The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

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Fox
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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:18 am

Grymm wrote:then in with the 'knives', no mention of that other fabled weapon of the English bowman dan dan daaaaaaaan The Archer's Maul.....funny that.

I recall a number of quotes for archers with "long knives", and indeed Henry also hires "knifemen" for Harfluer campaign.

There are any number of references to "mallys of ledde" [or similar] in lists of weapons.

With particular reference to archers I have two quotes for the weapons at Agincourt:
"with hatchets and axes or in some cases large swords hanging from their belts" and "swords, hatchets, mallets, axes, falcon-beaks and other weapons".
Unfortunately I don't have the original text to see what word is translated into "mallets" in modern english.



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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:11 pm

In several accounts of battles in Italy there are two controlled volleys of crossbow bolts (as each archer in a unit took his place and loosed) and then a more or less continuous roll of bolts as crossbows were loaded and discharged at whatever pace they could be worked at. There are also accounts of men being pin-cushioned by several bolts at once coming from different angles, a consequence, I'm assuming, of it being easier to hold fire and search out "targets of merit" as my sniper observation course described them (IE people who look like they might do some damage or be in charge).
The first volleys were often aimed vertically, again I am presuming that this to try and defeat the protective cover of a pavaise, afterwards it was flat shooting, there are also occasions when crossbowmen were given specific targets to keep an eye on and even being protected by units of infantry and shield men in order to close and deleiver a close range volley.
So there were times when archers (albeit ones with crossbows) could, with training, fire en masse, move on masse, co-ordinate fire as well as work indepently.


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby gregory23b » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:05 pm

"I don't see any reason why volley fire would have to be 5000 archers; groups of a hundred or a few hundred is still a volley; groups of fifty even.
The assumption of absolutely synchronous loosing doesn't make sense either; a single command calling the archers to loose, when they then draw and release a single arrow in their own rythmn, would be close enough (especially for the only reason I can think of [see below]).
On that basis, hearing the command isn't important either, just follow the chap next to you."


If we get away from the idea of musket type volleys, then the 'volley' could easily be the few seconds it takes for any number of arcehrs to draw, as EA says, each archer draws in a way that may not be the same as everyone else. I can see the mechanical ease at which the first 'volley', ie the initial command to start the shooting off, but not in timed volleys, again, due to the mechanics of drawing and holding an arrow on string. It doesn't matter with reenactment battle arrows for the following key reason
the bows are lower draw weights, so can be held at draw for long, even though this is bad archery practice
Higher draw weights mean a heck of a lot of strain to maintain while waiting for the last man to draw, at which time the first to draw has wobbled his hand.

I have seen this even in battle reenactment archery, when I had to 'train' our lot to shoot in volleys, but with a change to the normal set of instructions. After some trial and error, we simply merged the 'draw' command with 'mark' and 'loose' as one combined command, the two seconds or so taken to say that, allowed the unit to draw in the same time and loose soon after drawing, ie they had in effect a two second window in which to draw and no strain on the bows.

We found this to serve us both in terms of the need for volleys in our hobby and to reduce the impact of the volley commands, ie they are not musket drill.

When we did not need volleys, it was easy enough to simply say 'loose x arrows', or better still for the captain to allow a certain amount of shots over time, then call 'fast' to stop them. The volleys are not any safer than free shooting, as long a you can control the shooting.

"But I can understand one reason that might get archers to loose in volleys: control of the ammunition."

You can do that simply by limiting the amount of time to shoot, see above.


"groups of a hundred or a few hundred is still a volley; groups of fifty even."

That is a large enough bunch of guys to take up a fair amount of space and then the captain would have to wait and be able to see when the last man had drawn. It is not easy with 20 men, let alone 100.

Can you imagine the overlap in commands in each discrete unit, each one waiting for the last man to draw?

I can see no advantage tactically for the commander to wait for a few guys to catch up, if anything I can see fewer arrows being shot because of the time lag of waiting, whereas a free shoot until told to stop would get more arrows in the air and have greater shock value and less chance to avoid arrows.

"Like English Archer, I'm not basing this only any documentation; simply logic applied to knowledge."

Our reenactment archery is a poor benchmark, given that most of us do not use a decent draw weight bow, so invariably base it on our ability to shoot 12 or whatever, heck, most of us could do that with a 30lb bow, could we do it with a proper warbow, even with training? On top of that, it is accepted good practice to not hold the draw when shooting, that is possibly the most significant factor, as it is a physical one, whose affects can be seen and measured, ie wobble (reduced accuracy) and maintaining bow strain at critical levels.


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:50 pm

Mr. 23b,

Thank you for reiterating most of my points for me, although I wish you hadn't done so as if you were contradicting me.

My group has war bow archers in it, so I'm more than familiar with difference between standard re-enactment bows and 100+lb war bows.

Have you moved on to shooting war bows?



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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby EnglishArcher » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:39 am

Fox wrote:Mr. 23b,

Thank you for reiterating most of my points for me, although I wish you hadn't done so as if you were contradicting me.

My group has war bow archers in it, so I'm more than familiar with difference between standard re-enactment bows and 100+lb war bows.

Have you moved on to shooting war bows?


Just out of interest, Fox, who are the war bow archers in your group? I might know them. The warbow community is a pretty small one.


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:10 pm

Primarily Andy Bradley.



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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby gregory23b » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:30 pm

I was questioning/challenging some of your points re volleys primarily as you had said you could not see any reason for there not to be, if anything, I was reiterating EA's points, or at least reinforcing them. I.E that there are tangible practical reasons for not doing them, even if it is only the bad practice of holding a draw part of it. Similarly, the point re ammo conservation, was an alternate argument, certainly not a reiteration.

Likewise, I answered your observation, real though it is, re volley shooting as a safety feature of reenactment, but offered an alternative point, again, no reiteration of what you had posted.

"My group has war bow archers in it, so I'm more than familiar with difference between standard re-enactment bows and 100+lb war bows. "

In which case then, you would be more than aware of the above point, not that it is solely restricted to war bows either.

The rest of it was simply discussion around how some of those practical problems have been addressed in reenactment, using your points as a focus. I don't see much in the way of reiteration to be honest, but hey.


"Have you moved on to shooting war bows?"

No I haven't as it happens, have I tried? yes, but to no great success. But then, I have not indulged in mass musket fire, but see very different processes and outcomes. I hope that this is not going down the road of validity of argument based on use or not, otherwise we are all in that boat, as almost none of us have used real weapons in real situations and have zero real-world experience of it, I see your straw man and raise you one.


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby EnglishArcher » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:02 pm

Fox wrote:Primarily Andy Bradley.


Oh yes, I know Andy. Good bloke.


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:29 pm

gregory23b wrote:I.E that there are tangible practical reasons for not doing them, even if it is only the bad practice of holding a draw part of it.

I very specifically made a point of saying that you would not issue a command to hold the draw.
Fox wrote:a single command calling the archers to loose, when they then draw and release a single arrow in their own rythmn



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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:30 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:
Fox wrote:Primarily Andy Bradley.


Oh yes, I know Andy. Good bloke.

Yes. A fine man.



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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby gregory23b » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:04 pm

So you did, even so, the rest was discussion, not reiteration, it is all to the good isn't it?


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Re: The Richard III Foundation Conference Report

Postby Fox » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:35 am

gregory23b wrote:So you did, even so, the rest was discussion, not reiteration, it is all to the good isn't it?

Indeed I think you added detail to the point I was trying to make.




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