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General Category => Army Research => Topic started by: Dave Knight on June 11, 2020, 10:59:03 AM

Title: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dave Knight on June 11, 2020, 10:59:03 AM
A friend recently sent me a copy of an article by Terry Wise dating back to 1975 on 1st St Albans.  Included was this table

Weapon     Accurate Range  Effective Range  Long Range    Rate of fire
Longbow     80yds                200 yds             300 yds         5 a minuite aimed, 12 unaimed
Crossbow    60 yds               200yds             300 - 350 yds  1 a minute
Arbalest      60yds                200 yds            350 - 400 yds  1 every 2 minutes
Handgun     100yds              200 yds             400 yds          8 shots an hour
Canon         150 yds             200 yds            350 - 500 yds  4 shots an hour

Any comments?  The handgun numbers seem a lot longer than I would have expected
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 11, 2020, 11:45:55 AM
It depends a bit on what the terms mean.  Effective in what way?  A longbow arrow could kill an unarmoured man at 300yds but would struggle against good plate at 30yds.  If we say, as a rule of thumb, that it causes noticeable difficulties against averagely armoured forces, then the longbow figure looks pretty good to me.  If we say accurate, as a rule of thumb, means you have at least a 50/50 chance of hitting an individual body you aimed at, then 100yds? 
Crossbow I'd bring both the effective and long range down.  The Teutonic Knights reckoned effective crossbow range was 80 yds (but what did they deem effective?) and it seems that longbows seem to have had a longer effective range than crossbows at Crecy.  Maybe 120-150 e, 250 l?  Shooting rate is wrong for the crossbow - 3 or 4 would be more like it.  Villani comments longbows could outshoot crossbows three shots to one. 
Arbalest rate is probably too low too.  Modern experiments have shown you can load and shoot a windlass crossbow in about 45 seconds, so 1 a minute is probably closer.
Handgun is way out.  You wouldn't go far wrong halving those range figures.
Artillery is tricky.  If you are talking "modern" breechloaders on field carriages, they could shoot much quicker over short periods if equipped with multiple gun chambers by pre-loading them.
I'm sure we discussed a lot of this stuff in other topics on archery and handguns, including discussions of handgun shooting rates based on 16th century examples.  I think our overall conclusion (except for one prominent dissenter) was wargames rules tend to overstate battlefield ranges and anything above what we are calling effective range was pretty much of nuissance value.  That nuissance value was tactically a useful thing in itself, of course, needs to be acknowledged.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 12, 2020, 09:43:00 AM
Having refreshed my memory, the best exchange to read of us exploring medieval weapon ranges and effects is

http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=3058.0

I raise it, despite the fact I made an embarrassing basic arithmetic error which needed to be corrected by Duncan and Patrick.  Made me blush all over again  :-[

This one also adds a bit more, mainly about crossbows and handguns

http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=3873.msg50123#msg50123



Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Chris on June 13, 2020, 02:19:40 PM
Interesting . . . and I would echo Anthony's comments and thoughts.

The article goes back 40-plus years. Certainly there has been more study, more recent data and arguments, has there not?

As Anthony covered the definitions of accurate and effective well enough, I thought I would raise a point about rate of fire. Do we factor this in to our table top to-dos? Surely, this is abstracted.

Related to the listed ranges, what about movement rates? The advance of an enemy infantry formation would move into different range bands and so experience the effects of each range accordingly, right? Or, due to given movement rate, would they skip a range band and find themselves removed from long and now in the accurate band and so, perhaps suffer more as a result.

Reminded too, of the effect of missile fire, where targeted troops tend to bunch and or assume a posture of head down, walking into the wind.

Topical, I think, even if Bosworth was wisely postponed until 2021.

Cheers,
Chris



Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 13, 2020, 03:39:14 PM
I think I generally favour an abstracted approach but you do have to build the abstraction on something.  Range, effect, rate of shooting could all be mathematically formulated to create a factor, for example.  Or you could go for known effect - or your interpretation of known effect, which is maybe more appropriate for our period.

As to the range issue, I think the simplest approach is to say that the attacker receives shooting at best effect for the shooter.  So if a unit passes from long range, through effective to short in a single charge, the target shoots at best factor.  How effective the shooting will be is going to be modified by tactical factors or random factors or both, so worrying about the intermediate ranges and the fact that the moving unit will spend less time taking hits than if it had been static seems an unnecessary complication.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: barry carter on June 13, 2020, 08:01:49 PM
Re: handguns; most people seem to rely upon the tests carried out by Payne - Gallway using replicas of late 14thc guns with really short barrels hence the short ranges recorded.
You can load and fire a replica 15thc handgun as quickly as an 18/19thc musket. It's the discipline involved in firing ordered volleys that slows the potential rate of fire down, that and the amount of powder, shot and matchcord carried by the gunner.
I seem to remember that Monluc in his memoirs tells of an incident where his arquebusiers are happily potting the enemy at around 400 yards but typically I can't find my copy to check!
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 14, 2020, 09:02:19 AM
There are quite a few more modern tests than Payne-Gallway.  Sean McLachlan's Osprey Medieval Handgonnes has a good section on them.  The general view is they were quite effective at short range but their effect dropped off rapidly at range.  Hitting anything smaller than the side of a barn at 400 yards would have been very difficult and the ballistic characteristics of the ammunition would have rendered the shot pretty harmless.  I think from our earlier discussions, under target shooting conditions, it was possible to hit a human sized target with a degree of consistency at 100-120 yds.  John Smythe, in his usually sharp manner, reckoned the optimum arquebus range was "4 to 5 pike lengths".

As to rate of shooting, I think it was the arquebus advocate Rich who reckoned sustained fire could be done at one shot every 90 seconds.  Smythe, who was not a fan, was actually more generous - he thought an arquebus only shot 5 times slower than a longbow.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: NickHarbud on June 14, 2020, 09:04:01 AM
Re: handguns; most people seem to rely upon the tests carried out by Payne - Gallway using replicas of late 14thc guns with really short barrels hence the short ranges recorded.
You can load and fire a replica 15thc handgun as quickly as an 18/19thc musket. It's the discipline involved in firing ordered volleys that slows the potential rate of fire down, that and the amount of powder, shot and matchcord carried by the gunner.
I seem to remember that Monluc in his memoirs tells of an incident where his arquebusiers are happily potting the enemy at around 400 yards but typically I can't find my copy to check!

I question your assertion that a 15th century handgun could achieve the same rate of fire as a 19th century musket that benefits from using cartridges and either flintlocks or percussion caps.  Both of these significantly increased the rate of fire until, by the Napoleonic era, an individual could loose off around 5 shots per minute.  According to Hughes in Firepower, firing such weapons in volleys reduced the rate of fire to about 2-3 volleys per minute.  However, if one considers that volley firing only became widespread around the second half of the 17th century, it could probably be discounted in any discussion of handguns.

A further consideration when discussing either rate of fire or accuracy of firearms is the fouling caused by gunpowder.  Accuracy can only be improved by using a close-fitting bullet, but a high rate of fire requires a loose fit that can be easily rammed.  Historically, rate of fire always took precedence.  The windage in a Brown Bess was one-twentieth of an inch (1.3 mm).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: barry carter on June 14, 2020, 10:23:53 AM
NickHarbud:
I completely agree with your points. I was pointing out that in my experience most people that I have discussed the question of medieval handguns with still quote Payne-Gallway (the easy option?) and having had the opportunity to shoot replica handguns and muskets that has given me an insight into how they function. I have also had the opportunity to use(with some trepidation!) home made gunpowder. None of those opportunities were under scientific conditions so I would not use the results as any form of hard evidence however, as I say, it did give food for thought.
When you look at much later evidence for ammunition expenditure in field engagements it is always surprising that the number of rounds fired is often far less than you would guess. Blame Holywood for all those scenes of cowboys blazing away and GIs expending magazines worth of rounds with one pull of the trigger.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 14, 2020, 12:21:05 PM
Some more information on arquebus effectiveness and ranges in this interesting blog entry (https://sellsword.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/firearms/)  Again interesting on the gap between the theoretical and the battlefield use, but this time with Spanish examples.



Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Anton on June 14, 2020, 12:40:29 PM
That's an informative link Anthony thank you.  Its conclusions are in line with the Irish experience of firearms in the Nine Years War.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Jim Webster on June 14, 2020, 12:48:16 PM
Some more information on arquebus effectiveness and ranges in this interesting blog entry (https://sellsword.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/firearms/)  Again interesting on the gap between the theoretical and the battlefield use, but this time with Spanish examples.

fascinating article
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on June 14, 2020, 01:15:29 PM
Some more information on arquebus effectiveness and ranges in this interesting blog entry (https://sellsword.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/firearms/)  Again interesting on the gap between the theoretical and the battlefield use, but this time with Spanish examples.
Interesting piece yes. 8)

Somewhat relatedly, I might have previously passed on a remark by a friend who's in the home guard: Accuracy falls by a factor of 100 between the shooting range and the exercise ground, and by a further factor of 100 between the exercise ground and the battlefield.

We should BTW no doubt assume something similar applies to longbows - typical battlefield performance was presumably much worse than you might think from the shooting range. The difference may be smaller than for the arquebus (fewer fiddly steps and no fouling), but it's hard to see why it'd be smaller than for modern firearms designed for ease-of-use.

(ObNitpick: "Harquebus" is of course not Old English. I can't find it's date of first attestation in a hurry,  but it's definitely late Middle English or early Modern English.)
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 14, 2020, 03:03:37 PM
Quote
(ObNitpick: "Harquebus" is of course not Old English. I can't find it's date of first attestation in a hurry,  but it's definitely late Middle English or early Modern English.)

OED has 1532 for arquebus but hacbussh from 1484.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 16, 2020, 10:40:46 AM
Another quick canter through the evidence.  Going back to Terry Wise, as someone has said it is of its time.  1975 was a year before Robert Hardy's Longbow was published for example, which pretty much started the trend for scientific testing of medieval weapons (with the understanding that less formal tests had been done before by people like Payne-Gallwey and Pope).

The three range bands are interesting, as a glance at Terry Wise's Ancient Rules show they operated on on a three ranges system and perhaps belong to his lost medieval variant of those rules.  He certainly played WOTR games, as I saw a couple of his demos in the 80s.

For comparison, here are a couple of ranges from the ancients rules (short/medium/long in yds)

Bow 75/150/250
Sling 100/200/300 (better than longbow)
gastrophetes 150/250/400 (better than crossbow or arbalest)

Whether there should be three ranges is debateable.  We have the Loades theory that longbows rarely engaged at ranges over 100 yds, for example.  Now, I think we have plenty of evidence this is wrong, and harassment shooting (aka gadding) was practiced at longer ranges.  This also fits with the Teutonic knights tactics with crossbows - harassment shooting up to 200 paces/yds, serious impact shooting at 80.  From our 16th century sources, we can discern a similar pattern with firearms.  So, I'd almost be tempted to split things into two range bands; annoying and dangerous.

There is a question of quality too.  People who practiced were clearly better than those who didn't. 

On ammunition supply, I think the only ones recorded as having issues are longbowmen, simply from the rates of fire and the bulk of the ammunition limiting how much you could carry.


Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Anton on June 16, 2020, 11:04:44 AM
I'd go with the "annoying and dangerous" split too.  There is a nice functionality to it.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 16, 2020, 06:15:49 PM
I've been looking at the original text of Le Livre de Trahisons, a Burgundian chronicle, which describes the Battle of Browershaven in 1426.  This quite a well known action but I wanted to see I could resolve a few details.  It would make another good description for our Battle series but I'd need to translate it.  Anyway, the reason why I mention it is it contains a classic account of the effectiveness or otherwise of missile weapons of the time. 

In brief, the English and their rebel allies are attacking Browershaven, where the Burgundian army is disembarking.  They approach MAA in the centre, archers on two wings.  The artillery of Dordrecht open the firing, with two "shots" - probably salvos - which have no effect.  The militia crossbows then engage, 1000 men or more, shoot one shot/salvo which is as effective "as throwing rotten apples".  The English archers reply and the militia are quickly thrown into disarray and fall back.  The Burgundian men-at-arms then advance to engage their English opponents.  One wing of English archers switches target but has no effect against their armour.  Some men have their cuirasses bent, but the Sire De L'Isle Adam (the Duke of Burgundy's standard bearer) does not.  Instead, he has arrows sticking out of his harness everywhere and the standard is full of arrows.  Only one knight is killed - he has chosen to fight with his visor open and gets an arrow in his eye.  The fight is determined by hand-to-hand combat - the English men-at-arms fight marvellously but the Burgundians attack the archers and drive them into a ditch, where they drown.  It all goes down hill from there for the English.

So, in one battle a hierarchy.  Artillery is ineffective.  Militia crossbows are shot to pieces by longbows.  Longbows are ineffective against fully armoured men at arms.  For Justin and his query about how much shooting slowed an advance, I think this one is a "not much" example.  The English come on "step by step" - steadily. 

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Anton on June 16, 2020, 08:59:01 PM
That's a really interesting deconstruction.

The guns presumably missed entirely?

The Militia were presumably disheartened by their own ineffective shooting and disconcerted by the effectiveness of the Archers and so retreated.

The Burgundian MAA get buffeted by the arrows but can still advance to close.

The Archers cannot stand against the MAA.

There's a lot to think on there.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 17, 2020, 09:29:50 AM
I suspect with the crossbowmen it is about inexperience.  I suspect that the Burgundians are using a traditional deployment, pushing a screen of crossbowmen out to cover the deployment of the men-at-arms, who were not fully prepared when the English appeared.  They have chosen to engage at a "safe" harassing distance but, like the Genoese at Crecy, find the archers are capable of bringing down a heavy barrage at that distance.  Being inexperienced militia, confronted with a rather more deadly battlefield environment than they were expecting they fell back.  One thing of interest is the militia continue to be a target of one wing of the archers, while the other concentrates on "the banners" i.e. the men-at-arms, so they have not run away completely, they are just hanging back to the rear of the  men-at-arms.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 17, 2020, 12:52:27 PM
I've been looking at the original text of Le Livre de Trahisons, a Burgundian chronicle, which describes the Battle of Browershaven in 1426.  This quite a well known action but I wanted to see I could resolve a few details.  It would make another good description for our Battle series but I'd need to translate it.  Anyway, the reason why I mention it is it contains a classic account of the effectiveness or otherwise of missile weapons of the time. 

In brief, the English and their rebel allies are attacking Browershaven, where the Burgundian army is disembarking.  They approach MAA in the centre, archers on two wings.  The artillery of Dordrecht open the firing, with two "shots" - probably salvos - which have no effect.  The militia crossbows then engage, 1000 men or more, shoot one shot/salvo which is as effective "as throwing rotten apples".  The English archers reply and the militia are quickly thrown into disarray and fall back.  The Burgundian men-at-arms then advance to engage their English opponents.  One wing of English archers switches target but has no effect against their armour.  Some men have their cuirasses bent, but the Sire De L'Isle Adam (the Duke of Burgundy's standard bearer) does not.  Instead, he has arrows sticking out of his harness everywhere and the standard is full of arrows.  Only one knight is killed - he has chosen to fight with his visor open and gets an arrow in his eye.  The fight is determined by hand-to-hand combat - the English men-at-arms fight marvellously but the Burgundians attack the archers and drive them into a ditch, where they drown.  It all goes down hill from there for the English.

So, in one battle a hierarchy.  Artillery is ineffective.  Militia crossbows are shot to pieces by longbows.  Longbows are ineffective against fully armoured men at arms.  For Justin and his query about how much shooting slowed an advance, I think this one is a "not much" example.  The English come on "step by step" - steadily.

