.  The bows couldn't pierce even leather armor let alone leather and has an effective range of only 25 yds(I know since I used it before), even muskets could do better than that.  Moreover, the native americas never used the musket on horseback, they used the rifle.  As for the japanese, they were using simple composite bows which weren't as good as longbows or recurves.  Their effective range was 50 yds.  Moreover Nobunaga's musketmen were fighting against heavy calvery, not horsearchers.


Posted By: Vamun Tianshu
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:50
Muskets weren't as accurate,actually,were never as accurate as the spencer rifle.The arrow could was better accuracy then what the Confederacy used against the Union soldiers,the muskets.And yes,you're right that Nobunaga's musketmen were fighting against heavy calvary,not horsearchers,but the Musket proved useful in many battles during the Samurai Age,especially against the bow and arrow.

-------------

In Honor


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:55
I just don't understand how though?  How could a musketman win against a unit with 4 times his effective range and 6 times the firepower?


Posted By: Vamun Tianshu
Date Posted: 08-Feb-2005 at 21:59
I really cannot answer that question.Well,I guess you have to look at the bigger picture.Who was better with what weapon possibly?I guess it really depends on who,and when the weapon was used in what situation.However,I do believe the musket was not as accurate as an arrow.That I believe.I guess the question of accuracy and efficiency come into play.

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In Honor


Posted By: Tobodai
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 00:34
it has to do with the same reason the crossbow was ever used, even the ough all the steps to load and fire a musket seem dificult, its much easier for an average non trained person or farmland layman to load and fire a msuket than learn how to use a bow.  A much better weapon for staged battles involving a mass of non professional soldiers.

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"the people are nothing but a great beast...
I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value."
-Alexander Hamilton


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 07:09

Originally posted by xenophon2000

I just don't understand how though?  How could a musketman win against a unit with 4 times his effective range and 6 times the firepower?

 

Several factors have to be considered here (which, with all due respect, you seem to be missing).

First off, the supposedly longer effective range of the bow is largely meaningless, because of logistical problems regarding arrow supply.  It was once calculated that a corps of 5,000 archers (as at Agincourt) could let loose with about half a million arrows in just under 8 minutes, which is great for what it's worth--as long as you have that many arrows to begin with.  Because of this, archers often shot off their weapons at shorter ranges (50-100 yards, instead of 200+ yards), so that spent arrows could be retrieved after enemy attacks.  These logistical problems with arrow supply limited not only the range of the bow, but also its rate of fire (ROF).

Secondly, if you're talking about horse-archers with composite bows, that effective range drops off very sharply--one expert (F. Paterson) estimated that accurate shooting from horseback is a mere 10 yards.

Thirdly, you're not considering the value of massed fire, where individual accuracy (regardless of the weapon) is not really an issue.  At the Battle of Huarina in 1547 (between rival conquistadore factions), Carvajal's rebel arquebusiers cut loose at 100 yards, and brought down 150 royalists with a single volley (and keep in mind that conquistadore armies weren't large to begin with, so the loss of 150 men from one such volley was very damaging indeed).  Not bad for a supposed "piece of crap", eh?

Fourthly, the heavier Hispano-Italian musket (which had to be fired from a rest), could pierce even the very best "proof" plate armor at under 100 yards (no bow could do this).

Fifthly, you have to also take into account cost effectiveness and logistics.  It literally takes a lifetime to make a decent archer.  Not so with the gun.  Replacing a corps of archers lost in battle (as the Ottomans had to do after Lepanto in 1571) is not an easy thing to do, whereas new arquebusiers and/or musketeers can be trained very quickly.  Also, ammunition supply is much simpler--archers had to be backed by an entire industry composed of arrowsmiths who made arrowheads, and fletchers who made the shafts--compare that to the common arquebusier who could cast his own lead balls.

Sixthly, gunners can fire from behind cover--stone walls, foliage, ships' bullwarks, etc., whereas archers generally have to expose themselves by standing, in order to shoot.

 



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 07:15

Originally posted by xenophon2000

 As for the japanese, they were using simple composite bows which weren't as good as longbows or recurves.  Their effective range was 50 yds.  Moreover Nobunaga's musketmen were fighting against heavy calvery, not horsearchers.

 

Actually, the Japanese used their arquebuses successfully against the excellent composite bows of the Koreans and Ming Chinese during the Imjin War, just as the Europeans used them successfully against the Ottomans (who also made a liberal use of guns, btw).

And the yumi's effective range was certainly more than 50 yards, though it may have been used at that range for the archery logistics reasons I mentioned above.



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 08:54

Yet another factor to consider is the fact that even cultures with strong archery traditions often enthusiastically adopted the use of firearms.  Four that immediately come to mind are the English (longbow), the Ottomans Turks (composite bow), the Venetians (composite bow), and the Japanese (yumi).  In all of these cases, firearms (arquebuses, calivers, tufeks, and muskets) were used in conjunction with bows.  The archers were used to cover the gunners while they reloaded--an example of parallel evolution in small arms tactics.



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 17:18

From reading your posts, I surmise that you have little or no experience with archery, and have never shot a musket in your life(no offense intended). 



Posted By: Jalisco Lancer
Date Posted: 09-Feb-2005 at 18:20


A peasant with very few weeks of training could match a skillful archer. Plus, the range and penetration power had no comparision.

The musket finished also the use of personal armours.

Regards


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 06:55
Originally posted by xenophon2000

From reading your posts, I surmise that you have little or no experience with archery, and have never shot a musket in your life(no offense intended). 

