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Re: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

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  • Doug Copley
    I agree with you, nothing was essential as you pointed out. Castles have been taken by digging, siege, and stealth. The key each time was a plan based on
    Message 1 of 18 , Aug 7, 2013
      I agree with you, nothing was "essential" as you pointed out. Castles have been taken by digging, siege, and stealth. The key each time was a plan based on their strengths and the time frame in which they needed / wanted to win. Many things can be used, archery is one of those that very frequently was a factor of some sort. Even in the digging or the siege, archers could be used to keep people inside without risking any of the soldiers.

      YIS,
      Vincenti


      On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM, Groff, Garth (ggg9y) <ggg9y@...> wrote:
       

      M’Lord Vicenti,

       

      Archery was useful on both sides, but not essential. Beyond starving the defenders into surrender, there were lots of other ways to take a castle. Consider that Robert the Bruce and his men took several English-held castles during his war against the English by scaling the walls quietly at night. And how many castles were carried by mining? In one of my books there is a story of French castle which was taken without casualties when the English called a truce and showed their completed tunnel to the garrison commander, prompting a quick surrender. Then there were siege engines. The Scottish garrison at Stirling Castle tried to surrender when they saw Edward I’s infamous “War Wolf” being assembled. Edward refused their offer, and insisted on testing his evil machine while they were still inside. And so on.

       

      Yes, archery was useful, but not essential to taking a castle.

       

      Yours Aye,

       

      Lord Mungo Napier, The Archer of Mallard Lodge

      Read “The Tale of Mungo Napier”:

      http://people.virginia.edu/~ggg9y/napier1.html

       

       

       

       

      From: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Doug Copley
      Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 10:06 AM
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

       




      I will have to disagree here with the "Both crossbows and handbows have important uses, but are not absolutely essential to taking a castle." Comment. As far as what was "absolutely essential" very little, all you really needed to do was control all of the land around and let them starve to death. Just as the allies re-learned in both WWI and WWII, you must control the air to be effective on the ground. If you lay siege to castle and do not have archers, they will pick you off and exact a huge toll on your army every time you try to move in. If your castle defense does not include archers it allows the siege army to advance to a close range in relative safety. So, in my opinion (which may or may not count for much!), archers were essential for both sides in a siege battle.

       

      Vincenti

      Ansteorra

       

      On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 8:42 AM, Groff, Garth (ggg9y) <ggg9y@...> wrote:

       

      M’Lord Bran,

       

      I agree absolutely. You seem to be talking about covering fire during an assault. This must give way when the walls are scaled, or the attackers are likely to get a shaft in the back from their own archers. However, the field tactics of an archery-heavy army are only marginally applicable to siege warfare. Taking a castle is a job mostly for heavy men at arms fighting hand-to-hand, and/or sappers. Both crossbows and handbows have important uses, but are not absolutely essential to taking a castle. And as I see it, there was little advantage to the handbow over the crossbow in a castle assault.

       

      Yours Aye,

       

      Lord Mungo Napier, The Archer of Mallard Lodge

      Read “The Tale of Mungo Napier”:

      http://people.virginia.edu/~ggg9y/napier1.html

       

       

       

       

      From: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Kelly Burgess
      Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:51 PM
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

       



      If I may ....archery would of been used in siege warfare as it would force the defenders to take cover at the most advantageous time for the attackers.

      bran

       

       


      From: "Groff, Garth (ggg9y)" <ggg9y@...>
      To: "SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com" <SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 4:54 AM
      Subject: RE: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

       

       

      M’Lord Carolus,

       

      I see you point, and agree “sniper” was not the best term. You say “aimed direct fire”, though “aimed direct release” would be a more accurate term. Arrows are not “fired” unless they are flaming arrows. That’s one of my “hot” buttons. :~). I think we both agree that massed archery as used on the battlefield is not practical in siege warfare, since the defenders can easily take cover until the attackers run out of arrows/bolts.

       

      Yours Aye,

       

       

      Mungo

       

      From: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Carolus
      Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 9:05 PM
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

       



      Lord Mungo,
      A small quibble here - you have managed to hit one of my "hot" buttons.  neither the crossbow nor the longbow was used for "sniping".  A sniper, by definition, is one who covertly stalks his/her target, shoots from surprise and concealment, and covertly withdraws.  The point of a sniper is to kill without being detected.  The role of the sniper did not develop until the advent of the rifled firearm in the late 18th century.  To say the both were used for aimed direct fire would be appropriate, however.
      Carolus

      On 8/5/2013 10:01 AM, Groff, Garth (ggg9y) wrote:

       

      Sir Jon,

       

      A very interesting piece. Not surprising either. The crossbow was a very useful weapon for siege as well as castle defense, and probably remained so long after this time. The role of crossbows doesn’t get noticed  much by military historians who are enamored by the romance of the longbow.

       

      Though the longbow was widely used in England during this time, its use as a military weapon was largely ad hoc and auxiliary. Although there were noted centers of longbow archery (Chester, for example) which produced companies of archers, it was Edward I who first recognized the tactical value of a longbow-heavy army in the field. Widespread importation of yew staves is not documented until around 1291 during his reign. It remained for his grandson, Edward III, to develop the field battle tactics in the 1330s needed to make longbow archers so effective.

       

      When it came to siege, a crossbow was probably just as effective a weapon as a longbow, since both were used mostly for sniping, and the mass volleys possible with a longbow were really not efficient for this type of warfare.

       

      Thanks much for calling this to our attention.

       

      Yours Aye,

       

      Lord Mungo Napier, The Archer of Mallard Lodge

      Read “The Tale of Mungo Napier”:

       

       

       

       

      From: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John Edgerton
      Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 12:36 PM
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com; SCA-MissileCombat@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [SCA-Archery] Crossbows in England

       

       

      Here is a short article on crossbow use in England that I found on Medievalists net. 

       

       

      Jon





       



       





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