What is interesting is the difference between unarmoured (or partially armoured) and heavily armoured infantry. The former are driven back in rout, the latter are hardly affected. It seems one can make a distinction between three types that face massed archery fire:

a) unarmoured foot who retire;

b) partially armoured foot (armed with a shield and little else that is effective), who stop to shelter behind their shields or advance only very slowly;

c) fully armoured foot, with body armour and helmets that completely protect their faces, who advance without problem.

A big factor seems to be the helmet: without it the infantryman must duck behind his shield and in consequence can't see where he is going, which I imagine severely restricts his ability to advance in order. Any other examples?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 17, 2020, 01:03:28 PM
Another thing worth considering is extreme range and short range shooting. Extreme range shooting IMHO has the advantage that the archers don't have to see their target to place the arrows within a fairly narrow bracket, just a few yards deep, since the variation in bow elevation at extreme range affects the distance the arrow will travel much less than elevation at close range.

On the other hand, even though shooting at a shorter range can be done only by the front rank(s) of an archer line, it does affect the front rank of advancing enemy infantry, and it is that front rank that determines how fast the enemy will approach and whether the enemy stops and retires, besides being made up of the enemy's best fighters. If those troops find the missile fire too much, the odds are that the entire line will give way.

So advancing infantry will have to pass through a beaten zone a couple of dozen yards deep where everyone is shot at by all enemy archers, after which the middle and rear rankers can relax as only the front rankers can now be targeted. But does this find any echo in the sources? (I'm thinking of the Greeks at Marathon and Alexander at Issus who get past enemy massed archer fire by a sudden and unexpected charge).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Mark G on June 17, 2020, 06:03:36 PM
Of course an archery beaten zone is quite a small spot,
where as a modern beaten zone is potentially quite deep,

since archery requires a high trajectory to gain range and explosive propulsion can project flat for quite a distance.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on June 18, 2020, 09:09:36 AM
Since anecdotes in battle accounts can be found to support virtually any position, if I was trying to write wargame rules (rather than doing historical analysis) I'd be inclined to conclude that differences in equipment (bow, crossbow, whatever) and armour make no difference and all that matters is quality (experience, training, morale, what have you). Poor quality troops shoot badly and run away readily, and so forth. As to what range they did it at, I can't imagine why it would matter (for games purposes).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 18, 2020, 09:29:11 AM
Since anecdotes in battle accounts can be found to support virtually any position, if I was trying to write wargame rules (rather than doing historical analysis) I'd be inclined to conclude that differences in equipment (bow, crossbow, whatever) and armour make no difference and all that matters is quality (experience, training, morale, what have you). Poor quality troops shoot badly and run away readily, and so forth. As to what range they did it at, I can't imagine why it would matter (for games purposes).

It does make a big difference in wargaming terms if missile fire slows down enemy troops to moving at difficult terrain speed. Gives the archers more time to rout their opponents completely.

I thinking for example of inflicting a difficult terrain movement penalty on troops that are more vulnerable to missile fire if they get shot in that turn. The penalty wouldn't affect troops that don't already suffer too much from missiles, for example heavy armoured cavalry, hoplites and pikemen.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dave Knight on June 18, 2020, 09:39:37 AM
However in this period there seem to be few examples of complete routs other than poorly armoured troops.  The deciding factor is invariably melee.  Archers seem to be more about causing disruption than casulties against heavily armoured oppents.  They were potentiality devestationg against cavalryalso.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on June 18, 2020, 09:57:20 AM
Quote
It does make a big difference in wargaming terms if missile fire slows down enemy troops to moving at difficult terrain speed. Gives the archers more time to rout their opponents completely.

Yes but. Especially on a gridded surface, whether archers are more effective because their target is slowed down, or more effective because they are more effective, is immaterial. Rather than slowing down the target with all the extra rules load that goes with it, you could just up the power of the archers, +2 instead of +1 vs. unarmoured.

Of course you might want to have extra rules load if your aim is 'design for cause' - but even so you could just gloss the rules ("+2 vs. unarmoured - target is considered slowed and takes more hits").
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 18, 2020, 09:59:17 AM
Quote
It does make a big difference in wargaming terms if missile fire slows down enemy troops to moving at difficult terrain speed. Gives the archers more time to rout their opponents completely.

Yes but. Especially on a gridded surface, whether archers are more effective because their target is slowed down, or more effective because they are more effective, is immaterial. Rather than slowing down the target with all the extra rules load that goes with it, you could just up the power of the archers, +2 instead of +1 vs. unarmoured.

Of course you might want to have extra rules load if your aim is 'design for cause' - but even so you could just gloss the rules ("+2 vs. unarmoured - target is considered slowed and takes more hits").

True.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 18, 2020, 10:07:59 AM
Quote
As to what range they did it at, I can't imagine why it would matter (for games purposes).

Thus speaks the arch abstracter :)

Actually, I think it is pretty important to at least have a can/can't act division.  Even chess has limits as to which squares a piece can take another piece in.  If range didn't matter, MAA with polearms could be engaging each other from the baseline, which seems a bit silly.

Whether you need more ranges than a distance at which effect happens or doesn't is then about how abstract you want to be.

As to whether armour mattered, we might note that medieval writers and law makers thought it mattered a lot.  So, it is historically justifiable to consider it.  They also tended to think the quality of soldier in the armour was important but would likely consider "moral" qualities based on class or ethnicity, rather than think training or motivation, I think. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on June 18, 2020, 11:29:17 AM
I can be very arch, and I do like abstraction.

It would be perfectly possible for range to not matter and for non-silly polearms to engage from the baseline, in a game where the positioning of the toy soldiers on the table didn't define their capabilities in the game - such games arre perfectly possible, think Up Front or even D&D. It's also possible - think DBx - to assume all ranges are the same (and represented on the table by contact).

But I know that wargamers don't want to stray too far from the moving diorama idea, so I wouldn't necessarily advocate that, but I feel that ranges broken down to metre (or yard) accuracy just seem pointless, and lead to endless unsolvable problems over whether slings outranged bows, or longbows outranged crossbows etc etc. We don't know and it doesn't matter. :) Having detailed ranges like those you quoted above only makes sense if it is assumed that the positioning of the toy soldiers on the table precisely represents their positioning in real life, and there are all sorts of problems with that (and a gridded board has already gone beyond that anyway).

I expect armour mattered hugely to the person inside it, and as you say, law makers would be keen to ensure that the right sort of people had the right sort of equipment - as wargamers rather than people planning or fighting an actual war, we can probabaly safely assume that rich knights will have expensive armour, and roll the whole lot up into a '+3 v peasants'. A few cases of rich knights in crappy armour will slip through the net, but that's the least of wargaming's problems.

Anyway sorry to derail the ranges discussion - I know not everyone likes to abstract to the extent I do. (I pity the fools).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 18, 2020, 12:34:59 PM
There is , of course, a middle way.  I do agree we can be very hung up on things like "how far can a longbow shoot".  But , if we want our "moving diorama" (animated fiction, martial puppet theatre?)  to represent more dimensions of the historical experience, we might wish to put in some more texture, like the effective/annoying split, where different missile tactics can be represented.  But then you need some criteria as to when each might be appropriate Range banding is an obvious choice, as it is objective, if rather arbitrary.  You could, of course, randomise it, perhaps weighting effective against troop quality (e.g. +1 for veterans, -1 for militia or some such).  IIRC Ed Smith's WOTR rules did this for archers being charged, so whether you shot at a longer, less effective, range depending on how good you were, with veterans "waiting to see the whites of their eyes".  But then, if you already build in a random factor, could this not be subsumed within it?   I suppose it does depend on how different the outcome sets for "dangerous" and "annoying" were.  So, if its just about "hits" then they could easily be combined.  But if it's more effect based - "unaffected", "disordered", "falter", "check morale", "potential leader casualties" etc. - you might have a different distribution in different results tables.  Just a few thoughts.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Anton on June 18, 2020, 12:58:31 PM
I prefer a game that gives a flavour of what the important factors were considered to be at the time.  These can of course be successfully abstracted but for me a bit of period feel is lost in the process.  Horses for courses I suppose. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 18, 2020, 12:59:38 PM
I can be very arch

Say it's not true!

What I am gathering is that massed missile fire will affect poorly-protected troops far more than well-protected ones, not only because the former are more vulnerable, but also because they slow down when shot at in order to huddle behind their shields and hence are exposed for longer. If we abstract out a movement penalty for getting shot at then we will have something like a factor of 1 against armoured targets but 3 or 4 against unarmoured ones. Does that sound about right?

PS: a bit off-topic.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Duncan Head on June 18, 2020, 02:20:59 PM
What I am gathering is that massed missile fire will affect poorly-protected troops far more than well-protected ones, not only because the former are more vulnerable, but also because they slow down when shot at in order to huddle behind their shields and hence are exposed for longer.

The crossbowmen at Browershaven whose retreat plays a part in this conclusion were probably quite well armoured - urban militia usually were - but may have lacked shields. I say "may" because, as has been discussed in another thread, Low Countries urban crossbowmen usually had pavises carried by attendants.

- If they did have such pavises, then in this case the crossbowmen legged it rather than merely slowing down, despite having shields they could huddle under.
- If on the other hand they hadn't broought pavises for whatever reason, this suggests that the presence of big shields is the key distinction between "unarmoured" and "lightly armoured" infantry. 

It would be interesting to know if the original source mentions either pavises or their absence.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 18, 2020, 02:45:51 PM
Quote
It would be interesting to know if the original source mentions either pavises or their absence.

No mention of them or their absence in the battle account.  Urban militia were usually well equipped - there were regulations and no town wanted to send a sub-standard contingent.  I've not seen anything specific on the militia of Holland but helmet, aventail, brigandine or mail, armour for the arms and possibly leg armour would be typical. 

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 18, 2020, 03:27:29 PM
Quote
It would be interesting to know if the original source mentions either pavises or their absence.

No mention of them or their absence in the battle account.  Urban militia were usually well equipped - there were regulations and no town wanted to send a sub-standard contingent.  I've not seen anything specific on the militia of Holland but helmet, aventail, brigandine or mail, armour for the arms and possibly leg armour would be typical.

Which leads to the question of how effective pavises were against longbow arrows, and was the steel plating of MMA the only truly effective protection against English archers.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on June 18, 2020, 03:39:20 PM
Regarding "dangerous" v. "annoying", it seems to me the idea would combine well with the DBX split between "close combat" and "distant shooting", where the former includes both hand-to-hand combat and short range shooting. Distant shooting would definitionally be at annoyance range and rather than inflict game-mechanically relevant casualties would impose other penalties, such as a morale penalty or movement limitations.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 18, 2020, 04:06:53 PM
Quote
Which leads to the question of how effective pavises were against longbow arrows, and was the steel plating of MMA the only truly effective protection against English archers.

We know the answer to the first part - pavises were very effective.  For example, at the small battle of Nogent-sur-Seine in 1359

This infantry were nine hundred men, and, being armed with lances and large shields, broke through the line of the archers and flung them in disorder ; for their shields were strong, that the arrows made no impression on them.


There are a number of other examples.  We might note the Scots carried pavises in the front ranks at Flodden

The said Scots were so surely harnessed with complete harness, German jacks, rivets, splents [forms of body armour], pavises [large wooden shields], and other habilments, that shot of arrows in regard did them no harm

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on June 18, 2020, 04:50:40 PM
Quote
Which leads to the question of how effective pavises were against longbow arrows, and was the steel plating of MMA the only truly effective protection against English archers.

We know the answer to the first part - pavises were very effective.  For example, at the small battle of Nogent-sur-Seine in 1359

This infantry were nine hundred men, and, being armed with lances and large shields, broke through the line of the archers and flung them in disorder ; for their shields were strong, that the arrows made no impression on them.


There are a number of other examples.  We might note the Scots carried pavises in the front ranks at Flodden

The said Scots were so surely harnessed with complete harness, German jacks, rivets, splents [forms of body armour], pavises [large wooden shields], and other habilments, that shot of arrows in regard did them no harm

OK, so why do the crossbowmen run for it at Browershaven?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on June 18, 2020, 05:30:30 PM
Quote
OK, so why do the crossbowmen run for it at Browershaven?

1. We have no record of them having pavises, so they may not have done
2. The other two examples are close combat infantry - their expectations of combat and their ability to disengage when the going gets hot were both different to shooters.
3. They were inexperienced and their introduction to fighting longbowmen came as an unpleasant shock.  Note that the Genoese crossbowmen ,who were also used to a different way of fighting, behaved in a similar way at Crecy.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Mark G on June 18, 2020, 06:31:25 PM
There seems to be a tendency to ‘shoot off’ enemy missile troops before turning archery onto a melee target.

What few readings I did on this seemed to suggest that whenever the possibility of being shot at emerged, archers focussed on shooting them away before looking at any other tactics.
It also seemed that when you had reason to expect massed shooting from an enemy, you attempted to recruit more of your own to ensure you would win the shoot off.

I found many more examples of that sort of thing than I did of melee troops being slowed down by archery incoming.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on July 08, 2020, 10:20:53 AM
Whilst not directly comparable, it is maybe salutary to consider rifles in WW2 for instance. Whilst maximum range was probably well over a kilometre, the 'theoretical' accuracy 'of the weapon' was probably significantly less than this. In the hands of an normal trained infantryman, it was probably ineffective to shoot at a moving target at ranges much beyond 2 or 3oo yards (unless sniping at a stationary target) and in fact, in 'normal' combat situations (say Normandy) there probably wasn't a very high chance of hitting a target until ranges dropped to a 100 yards or less (5 to 10% of the theoretical maximum range).

In my humble opinion therefore, 'Short range' for Bows (incl. longbows), defined as having a reasonable chance of hitting a single, identified target figure in 'normal' combat situations is probably more like 50 yards. Aiming at a single figure with a fair chance of hitting isn't though probably the most representative of normal battlefield conditions where individual, 'volley' and/or 'clout' shooting  against 'massed' targets was probably more representative of the typical situation to  consider but even in this case, I really can't see there being much chance of 'effective' shooting at ranges much above 100 yards under 'normal' battlefield conditions. Against stationary targets with good visibility and a fair wind, then maybe, clout shooting could have been effective at ranges maybe double this but how often did those conditions occur (Hastings)? 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 02, 2020, 03:07:09 PM
Concerning Longbow range

This depends on the weight of arrow, assuming a standard fletching and head of broadly similar shape.

In particular, if I assume that the two types of arrow ordered by Edward III in 1356 were distinguished by more than the hardness of steel in their heads, namely: 240,000 'good arrows' and 24,000 'best arrows' (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p21):

  * With the term 'good arrows' relating to the quarter-pound arrow for which Charles II lamented 'no one is left to shoot' (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p26) that would fly at least 240 yards without losing a critical amount of their initial velocity (57 yards per second conveying 146 joules of energy at that velocity), with a loss of 15 - 30 % of that initial velocity (with the capacity to deliver c. 100 - 120 joules at the target) from a 150 lb Yew Bow of the 'Mary Rose' sort at 240 yards (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p 31), and;
  * The term 'best arrows' applying to the 'Westminster Arrow', which unlike the Mary Rose Arrows is 'bob-tailed' and thought to come from the early C15th (Strickland and Hardy 2005 pp 32 - 33), with an assessed range of 300 yards (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p 31), which I take to be capable of delivering the 100 joules at the target judged to be critical to their success as a weapon.

Reference

Strickland, M,. & Hardy, R. (2005).  From Hastings to the Mary Rose: The Great War Bow.  Sutton Publishing.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 02, 2020, 05:14:56 PM
I think we have to be careful with some of the figures in the Great Warbow.  The technical appendix (pp408-14) gives a different set of figures.  The energy of the best arrow in this sequence dips below 100 J at 100 yds.  We should perhaps note 100 J would be marginally effective against a combination of mail and jack at this range according to William's figures.  Impact energy, however, was not the only criterion when dealing with complex armour combinations - impact angles, arrow head types and even arrow sharpness play a part.

