Summary of Guttman, “English Longbow”

The introduction of the longbow had a significant impact on warfare since it’s introduction in the 1138 Battle of Standard, where the English first used the weapon to win a battle against the Scottish. The original longbows were introduced to English by the Welsh in the 11th century, and these Welsh bows were crude and made of elm wood, and they were crude but sturdy. Later longbows were also made of ash or yew, and the bowstrings were made of hemp, flax, or silk. Although the longbow took up to two years to make, they were able to be mass produced. 

With these longbows, the English began to create a ranged force by training archers. By the 13th century, the English were having archers train weekly. A well trained archer could accurately pick off enemies up to 180 yards (about 165 meters), but a large group of archers could fire a volley of arrows which could eliminate targets out to 250 yards (about 230 meters). The adoption of these well-trained archer proved to be an invaluable asset to the English military.

Unlike the traditional soldiers of the time, archers could be relativity lightly armored. Because of their range, these archers only needed to carry daggers and swords as a backup. They could also get away with wearing just a basic helmet. The long range and refined power of the longbow redefined the image of a skilled soldier. The introduction of archers would accelerate the shift from melee combat to ranged combat over the years following their introduction.

Word Count: 252

-Kyle M. Foster

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