And from reading your reaction to my posts, I must surmise that you are not particularly familiar with period treatises on archery and gunnery, or with the overall history of the introduction of the gun (likewise, no offense intended).

I admittedly have no direct archery or blackpowder experience (though, FWIW, I have shot crossbows).  However, I don't see anything in my posts on this thread that would indicate a lack of knowledge on the subject.  Everything I have posted thus far, I can back up with primary and secondary sources, which I will be more than happy to provide, if you wish.  What do you specifically have a problem with, in regards to what I have posted?

If you want to debate the issues at hand, I'm more than game.

 

 



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Temujin
Date Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 13:36
I agree, Landsknechts posting bears no realistic evaluations. but to come to the initial question: in fact muskets did not overtake the bow, Crossbows did, and firearms are generally better than crossbows. the massive use fo firearms spread from europe where the bows were not as powerfull as in asia and therefore beign replaced by the crossbow more so than in the islamic world where the crossbow was much rarer. most armies that used the compostie bow, like the central Asian Steppe armies adopted the msuket late and did not discarded the bow at all, they used both accordign to situation. composite bows where still in widespread sue in teh middle of teh 19th century in most of Asia. so botom line, the musket did not replace the composite bow (from your inital post I see you're not talkign aboutt he much weaker self-bows, it should eb clear why those have been replaced).

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Posted By: Belisarius
Date Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 13:38
The Japanese guns used by Nobunaga were improved versions of those they recieved from the Portugese. For a long time, hand-held guns remained ineffective on the field. Bows and crossbows were better preferred. Cannons were the only effective gunpowder weapons during the high middle ages. It was not until the invention of the flintlock that the Europeans truly had military superiority over the rest of the world.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 10-Feb-2005 at 16:54

"However, I don't see anything in my posts on this thread that would indicate a lack of knowledge on the subject."

Then you go on to say:

"Because of this, archers often shot off their weapons at shorter ranges (50-100 yards, instead of 200+ yards)"

Now, if you had shot these bows you would realize that the maximum EFFECTIVE range of a long bow or a recurve composite is only around 100 yds.  The archer, after a lifetime of training, can hit a man-sized target at only 100 yds, less than 50 people in all of recorded history had been able to accurately hit a man-sized target at 200+ yds.  If you can hit a man at 200 yds consistently with any bow, you would easily beat the archery gold medal winner at the Olympics. 

"Actually, the Japanese used their arquebuses successfully against the excellent composite bows of the Koreans and Ming Chinese during the Imjin War"

1.  They lost the war

2.  They suffered much higher casualties

3.  The Koreans were using composite(non-recurve) bows with an Effective range of 50 yds which still out-distanced the match-lock musket.

 

"And the yumi's effective range was certainly more than 50 yards, though it may have been used at that range for the archery logistics reasons I mentioned above."

I've had the pleasure of meeting a competition archer/hunter who uses a yumi.  We're talking about a simple composite bow make out of wood here.  The arrow nose-dives and the cep increases exponentially after 50 yards, and moreover, the archer can only draw the bowstring to his chin which will yield only 1/2 the energy of the mongol/turkish recurve bow.  The japanese archers had to shoot at under 50 yards, or risk having their arrows miss. 

 

"the heavier Hispano-Italian musket (which had to be fired from a rest), could pierce even the very best "proof" plate armor at under 100 yards (no bow could do this)."

That is a lie.  Though I don't blame you because you probably read it out of a book.  Probably the same kind of books that describes the slingers of Alexander the great making headshots on persians from 500 yds away.

Why can I say this?  Because I've seen the Italian musket(though it had a flint lock instead of match) fired before.  The lead ball is about 30 grams heavier than standard shots.  This musket fires the projectile at subsonic speeds.  The lead ball was fired against quarter inch steel plate at 100 yds.  8 shots were fired, 7 missed, one hit but didn't punch through the plate.  If it were a person wearing steel armor, he probably would've been badly bruised but his armor would hold.  Now at 25 yards, the ball was able to go partially through the plate half the time, and the other half, it went completely through.  This conforms with experience that the musket is only good at under 25 yards.   

 

"Yet another factor to consider is the fact that even cultures with strong archery traditions often enthusiastically adopted the use of firearms.  Four that immediately come to mind are the English (longbow), the Ottomans Turks (composite bow), the Venetians (composite bow), and the Japanese (yumi).  In all of these cases, firearms (arquebuses, calivers, tufeks, and muskets) were used in conjunction with bows.  The archers were used to cover the gunners while they reloaded--an example of parallel evolution in small arms tactics."

 

Look closer, the Venetians and the japanese weren't bow cultures to begin with.  Seeing as how even their best bows couldn't effectively engage targets at 100 yards.  The english adopted the musket in mass only AFTER the invention of the flint lock in the early 17th century.  The Ottomans are a notable exception, I'm not really sure why, perhaps they needed the extra manpower.

My take on this puzzle is that the match lock musket appeared first in areas where armored forces were many and ranged weaponery was not very effective (France, Italy, Spain) .  The real supremacy of the musket is it's effect over armored calvery/troops not over the bow.  As it took hold in these regions, new technologies and tactics were developed until these muskets became flint-lock, and then became rifled.  And only then did firearms have the real advantage over the bow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 07:22

Xenophon2000,

While I can respect your first-hand experience in regards to archery and black powder shooting, it does not necessarily make your opinions on this matter more valid than mine.  In fact, just as I suspected, you have demonstrated a distinct lack of knowledge regarding period treatises, and the overall history of the introduction of the gun.  You also clearly don't know much about the specifics of armor.  I'll counter your points one at a time, and I'll give you my sources up front.