Probably, though (as already said above) , the tricky bit is working out not the theoretical capabilities of the weapons but how their users assessed their most effective use and used them.   
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 02, 2020, 09:57:41 PM
Old School Home Made Rules with a Systematic Twist

I concur that a thematic analysis geared at producing 'fast play rules' of the form the discussion above starts to surface is useful.  For example the thinking around the example from Le Livre de Trahisons, a Burgundian chronicle, describing the Battle of Browershaven in 1426.  This provides the possibility of a 'middle out' approach to rules building based upon the 'objects' (E.g. troop types and weapons in the example as quoted) in the discourse of the medieval chroniclers.

It would be good to work on surfacing a sufficiency of examples and working to publish a 'transparent' rules set based upon such observations, making clear what we have closely interpreted from the Chronicles, what we have interpolated from the information available to us along with the logic chain and where we used some degree of artistic interpretation in order to fill gaps in our knowledge (making clear where we have done so).

It would then be good to cross-check the emergent rules against replays of the battles from which they were derived to see if we have succeeded in producing rules that are not only 'transparent' in their foundation but also useful, such that they are capable of supporting us in surfacing putative new 'knowledge' about the engagements, while catching instances in which there appear to be 'obvious' gaps in our understanding requiring re-working of the rules.  It would be brilliant to do all of this along with 'publication' of successful and unsuccessful experiments transparently.  It feels to me that this would fill a massive weakness in prior rules sets which with a few exceptions have failed to share emergent understanding in this way.

Bounding our understanding of the response space

Part of bounding this understanding is to in some sense to understand what the weapons can do.  As you correctly point out, I worked out my figure concerning what was being asserted to be lethal from the evidence provided in the main text, which I estimated as an impact KE of 100 Joules.  Thank you for referring me to the Appendix where I see the benchmark figure for lethal trauma  (which I presume is to be understood as the energy conveyed to disrupt the rhythm of the cardio vascular system) as 80 Joules (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p411), so I had over-estimated the required energy for an arrow wound on an unarmoured person to be highly likely to be lethal by 20%.  Here I use the term highly likely because a glancing blow, even on an unprotected person would produce a wound to be dealt with but not necessarily death, while a sufficient cut that breaks a major artery can prove lethal in perhaps 10 - 15 seconds.

You mention that you distrust the figures in (Strickland and Hardy 2005 pp 408-14) because they appear to be different between the appendix and the main text.  What I would note here is that all of the arrows in the appendix are lighter than the 'quarter pound' arrow that the figures in main text are baselined against, with Arrow 2 and 5 being closest to that arrow, but actually only c.75% of the mass (Arrow 5) or c.80% of the mass (Arrow 2).  They would therefore be expected to convey less energy than I calculated.  If I assume the transfer of energy for a 'good' hit (a hit that is not deflected) to an unarmoured person at the quoted ranges of c. 250 yards then I get a scaled up transfer of energy of c. 108K Joules using arrow 2 as my figure to scale from and c. 106 K Joules using the lighter arrow 5 as my figure to scale from (thus my original estimate of 100K Joules against an unarmoured target at 250 yards could be playfully refined to c. 106 - 108K Joules.  A range which (for a 1/4 pound arrow) suggest some excess killing capacity that could kill a lightly armoured person at c. 250 yards outright from a single hit.

I then note the useful discussion on parvises and from the main text of (Strickland and Hardy 2005) also large shields, plus the heuristics offered for the average differences in performance between troops on the range, on exercise and on the battlefield from the Swedish Home Guard.  Taking this all together and drawing on the analogy offered by SimonW concerning range perfect clout shooting which to fill out the details might be with perhaps a modern c. 90 lbs longbow at a range of 180 yards to hit a 6' diameter circle, which I suggest equates to the accuracy to be expected from a c. 150 lb longbow at c. 240 yards.  I suspect there is actual data on this from the Longbow Society.

To cut to the chase, to manoeuvre crossbow armed troops within 250 yards of longbow archers is to take a risk, if lightly armoured then one 'good' hit and they are dead.  Which then either paints an image of them cowering in under their parvises while under fire or perhaps moving very slowly, or better armoured and manoeuvring with what I might describe as circumspect respect.  They could if armoured close visors and move into a world of a much higher rate of heat induced fatigue and very limited ability to communicate or perhaps maintain a greater functional ability to manoeuvre because communication is easier if they make up for the risk in what is I would suggest very clearly a killing area through the use of parvises.  Either way, incoming 'area' fire from longbow would very quickly make exposed presence in such a killing area too hot to handle (either due to imminent heat exhaustion) or the risk from an arrow getting a 'good' hit on an exposed body part.

I also accept the observation by SimonW that an aimed killing shot has to be at a point c. 100 yards or less; technically the limit is at a point where the longbow archer has a direct as opposed to an indirect shot on the target, again the Longbow Society could probably help refine this range for the quarter pound arrow.  You will also realise the value of putting out range markers prior to a battle, such that they are obvious from ones own lines but camouflaged from the point of view of the opposition.  Error in range estimation is I would suggest a key driver in hitting an intended target (just have a go at 'field archery' where the range to the targets has been carefully concealed through well judged optical illusions playing with our internalised heuristics as to how far away a target is, if you doubt me).

Fear then plays a major part in correctly judging or reading target distance and the necessary target offset if the target is moving.  The key then becomes dominating the fire space so that the opposition is the side struggling to act or judge the situation through the fear they experience, so initially dominating the fire space such that the actions of the opposition are less effective than ones own; with a solution to the implied requirements of logistics draw to maintain that fire then starts to shape the battle space.  A small change early in ones favour could produce a big difference a little further on, if the dynamics of logistics matters have been adequately attended to.

I am not suggesting staying at this level of complexity, but am instead noting that for a rules system to be considered valid it needs to pass a number of cross checks and sanity checks where by it appropriately explains how these complexities have been simplified and on what basis.  In other words to show that it has an adequate end to end representation of the battle process with no key parts missed out.  On range markers for example, there is clear advantage to being the side to choose the battlefield and have the time to put range markers out and explain them to the archers.  The side choosing the battlefield would then tend to get a shooting advantage for this reason.

Arrows 1, 3 and 4 in the appendix (Strickland and Hardy 2005 pp 408-14)

The three other arrows are lower than the ideal weight for the bows used in the experiment by the following amounts:

1) Arrow 1  c. 50%
2) Arrow 3  c. 65%
3) Arrow 4 c. 50%
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 02, 2020, 11:37:58 PM
I also accept the observation by SimonW that an aimed killing shot has to be at a point c. 100 yards or less; technically the limit is at a point where the longbow archer has a direct as opposed to an indirect shot on the target, again the Longbow Society could probably help refine this range for the quarter pound arrow.

I believe that when Simon said c. 100 yards for an aimed shot he was referring to WW2 rifles. The distance he gave for an aimed long bow shot was 50yards. (Apologies to Simon if I misunderstood).

Even that seems generous to me.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 02, 2020, 11:53:28 PM
My apologies for thinking around SimonW's answer rather than quoting it exactly.

The easiest shot with a longbow is actually the furthest point at which the archer has a direct shot at the target because at that range the archer has complete certainty concerning the required elevation of the shot and all there is to making the shot is following your shooting drills.  Do them correctly and the target is hit as intended (less any problems form considerations of 'target lead').

  Things don't get better at 50 yards, watch a re-enactment shooter trying to get their battlefield pass.  The closer a target gets that could seriously hurt you the harder it is just to relax into your shooting drills and at 50 yards the aiming point is close to a maximum of uncertainty.

  Things start to improve at 30 yards because if you are willing to risk shooting slightly low er than you think than you are unlikely to miss, but here consider boar hunting with cross bows in the black forest, there is a reason each hunter takes a second crossbow person to back them up.  At 30 yards the impact of nerves are at a maximum.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 03, 2020, 12:16:52 AM

The easiest shot with a longbow is actually the furthest point at which the archer has a direct shot at the target because at that range the archer has complete certainty concerning the required elevation of the shot and all there is to making the shot is following your shooting drills.

What do we mean by "direct shot".
Do we mean a horizontal exit angle of the arrow?
Do we mean an aimed shot an an individual?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 01:01:11 AM
The first Direct shot you get with a Longbow as a target approaches you is when the range to the target is such that the target is just above your bow hand held at its normal height in relation to your shooting position at full draw.  If you know what that range is for you then have the arrow ready and when the target hits that range mark then take aim just above your bow hand.  At this point there is minimum uncertainty.  You know the elevation and of the two errors you could make, Error in line and Error in elevation:

* Error in line is controlled out through your understanding of the string picture, which is defined as where the target needs to be between the string just prior to making your draw and the vertical line made by the longbow.  This is the point at which you commit to the shot, from here just keep your eye on the target and correctly commit to the drill to loose your arrow and there will be no important error in line (other factors being equal, such as being able to correct for the effects of wind or necessary target lead);

* Error in Elevation is controlled at the maximum range for a direct shot because the target is just above your shooting hand at the range, you will note the importance here of knowing what that range is in relation to the ground in front of you.

Concerning error in range, the best thing is to have a range marker which reflects the point at which the target is just above your shooting hand when at full draw such that you will get the vertical component of the shot right.

When I was growing up my Father was always keen to instil elements of his military training in me, such as knowing the height of the usual objects in your environment (E.g. mature trees by species, homes, hedges or church towers).  With your arm extended E.g. in its full draw position you can judge from the angle subtended from your hand at the bottom of an object of known height to the top of that object concerning what the range must be.  At this point I have forgotten the references but I recall English Archers from the 100 years war shooting in competition with each other practising this skill and hence 'gnosis' of the range to a target because the could see the angle it subtends.

This is in part why I believe it best for longbow archers to take on a target at this first direct shot range when the terrain allows it.  The other reason is that it is easier to take a good aim when the necessary aim point takes your concentration in order to aim onto it.  The other good aim point in this sense is the old Martini Henry point, when you can see the whites of their eyes, because for a number of reasons there is maximum stimulation and motivation to get the shot right.  However, if the target is a charging horseman I would suggest that experienced archers allowed a decent 30 yards for the nag to fall at their feet and the mounted chap to look up at them, when they could decide if the mounted warrior was worth ransoming or it's a case of here's looking in your eye ... think daggers.  The charging horse problem also drives the point of loose towards the 100 yards point because if your shot gets a slower arterial bleed in the horse as the horseman charges towards you, you don't want to get demolished by a dying horse.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 03, 2020, 02:18:19 AM
I apologise for being a bit slow, but I still don't understand in what sense you mean "direct"?

Are you using the word direct in "contrast" to "indirect"? Or?

A friend recently sent me a copy of an article by Terry Wise dating back to 1975 on 1st St Albans.  Included was this table

Weapon     Accurate Range  Effective Range  Long Range    Rate of fire
Longbow     80yds                200 yds             300 yds         5 a minuite aimed, 12 unaimed
Crossbow    60 yds               200yds             300 - 350 yds  1 a minute
Arbalest      60yds                200 yds            350 - 400 yds  1 every 2 minutes
Handgun     100yds              200 yds             400 yds          8 shots an hour
Canon         150 yds             200 yds            350 - 500 yds  4 shots an hour

Any comments?  The handgun numbers seem a lot longer than I would have expected

Shouldn't the long range read, "absolute maximum allowed by physics, ignoring wind resistance."
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 08:31:26 AM
A Direct shot derives from seeing the target that you are shooting at, in the case of the Longbow, as you loose.  The target is in your string picture at point of release, that is a direct shot and the most likely to hit.  It is equivalent to having a target in your sights (however primitive) on the other weapons.

There are also three types of indirect shooting:
1) The first is seeing the target in front of you before you approximate the target's location through the amount you bend your rear knee and fortunately find yourself with a surrogate reference point to shoot at, for example a feature on the other side of a mountain pass, so that the arc of the arrow comes onto the target.  At point of loose or shot you are shooting at the reference point, knowing that the weapon is falling on to the target.  This is best done with a second person spotting your fall of shot.
2) The second indirect shot is like the first but you are trusting everything to how accurately you bend your rear knee.  You are relying entirely on a practised kinaesthetic action to hit the target and depending solely on range estimation, long practise and muscle memory to do this.  All you can see through your sighting means is the sky.
3) The third uses the technique of the second but the target has passed into terrain out of sight from you, such as a sunken lane or gully and you don't wish them to have the respite such a feature would otherwise offer.

So, for a practised bowman confident in their skill and focused on the necessity of the killing they must now engage in, with a direct shot at the maximum of their direct range I would expect all of their arrows within 18" of their point of aim and on a good day I would expect most of their arrows within 12" of their point of aim.  In other words, they will hit a horse that pauses.  For a moving target there is the problem of getting an appropriate lead on where the target will be at point of arrival of the weapon.

With indirect shooting for the same practised bowman:

Type 1) At 240 yards 50% of their arrows within a 6' circle.
Type 2) At 240 yards 50% of their arrows within a 12' circle.
Type 3) This is really harassment fire and fairly easily countered by others who move quickly and know the ground, but it could serve to move the target on in the way intended.  Not to be engaged in without plentiful weapon stocks.

Turning this into rules.  Type 1 and Type 2 shooting collapse into the same thing.  It is simply area fire, the classic storm of arrows with slightly different margins.  What matters is how well those controlling the shooting give instructions that serve to lay the beaten zone over the target at point of impact.  This control is much easier to exercise with range markers allowing those controlling the shooting to predict rate of movement and call the next volley onto where the target will be at point of impact.  The fundamental here is practise, because you really want each archer to shoot onto their place in the pattern:
*  Here the Battle of Browershaven in 1426 starts to suggest interesting things.  The concentration of shooting onto the standards suggests:
a) The converged fire onto the standards was an unintended consequence of those controlling the shooting needing to give simple instructions in the heat of battle, without adequate practise or points of reference to disperse that shooting into a proper beaten zone;
b) The converged fire was a deliberate lower probability high risk act to disrupt the command and control of the target, the key communication coming from signals from the command group with the standards, 'get lucky' and the 'brains behind the manoeuvre will be taken out', but those in or directly serving the 'brains trust' are also in the best protection possible;
c) A little of both a) and b) with those directing the shooting seeing things differently in different parts of the shooting group.

With direct shots it is all about the skill of the individual in anticipating the target lead or waiting patiently for the pattern of target movement to cause an individual target to pause.  When faced with a charge that starts outside this direct fire range it is little different to shooting into a beaten zone, except that most of the weapons strike the front edge of the target.  The probabilities are just higher than for the indirect types of shooting because their a fewer causes of error and those controlling the shooting can confidently say 'fire at will'.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dave Knight on August 03, 2020, 09:04:39 AM
In terms of rules we are more interested in the capabilities of groups of archers than individuals.
I see a difference between those of the 100YW and Wor.
The former muster together over a period of weeks and campaign over weeks and months.   Presumably they take the opportunity to practice as a group.  They are likely to include a reasonably high proportion of experienced men.
Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses were short with many of the archers having little or no experience of war.
In my mind the regular practice on the village green provided excellent raw material honed for 100YW armies but still raw in Wor.
The other major difference is that it must be much more difficult to operate effectively when your enemy is employing the same weapons and tactics against you.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 09:18:35 AM
Dave, I concur, although I am also reminded of Brythnoth doing his practise at time of muster a little before the battle of Maldon.

So best situation ... practise, practise, practise, take the best and then take the most experienced of the best through indenture because good shooting is a team effort and only poorly served by an anarchists' collective.

