Bows and arrows

It’s been a while. Been busy. Work and stuff.

But Cecil (of the Straight Dope) just answered a question I have been wondering about for years (although, being English, I had wondered about it in the context of the English Civil War, a century or so earlier than Cecil is considering). That is:

Given that early firearms were so cumbersome and slow, and longbows so apparently devastating, why didn’t armies continue to employ archers against, say, enemy musket-men who stood, often unarmoured, close together?

Cecil, who happens to be the smartest person in the world, gives this answer.

Incidentally, it turns out that actually some archers were deployed in the English Civil War, but it was effectively their final appearance. Of course there were some later exceptions, most notably perhaps “Mad Jack” Churchill, who fought in WWII armed with longbow, sword, and bagpipes. Indeed.

Several years ago I recorded my visit to Pip Bickerstaffe, longbow maker, in the post The string’s the thing here on the Fudebakudo blog. Pip’s fascinating work and research challenges much of the popular opinion about the English use of the longbow.