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Old 12-04-2009, 12:47 AM   #89
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I'm not at all sure about 'most' and 'large'. Missile weapons were useful, certainly, because they allowed a degree of control over the battlefield and the enemy's movements.

But apart from horse archers (who won by harrying until the enemy force was routed), the bow was not usually a battle-winning weapon. Rome certainly didn't field significant archer contingents (yes, I'm aware that they fielded archers, but as a percentile of their total strength, hardly important).
It doesn't matter whether bows were battle-winning weapons. If a bow was intended for use in war, then its a warbow; the important criteria is "did a past culture consider it suitable" not "could it do what I think a military bow should be able to do". But Bronze Age Egyptian and Mesopotamian, Iron Age Persian, and Medieval Byzantine/east Roman armies all included large contingents of infantry archers (say 20% or more of a typical army's infantry).

Originally Posted by Icelander
When you say Scythian bows, do you mean actual TL1 designs or just variations of that shape? Because early composite bows were nowhere close to the quality of later ones.
I mean actual composite and sinew-reinforced wood bows which look like Scythian ones in art and the one or two reliable finds, firing replicas of surviving arrows. But again, all it takes to dispove "all warbows had draw weights of 100 lbs or more" is one culture which didn't do that, and I cited two: TL 1 Egyptians and TL 2 Scythians (and their Greek, Persian, etc. neighbours who used similar bows and arrows). I'll track down that book by Karpowicz some time.
"It is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." H. Beam Piper

Last edited by Polydamas; 12-04-2009 at 12:51 AM.
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