Originally posted by xenophon2000

"However, I don't see anything in my posts on this thread that would indicate a lack of knowledge on the subject."

Then you go on to say:

"Because of this, archers often shot off their weapons at shorter ranges (50-100 yards, instead of 200+ yards)"

Now, if you had shot these bows you would realize that the maximum EFFECTIVE range of a long bow or a recurve composite is only around 100 yds.  The archer, after a lifetime of training, can hit a man-sized target at only 100 yds, less than 50 people in all of recorded history had been able to accurately hit a man-sized target at 200+ yds.  If you can hit a man at 200 yds consistently with any bow, you would easily beat the archery gold medal winner at the Olympics. 

Yes, I'm familiar with this 100-yard accurate maximum you speak of.  This was mentioned by the 17th century Frenchman, Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan, in his La Description d'Ukranie, where he wrote of his first-hand experiences against the Tartars.  Paterson, the author of the classic article, "The Archers of Islam" (whom I mentioned in my original post), said that a trained archer should be able to hit a man every time at about 60 yards.  A 16th century Arabic treatise gives this maximum accurate range as 80 yards (Erik Hildinger, Warriors of the Steppe: A Military History of Central Asia, 500 B.C. to 1700 A.D.).

However--we are talking about Medieval/Renaissance warfare, not modern target shooting or hunting.  This is where your own archery/gunnery experience fails you.  You assume that your own target and/or hunting experience equals the knowledge and/or experience of a 16th/17th century archer or gunner, but that is obviously not the case.  Do you know how to countermarch?  Do you know where to shelter under the pike-block, when the enemy cavalry charges?  Do you know how to use your sword, should the fight come to HTH?  Have you been trained in the drills established by the great 17th century military writer, Johann Jacobi von Wallhausen?

The fact is, using massed fire against a massed target, both bows and guns can be used at longer ranges (Mike Loades, Archery: It's History and Forms). 

"Actually, the Japanese used their arquebuses successfully against the excellent composite bows of the Koreans and Ming Chinese during the Imjin War"

1.  They lost the war

The arquebus was not the reason why they lost the war.  The Japanese supply lines were cut by the Korean Navy.

2.  They suffered much higher casualties

Care to provide any statistics?

3.  The Koreans were using composite(non-recurve) bows with an Effective range of 50 yds which still out-distanced the match-lock musket.

Again, what are your sources?  The Koreans had similar archery traditions to the Chinese and Mongols, and they likewise used powerful recurved composite bows, which the Japanese acknowledged as being superior in range and power to their yumi (Stephen Turnbull, Samurai Invasion).

"And the yumi's effective range was certainly more than 50 yards, though it may have been used at that range for the archery logistics reasons I mentioned above."

I've had the pleasure of meeting a competition archer/hunter who uses a yumi.  We're talking about a simple composite bow make out of wood here.  The arrow nose-dives and the cep increases exponentially after 50 yards, and moreover, the archer can only draw the bowstring to his chin which will yield only 1/2 the energy of the mongol/turkish recurve bow.  The japanese archers had to shoot at under 50 yards, or risk having their arrows miss.

One yumi is hardly representative of all Japanese bows, as the yumi's construction can vary from being a wooden self bow, to a composite type made of a wood core with laminates of bamboo, to an all-bamboo laminate model (Robert Hardy, The Longbow: A Social and Military History). 

 

"the heavier Hispano-Italian musket (which had to be fired from a rest), could pierce even the very best "proof" plate armor at under 100 yards (no bow could do this)."

That is a lie.  Though I don't blame you because you probably read it out of a book.  Probably the same kind of books that describes the slingers of Alexander the great making headshots on persians from 500 yds away.

It's not a "lie", though I did read it in a book--Ian Heath's excellent Armies of the Sixteenth Century Vol 1:  The Armies of England, Scotland, Ireland, the United Provinces, and the Spanish Netherlands 1487-1609.  Heath, in turn, took his info from several period military treatises, including Sir John Smythe's Certain Discourses Military (1590), and Roger Williams' The Actions of the Low Countries (1618).  Smythe's comments are particularly noteworthy, as he was an advocate of retaining the longbow.  About the Hispano-Italian musket, he said:

"But the Duke [of Alva], at this time being lieutenant general and absolute governor in the Low Countries, as aforesaid, seeing the number of rutters [cavalrymen] in all armies increased, and that most of these rutters, as also many captains and officers of footmen, were armed at the proof of the harquebus, he to the intent to frustrate the resistance of their armors did increase his numbers of musketeers, the blows of the bullets which no armors wearable can resist."

 

Why can I say this?  Because I've seen the Italian musket(though it had a flint lock instead of match) fired before.  The lead ball is about 30 grams heavier than standard shots.  This musket fires the projectile at subsonic speeds.  The lead ball was fired against quarter inch steel plate at 100 yds.  8 shots were fired, 7 missed, one hit but didn't punch through the plate.  If it were a person wearing steel armor, he probably would've been badly bruised but his armor would hold.  Now at 25 yards, the ball was able to go partially through the plate half the time, and the other half, it went completely through.  This conforms with experience that the musket is only good at under 25 yards.

Too bad the "experiment" you witnessed is meaningless, considering the obvious fact that no plate armor was ever 1/4-inch thick!  Plate armor is typically only a couple of millimeters in thickness (Hardy, The Longbow).  So you see, your own lack of knowledge regarding armor has deceived you here.  

