Author Topic: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise  (Read 1825 times)

Paul_Glover

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #45 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.
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #46 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?

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #47 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.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 01:55:14 AM by Paul_Glover »
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #48 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."

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #49 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'.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 08:39:58 AM by Paul_Glover »
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #50 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.

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #51 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.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 10:38:42 AM by Paul_Glover »
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #52 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.

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #53 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.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 11:09:47 AM by Paul_Glover »
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #54 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.

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.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 12:03:14 PM by Erpingham »
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #55 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?
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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #56 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?

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #57 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) :)

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #58 on: August 03, 2020, 01:12:41 PM »

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Re: Missile weapon ranges in WoR Terry Wise
« Reply #59 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.



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