A way of turning a partial rabble into a shooting force is line up in formation and all take one shot together of the indirect sort on instruction.  Then go forwards together and look at the fall of the weapons (easiest with arrows).  If things are ok the arrows will be spread out as you would hope, if not remove the arrows, go back to the formation position, divide into sub units and give the same instruction by sub unit and see where the problem is occurring and then talk it through with the individuals until they get what is needed.  Repeat and keep breaking down into smaller sub units until the individuals 'get it'.  Then build up again until the formation is producing a good beaten zone.  Then the tricky bit.  Get the formation to move the beaten zone to instruction so that the individuals understand where their arrows should be falling given which instruction.  With poorly practised troops they mostly tend to shoot where the target use to be so a confident rush against those unpractised as a group can result in very few wounds when closing and a complete break in morale on contact.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 03, 2020, 10:39:46 AM
Quote
What I would note here is that all of the arrows in the appendix are lighter than the 'quarter pound' arrow that the figures in main text are baselined against, with Arrow 2 and 5 being closest to that arrow, but actually only c.75% of the mass (Arrow 5) or c.80% of the mass (Arrow 2).

Though even that arrow is heavy by standards of theoretical and practical reconstructions of Mary Rose and Westminster arrows.  The Mary Rose range is 40 - 67 grams, depending on wood and arrow head type.  Anyway, it is a side issue

Quote
Thank you for referring me to the Appendix where I see the benchmark figure for lethal trauma  (which I presume is to be understood as the energy conveyed to disrupt the rhythm of the cardio vascular system) as 80 Joules (Strickland and Hardy 2005 p411),

This is actually a misunderstanding of the science by the author.  80J is based on a blunt force trauma, and even then, is debated as to what it means.  Sharp force trauma needs far less energy to achieve a penetrating hit - in the single figures of joules.  So an arrow could be lethal against any unarmoured person it hits throughout its flight, depending where it hits.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 11:06:47 AM
An excellent insight concerning blunt force and sharp force trauma.  Just need to share the references and pursue it in as far as it promises to elucidate the issue.  This is what I have in mind ... its all about moving from hoarding our knowledge, to sharing our basis in perspective, to deeper sharing so as to support our common effort, which as we get to know each other means deeper and then more focused levels of transparency ... the old forming, storming, norming and performing model of endeavour.

A key problem when we look at something like the example of the Battle of Browershaven in 1426, is that against the outline model in words, concerning the archery elements of the battle, that we have started to develop ... key aspects of the battle are currently under-determined by the evidence that we have so far discussed.  So for example:

a) Was convergent fire onto the standards of the crossbowmen a high risk high reward strategy to cut the internal communications in the unit and force a withdrawal, or all that could be communicated to troops otherwise unpractised in shooting under controlled instruction in a group so as to produce a beaten zone.  This problem is not without hope, for example we can look at the prior history of the actual archers portrayed in the Chronicle for indications on the extent to which these particular troops were appropriately practised and the arrangements from their place of origin for such practise.

b) Similarly was the charge by the knights against the archers successful because:
  i) The archers had used the best part of their available arrows on the crossbowmen and so were unable to make a decent dent in the charge
  ii) The archers were not sufficiently practised so that they were largely shooting over the heads of the charging troops
  iii) The archers were emotionally frozen by the fear of the charge, sometimes called 'mounted shock' and so not following the instructions given to them
  iv) The arrows were ineffective in generating sufficient damage to stop the charge

Again these possibilities can be investigated, i) by looking at the supply arrangements taking a view on what part of the arrows had gone on the crossbowmen and looking for hints in the way the chronicle states things in detail ... ii) as in a) above looking at the history of these particular troops and the arrangements to support this type of troop ... iii) taking a comparative perspective to look for other possible instances of 'mounted shock' note its apparent frequency as a phenomena and then treat it as a probabilistic occurrence on being charged ... iv) looking at the evidence for the actual performance of arrows against targets and the fractional exposed target area to calculate the expected loss and then take the comparative approach across battles so as to take a view on when a threshold value is passed in terms of casualties that risks a charge being stopped and then looking at the % of occurrences for each threshold identifiable in the data that is assembled.

So in summary a good start and a decent piece of work to collectively do.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 03, 2020, 11:49:03 AM
Quote
An excellent insight concerning blunt force and sharp force trauma.  Just need to share the references and pursue it in as far as it promises to elucidate the issue.  This is what I have in mind ... its all about moving from hoarding our knowledge, to sharing our basis in perspective, to deeper sharing so as to support our common effort, which as we get to know each other means deeper and then more focused levels of transparency ... the old forming, storming, norming and performing model of endeavour.

I think you will find people very happy to share their research and materials on this forum, Paul.  I'm pleased to see someone wanting to learn more.  As a starter on the 80J rule, have a look at this slide set (https://archive.org/details/DTIC_ADA532158/page/n9/mode/2up).

Strickland & Hardy are to a degree responsible for the belief that longbow arrows could kill by blunt force trauma against armoured targets if they hit the target with an impact energy of 80J.  This basically misunderstands the "rule", as you can see from the slide set, but also misses the concept of kinetic energy density derived from the impact area.  A non-penetrating arrow hit on armour has a low KED, because the armour spreads the impact, and, while it might give a nasty backface injury, it's unlikely to kill you. 

Add : Paul,  you may find some interesting material in this earlier discussion on the forum http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=3058.0 which ranges quite widely.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 01:04:29 PM
Anthony or Tony,

  I'm not sure how you prefer to be known.

  It is with some trepidation that I have approached joining the SOA forums, not wanting to be too forthright yet seeking to as you observe understand.  So thank you for your patience, kindness and understanding thus far.  For my part I will try not to over state my thoughts.

  I fully accept your view regarding blunt force trauma in relation to armour (I was careful to use the terms unarmoured and lightly armoured) because I could not perceive how such small margins of 'overmatch' could have so much effect.  As you note, well designed armour serves to further spread the load.  Guessing the source of the 80 KJ to have been from Strickland & Hardy's interaction with Shrivenham it is interesting to see a revised figure of 200KJ for a 90% probability of kill in the data that you reference.  Which takes me back to my 'mind model' concerning what makes arrows dangerous is their ability to cut things best left unbroken for the good health of the 'owner'.

  Do I in any way make attractive the possibility of a thematic analysis across a wider set of battles to derive a simple set of rules, looking into the detail sufficiently to avoid accidental generalisation from otherwise under-determined observations suggestive of correlation ... which is of course rather different from having the evidence to even tentatively assert causation?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 03, 2020, 01:07:30 PM
Thanks for the clarification. I think I've got it now...
So a direct shot is basically one in which the archer can see the target at the point of release.


With indirect shooting for the same practised bowman:

Type 1) At 240 yards 50% of their arrows within a 6' circle.
Type 2) At 240 yards 50% of their arrows within a 12' circle.
Type 3) This is really harassment fire and fairly easily countered by others who move quickly and know the ground, but it could serve to move the target on in the way intended.  Not to be engaged in without plentiful weapon stocks.


Interesting data, where does it come from?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 03, 2020, 01:10:42 PM
Quote
Anthony or Tony,

  I'm not sure how you prefer to be known.

Anthony (my father was called Tony, so if anyone mentions Tony Clipsom, I always think they are referring to him) :)

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 03, 2020, 01:12:41 PM
A fun little tool https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/projectile-motion
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 03, 2020, 01:28:51 PM
Quote
Do I in any way make attractive the possibility of a thematic analysis across a wider set of battles to derive a simple set of rules, looking into the detail sufficiently to avoid accidental generalisation from otherwise under-determined observations suggestive of correlation ... which is of course rather different from having the evidence to even tentatively assert causation?

You can try.  I believe this is a technique favoured by Phil Sabin and, indeed, by our esteemed editor, Justin in compiling his rules.

We do, by now, have a nice collection of primary accounts of battles in our period of interest as a research base in the Ancient & Medieval category of the forum.



Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 01:30:25 PM
Nicholas,

  You have found me being playful concerning a summary of what I believe I have seen from people rated as 'Grand Master Bowmen' in the modern age.  My purpose in stating the figures as I perceive them is to indicate that even for the very best archers then what we are really dealing with in the indirect mode is an area effect weapon, all be it with no more effect than the size of the 'arrow head' per individual shot; modified by the angle at which the arrows come in.  In other words a foot deep path in the last 6' to earth at the maximum range.

  Only if you believe the actual data to be better than the figures I suggest would there be any case to suggest that an indirect shot with a bow is anything other than a contribution to an area of effect.  I can see many reasons for suggesting or quoting worse figures but none for suggesting any that are better, unless you know differently.

  Concerning the Direct shot, yes, yet the certainty of it arriving at the target as intended is I feel higher than your reception grants to a shot against a target that pauses long enough for it to be stationary between time of release and time of arrival of the arrow at maximum range for a direct shot.  Here I find myself starting to get more confident in the efficacy of ambushes by the Welsh, in the Welsh wars set a 'good distance' about 100 yards from the roads they were interdicting.  The thing that kills accuracy in archery is uncertainty in the mind of the shooter, things that aid certainty greatly aid the effectiveness of a release.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 03, 2020, 01:33:47 PM
Anthony,

  Thank you, I will look at the medieval section.  Just finding my way around right now.  I have Phillip's book and have been enjoying it.

  Where can I find out more about how Justin has been compiling his rules?


Paul.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 03, 2020, 01:41:24 PM
Quote
Where can I find out more about how Justin has been compiling his rules?


Search under "optio" from the forum home page (its the name of the rules).  Justin may pick this up anyway and he is always keen to talk about his rules and how they work.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 04, 2020, 12:26:27 AM
  You have found me being playful concerning a summary of what I believe I have seen from people rated as 'Grand Master Bowmen' in the modern age. 

Understood. Thank you.

  My purpose in stating the figures as I perceive them is to indicate that even for the very best archers then what we are really dealing with in the indirect mode is an area effect weapon

I completely agree with the conclusion.  :)
Although I would then posit, albeit without evidence,  that: therefore I doubt much firing occurred at > 100yds.

Just a question. And I have no idea. But were crossbow or early arquebus shot indirecty too? And if not, why not? I believe they all have similar muzzle velocities, so their range and flight times will be very similar. (Energy delivered will be different, but...)
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 04, 2020, 06:41:28 AM
My own experience with weapons in any way relevant concerns:

I still use my longbow but had to let the other two go due to changing laws and different interpretations of what it was reasonable to own in different jurisdictions.

Clearly we are talking about a more primitive firearm than I have used, although some of the insights might be pertinent.  So the chief difference with the firearm, other than its length and lock was that I had complete certainty that it would not 'blow up'.  It was made of a modern steel, of good gauge and reputable source, by a gun maker that I personally knew and proofed at the central arsenal in the country.  Much to my colleagues' amusement I checked my musket each day after use, spending up to a couple of hours thoroughly cleaning, lightly oiling it then checking the closures on all of my black powder containers adjusting any imperfections with careful use of cold beeswax, cleaning the leather and the wood and metal so that I had confidence I knew the state of the equipment and would not have breakages in the field.  I also checked my match and if necessary dried it by my fire, there are some days however ingenious you are that the rain finds a way of getting into most places.  After a while I made my own match to assure the quality.

There is a world of difference in using such equipment when you are certain of its quality, that your powder is dry and your musket, equipment and match are ready.  One colleague was less careful and triggered a sympathetic detonation that ran across all of his powder.  Such accidents are historically recorded (so that was in a sense a success) although luckily he was standing vertically when the powder went off so just lost his beard, eyebrows and had burns to his face but was otherwise unharmed.  The point is that you think very carefully before opening a black powder closure and only ever do this as a deliberate act and not more often than you have need to.  Add into the mix poorer metallurgy and high profile incidents of weapons blowing up, I understand why in our period black powder weapons were used by skirmishers and I believe only ever used in the direct fire mode and when it most mattered on the battlefield.  I did have one opportunity to practice skirmish drills with my musket across one of the larger, one might say extended English Civil war battlefields and found it great fun but also nerve racking and we did our work by careful movement and by ambush.  The opposition tended to lack a sense of humour and at a different time I saw a colleague receive butt of musket in the face to deliberately break his nose.  You did your duty, but were careful not to get caught and as far as possible stayed close to your friends and to your standard.  When the penalty of things going wrong is not injury but death I get a sense of people only ever using a black powder weapon to have deliberate effect of which they could reasonably be sure.

The story is similar with a crossbow in that you seek to carefully load it and are very conscious of the destructive power of the prod and how easily the trigger can be squeezed.  Again, to me it is a weapon that invites deliberate use.  You would perhaps have to try it for yourself to understand the emotional dimension of using the crossbow as a weapon, but to me it is something for a deliberate target in my bead, unless you know of contrary references.

The emotional dimension of the longbow is entirely different and it is why archery ranges are controlled by excluding people from them, with drills and procedures to ensure there is no one ahead of the shooting line, particularly when the shooting line is moving.  Trusting your arrow to the sky is then a joy as you work with your skill with the weapon.  It is a weapon well suited to indirect use and I believe the drills that come to us from the age of Henry VIII reflect my understanding of accounts of practice in an earlier age, it was not all about shooting at the butts.  Again your purpose matters.  I have never been in a jurisdiction where a longbow was a legal hunting weapon.  But I can say that my first loose of the day is often my best and satisfies the criteria of a killing hit.  So, if you are going hunting, or are perhaps charged to take down senior figures amongst the enemy ranks as Kelly De Vires indicates that Dark Age Court archers were, then you only take aim when the circumstances are right to kill through a direct shot.  Yet if the opposition know to only charge you from beyond direct fire range or they will suffer, then since all looses become in effect indirect you loose as early as your arrow stocks and resupply arrangements allow, because this is a weapon with which you can shape the battlefield, once you can get the opposition making decisions through the lens of fear.

Does this make sense?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on August 04, 2020, 07:02:56 AM
But were crossbow or early arquebus shot indirecty too?
There are certainly contemporary illustrations of early handguns being fired at high angles, but the ones I can think of offhand where the target is shown are in sieges, and may reflect nothing more than men on ground level aiming direct fire at defenders atop walls.

Here's an example (https://americanhistory.si.edu/sites/default/files/castle%20seige.jpg).

Olaus Magnus has a pretty definite image of crossbows being used for indirect shooting (https://www.avrosys.nu/prints/olausmagnus2/100544.jpg), but his reliability is suspect (and his physics Aristotelian).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 04, 2020, 11:29:59 AM
Quote
Olaus Magnus has a pretty definite image of crossbows being used for indirect shooting, but his reliability is suspect (and his physics Aristotelian).

Though he is a bit limited in his medium of expression - I'm sure he didn't intend his indirect shooting to take place at such short distances.

Though I don't have any practical experience to draw upon, I take an interest in military archery.  I think we are at risk from being unclear on our terms.  Medieval archers seem to have done two types of target shooting, one against a standing target and the other against a target on the ground (a clout).  Standing targets were not simply shot at with a flat trajectory shot - at longer ranges they used "underhand" shooting, which is thought to mean they sighted under the hand of a raised bow arm.  It's hard to tell what range this sort of target was regularly shot at, but shooting fields with butts at either end suggest a range up to 140 yds for butt shooting, and there are historical records of competitions at similar ranges.  Above that, presumably indirect shooting was practiced.  From both experiment and 16th century sources that 200-240 yd ranges with standard "livery" arrows (the Mary Rose type) were expected.

To me, at least, our thinking was shaken up by Mike Loades contention that longbowmen rarely shot "parabolically" and usually engaged at shorter ranges.  Whether he was right or not, it did shift thinking away from ever extending ranges shown to be possible by the Mary Rose type bow. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 04, 2020, 11:40:18 AM
Just for the purposes of discussion, using Agincourt as a rough guide, I assume that there were about 5000 archers in Henry's army. I will assume that during the course of the battle, each managed to shoot a total of around 50 arrows each. If we assume that half of the French dead were killed by archery, this is assumed to be around a total of 5000 (dead). This makes about one death for each 50 arrows shot.