"Yet another factor to consider is the fact that even cultures with strong archery traditions often enthusiastically adopted the use of firearms.  Four that immediately come to mind are the English (longbow), the Ottomans Turks (composite bow), the Venetians (composite bow), and the Japanese (yumi).  In all of these cases, firearms (arquebuses, calivers, tufeks, and muskets) were used in conjunction with bows.  The archers were used to cover the gunners while they reloaded--an example of parallel evolution in small arms tactics."

Look closer, the Venetians and the japanese weren't bow cultures to begin with.  Seeing as how even their best bows couldn't effectively engage targets at 100 yards.

Wrong.

Despite the yumi's inferiority to Continental Asiatic composite bows, the fact remains that archery (kyujutsu) was one of the samurais' main disciplines, along with horsemanship (bajutsu), swordsmanship (kenjutsu/iai-jutsu), spear use (sojutsu), and military HTH combat (sumai & kumi-uchi) (Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith, Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts).  The Japanese definitely had an archery culture.

Likewise for the Venetians.  You seem to be unaware that the Venetians used the Turkish composite bow, which makes sense, considering that when they weren't fighting with the Ottomans, they were trading with them. (John F. Guilmartin, Gunpowder and Galleys: Changing Technology & Mediterranean Warfare at Sea in the 16th Century).   Marksmanship was considered very important in the Venetian military, and the militias held regular practices with both the Turkish bow and the crossbow (David Nicolle, The Venetian Empire 1200-1670, and Time-Life's The Seafarers: The Venetians).

The english adopted the musket in mass only AFTER the invention of the flint lock in the early 17th century.

Also wrong.

Henry VIII was at first resistant to firearms, and stressed practice with the longbow--but he later changed his mind and passed laws requiring the practice of all missile weapons--longbows, crossbows, and guns (Loades, Archery: Its History and Forms).  The English practice of having archers cover the gunners is described in Heath's Armies of the Sixteenth Century.   Heath also mentions that the use of the longbow by English "trained bands" was finally banned in 1595, and that all archers were converted to gunners by the following year.  If you look at things like the English involvement in the Low Countries, you'll read constantly about calivermen and musketeers, not archers. 

And that was all before the "invention of the flintlock in the early 17th century".

 

The Ottomans are a notable exception, I'm not really sure why, perhaps they needed the extra manpower.

No, they simply recognized the power and usefulness of the weapon, and their long tufek muskets were among the best of their day.

My take on this puzzle is that the match lock musket appeared first in areas where armored forces were many and ranged weaponery was not very effective (France, Italy, Spain) .  The real supremacy of the musket is it's effect over armored calvery/troops not over the bow.  As it took hold in these regions, new technologies and tactics were developed until these muskets became flint-lock, and then became rifled.  And only then did firearms have the real advantage over the bow.

I already offered you the real reasons as to why the gun came out on top.  If you didn't want to hear the answer, you should never have asked the question in the first place. 

Peace,

L_D

 

 

 

 

 

 



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 07:28

Originally posted by Belisarius

The Japanese guns used by Nobunaga were improved versions of those they recieved from the Portugese.

This is a modern myth.

There is nothing on the 16th century Japanese arquebus that didn't already exist on the Portuguese original.



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 11-Feb-2005 at 20:51

"The fact is, using massed fire against a massed target, both bows and guns can be used at longer ranges (Mike Loades, Archery: It's History and Forms)."

Few Western armies used such saturation tactics because the CEP of the arrows were too great at extended ranges  and the armor too thick for the arrow to be effective at that range.  Moreover, longbow men, unlike those depicted in Braveheart, actually aimed at their targets before firing,long range saturation fire is simply too expensive in terms of logistics and too impotent against armor to be effective.  The only time where massed archery bombardment would be effective would be against an army of unarmored soldiers or heavy calvery.

 

"One yumi is hardly representative of all Japanese bows, as the yumi's construction can vary from being a wooden self bow, to a composite type made of a wood core with laminates of bamboo, to an all-bamboo laminate model (Robert Hardy, The Longbow: A Social and Military History). "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai

Read it:  Its size made it possible to shoot various projectiles like fire arrows and signal arrows at an effective range of 50 meters or less.

 

"Too bad the "experiment" you witnessed is meaningless, considering the obvious fact that no plate armor was ever 1/4-inch thick!  Plate armor is typically only a couple of millimeters in thickness (Hardy, The Longbow).  So you see, your own lack of knowledge regarding armor has deceived you here.   "

http://www.varmouries.com/vinfo.html - http://www.varmouries.com/vinfo.html

Read and learn:  average plate armour is  3/16" in high target areas

 

"Likewise for the Venetians.  You seem to be unaware that the Venetians used the Turkish composite bow, which makes sense, considering that when they weren't fighting with the Ottomans, they were trading with them. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice#Naval_and_military_affairs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice#Naval_and_military_affai rs

 

The venetians were a naval power.  And their military only had formal range training with CROSSBOWs.  A few people in a culture shooting good bows doesn't make a bow culture.

 

"If you look at things like the English involvement in the Low Countries, you'll read constantly about calivermen and musketeers, not archers.  "

 

If you read closely, you would've realized that the longbow was banned because the aristocracy feared it's power and simplicity, not because the musket was better.  Few people could make a musket along with powder and lead ball, at the least you would need steel production, a powder mill, and a shot tower.  To create a long bow and servicible arrows, one would need far less overhead infrastructure.  Thus the longbow is a cheap peasant's weapon, and that's also why it was banned from use.

 

If you're going to be an armchair general, at least get your facts straight.  You've just demonstrated 2 things:

 

1.  lack of actual experience with archery and muskets.

