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French Archery

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  • jameswolfden
    Here is an article from some research I have done on French Archers for an Ithra course. One should look towards Scotland and the Auld Alliance also. Scottish
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2009
      Here is an article from some research I have done on French Archers
      for an Ithra course. One should look towards Scotland and the Auld
      Alliance also. Scottish Archers were part of the French Kings'
      Scottish Guard.

      Strickland and Hardy's The Great War Bow is a good source of


      You fight fire with fire. If the English Archers were winning
      battles against the French then there was a simple solution. You
      develop your own archer troops.


      In 1445, Charles VII started the Compagnies D'Ordonnance, a small
      professional army. The army of 12,000 was divided into 20 companies
      with each company consisting of 100 lance fournies.

      chaque lance fournie ne se composera plus d├ęsormais que d'un homme
      d'armes, un coutillier, un page et trois chevaux; de deux archers,
      qui n'auront ensemble qu'un page ou valet de guerre, et de trois

      each provided lance will not be composed any more from now on then
      that of a man-at-arms, a coutillier, a page and three horses; of two
      archers, who will have together only one page or servant of war, and
      three horses; (web translation)

      It is significant to note that the archers in the Company were
      equipped with horses. Like the English had found, this allowed the
      archers to be just as mobile as the Men-At-Arms. While the numbers
      of archers to Men-at-arms was not as high as with the English Army,
      it was much higher than normal for the rest of French Army.

      Gilles le Bouvier described the archers being equipped with
      brigandines, leg armour, and sallets of which many were ornamented
      in silver.


      Charles VII also tried to encourage the formation of archer and
      crossbowmen fraternities. In 1445, he allowed one group of archers
      at Euregenies to form and choose a `king' and `constable'. This
      allowed them to compete against other confraternities in nearby
      towns. 1446, he gave special statues and privileges to the
      Crossbowmen of Tournai that included the right to carry their
      crossbows, wear the King's Livery badge, and even protection by
      means of a pardon if a crossbowman accidently killed someone during

      It was still not enough to develop the number of archers required so
      Charles VII formed a militia that included archers. Early
      legislation that attemped to make archery practise mandatory had
      failed. Instead, Charles implemented a scheme where all the parishes
      in the Kingdom were to supply archers or crossbowmen based on their
      size and each would be equipped with a sallet, dagger, sword, bow,
      sheaf, jack, and a short coat of mail. The archers were to be
      selected by the regional royal officials from people of standing.
      In return for his duties, the archer would free of certain taxation
      and duties and receive pay of 4 francs a month. This archer militia
      was called the Franc-Archers playing on Franc meaning free.
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