How does this accord with people's interpretation of ancient archery effectiveness on the battlefield? I would be interested in any comments.

P.S. Please note that my figures are 'ballpark' and not meant to be strictly in accordance with sources.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on August 04, 2020, 11:55:11 AM

Though he is a bit limited in his medium of expression - I'm sure he didn't intend his indirect shooting to take place at such short distances.
While I don't have the accompanying text at hand, I'm sure the range is supposed to be much greater than it looks like, yes.

Quote
Standing targets were not simply shot at with a flat trajectory shot - at longer ranges they used "underhand" shooting, which is thought to mean they sighted under the hand of a raised bow arm.
Which is funnily inverted to the musket-age rule that depending on range you should aim at the enemy's waist, knees, or feet. (But logical enough; bows don't kick as muskets do.)

Quote
Above that, presumably indirect shooting was practiced.  From both experiment and 16th century sources that 200-240 yd ranges with standard "livery" arrows (the Mary Rose type) were expected.
Do the 16C sources say what effect was expected at ~200 m? Is this the "annoyance" shooting we were talking about in another thread?
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 04, 2020, 11:59:34 AM
Seems like a good moment to note there is a bit of a move away from "arrow storming" at the moment e.g. this piece by Thom Richardson, formerly of the Royal Armouries

Rethinking the longbow

While the bows have ‘become’ more powerful than we used to think, the ‘arrowstorm’ beloved of English archery enthusiasts has diminished. We used to talk about resupply of arrows as if it was a natural and simple process, but the Privy Wardrobe accounts show otherwise.

Each archer had two sheaves of arrows to last a campaign, and would probably go into battle with just one of them. So all the statistics of how many arrows an archer can shoot in a minute are very much put into perspective by realising that such an arrowstorm could last just three minutes, then the arrows were gone. Once we are aware of that, we can see it happening in the sources: at Poitiers in 1356 the English archers ran out, and tried to recover spent arrows. At Towton in 1461 the Lancastrian archers ran out of arrows, and suffered the indignity of having the Yorkists shoot their own arrows back at them. So the vision moves away from darkening the sky with arrows like the Persians’ at Thermopylae towards a smaller number of accurately aimed arrows shot from very powerful bows by highly skilled and practised professional archers.


This would be more in line with Loades' thinking too.  Looking at arrow supply limitation against likely shooting rate does help to contextualise tactics.  Where I have my doubts on Richardson's view would be "aimed arrows...by highly skilled and practiced professionals".  I'd go competent archers at area targets myself.



Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 04, 2020, 12:15:29 PM
Quote
Do the 16C sources say what effect was expected at ~200 m? Is this the "annoyance" shooting we were talking about in another thread?

Yes, that's the one.  Even John Smythe, great longbow advocate, didn't see a lot of point in it. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Mark G on August 04, 2020, 12:53:08 PM
I’d expect that to be true of all shooting until cartridge ammunition (at the earliest).

So long as ammunition is a logistical effort to procure and transport, or reloading has a meaningful time component, you have to wonder why spend those factors on an annoyance?

If you judged it might provoke your opponent into breaking formation and loss of discipline then that might be a cost worth spending, as horse archers seem to do with flight arrows hoping to provoke a charge.

But other than that, it’s just effort spent getting to the field which has no return.

But can you convince gamers that only their slingers can shoot as often as the like, and everyone else just gets a volley before melee.

That Wrg 7th fatigue for shooting which everyone hated seems quite reasonable I think.  As does the very close DB ranges
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 04, 2020, 03:38:17 PM
Again, using Agincourt as an example, assume 5000 archers in Henry's army, each with the ability to discharge 12 arrows in a minute within their 'effective' range. Then this makes a total of 60,000 arrows discharged in a minute. With a 'hit' accuracy of even as low as 1%, this is 600 'hits' on a body of troops 'in a minute'. In a 'body' of French knights of say 1000, the ability of this to cause disorder and confusion is very significant; even if the 'hits' are neither actually fatal nor physically crippling.

So the key criteria for the archery is not actually the 'numbers' killed (or physically disabled) NOR the specific range (up to 200 yards), it is the tactical 'timing' of the potential disorder effect and hence the ability of the English army to exploit it in melee.

In that sense therefore, (effective) massed (foot) archery was a tactical  'shock weapon' rather than an 'attritional' one unlike horse archer attacks agaisnt a stationary, defensive target.

I would contest therefore, that there are really only 2 'ranges'; direct and indirect and that even though 'casualties' are important, it is more the disruptive effect of massed infantry (volley) archery that is the more significant tactical effect rather than the specific numbers of casualties related to the details of 'penetration against distance'.

In Tactica 2, this is reflected in a 'Missile Halt' test required of (any) formation that receives a minimum of 3 missile hits in a Turn. Casualties on a unit are recorded and so the attritional effects missile fire are  therefore also reflected in the rules.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 04, 2020, 04:23:36 PM
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I would contest therefore, that there are really only 2 'ranges'; direct and indirect and that even though 'casualties' are important, it is more the disruptive effect of massed infantry (volley) archery that is the more significant tactical effect rather than the specific numbers of casualties related to the details of 'penetration against distance'.

Simon, although you reject only 2 range bands, I'm not sure how you deal with archery and distance.  Do you have a single range in which all archery has a blanket effect? 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 04, 2020, 05:03:07 PM
Anthony,
For the sake of simplicity in wargames rules, it's probably only a single 'effective' range that's needed although for massed infantry archers shooting indirectly (clout) then 'all ranks' could be considered as shooting whereas for 'direct shooting', probably only the front rank figures would be eligible.

However, this latter consideration would then introduce the need for some adjustment to reflect relative 'effective penetration' and so then things start to become more complex. Is this necessary? That's up to the games designers.

I Tactica 2, only front rank figures are counted as shooting and there is only a single (effective) range. 6s are needed to hit. This is really as basic a simplification as you can get but in terms of the game, it seems to work fine (with the Missile Halt) rule. Players might argue that Sparabara should be allowed all figures to shoot but then if you make static 'fire' defence too effective in a game, then it affects the character of the game that you get to play.

Personally, I (and most others I've met) prefer games of manoeuvre and melee.

Next Monday's game is early Achaemenid Persians v Greek Hoplite so I'll let you know how that one goes. Previous such games have proven to be fairly equally balanced with the Persian advantage in cavalry and the Greek advantage in melee. Persian archery CAN be very effective occasionally but tends NOT to be sufficient to stop an aggressive Greek Phalanx (usually).

Bye the bye, I am actually very interested in the details of the art of archery and bow-making. I did buy a book on making longbows (The Archer's Craft) when living in Australia but never did actually get around to trying to make one (out of lemonwood or Osage Orange wood let alone Yew). I bought a flat bow instead and then broke it whilst stringing it one day. I did get a few shots off 'on the range' before that though (with aluminium arrows). It had a 40lb draw-weight so was reasonably manageable even for a beginner. It was good fun whilst it lasted.

When it comes to composite bows like the Mongols' horse bows though, that's an art about which I have only read.

In gaming terms, I think that notwithstanding all the very interesting discussion about missile penetration v distance, rates of 'fire', ammunition etc., care is needed for rules writers to not create ancient wargames which can be 'dominated' by 'static' missile fire but where missile fire does definitely have significant potential to influence the course of the combat effectiveness of units in the 'game-deciding' melees.  Hence the simple approach.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 04, 2020, 05:19:49 PM
Quote
In gaming terms, I think that notwithstanding all the very interesting discussion about missile penetration v distance, rates of 'fire', ammunition etc., care is needed for rules writers to not create ancient wargames which can be 'dominated' by 'static' missile fire but where missile fire does definitely have significant potential to influence the course of the combat effectiveness of units in the 'game-deciding' melees.  Hence the simple approach.

Agreed, though we go about modelling it differently.  Though we both decide the issue by throwing a single d6 :)
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 04, 2020, 06:54:11 PM
Or in the case of Tactica 2, lots of d6s.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on August 04, 2020, 08:16:42 PM
Quote
Do the 16C sources say what effect was expected at ~200 m? Is this the "annoyance" shooting we were talking about in another thread?

Yes, that's the one.  Even John Smythe, great longbow advocate, didn't see a lot of point in it.

Thanks :)

Since that thread, I've been toying with the idea that shooting that actually causes significant casualties is subsumed into close combat (that is base contact; note that this would be in a set were bases are 100p deep and troops in base contact could be up to almost 150m apart), and longer ranged shooting isn't resolved as combat but affects command and control. Something like it being harder to order troops to do anything but retire or advance to contact, and unordered troops being more prone to disorder.

But if Smythe saw little point in it, maybe the best thing to do is to ignore it entirely. It sucks for the odd guy who gets an arrow in the eye, but on the army level it makes no appreciable difference.

(Now, the real question is, will any of these ideas ever be tried for real? Minis gaming of any kind, let alone playtesting of novel ideas, has been scarce enough recently.)
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 01:21:38 AM
SimonW

Quote
Bye the bye, I am actually very interested in the details of the art of archery and bow-making.

Longbow making is fairly simple, but its one of those simple things that is complicated.  The most important thing is straight grained timber, ideally without knots.  If timber is partially shaded it tends to twist as it grows and while a limited amount of twist will still make a bow that works you probably have a tolerance of a few degrees.  My light weight 40lb 'home made' ash longbow is 'a little round the corner' in the lower limb, so often excites comment on the shooting line, which makes it all the more fun to show what it can do.

A billet of timber, 6'6" to 7' is best.  You then need a large throe and a hawthorn or blackthorn root mallet to hit the throe with and split across the centre of the billet.  You then need 3 or 4 timber wedges to work the crack that you make when splitting the timber.  The way you pressure a crack with the wedges, done right causes the crack to run straight rather than to run out allowing may be 6 bows to be made from a single billet.

In terms of shaping the billet you need a shave horse and a draw knife.  Traditionalists tend to use an axe for the first shaping but you need to be good with your axe work if you are going to try this.  Importantly the strength of the bow is in the continuous grain so an axe must not cut the grain in the wood that you are relying on for the strength of the bow.  A draw knife is more controllable.  Modern bow makers then go to a spoke shave and get very grumpy with those who don't like using them.  I did all my shaping with a large draw knife about 10" broad, that my grandfather used when working as a woodsman in the 1930's.  Then I use a 6" draw knife to finish off.

You will see a lot of talk about having a stiff handle in the middle of the bow, this is a very Victorian idea.  You get a much better bow if you go for a full compass bow instead, in other words a bow intended to bend along its full length including through the handle.  Provided you measure accurately and just work one end of the bow and then the other equally there is no problem to get a bow going full compass in this way.

Essentially you shape down to a 10th of an inch of your final dimensions and then start to bend you bow with a pulley held in a rig, just gently.  The tips will bend first, note where the bend in each side of the bow ceases to be even, mark it and gently shave.  Then bend again.  Final shaping only takes a couple of hours.  The tricky bit is going from a section of a billet to the bow ready to first bend.  It's not difficult, you just need to know which side should be the back and which the belly and the approximate dimensions for the poundage that you seek.

A number of bowyers offer courses and will again when normality returns.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 05, 2020, 10:40:19 AM
Paul,

Thanks for the info. I was originally going to attempt the traditional approach with lemon wood which is (apparently) relatively easy to work compared with Osage Orange and Yew (and Elm and Ash) although it does 'take on' a slight curve eventually.

However, my MS these days means that I'm afraid that the project is another one that has been shelved; probably permanently.

I'll have to stick with my painting and gaming now and efforts to try and get back on my bike!

Cheers
Simon
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 10:47:59 AM
Simon,

  I feel for you.  That's a lot to deal with.

  Making a bow is really hard work.  You need to finish it while the wood is still green (has sap left in it), so even in winter conditions you have to have completed the majority of the work in 2 days with the first half of the third day just for finishing off.  So may be 14 hours labour put in over 2 and a half days.  Those who are stronger can probably do it faster.  But essentially you need to be able to labour for 6 hours in a day with breaks to get it done fast enough.

  What are your current painting projects?

Paul.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 05, 2020, 03:22:51 PM
Paul,

2 years ago (when I was still able to easily cycle 50+ miles in a day)  it would still have been possible but not now. My legs have 'gone'. I can only walk about quarter of a mile with a stick but I am still working at getting back onto my bike.

Currently painting 36 new Hoplites with 48 archers and skirmishers also undercoated and ready to go. I also have 48 Successor pikemen undercoated and ready and 48 Sumerian spearmen. I've just also had 36 Chaldean foot delivered to augment my Neo Babylonians.

Aside from these I have 100s of Persians, Assyrians, Macedonians, Republican Romans, Carthaginians, New Kingdom Egytpians, Hittites, Asiatics, Mycenaeans still to do.

Cheers
Simon

I have effectively finished only my Mauryan Indians and Gauls (apart from 'officers' and vignette material). Everything is in 28mm scale. I  daresay that I'll not get it all finished before my toes curl over (although I'm not anticipating that anytime soon).

I presently have about 5000 foot, 1000 cavalry and 100 chariots painted.  I have an 8ft by 5ft table at home in the 'dining' (actually a permenent games) room so I can still play good-sized Tactica 2 games at home with a few like-minded pals.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 04:19:47 PM
Quote
Standing targets were not simply shot at with a flat trajectory shot - at longer ranges they used "underhand" shooting, which is thought to mean they sighted under the hand of a raised bow arm.

I have tried 'underhand shooting' in the way that you describe but I did not find it to help (when aiming at a specific target).  For me and those I have trained with it is more accurate to take the line to the target from your normal stance, make a range estimate and then bend your rear knee from 'Kinaesthetic memory'.  When practising it is best to have your partner do your spotting for you and let you know the degree to which you may be mistaken.  Then its just a case of practise and heuristics so that knowing the loose for a few ranges with certainty the rest can be interpolated tolerably well, just a question then of gauging that range.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 04:29:07 PM
Re: handguns; most people seem to rely upon the tests carried out by Payne - Gallway using replicas of late 14thc guns with really short barrels hence the short ranges recorded.
You can load and fire a replica 15thc handgun as quickly as an 18/19thc musket. It's the discipline involved in firing ordered volleys that slows the potential rate of fire down, that and the amount of powder, shot and matchcord carried by the gunner.
I seem to remember that Monluc in his memoirs tells of an incident where his arquebusiers are happily potting the enemy at around 400 yards but typically I can't find my copy to check!

In my experience of a reproduction C17th Musket, there is no major problem with ordered volleys, once you operate in 6 ranks as the drill manuals of that time illustrate.  Instead there is plenty of time to complete loading while the 5 ranks in front each complete their shot, just needing to take one or two paces forwards once each front rank retires.  Match cord is not that much of a problem either, its perfectly possible to make a slow burning chord from good dense chord and suitably dilute saltpetre.  Powder and ready shot are the critical things, although there is an incident of musketeers running out of chord after their ammunition cart blew up.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 05:35:10 PM
Simon,

  While your painting is:

Quote
Persians, Assyrians, Macedonians, Republican Romans, Carthaginians, New Kingdom Egytpians, Hittites, Asiatics, Mycenaeans, Mauryan Indians and Gauls . Everything is in 28mm scale.

  I am in 15mm 'land' and loving the quality of the modern figure.  A deliberate choice (although we are now working on our plan for somewhere larger) is that we are in a 2 bedroom apartment just now.  So I am experimenting with gaming on the smallest board from which I still get pleasure from the visual impact of the modelling and some justifiable sense of realism from the battle.  I'm also aiming for games targeted at around the hour mark.  So a board c. 2' * 3'.  Also to work within the space I am concentrating on dark age / early medieval as my first priority, painting a core set of figures that are deliberately ambiguous so that they can stand in for a number of armies with a a few bases of specific figures to give each army its proper character.  So top priority project = Late Anglo-Danish and Norman 1066; Then Viking from the same year; Next MacBeth for Seward's Scottish Campaign and then the Welsh for Harold Godwinson's two campaigns followed by the Welsh for Anglo-Norman.  As a seprate project area I have Late / Roman ... did someone mention Arthur, and Pictish as my take on the Barbarian conspiracy and post Roman Northern Britain, I was given the Romans (so it would have been rude not to) and I have a soft spot for the Picts (a girl friend some years ago was very into them).  My partner is also guiding me to do the Cousins Wars (Wars of the Roses) that we both enjoy.

