Agema Publications

A forum for the disscussion of the Play by Mail games from Agema Publications

Bring back the Long bow !


J Flower

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Bring back the Long bow !

Post by J Flower on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:26 am

During the Early stages of the Napoleonic wars there were calls in the Britisch Parliment to reintrodue the Long bow.

It was argued that it had a longer range, was more accurate, had a higher rate of fire, cheaper to make & maintain.

The only problem was the skilled Yeoman had disappeared.

I wonder if anyone has been onthe receiving end of Bow armed troops in Game ? personally I have only come up against spear armed natives in Africa:

Has anyone maintained an army with bows as its principle weapon?


Re: Bring back the Long bow !

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:41 pm

I have played native African positions and found using the bow very effective for both Tribal Foot and Skirmish Cavalry. Finding the right balance between spear and bow armed infantry was difficult. It seems to depend on whether your force is primarily offensive or defensive.

I found archers were better for the defence, but vulnerable to cavalry unless protected by the spearmen.

Horse archers were useful for attacking, but there was no real choice other than spearmen for assault. I couldn't raise artillery which was a problem, but I did raise elephants.

Also, the tactics were completely different to European tactics. Bowmen in dense jungle were ineffective, but on open plains were great. Spearmen unprotected by archers were useless against muskets.

I did consider introducing muskets at one point, but decided against it because of the penalties which would be applied to using non-traditional weapons. However, there was no such penalty on me hiring mercenaries from another tribe which had adopted the musket. In that case matchlock muskets worked better than flintlocks as they were more reliable in the climate.

Bows were also commonly used in India, though it is a very long time since I played an Indian position.


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Re: Bring back the Long bow !

Post by Jason on Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:50 am

I have used bows as China-repeating crossbows (both handheld and as alternatives to battalion guns) and they do seem effective. However the handheld repeaters are only effective when in the hands of excellently drilled troops but were effective then even against musket armed troops.

Stuart Bailey

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Re: Bring back the Long bow !

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:35 am

The musket had three main advantages over the bow and the crossbow

1) It had greater penetration against armour

2) Its effective use could be mastered in a months compared to the years needed to build up the strength and ability required by good archers

3) It is a lot cheaper and quicker.

Oddly by 1700 armour had mostly dropped out of use and cost issues were not so vital to larger and richer states so you may think........lets give the troops bows since they shot a lot quicker than a musket and do not misfire as often........esp as Agema does not go around saying only 5% of your recuits are actually strong enough to even bend a war bow.

The in game problem for states such as the Ottomans & Persians who can equip Infantry with either the musket or the bow is that the good (well less bad) infantry is already equiped with muskets and troops with bows are 2nd rate levy forces. So you start handing out bows and the unit feels 2nd rate and is liable to run at the first volley.

May work better in the East were high class Japanese Samurai used the skilled bow while their lower class followers used nasty dirty muskets.

Bows also seem more socially acceptable as a Cavalry weapon. Have found Persian Horse Archers to be very effective, Ottoman horse archers to be less so. Indeed the most effective Ottoman Cavalry Skirmishers seem to be their mounted riflemen who are more elite infantry than true light cavalry skirmishers.

However, I have known some Ottoman players who use hordes of horse archers for scouting and plundering only keeping them out of battles(Fight us !!?????) but .have a few elite deli and the like who specialise in wild charges shooting arrows and even more rapid retreats also shooting arrows over the back of their horses. I know its a trap, you know its a why the hell did my Austrian Cavalry keep breaking their nice neat ranks and abandoning their Infantry/Artillery support to chase the sods????????

My feeling is that unless you are Japanese or wish to mess around with Archer Guards ditch the Bow as an infantry weapon but dont be in a rush to ditch the horse archer as outdated and obsolete.

wwwwwwwwwwwthat imewasd

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Re: Bring back the Long bow !

Post by Ardagor on Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:31 pm

One of the problems with bringing back the longbow would be they need to employed en masse to be effective and a large body of archers is vulnerable to cavalry unless protected in some way (field fortifications, pikemen etc) or the cavalry attack the front of the bowman such as the French did at Agincourt.

The big advantage of horse archers is of course that they can fire their weapon on the move in any direction if they are good with a chance of inflicting damage. And their harassing will cause problems for the enemy even if they fail to inflict many casualties as they can be difficult to get rid of unless appropriate units (light cavalry) are available. Probably not good for morale with a steady rain of arrows that nobody can stop. And they enjoy a fairly high rate of fire.

Cavalry equipped with any kind of firearm will have to stop or move slowly to fire their weapon with any chance of hitting anything and their firing arc will be limited. Reloading on horseback is also a challenge .

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Re: Bring back the Long bow !

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