 

2.  incorrect knowledge of the military application of these weapons



Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 12-Feb-2005 at 07:02

Xenophon2000,

LOL, this has been rather amusing, but your attempts at saving face are becoming increasingly desperate at this point.  Let me show you what I mean...

Originally posted by xenophon2000

"The fact is, using massed fire against a massed target, both bows and guns can be used at longer ranges (Mike Loades, Archery: It's History and Forms)."

Few Western armies used such saturation tactics because the CEP of the arrows were too great at extended ranges  and the armor too thick for the arrow to be effective at that range.  Moreover, longbow men, unlike those depicted in Braveheart, actually aimed at their targets before firing, long range saturation fire is simply too expensive in terms of logistics and too impotent against armor to be effective.  The only time where massed archery bombardment would be effective would be against an army of unarmored soldiers or heavy calvery.

Yeah, I believe I mentioned the logistics deal in my very first post--thanks for confirming what I already said!

 

"One yumi is hardly representative of all Japanese bows, as the yumi's construction can vary from being a wooden self bow, to a composite type made of a wood core with laminates of bamboo, to an all-bamboo laminate model (Robert Hardy, The Longbow: A Social and Military History). "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai

Read it:  Its size made it possible to shoot various projectiles like fire arrows and signal arrows at an effective range of 50 meters or less.

Well, not only do you have first-hand experience with target shooting; you also have impressive Googling skills!  Bravo!  Is the Wikipedia the best source you can offer?

 

"Too bad the "experiment" you witnessed is meaningless, considering the obvious fact that no plate armor was ever 1/4-inch thick!  Plate armor is typically only a couple of millimeters in thickness (Hardy, The Longbow).  So you see, your own lack of knowledge regarding armor has deceived you here.   "

http://www.varmouries.com/vinfo.html - http://www.varmouries.com/vinfo.html

Read and learn:  average plate armour is  3/16" in high target areas

LMAO! 

Read more CAREFULLY--here's what Valentine Armories actually said:

"The thickness of tournament armour could go up to 3/16" in high target areas."

That's tournament armor, my friend--and it was NEVER meant for use in battle (hence its name).  Tournament armor was overly-heavy armor meant specifically for jousting, NOT for war.  It should not be confused with a "field harness", aka battlefield armor, which the site you posted the link to also mentioned.  In fact, let's see what Valentine Armories had to say about "field harnesses":

"The gauges of steel used in authentic armour would vary from 16 to 20 gauge on field harness."

16 gauge is 1.52 millimeters.

So, you've demonstrated once again that you don't know much about armor.  You couldn't even differentiate between armor meant for tournaments, and armor meant for war.  BIG difference there.

Check out Charles Ffoulkes' The Armorer and His Craft, from the XI to the XVI Century, and educate yourself.  The book is a little dated, but still has plenty of useful info.

Or, just read Valentine Armories' site more carefully.

"Likewise for the Venetians.  You seem to be unaware that the Venetians used the Turkish composite bow, which makes sense, considering that when they weren't fighting with the Ottomans, they were trading with them. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice#Naval_and_military_affairs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice#Naval_and_military_affai rs

 

The venetians were a naval power.  And their military only had formal range training with CROSSBOWs.  A few people in a culture shooting good bows doesn't make a bow culture.

LOL @ using Wikipedia as a reliable source again.  I give you books written by professors who are leading authorities on the subject (Guilmartin and Nicolle), and you retort with the Wikipedia.  Gimme a break.

If Guilmartin and Nicolle aren't good enough for you (and Guilmartin alone should be), then check out period Venetian artwork, and you'll note that Turkish-style bows are well represented as being used by Venetian troops.

 

"If you look at things like the English involvement in the Low Countries, you'll read constantly about calivermen and musketeers, not archers.  "

If you read closely, you would've realized that the longbow was banned because the aristocracy feared it's power and simplicity, not because the musket was better.  Few people could make a musket along with powder and lead ball, at the least you would need steel production, a powder mill, and a shot tower.  To create a long bow and servicible arrows, one would need far less overhead infrastructure.  Thus the longbow is a cheap peasant's weapon, and that's also why it was banned from use.

Now you're just totally reaching.  That desperation has clearly gotten the better of you.

The longbow was not a "cheap peasant's weapon"--it was a weapon of the yeomen, who were landholders.  The yeomen were not upper class, but they certainly weren't peasants either, since they owned land.  In 1252, the Assize of Arms of 1181 was renewed, and thus the richest yeomen were required to arm themselves with melee weapons (lance and sword), while the rest of the yeomen were to serve as archers (Hardy, The Longbow).

The longbow was ultimately banned because it could not pierce the "armor of proof" of the day, whereas guns could.  Even longbow advocates like Smythe had to confess that.

If you're going to be an armchair general, at least get your facts straight.  You've just demonstrated 2 things:

1.  lack of actual experience with archery and muskets.

2.  incorrect knowledge of the military application of these weapons

Xenophon2000, I have backed up everything I have posted with primary and secondary sources.  Forgive me, but I happen to trust the writings of actual 16th century soldiers (Smythe, Williams, and Humfrey Barwick) over some guy like you who has simply done some target shooting and hunting.

BTW, it was specifically Humfrey Barwick who mentioned the Hispano-Italian musket being able to punch through "proof" armor at 100 yards, in his book, A Brief Discourse Concerning the Force and Effect of All Manual Weapons of Fire and the Disability of the Longbow or Archery, which was published in 1594.  Barwick had risen through the ranks in his long service.  He had begun his military career as--you guessed it--a common musketeer.