  I have experimented with 2mm, can produce figures that still have visual impact, but did not find the gaming experience satisfying despite having my battlefields as accurately modelled as I could.  In this regard I have produced 2 games, one based on the siege of Arundel December 1643 and the other on Cheriton March 1644.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 05, 2020, 08:55:12 PM
Andreas,

 
Quote
Olaus Magnus has a pretty definite image of crossbows being used for indirect shooting

  What I most notice about the picture that your post linked to is the closeness of the Cavalry to the crossbow men and the bolts suggested to be falling vertically upon them.  I could imagine this being used to achieve killing effect on the weaker armour carried by the knights at relatively close distance, but looking at the crossbow men, they do not look that well equipped to withstand that part of a charge that should arrive (I also note what I interpret as battlefield obstacles).  So quite close shots to cover the other side of the obstacles and drive the cavalry to seek to escape the bolts through rushing forwards onto troops that do not look ready to receive them and hence onto the obstacles looks possible to me.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on August 06, 2020, 05:58:25 AM
The accompanying text says that when the cavalry gets close, the crossbowmen switch to shooting horizontally and aiming for the horses, and if any horsemen get past that and the caltrops, they have poleaxes to deal with them. So I don't think there's any escaping the conclusion the range is out of scale to the figures in the picture.

While I have my doubts about the historicity of the tactic, the combination of crossbows and polearms would be typical of late medieval Scandinavian infantry. For those for whom Olaus Magnus isn't a household name, he was a Catholic exile and titular archbishop of Uppsala who in the mid-16C wrote the Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus ("History of the Northern Peoples"), a description of Scandinavia covering everything from natural history to military tactics. It's generally regarded as more colourful than reliable.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 06, 2020, 12:26:21 PM
But were crossbow or early arquebus shot indirecty too?
There are certainly contemporary illustrations of early handguns being fired at high angles, but the ones I can think of offhand where the target is shown are in sieges, and may reflect nothing more than men on ground level aiming direct fire at defenders atop walls.

Here's an example (https://americanhistory.si.edu/sites/default/files/castle%20seige.jpg).

Olaus Magnus has a pretty definite image of crossbows being used for indirect shooting (https://www.avrosys.nu/prints/olausmagnus2/100544.jpg), but his reliability is suspect (and his physics Aristotelian).

I think the crossbows pic is not trying to show accurate ranges but just fit the concept of indirect shooting into the constraints of an image space. It certainly shows that overhead fire was a thing for crossbows.

Does shooting cause disorder? Disorder means the files and ranks are out of alignment; the ordered formation has become a confused mass of men. I doubt that actually happened. What seems to have happened is that the arrow hits worked on the men's fear, sharpening their instinct for self-preservation and sapping their courage, making them reluctant to advance further towards the enemy. This would put them at a moral disadvantage when they actually met the enemy in melee combat. Nothing weakens a man's resolve to fight quite like being subjected to a life-threatening peril and being unable to do anything about it.

Re indirect fire we did cover this somewhere before. The advantage of shooting at extreme range is that - unlike shooting at shorter ranges - the arrows will land at pretty much the same distance even if one varies slightly the elevation of one's bow, so one doesn't need to sight the target. But once the enemy passes the extreme range window then only the front-rank archers can target them. Which would explain why extreme range shooting wasn't that effective - the fear it caused would pass once the advancing line was within the range window, and only the front rankers - the best and bravest fighters of the line - could henceforth be subjected to missile fire. The men behind were free to feel as courageous as they liked.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 06, 2020, 01:19:12 PM
OK, time to trot out Jean de Wavrin's account of advancing against archers at Agincourt (Wavrin was there, though he would have been with the baggage.  That said, he will have faced archery himself as a man at arms a few years later)

Then the French, seeing the English come towards them in this fashion, placed themselves in order, everyone under his banner, their helmets on their heads. The Constable, the Marshal, the admirals, and the other princes earnestly exhorted their men to fight the English well and bravely; and when it came to the approach the trumpets and clarions resounded everywhere; but the French began to hold down their heads, especially those who had no bucklers (Fr pavais = shields, pavises), for the impetuosity of the English arrows, which fell so heavily that no one durst uncover or look up. Thus they went forward a little, then made a little retreat, but before they could come to close quarters, many of the French were disabled and wounded by the arrows; and when they came quite up to the English, they were, as has been said, so closely pressed one against another that none of them could lift their arms to strike their enemies, except some that were in front, and these fiercely pricked with the lances which they had shortened to be more stiff, and to get nearer their enemies.

The arrows here are not hitting the French horizontally, they are coming in from above.  The crouched posture is interesting, as it has both a practical and (probably) psychological aspect.  It receives arrows on the glancing surfaces and thickest armour.  The psychological bit is how it mimics walking into a storm

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 06, 2020, 01:26:19 PM
OK, time to trot out Jean de Wavrin's account of advancing against archers at Agincourt (Wavrin was there, though he would have been with the baggage.  That said, he will have faced archery himself as a man at arms a few years later)

Then the French, seeing the English come towards them in this fashion, placed themselves in order, everyone under his banner, their helmets on their heads. The Constable, the Marshal, the admirals, and the other princes earnestly exhorted their men to fight the English well and bravely; and when it came to the approach the trumpets and clarions resounded everywhere; but the French began to hold down their heads, especially those who had no bucklers (Fr pavais = shields, pavises), for the impetuosity of the English arrows, which fell so heavily that no one durst uncover or look up. Thus they went forward a little, then made a little retreat, but before they could come to close quarters, many of the French were disabled and wounded by the arrows; and when they came quite up to the English, they were, as has been said, so closely pressed one against another that none of them could lift their arms to strike their enemies, except some that were in front, and these fiercely pricked with the lances which they had shortened to be more stiff, and to get nearer their enemies.

The arrows here are not hitting the French horizontally, they are coming in from above.  The crouched posture is interesting, as it has both a practical and (probably) psychological aspect.  It receives arrows on the glancing surfaces and thickest armour.  The psychological bit is how it mimics walking into a storm

One could see this in two phases:

1. The French advance to within extreme range and all the ranks, including the rear ranks that don't have shields, get peppered by arrows that come down at a 45 degree angle. They pause in their advance, pull back to outside of extreme range, have their genealogy described to them in colourful terms by their leaders, and advance again.

2. Before they reach the English their line has contracted in width, thanks to the flanking woods, and they can't fight properly since they are so jammed together. But a this point they are 'at close quarters' and are no longer bothered by the overhead fire, though the front rankers are still being targeted by direct fire - which isn't too much of a problem since they are heavily armoured. Just they can't fight. Battle over.

Notice there's nothing the passage about the French getting disordered by the arrow fire.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Dangun on August 06, 2020, 03:27:28 PM
Notice there's nothing the passage about the French getting disordered by the arrow fire.

Maybe...
But the bit about, "closely pressed against one another," implies that this is not what was intended. Is that disorder?

so closely pressed one against another that none of them could lift their arms to strike their enemies, except some that were in front, and these fiercely pricked with the lances which they had shortened to be more stiff, and to get nearer their enemies.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 06, 2020, 03:36:01 PM
Notice there's nothing the passage about the French getting disordered by the arrow fire.

Maybe...
But the bit about, "closely pressed against one another," implies that this is not what was intended. Is that disorder?

so closely pressed one against another that none of them could lift their arms to strike their enemies, except some that were in front, and these fiercely pricked with the lances which they had shortened to be more stiff, and to get nearer their enemies.

Yes, but not by the arrows. I think the general idea is that the narrowing battlefield obliged the French to press together.  Either that or the English archers were shooting from the flanks and the French instinctively moved away from them towards the centre. either way this was a fortuitous once-off. In other battles, arrow fire may slow or even stop an advance but there's no evidence as far as I know that it turns ordered ranks and files into a jumbled mass.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 06, 2020, 04:11:56 PM
Quote
Yes, but not by the arrows.

I don't think you can discount the archery, even if its not explicitly referenced. After all, the vast majority of the English archery is coming at them from the flanks.
The French van, for those who wish to count the disorder factors, had to advance on a narrow front across a muddy field while being shot at by large numbers of archers, at the same time has having some of their cavalry routing into them .  If this were not enough, their following main battle collided with their rear ranks.  So, although it doesn't explicitly say they were disordered, I think we accept they were not in parade ground order.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on August 06, 2020, 04:23:05 PM
Also depends what you mean by 'disorder'. It's one of those nasty little military history words that gets chucked about without anyone being clear what it means. Justin's only accepted meaning for it seems to be 'had their neat ranks and files messed up'  (would they have been in neat ranks and files?) but (to me) 'disorder' can also encompass being killed and wounded, being slowed down or sped up, being forced to move in some not-entirely-voluntary way, being psychologically shaken etc. etc. So just because Wavrin doesn't say "Les Français étaient désordonnés par les flèches" you can't say they weren't disordered - it is implicit in his account.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 06, 2020, 04:30:45 PM
Since the 'invention' of 'organised' warfare, archery has been used if available; from the Akkadians, through Assyrians, Persians, Indians, Huns, Sassanians, Byzantines to Mediaeval times. 

Why is this? What effects did archery have that made it so attractive/valuable? Was it the inflicting of 'mass casualties' in a 'shock' effect or  attrition over  more extended periods of time? Was it its effectiveness on the 'open battlefield' or its use for the defence of fortifications. Or was it all of these?

Well personally, I can't think of many situations where simply inflicting 'mass casualties' alone led to the destruction of an opponent.   Ramses III against the Libyans perhaps.

Archery was certainly used to 'goad' opponents into rash advances. The Mongols were expert at this. Agincourt may also be an example.

More commonly, it seems that archery was most successfully employed in combination with other (non=archer) melee 'shock' troops.  Charges could be 'shot-in' or archery could 'soften up' a target for the 'charge' to finish it off.

Then there were 'Sparabara' troops (Assyrians and Persians). How effective were these? Were they only defensive formations or attack-support troops? Were they expected to actually stop, merely by missile fire, the enemy formations from actually closing for melee. (Didin't seem to work against Hoplites) or 'disrupt' enemy formations for 'others' to finish off (Assyrian chariotry for instance).

My personal interpretation is that history' suggests that archery was really only truly 'decisive' when used 'in combination' with other, close combat troops. Archers alone (foot or mounted) were not normally successful in defeating aggressive and reasonably trained and equipped opponents (though there are exceptions).

So what were the actual archery effects that enabled the success of 'combined arms' tactics? The morale effect of 'goading' an opponent into a rash and perhaps disorganised charge such as the Mongols' effects against eastern European Mediaeval knights is a good example, so I don't think that the potential for significant effect on 'morale' is particularly controversial.

What about the 'softening up' of a target by archery for other 'close combat' troops to successfully charge and defeat? How was this achieved? It seems to me that this wasn't always achieved over extended periods of time. There are some examples (Crassus' disastrous eastern campaigns and even Hastings). Often though, it seems that the archery effect was achieved over a relatively short period of time such that it can also be classed as a 'shock' effect in itself.

What was this 'shock' effect? Well, I can only really see it as a the inflicting of a sufficient number of casualties to 'disrupt the cohesion' of a target unit prior to its being successfully charged (by others). Edward I was an exponent of these tactics. The key phrase here is 'disrupt the cohesion'. This is my interpretation but I think that the historical evidence implies that this effect must have been a potentially significant and decisive factor in many ancient battles where archery was employed.

Therefore, I would contend that wargames rules need not to over-emphasize the actual 'killing power' of archery but rather they  must reflect the morale and 'disruption' effects of archery on target bodies of troops that made them vulnerable to attacks/charges and the consequent melees.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 06, 2020, 04:56:08 PM
Quote
Therefore, I would contend that wargames rules need not to over-emphasize the actual 'killing power' of archery but rather they  must reflect the morale and 'disruption' effects of archery on target bodies of troops that made them vulnerable to attacks/charges and the consequent melees.

Which, of course, returns us to what effect are we measuring when we say casualty and does it matter?  If we take a unit perspective in the abstract game sense, whether combat effectivness is impacted by men dying, men getting hurt, men soiling their underwear or skulking at the back doesn't matter - its whether unit A impairs the effectiveness of unit B, by how much and how permanently.  In my experience , rules usually use "casualties" as permanent attrition on effectivness and adjustments to combat factors to represent temporary effects (like the old WRG half effect for disorder or -2 charged in flank).
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 06, 2020, 05:00:24 PM
Also depends what you mean by 'disorder'. It's one of those nasty little military history words that gets chucked about without anyone being clear what it means. Justin's only accepted meaning for it seems to be 'had their neat ranks and files messed up'  (would they have been in neat ranks and files?) but (to me) 'disorder' can also encompass being killed and wounded, being slowed down or sped up, being forced to move in some not-entirely-voluntary way, being psychologically shaken etc. etc. So just because Wavrin doesn't say "Les Français étaient désordonnés par les flèches" you can't say they weren't disordered - it is implicit in his account.

So we need to define our terms.

For me 'disorder' is the opposite of 'order,' and 'order' in a military context means a structured formation. I think a minimum of structure is essential for anything larger than a street mob having a brawl. A large unformed crowd is a danger to its members since they can be easily crushed into helplessness or worse, as Agincourt demonstrated. For a soldier to fight effectively he needs the right amount of space - just enough on his flanks so he can wield his weapons but without being attacked from the sides, and enough behind him so he can give way if necessary (every form of hand-to-hand combat I can find underlines the necessity of being able to recoil from an opponent's blows - if you are backed against a wall you are at a serious disadvantage no matter what your weapon). The way to achieve all this with a large body of men to form up in files. This enables the front men, who do the fighting, to determine how much lateral space they need. It also enables the men behind them to back up if necessary and give them the necessary recoil space. I think this applied even to tribal armies. There are several mentions of Gallic infantry forming phalanxes which implies some kind of structure.

A short burst of archer fire won't disorder a structured formation, but over a longer period of time it might, especially if the infantry is being shot at from different sides. The men instinctively back away from arrows coming from different directions and the formation's structure breaks up.

My own feeling however is that archery fire is principally demoralising in the short term, as it subjects infantry to danger of death without the infantry being able to do anything about it. Their feeling of helplessness very easily translates into heightened fear and even panic, and makes them less resolute when they finally engage in hand-to-hand combat.

In most gaming systems disorder and morale probably equate in effect and don't need to be represented by separate mechanisms, but they do have different causes. Bad terrain disorders troops but doesn't demoralise them. Fighting a superior opponent demoralises troops but doesn't necessarily disorder them.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 06, 2020, 06:42:01 PM
I interpret unit cohesion to affected by 3 main elements as follows (excl. 'fatigue'):

a. Morale: a unit must have a certain morale level to act coherently in accordance with its orders

b. Physical disruption:  the cohesion of a unit can be 'physically' disrupted by moving over difficult terrain, interpenetration etc.

c. Casualties: the cohesion of a unit can be disrupted by receiving a high rate of casualties causing gaps in the ranks (requiring to be re-filled) as well as also a 'trip hazard' if the unit is moving as well as individuals being physical hampered by wounds and so unable to move at the same rate as the rest. (This also factors into 1. and 2.)

These 3 elements can either be combined into a single measure (e.g. no. of hits) OR monitored discretely. It depends on the game.

An example of a very simple (non archery) effect which could lead to 'disruption' of the cohesion of a unit is having a unit which has been advancing quickly for a couple of turns suddenly halt. I see this done routinely in virtually every game I play but if you think about it, to suddenly halt from a rapid advance towards the enemy (unless ordered onto a particular position), would in my opinion, have potential to  significantly impact morale. What has changed? What has gone wrong? Have we been outflanked?  Why? Uncertainty.

For this last reason, I would suggest that combining all three of the above factors into a single measure is perhaps going too far. There are no doubt other examples of 'non-casualty' related influences that would be 'missed' from a game if the 'unit cohesion' was solely measured by means of casualties carried.

With respect to the influence of archery therefore, then it seems to me that missile fire can influence all 3 of the criteria (of unit cohesion) that I describe (casualties, morale, physical disruption). Therefore, it is potentially an extremely useful 'weapon'. That's maybe why it was so widely employed and for so long.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 06, 2020, 07:00:52 PM
Quote
An example of a very simple (non archery) effect which could lead to 'disruption' of the cohesion of a unit is having a unit which has been advancing quickly for a couple of turns suddenly halt. I see this done routinely in virtually every game I play but if you think about it, to suddenly halt from a rapid advance towards the enemy (unless ordered onto a particular position), would in my opinion, have potential to  significantly impact morale. What has changed? What has gone wrong? Have we been outflanked?  Why? Uncertainty.

From a re-enactors perspective - manoeuvring with up to 3000 troops, each manoeuvre element is briefed as to the key features of what to expect, and what the plan is.  So an advance followed by a halt has a purpose and it has risks and those involved understand both of these.  An example of this being the forlorn hope, tasked to make a nuisance of itself in order to shield manoeuvre and perceptions of manoeuvre behind its location.  Other elements will poise to give the sense that it is not alone, but the 'real plan' is probably unfolding somewhere else.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 06, 2020, 07:20:29 PM
Pual,
Yes; exactly. But what happens in games is that players react to a 'new' (and maybe unforeseen) situation that has arisen by halting their unit that has previously been advancing quickly towards the enemy. Now this is a voluntary reaction on behalf of the player but where is the 'penalty' in relation to the morale/cohesion/disorder effects on the unit involved?

Similarly, whether halted Or advancing, suddenly coming under (unexpectedly) heavy missile fire is also potentially going to have a significant effect.
Cheers
Simon
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 06, 2020, 09:50:21 PM
A couple of points
1). Earlier it was mentioned that Greek hoplites moved to contact with the Persian sparabara. That is true, and it compromised the Persian tactical system, but it was most likely  an unusual event until the Greeks did it.  Herodotus  tells us that Marathon was the first time that Greeks ran at the Persians. That implies that the  Ionian Greeks had stood or moved slowly against the Persians, thus spending longer under the arrow storm. Given the Persian predilection for decimal  units  I suggest that bow units are ten men deep potential strike around 24  shots per hoplite target , meanwhile the Persians are  winning the cavalry battle on the flanks .
The Persians most usual enemies were other bow armies such as Babylonians  or Egyptians who were no keener to close , at least until the archery duel had been devided. Steppe opponent were difficult, but Sakae did not have sufficient striking power to charge tgrough a ten deep line and a bow duel would be expensive in horses.
2) I am firmly convinced that order and teamwork are vital to military effectiveness. In two  Roman defeats damaging disorder is reported as a main cause, Cannae  and Adrianople.  In both of which being crushed together  and unable to use their weapons properly are  causes for the extreme defeat. At Carrhae the cataphracts charges force the legionaries into close proximity and prevent tgem defending themselves properly.  I do wonder if the nature of the wargamer’s  representation of units as say 24 spearmen all looking the same and at the same  angle, all neatly spaced and aligned, does not show the substructure within the  larger unit. The Greek hoplites had, for example specialist file leaders and closers who may have worn more effective armour . Within the file  was ( in some armies at least)  a younger man trained to run out and deal with annoying peltasts. The second man in the file had a role that involved direct combat and protection of the file leader,  The other chaps  in the ranks certainly had roles, though perhaps less crucial on a good day. The men in the file will have had specific drills that worked together to maximise their effect. The Romans will have had similar team relationships. Apparently casualties amongst centurions were high in hard fought battles. I wonder if this was due to some specific style of fighting  in which centurions took the lead and the effort was organised around them. Were men assigned roles in relationship to this? Certainly if your fighting method depends on the heroic efforts of a front rank leader and you are attacked from the rear he is in the wrong place.. In Vking and Saxon armies of tge tenth and eleventh centuries I would see the relationship between spearmen, axemen  and indeed archers as a drilled and trained method.Similarly in medieval armies with combined units of spearmen, two handed weapon users and swordsmen had roles and positions for each weapon. Order, for me is the ability for the men to operate with their appropriate weapons in their correct positions, with the space to perform properly.  Disorder is not being able to. work the unit effectively.  It might be because a rear attack has keft key warriors in the wrong place, or that the unit has been so crushed together that men cannot use their weapons properly , or that combat casualties, quite possibly of tge best men, have rendered the unit ineffective .  The importance of disorder is it consequence, the reduction  in fighting ability of the unit. Thus a morale collapse could cause disorder if it so unhinged the group that their ability to resist collapsed.  Similarly, for exhaustion, where I believe the Romans were so much better trained and disciplined that they could allow the enemy to exhaust themselves and then slaughter them .
Massed bowfire would kill some enemy, but the effect of many ‘punches’ delivered on an opposing warrior who also has to trudge across a muddy field in armour or carrying a heavy shield and the loss of order in that men would fall behind and the team lose its shape would  cause ‘disorder’ and a resultant loss of fighting power.
Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: simonw on August 07, 2020, 09:35:53 AM
Roy,
Pretty much the way I see things too.
Cheers
Simon
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on August 07, 2020, 10:50:00 AM
Justin:
Quote
So we need to define our terms. For me 'disorder' is the opposite of 'order,' and 'order' in a military context means a structured formation.

Fair enough - but it looks to me as if Roy and others are using 'disorder' more in the sense I am using it - to degrade the fighting ability of a unit or formation, potentially in a number of different ways. When you say "the archers didn't disorder the French" that sounds nonsense to me - of course they did, by my definition. But if you mean "the archers didn't impair the neat rank and file structure of the French" that may be true (though I wonder again if there's any evidence they had a neat rank and file structure, and also whether you can have men falling dead and wounded, men halted or 'pushed back', men lowering their heads against the storm, without also impairing the neat rank and file structure).

Quote
every form of hand-to-hand combat I can find underlines the necessity of being able to recoil from an opponent's blows - if you are backed against a wall you are at a serious disadvantage no matter what your weapon

Absolutely, I agree. But then what about o.... Auuugghh no! Don't ask! Don't go there!   :o  :o  :o

In games terms you'll be astonished to hear I'd favour bundling disorder, demoralisation, casualties etc all up into one status.

Roy's post suggests what seems to me a somewhat idealised vision of hoplite armies (except the Lacedaimonians) but I'm aware this is wandeirng far from WoR ranges.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 07, 2020, 11:19:16 AM
At Agincourt, it is recorded (by different sources), that the English were four deep and the French 31.  Regardless of anything else, measuring formations by men deep suggests a conception of ranks, though not necessarily in a formal sense.  On disorder, this was the great fear of medieval infantry.  Keeping the line tight, without bits rushing ahead or opening gaps, was vital.  It was a topos of medieval combat accounts that a unit advanced in a formation so tight that an apple thrown into their midst would be unable to fall to the ground without hitting a helmet (or being impaled on a lance).  Yet clearly, there was enough room to wield weapons freely and if that was impaired, the army was in serious difficulties.  Hence, the contribution of archery to causing the compression at Agincourt would be considered by contemporaries as a serious impairment of effectiveness, whether they called it disorder or not.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: RichT on August 07, 2020, 11:35:57 AM
Thanks - though I do wonder, does 'four deep' etc really imply a conception of ranks? In modern English we routinely talk about 'crowds n deep' (where n = whatever) where it just means roughly that many deep (and where for example 'ten deep' really just means 'lots of people quite tightly packed'). Is the Agincourt usage likely to be more formal or more like modern English?

Is there evidence of drill in these armies? How would Henry form his men four deep? For Hellenistic armies we know exactly how (form 16 deep in open order, double by men, double by frontage (if necessary), double by men again, double by frontage again (if necessary)). Would Henry's army be more along the lines of 'you lot fill this space'?

31 deep is a mighty odd number. Why 31?

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 07, 2020, 12:37:41 PM
Thanks - though I do wonder, does 'four deep' etc really imply a conception of ranks? In modern English we routinely talk about 'crowds n deep' (where n = whatever) where it just means roughly that many deep (and where for example 'ten deep' really just means 'lots of people quite tightly packed'). Is the Agincourt usage likely to be more formal or more like modern English?

Is there evidence of drill in these armies? How would Henry form his men four deep? For Hellenistic armies we know exactly how (form 16 deep in open order, double by men, double by frontage (if necessary), double by men again, double by frontage again (if necessary)). Would Henry's army be more along the lines of 'you lot fill this space'?

31 deep is a mighty odd number. Why 31?

In truth, I have my doubts about the formality of ranks in any medieval formation before the mid 15th century (when ranks and files are clearly there in Swiss pike keils).  There are occassions when we have a profile through the ranks (a front, maybe a second then the middle bit and the back).  As to how they drew up, something drawn up in English indentured retinues positioned their standards and the men fell in behind and to the sides.  They probably ringed the standard with close protection, so a rank before , the rank the standard was in and at least one behind . Then others conformed to that.  But that is a bit of a guess.

The 31 deep comes from Tito Livio Frulovisi (as does the 4 deep, which I mistakenly said was from a different source earlier).  He wasn't an eye witness but he was in the service of Humphrey of Gloucester and is thought to have written down his recollections.  Personally, I think we are dealing with that favourite medieval technique of making up precise numbers to make your text look accurate - he may have in fact been told that the English were in four ranks and the French were a lot deeper (maybe 7 or 8 times?).  Interestingly, the French men-at-arms outnumbered the English by a similar ratio by modern calculations.  Also, this is all the men-at-arms , so this is the combined depth of the van and the main battle. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Andreas Johansson on August 07, 2020, 01:26:40 PM
In games terms you'll be astonished to hear I'd favour bundling disorder, demoralisation, casualties etc all up into one status.

Simon MacDowall is your man - or at least his rules tend to track attrition by the accumulation of "death, disorder and demoralization points" (abbrev. "DPs"). They can be incurred from complex manoeuvres or unnerving experiences such as seeing friends defeated, as well as from direct enemy action.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 07, 2020, 01:35:47 PM
Simon's rules also allow the rallying off of DPs, to represent the idea that some damage is temporary .
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 07, 2020, 04:19:03 PM
Roy,

  I certainly like your suggestion below ... have you a source or sources that you particularly note in this regard?

Quote
In Vking and Saxon armies of tge tenth and eleventh centuries I would see the relationship between spearmen, axemen  and indeed archers as a drilled and trained method.


All,

  More generally I wonder what service we do to the memory of our ancestors when we invoke the notion that they were an untrustworthy bunch, not working to modern standards as decent folk surely would have, then use this notion as a heuristic and slap it all over our view of that which we seek to study.  What is in it for us to 'colonise' perceptions of the past in this way?

  Clearly we need to work to understand what our ancestors meant by what they said and we need to understand why we believe what we do and the extent to which we believe such a view to be 'safe', so that we can spot contrary evidence when we see it and adjust our view ... because.  Just a thought.

 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 07, 2020, 07:52:44 PM
Paul,
I would cite :
the battle of Aarhus which is described in the Battles section of this Forum.
The Bayeux Tapestry where the Front ranks with spear  and bundled javelins are shown operating with the axemen who plausibly are coming through the shield wall to strike at stalled cavalry.
The Courtrai chest which shows ( in my view) front ranks of spear, tgen godendag men, then falchion wielders.

Finally, tge simple logic that mixed weapons impose, so the Scots deploy spears frontally against tge English knights and then have men with lochaber  axes to deal  with horsemen who force their way through the ranks.  If we look at another way, what would be the point of a front ranker with the axe when the arrows are whizzing i.  That’s when you need the overlapped shiels. Then the spears face and halt the cavalry attack.  When the hose has lost impetus, the axes step forward to hack at the stalled  riders.
Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 08, 2020, 01:11:33 AM
Roy,

  I quite agree.

  I was just becoming concerned that the tenor of the discussion shifting in favour of a view that was starting to sound to me like an argument for the operation of semi-organised mobs rather than military formation, E.g.

Quote
doubts about the formality of ranks in any medieval formation before the mid 15th century

and I picked on a counter-example that had been offered, hoping to hear a response like the one you have provided.  It is also what I believe to be true.


  Indeed a suggestion similar in my mind to the one that you make:

Quote
The Bayeux Tapestry where the Front ranks with spear and bundled javelins are shown operating with the axemen who plausibly are coming through the shield wall to strike

was first made in the following form by Horace Round (1893, p92), referring to the depiction in the Bayeux Tapestry:

"... The second group is that which follows immediately on Harold's death.  It may possibly give us the clue to the way in which the two handed-axe was used in connexion with the shield wall.  Two of the huscarls are using that weapon, while two others seem to be protecting them by standing in front of them with shield and sword."

which is to me consistent with the coming through the shield wall that you suggest, but at an earlier stage in that process.  Round (1893 p92-93) then goes on to differ from you by suggesting that:

"The front rank then may have used their swords and formed the shield-wall, while those behind them may have wielded their axes, enabled to do so by their great length.  This, we believe, is a novel suggestion, but it does not profess to be more"

personally I suspect the truth to be somewhere between the two views with axemen sometimes fully stepping out and sometimes using their axe somewhat closer to their colleagues when it did the necessary job, but for this not to lead to incidence of 'fratricide' would have required considerable practice on the part of what from its barracks, such as those at Wallingford could properly be thought of as a standing force.

My point of interest not being if people knew of this but if it were still in the corpus of things which at least some other than me, such as you, still believe to be true.


Reference

Round, H. (1893).  ART. III. - Poème adresssé à Adele, fille de Guillaume le Conquérant par Baudri, abbé de Bourgueil.  Edited by L. Delisle ('Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie,' vol. xxviii.). Paris, 1870.  Quarterly Review, John Murray, 1893 pp 73-104
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 08, 2020, 10:40:13 AM
Quote
  I was just becoming concerned that the tenor of the discussion shifting in favour of a view that was starting to sound to me like an argument for the operation of semi-organised mobs rather than military formation, E.g.

Quote

    doubts about the formality of ranks in any medieval formation before the mid 15th century

With respect Paul, I think you are taking the wrong meaning from what I wrote.  What we are looking at here is a contrast between the "classical" style, emphasised by Justin, of strict ranks, files, intervals and what we can evidence from the Middle Ages.  I cannot see this strict approach in medieval records and, I might suggest, it is a presumption based on other periods of history that makes us assume it existed.  This does not mean I feel that Medieval armies were organised mobs, because they they clearly weren't from the evidence we have. 

For examples from the Early Middle Ages, we can choose a couple of examples from St Olaf's Saga describing the Battle of Sticklestad in 1030 (but written in the early 13th century)

So when the farmers had been assigned to detachments, then the landed men spoke, telling the men in the army to take note of their positions, where each was placed and under which banner each was now supposed to be and in which direction from the banner and how close he was placed to the banner. They told men to be alert now and quick to get into formation when the horns sounded and a war call rang out, and then to advance in formation Chapter 223

Then the farmers’ troops attacked from all sides. Those that were standing furthest forward hewed, while those that were next thrust with spears, and all those that were further back shot spears or arrows or threw stones or hand axes or stone-headed shafts. Chapter 226  (this last might remind folks of the Bayeux Tapestry)

This isn't a professional army, but a levy one, but even so we don't see a semi-organised mob.  Note the orientation isn't about ranks and files but spacial relationships to other men and crucially, the banner.