In the final analysis, it is thoroughly ironic that you accused me of having "incorrect knowledge of the military application of these weapons", when your own "actual experience with archery and muskets" has been limited to modern target shooting and/or hunting--two activities which likewise don't give you a proper "knowledge of the military application" of the weapons in question.

So, unless you plan on writing your own book on the subject, which counters the actual experience of veteran soldiers like Smythe, Williams, Barwick, and others, I suggest you drop the debate at this point.

Peace,

L_D



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 12-Feb-2005 at 07:19

Oh, and one more thing, Xenophon2000,

I'm not an "armchair general" (no more so than you are, at least)--I have studied fencing and other combat sports and martial arts for a long time, so if you ever want to know how a musketeer made use of his sword during HTH engagements, let me know.

Peace,

L_D



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Belisarius
Date Posted: 13-Feb-2005 at 09:22
Originally posted by Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner

This is a modern myth.

There is nothing on the 16th century Japanese arquebus that didn't already exist on the Portuguese original.

The reason why the arquebus was so inaccurate was because the barrel was not perfectly round inside. The Japanese, who already had a great multitude of skilled smths made improvements on the design.



Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 13-Feb-2005 at 11:01
Originally posted by Belisarius

Originally posted by Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner

This is a modern myth.

There is nothing on the 16th century Japanese arquebus that didn't already exist on the Portuguese original.

The reason why the arquebus was so inaccurate was because the barrel was not perfectly round inside. The Japanese, who already had a great multitude of skilled smths made improvements on the design.

So show me some sources for your claim, then.  Give me some verifiable info on this supposed truism.

The fact is that it was the Europeans who had to show the Japanese a thing or two, in this case.  The Japanese swordsmiths who were ordered to copy the Portuguese arquebus didn't know how to close off the breech end of the barrel, and one smith supposedly gave his daughter to a Portuguese smith, in exchange for lessons on how to do this.

It's also potentially significant to note that the Japanese adopted and/or copied many examples of European military technology, but the Europeans did not engage in the reverse.  The Japanese copied the arquebus, and used it in huge numbers.  They also highly valued Western heavy artillery.  In addition, the Japanese also imported Italian and Flemish open helmets (morions and burgonets) and peascod cuirasses, which were incorporated into local armors which were referred to as nanban gusoku (which declares their foreign inspiration plainly enough).  The Englishman William Adams also built a small copy of a European galleon for the Japanese.

This contrasts sharply with the Europeans, who clearly found their own military technology (artillery, small firearms, polearms, swords, armor, ships, etc) more than adequate. 



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 14-Feb-2005 at 04:03

Xenophon2000,

Having read this entire thread from the beginning, it is apparent to me that you are not only arrogant, but ignorant as well.

You came on here with a question that has been intelligently answered and you choose to ignore it's validity. Apparently you felt you already had the answer, even though your answer was based on false assumption and a lack of overall historical knowledge. 

As it's already been stated, the feeble experiment that you witnessed against 1/4 inch of steel has no bearing on reality. NO armor was that that thick.

The link to Valentine Armories that you posted had me laughing my ass off. It was talking about tournament armor, not field plate. You screwed up big on that one.

Also, how good is this black powder weapon you fired? How good of a replica is it? What type?

You must also realize that one does not need accuracy when firing into a large group of humans, especially with volley fire.

Read Landsknect's explanations over and over again about 100 times unti it sinks in. To my knowledge, he is 100% correct about everything he wrote, not to mention that he backed up his sources.

There was an almost equal discussion to this one going on at http://www.myarmory.com - www.myarmory.com

A smart man on there named Gordon Frye further explains the answer to your question:

"Sir Roger Williams and Humphrey Barwick tackled this question in the 1590's... and their answers were pretty definitive. The major problems with the Long Bow were that A.) the Archer needed to be trained for years to have the eye and muscles to actually hit his target at long range, and the art by that period was much decayed; B.) the Archer had to retain his health on campaign in order to "Shoot strong shoots"; C.) the Archer had to "discover himself", or expose his body in order to shoot from a trench, and D.) the logistical problems as noted above. Furthermore, a well armoured Man-at-Arms on a barded horse had virtually nothing to worry about from a longbowman, and there are records of Continental Men-at-Arms laughing at the longbow as an ineffectual toy. Nasty as heck against unarmoured opponents and horses, mind you, but not at all effective against the armour of 1500.

Arquebuses, and later Muskets, were simple to train men to use, would shoot as powerfully with an unhealthy soldier using it as a healthy one, could be fired from cover, and were easier (at least by the 1590's) to keep supplied in the campaigns in the Low Countries than longbows. And finally, the arquebus would penetrate light armour easily, and the Musket would penetrate all but the very finest armour, of which not more than one in 20 men was armed with. Sir John Smith wrote treatises defending the bow, but was effectively shouted down.

One thing to point out is that the 16th Century arquebus and musket was not nearly as inaccurate as the 18th Century variety. By the 18th Century, speed was paramount in their tactics, so ease of loading with paper cartridges was necessary, and a very loose-fitting ball was needed. Earlier however, accuracy and power were the primary motivators, so a much tighter fitting, and therefore more accurate ball was utilized. There are plenty of references to the accuracy of such weapons at well over 200 yards, and English "shot" were to practice by shooting at a 4X4" post at that range. Hardly something that was assumed to be shot at by inaccurate weapons. Sadly our ideas of smooth-bores have been coloured by the disparaging writers of the early 19th Century, not the views of the 16th Century."