Roy's speculations on Flemish formations are essentially those of Verbruggen Art of Warfare in Western Europe, who also applies them to the Scots with their spears and axes.  The interpretation of the Coutrai Chest is evidence for the former but Verbruggen is taking a flyer on the Scots. 
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Paul_Glover on August 08, 2020, 12:23:35 PM
Anthony,

  My apologies, you have a wonderful 'knowledge hoard'.

  It is great to have everyone here share what they know and the basis from which they build their thinking.


  I genuinely was wondering if 'the world' had changed its baseline understanding, but you leave me reassured.

  I am just starting to read Carman and Carman (2020).  They are working to establish an Ontology for the study of Battlefields; so for any work on a Battle, showing understanding in relation to this book, to be shaped by it or disagree is important if considering academic publishing.  What piqued my interest and created for me a connection when I read your words is part of their definition concerning their research agenda, which they describe in the following terms:

  '... [to] ... understand those places where people came together to indulge in organised mass violence'

  This in my mind created images of the violent gangs amongst football crowds, contacting their rival gangs and arranging to meet up around the time of a match in order to 'indulge in ... [at least a little, small scale] ... organised mass violence' ...  and I wondered if the views of the wider world were drifting in that way.

Concerning:

Quote
St Olaf's Saga describing the Battle of Sticklestad in 1030 (but written in the early 13th century)

So when the farmers had been assigned to detachments, then the landed men spoke, telling the men in the army to take note of their positions, where each was placed and under which banner each was now supposed to be and in which direction from the banner and how close he was placed to the banner. They told men to be alert now and quick to get into formation when the horns sounded and a war call rang out, and then to advance in formation Chapter 223

Then the farmers’ troops attacked from all sides. Those that were standing furthest forward hewed, while those that were next thrust with spears, and all those that were further back shot spears or arrows or threw stones or hand axes or stone-headed shafts. Chapter 226  (this last might remind folks of the Bayeux Tapestry)

What I note is something that at least reminds me of the possibility of roles and irregularities of how part of such a line would behave, not to its detriment but to its benefit, allowing the fighting distance that best served the different parts of the line to prevail, the only stipulation being to remember those who are around you ... with for me the implication that they are not valid targets of your weapons ... and roughly keep your place in relation to each other and your banner.

This is against a wider back-drop of increasing specialisation and replication of things that were 'the same' ... so the beginnings of craft specialism, which I would suggest became what I might call a 'moulding vibe that shaped all thought in an age or time' ... there is a wonderful German word which says just this ... but I have forgotten it just now.

The point being that you move from people arriving with the weapons that they have and personally prefer ... where they are combined into an assigned place in a formation; to a rather different world in which troops are of a type with the same equipment and a regular place in rank and file.  If you take the view that 'the same' is the only thing that could be considered 'good' ... in weapons and in spacing and regularity of ranks ... it is possible to miss the wonderful possibility of a battle line of the St Olaf Saga type as a vibrant living organism with many rather different parts, but one carefully envisioned effect, which is very different from much of the more recent military tradition, but a magnificent thing to behold in one's minds eye.  Being someone who much prefers to hear musicians improvise around a theme, rather than replicate an album track note for note in perfect replicated time, the possibility of such a wild self organising kinaesthetic mass of warriors as potentially something even better, is something I respond to.

Concerning bladed weapons as part of a formation, to restore prior order on a formation having been broken in, I am reminded of this pattern continuing in more regular form into the C17th ... so would see no problem with an earlier origin.

Reference

Carman, J. & Carman, P. (2020).  Battlefields: from Event to Heritage.  Oxford University Press
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 08, 2020, 01:27:52 PM
Best of luck with Carman and Carman.  I have their earlier "Bloody Meadows", which I found deeply disappointing.  Seemed more interested in long words than systematically understanding battlefields.  Maybe they've got it sorted in the last 15 years :)

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 08, 2020, 01:51:20 PM
Quote
  I was just becoming concerned that the tenor of the discussion shifting in favour of a view that was starting to sound to me like an argument for the operation of semi-organised mobs rather than military formation, E.g.

Quote

    doubts about the formality of ranks in any medieval formation before the mid 15th century

With respect Paul, I think you are taking the wrong meaning from what I wrote.  What we are looking at here is a contrast between the "classical" style, emphasised by Justin, of strict ranks, files, intervals and what we can evidence from the Middle Ages.  I cannot see this strict approach in medieval records and, I might suggest, it is a presumption based on other periods of history that makes us assume it existed.  This does not mean I feel that Medieval armies were organised mobs, because they they clearly weren't from the evidence we have. 

For examples from the Early Middle Ages, we can choose a couple of examples from St Olaf's Saga describing the Battle of Sticklestad in 1030 (but written in the early 13th century)

So when the farmers had been assigned to detachments, then the landed men spoke, telling the men in the army to take note of their positions, where each was placed and under which banner each was now supposed to be and in which direction from the banner and how close he was placed to the banner. They told men to be alert now and quick to get into formation when the horns sounded and a war call rang out, and then to advance in formation Chapter 223

Then the farmers’ troops attacked from all sides. Those that were standing furthest forward hewed, while those that were next thrust with spears, and all those that were further back shot spears or arrows or threw stones or hand axes or stone-headed shafts. Chapter 226  (this last might remind folks of the Bayeux Tapestry)

This isn't a professional army, but a levy one, but even so we don't see a semi-organised mob.  Note the orientation isn't about ranks and files but spacial relationships to other men and crucially, the banner.

Roy's speculations on Flemish formations are essentially those of Verbruggen Art of Warfare in Western Europe, who also applies them to the Scots with their spears and axes.  The interpretation of the Coutrai Chest is evidence for the former but Verbruggen is taking a flyer on the Scots.

I'm no expert on Mediaeval warfare so these are just my impressions. The text seems to imply at least files as the men are obliged to take note of their positions and where each was placed. So individual placing is important, not just the approximate position in a group. Ranks and strict intervals probably didn't matter that much in the Middle Ages but I think files did. In this case of composite troop types a file would determine who supported who: the front man hews, the second man thrusts with a spear, the men behind throw spears or other weapons. Certainly you will need decent spacing to throw things, and the file is the simplest way of ensure the men get that spacing: the men behind you back off to allow you to cast your weapon and the men on either side are in separate files and hence not in the way.

Ranks would matter only if the formation needed them for manoeuvring, such as turning right or left to confront enemies on the flanks, but that wasn't an issue until the arrival of late Mediaeval pike blocks. Variable spacing probably wasn't a thing as open or close order were rather specialised dispositions not required by Mediaeval infantry. So long as each man had enough space to fight - approximating to the intermediate order of the manuals - that was all that was needed.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 08, 2020, 05:12:58 PM
I beg to suggest that you may be missing  something Justin.
The ranks in a unit are not continuous for the whole width of the front. They are capable  of opening to allow cavalry in and out, such as at Bouvines  and Arsuf  where the infantry open to allow the knights to charge the Turks. At the Golden Spurs battle the Flemish  open ranks to allow their crossbowmen to retire into the formation. Byzantine armies  are certainly expected to open and close gaps. Procopius even expects Goths to do it.  These are drilled manoeuvres. It would  be wrong to see the battle line as a series of blobs around a leader and banner as Anthony seemingly suggests.  Is it possible to open and close gaps without sub units of the battle line being able to wheel in order and then retake their position , in order?
I take Richard’s point about the Scots. Its a matter of logic and form following function, mo
aybe a bit if Burnsianism, but then again we are only going to get occasional glimpses of the wotrkings of small, subsidiary units because Western sources do not find them of interest.

How does a Flemish ‘crown’ operate?

Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 08, 2020, 05:54:25 PM
How troops passed through formations is an interesting question.  Did Flemish militia open gaps at Courtrai, or had they left gaps for their crossbowmen to fall back through?  Or did the crossbowmen fall back through the open ranks of the militia, which closed behind them?  I don't think we are told.

Were gaps in formations to let cavalry through covered by "doors" of infantry, which wheeled back and forth or men who parted like the Red Sea on command and then flowed back again?  The Byzantines, as I recall, left gaps for cavalry to enter and exit and if these needed to be blocked, took the rear ranks of adjacent infantry and filled in - no wheeling required and these were armies with definite ranks, files and drill.

It would  be wrong to see the battle line as a series of blobs around a leader and banner as Anthony seemingly suggests.

I didn't say blobs.  It is fairly common from my reading for an army to form round its standards - their leaders know the other leaders and their standards and who they are supposed to be next to.  They know how many men they have and the ground they need.  The men know where they are in relation to the standard and their role (e.g. close protection of standard and leader, front rank on right or left of banner, behind front rank ready to step forward, at the back shouting encouragement and throwing things).  They know who they usually stand with (friends, relatives, people from their village).  Quite quickly, you form a set of organised sub units which coalesce into a battle line.

Quote
How does a Flemish ‘crown’ operate?

I'm not sure anybody knows.  My guess would be they were quite like the description of the Norwegian army at Stamford Bridge in Harald Hardrada's saga. 

Then King Harald arranged his army, and made the line of battle
long, but not deep.  He bent both wings of it back, so that they
met together; and formed a wide ring equally thick all round,
shield to shield, both in the front and rear ranks.  The king
himself and his retinue were within the circle; and there was the
banner, and a body of chosen men.  Earl Toste, with his retinue,
was at another place, and had a different banner.  The army was
arranged in this way, because the king knew that horsemen were
accustomed to ride forwards with great vigour, but to turn back
immediately.  Now the king ordered that his own and the earl's
attendants should ride forwards where it was most required.  "And
our bowmen," said he, "shall be near to us; and they who stand in
the first rank shall set the spear-shaft on the ground, and the
spear-point against the horseman's breast, if he rides at them;
and those who stand in the second rank shall set the spear-point
against the horse's breast."
  Chapter 92






Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 08, 2020, 06:55:06 PM
But IIRC, crowns move.  Now I can see Harald’s formation Which may well be a thirteenth century deployment,  standing to  fend off Harold until the men from the ships cone up. However, if it can move or if tge later crowns can move then they  beed to be using a system in which subunits can turn, move off and turn back as happened at Arsuf.  I just don’t think they made up such abilities on the day, rather that tgey must have practised. I could  believe tgat when the march  started out Richard had the infantry moving more slowly and getting used to starting, stopping and opening the ‘doors’ . However,, to do this they must have a chain of command that can work together to  get everyone marching, stopping turning and wheeling together,
I suggest that allowing the crossbowmen back is done by closing and then  opening ranks.  In which case the sub units must know which file to close in on from both sides and be able to command it.  I don’t know if you have ever drilled the new squad, but people are all over the place, so I  suggest that these chaps must practise and that  they  would have to be pretty good  at reforming the line firmly, because those crossbowmen could be followed up by enemy cavalry very quickly.
Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 09, 2020, 11:23:24 AM
Crowns might move.  I've only read the basics (Verbruggen, deVries) on Flemish warfare but the only reference I've seen to a potential moving crown is at Arques in 1303.  Here the crown is attacked by French cavalry who eventually begin to withdraw.  The Flemings follow.  The French turn and threaten to charge and the Flemings resume a defensive formation.  The French withdraw. Repeat several times.  Do the Flemings move in crown formation?  Or do they reform a defensive formation when the French stop?  Do they reform in a crown formation, as the French are now in front of them?  Never enough detail when it gets down to it. 

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Justin Swanton on August 09, 2020, 11:39:20 AM
I beg to suggest that you may be missing  something Justin.
The ranks in a unit are not continuous for the whole width of the front. They are capable  of opening to allow cavalry in and out, such as at Bouvines  and Arsuf  where the infantry open to allow the knights to charge the Turks. At the Golden Spurs battle the Flemish  open ranks to allow their crossbowmen to retire into the formation. Byzantine armies  are certainly expected to open and close gaps. Procopius even expects Goths to do it.  These are drilled manoeuvres.

There are two fairly easy ways for an infantry line to open gaps for horsemen to pass through: the first is for the files of a subunit to contract from intermediate to open order, opening gaps between the subunits which can be as wide as the subunits themselves.

The second way, which allows the infantry to reform a continuous line more quickly, is to convert files from intermediate to open order, i.e. one file inserts itself into another file, leaving the space it originally occupied free for horses to pass through. The subsequent open order formation will have file gaps about 4 feet wide, quite adequate for the passage of a horse. Once the horses pass through the files can instantly double from open back to intermediate order, ready to receive the enemy.

The second way also has the advantage in that the horses don't have to bunch together to reach subunit gaps of the first method. Their own files, already in the equivalent of infantry open order, can just stream through the infantry file gaps with the minimum of fuss.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 09, 2020, 12:17:34 PM
Yes Anthony twas Arques that I was recalling.  Apparently the French manage to pull the Flemings a considerable distance by retiring. I had always presumed that the crowns move, like squares, in formation as the French might turn at any moment.  Even if they break formation then their sub unitisation must be enough to prevent them falling into a mob and to reform the  defensive ring.
Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 09, 2020, 12:27:42 PM
Quote
Even if they break formation then their sub unitisation must be enough to prevent them falling into a mob and to reform the  defensive ring.

No argument there.  The guild-based structure of Flemish militias gave them such substructures.

We might also spare a thought for the cavalry, who manage a measured withdrawal over some distance, which speaks of a degree of discipline not always associated with French men-at-arms.

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 09, 2020, 01:57:55 PM
Of course , if the formation  consisted of front ranks if spear, then godendag, then falchions, the ranks have to be kept to as the advance and any reformation occurred, making ranks meaningful.
Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 09, 2020, 02:18:31 PM
Provided we don't think of ranks overly formally, like we might find them in Macedonian phalanx or Roman legion, I think this is a good point.  There was differentiation, particularly at the front.  As we have seen, contemporary writers speak of formation depths of so many men or ranks.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 09, 2020, 03:37:33 PM
I am not sure about the equation of  Roman and Macedonian ranks.  The Macedonians have to be very geometrical...its dictated by their weaponry.  Hoplites are a case for formalised ranks, but running at the enemy at Marathon and subsequently  makes them sound rather more flexible.  I wonder if the Roman system of heroic leadership by centurions and small flexible units s not more like groups of men at arms  around a leader with a front line, but rather wider spacing and freedom of individual manoeuvre. The Flemings, however, are using  long spears which would  fit with an ordered front that had to keep its good order to align weapons and gainmutual protection from its heater shields.
Roy
Btw is there a replacement for the term heater shields...no one has that type of freestanding heater these days!

Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 09, 2020, 04:03:27 PM
Quote
Btw is there a replacement for the term heater shields...no one has that type of freestanding heater these days!

I've seen them called triangular shields but I think heater is still the favoured term.  I think the term heater for a clothes iron fell out of use in the 19th century, so it's had a good innings so far as a military term.
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 09, 2020, 08:09:17 PM
You know, I have always thought it came from the logo of the Valor stove.
http://solargreenways.tripod.com/my_paraffin_collection/index.album/valour-junior-heater?i=27&s=1

Roy
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: Erpingham on August 10, 2020, 10:28:10 AM
According to the OED, the first use of the term was in 1821

"A three-corner’d, or heater shield" by none other than Walter Scott. 

Add :

"The Valor trade mark was first used by a small business in Birmingham, England which began in 1890, to manufacture oil-storage cabinets principally for the Anglo-American Oil Company (subsequently better known as Esso)."

http://www.museumofpower.org.uk/Valor.html
Title: Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
Post by: aligern on August 10, 2020, 11:19:00 AM
Well done Anthony. If A comes before B it is unlikely to have been caused by B.
🧐
Roy