Here is the link to the thread: http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=1321&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=22 - http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=1321&postd ays=0&postorder=asc&start=22

So, if your friend's black powder musket is an 18th century variety, then it is even less accurate than the 16th century varitey, throwing your feeble reasoning and experimentation off even more.

You must also realize that first-hand experience with archery and muskets is not necessary to understand and explain the answer to your question.

I urge everyone on this thread with the exception of Xenophon to RUN (don't walk) over to the link above to the discussion on the Myarmory website and take part in it. There seem to be some fairly intelligent people over there.

Xenophon, I don't even know you, but just from reading your posts on this thread, I already dislike you very much. Ignorance and arrogance, are bad traits when found seperately in an individual, but it is much worse when somone possesses both.



Posted By: Temujin
Date Posted: 14-Feb-2005 at 14:19
why you always come up with the longbow? that's not at all a representative example for a good bow, and from his initial post it's clear he was talking about he best ever bow, the composite bow who wasn't used in western europe at all.

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Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 14-Feb-2005 at 21:09

Originally posted by Temujin

why you always come up with the longbow? that's not at all a representative example for a good bow,

Please define what constitutes a "good bow".

 

and from his initial post it's clear he was talking about he best ever bow, the composite bow who wasn't used in western europe at all.

As I already stated, it was used by the Venetians, and the last time I checked, Venice was in Western Europe.



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: Temujin
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 12:49

ha, last time you checked, you've apparently not noticed the composite bow only used by colonial Venetian troops, and Venice' colonies were clearly in the Turkish sphere of influence. native Venetian troops used a simple self-bow.

and of course a good bow is a sophisticated weapon, arther than a simple stick with both ends connected by a string, which describes the european bows well enough...



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Posted By: redimus
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 12:51
Originally posted by The Angry Reislaufer

Xenophon2000,

Having read this entire thread from the beginning, it is apparent to me that you are not only arrogant, but ignorant as well.

You came on here with a question that has been intelligently answered and you choose to ignore it's validity. Apparently you felt you already had the answer, even though your answer was based on false assumption and a lack of overall historical knowledge. 

Ignorance and arrogance, are bad traits when found seperately in an individual, but it is much worse when somone possesses both.

Think that pretty much sums it up.  lol @ picking a fight and getting shredded.

 



Posted By: Temujin
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 12:57
well would you "intelligent" guys please stop pcking at other members or you wanna get a warning for beign smart-asses?

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Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 14:34

I think that standing up for the bow is nonsence. If the bow was as good as that, no one (either european or asian) would had ever trade it for the crossbow and then, for the gun.

The fact is that the arquebus, and then the musquet, were capable of:

1 - being used by everyone without much experience (I think the above stated is quite enough to explain my idea);

2 - piercing through any ordinary breast plate. Some of the best steel plates, however, couldn't be pierced through, but they were also very heavy (BTW, Xenophon, I HAVE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THIS!). Usually, because of the weight, these plates were breast plates only. The bullet proof armours were also very expensive, and I think that even no man out of 20 would have enough money to pay for one;

3 - producing a loud noise, which is very effective when it comes to analyse the psycological effect of weapons in warfare.

The bow, on the other hand, although with a greater range, had less (and eventualy, none) hitting power and armor piercing capability.

It is interesting to note that the crossbow, allthough with a lower ROF, was widelly spread. Why is that? Because it was easy to use, and it had a enormous hitting power.

The actual apearing of plate armour, at least when considering Europe's history, and the increase of it's thickness, is not atributed to bows (either longbows or turkish ones) but to crossbows, and, most specially, to steel-bow crossbows, that apeared in late XIV/early XV cent. , and then to guns.

I was lucky to FIRST-HAND experiment the design and weight of four breast plates, from the XIVth to the XVIIth century. They were NOT replicas but originals. The first one was very light and I could lift it with one hand (yes, THAT light!). The XVth cent. one was quite heavier and I needed both my hands to lift it. It allready had an angle, to better resist crossbows arrows. The XVIth cent one was very heavy and had a characteristic "pidgeon qeel" (speling?) bulet-proof design. The XVII cent. breast plate just weighted a ton! But it was in deed bulet-proof since it had the mark of a shot in it, but without penetration. But it was extremely heavy.

Many people in this forum gave the right answers, and at least two of them with gave their sources.

But if anyone else does not agree, then I would be much obliged if that someone could explain me why Everybody in the World abandoned bows (even the excelent turkish bows) and adopoted the gun. Could it be just... I don't know... fashion?!?

Best

Sikander



Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2005 at 20:51
Originally posted by Temujin

ha, last time you checked, you've apparently not noticed the composite bow only used by colonial Venetian troops, and Venice' colonies were clearly in the Turkish sphere of influence. native Venetian troops used a simple self-bow.

I never contested that the composite bow, as used by the Venetians, was the result of Turkish influence (on the contrary, I pointed out right from the beginning that the Venetians traded with the Turks, when they weren't fighting with them). 

However, to infer that the Venetians' use of the composite bow was restricted to colonial troops is ludicrous.  What are your sources?

and of course a good bow is a sophisticated weapon, arther than a simple stick with both ends connected by a string, which describes the european bows well enough...

No--a "good bow" is one that has decent range and penetration power--so the longbow certainly qualifies.



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: John the Kern
Date Posted: 08-Mar-2005 at 08:55
 lol this thread is amusing, a an longbowman i can tell you, because i have seen it, that the war bows of englands with poundages up to 130, can easily punch into plate at 150yrds and go right through plate and out the other side at 50, lol the Yumi bow of Japan is one of the best bows ever made, and Xypthon or what your name is the bow is drawn past the ear for your information, the arrows are often over 33inchs long

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My peoples tale is written in blood


Posted By: Landsknecht_Doppelsoldner
Date Posted: 09-Mar-2005 at 06:29

Originally posted by John the Kern

 lol this thread is amusing, a an longbowman i can tell you, because i have seen it, that the war bows of englands with poundages up to 130, can easily punch into plate at 150yrds and go right through plate and out the other side at 50, lol the Yumi bow of Japan is one of the best bows ever made, and Xypthon or what your name is the bow is drawn past the ear for your information, the arrows are often over 33inchs long

"Xenophon" ran away from this debate quite some time ago, and with good reason--he was obviously ill-equipped for the discussion, nor did he really intend to debate in the first place.  I suspect that he was expecting folks here to simply agree with his own flawed analysis of the weapons in question.

However, regarding your commentary on the penetrative abilities of the longbow, it should still be stressed that this weapon cannot pierce the best "proof" plate armor.  This was shown at battles like Flodden Field in 1513--while the unarmored Highlanders were riddled with clothyard shafts, the well-protected Scottish nobility were not. 

And the tests done by the Tower of London Armouries many years ago yielded mixed results anyway--Victorian wrought iron (which is not an accurate representation of later plate armor) was used as a target, and while bodkin arrows pierced this when mounted squarely, they failed to penetrate when the plate was mounted at an angle. 



-------------
"Who despises me and my praiseworthy craft,

I'll hit on the head that it resounds in his heart."


--Augustin Staidt, of the Federfechter (German fencing guild)


Posted By: I/eye
Date Posted: 09-Mar-2005 at 17:56

in case xenophon comes back and sees..

3.  The Koreans were using composite(non-recurve) bows with an Effective range of 50 yds which still out-distanced the match-lock musket.

this is how much Mongol and Turkish bows are recurved:
http://jjang0u.com/data/196/110852992137528.jpg - http://jjang0u.com/data/196/110852992137528.jpg

this is how much Korean bows are recurved:
http://jjang0u.com/data/196/110852708962358.gif - http://jjang0u.com/data/196/110852708962358.gif
that one's actually a ceremonial 2.5 meter monster with 270 pounds strength, but the curve is about the same as regular ones so..

composite bows are often recurved. they refer to different aspects of the bow

categorizing bows:

by size - long, short
by material & process - simple(self), built, composite
by shape - straight, recurved

i.e. Yumi can be long,built, and straight, Korean bows can be short, composite, and recurved.. extremely recurved, as you can see..

and they use powered-down version of the Korean bow in Korean sport archery, at 160 yards.. there's a record that Yi sunggye killed a man with a single arrow at 440 yards, and the rate was 10/minute at a target 110 yards away.. theres a person in the present day who can make those hits.

John the Kern:

composite recurved bows are a little better.. even if you match the strength or try a little harder and match the range as well, you will never match the accuracy with a longbow or yumi..



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[URL=http://imageshack.us]


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 24-May-2005 at 19:09

Here is a good article that examines the adoption of firearms over traditonal archery in the English army:

Esper, Thomas. "The Replacement of the Longbow by Firearms in the English Army." History and Technology, 6 (Summer 1965), pp. 382-393



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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Quetzalcoatl
Date Posted: 24-May-2005 at 20:30
Originally posted by xenophon2000

Hi guys,

The other day, I shot one of my friend's blackpowder match-lock muskets.  The gun was slow to load, the powder  and lit-match was dangerous to keep in large quantities and it fouls up the barrel after like 5 shots.  Seriously guys, after 5 shots, you would've had to start cleaning out the gun.  And in terms of accuracy, I could barely hit a man-sized target at 25 yards, and missed every shot but one at 50 yards.  The burning match is a constant danger being so close to the powder.   Worst of all, every shot produced a huge cloud of foul smoke, so that even if I had a second gun loaded and ready to fire, I would still have to wait like 10 seconds for the smoke to clear up and take aim.  Overall, I think this weapon is a piece of crap.

Now in comparison, my recurve bow seems almost magical.  I can shoot off like 5 or 6 arrows a minute and have 3 or 4 hits on a man-sized target at 100 yds.  The recurve bow is so less than 1/2 the weight of the musket and shorter as well.  Additionally, carrying 20 arrows isn't exactly as dangerous as carrying a quarter pound of blackpowder and lead. 

So the question is, how the heck did this weapon over take the composite or long bow?  An army of longbowmen or horse archers would've slaughtered an army musketmen.  And you can't exactly shoot a musket from horseback.  So how did this happen?        

 

 I don't think it was a piece of crap. One thing you should understand, you are not trained to use a musket effectively, those people at the time were. Also the musket wasn't supposed to be a precision weapon but a weapon aim at a general mass. When you individual aim at a mass, chances are very high you hit something, now consider the destructive power of  a large group of muskets firing together in sync.  Also you don't need to wait for the smoke to clear you just need to aim at the general direction of the enemies.

 Bows were obsolete due to the introduction of bombards and cannons (see battle of Pattay for an example of bombards frustrating longbows). However, although bows may be more effective at long range, muskets tends to have a far more devastating effect on cavalry and infantry at shorter range. So artillery, muskets protected by pikemen with cavalry support was a far superior force than earlier classical medieval forces . You need to look at the combine effect not just at the individual characteristic of the musket itself.  One on one a match-lock musket vs a composite bow, chances is the bow will win .



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