Medieval longbowmen were a special class of medieval archers who were expert in using longbows. This was the class of medieval archers who required much more extensive training compared to the medieval crossbowmen.
Longbows could be shot at a much slower rate than crossbows. A large shield was generally used to provide cover to the archer while loading the weapon on the battle ground.
Medieval Longbowmen History
The use of arrow and bows, of course, existed from the time immemorial. However, the medieval longbow was invented by the Welsh who used it against the England when the latter attacked the Welsh. The English immediately recognised the importance of this type of archery and thus it became a very important part of medieval archery in England.
Image of Medieval Longbowmen firing their arrows at the enemy
Medieval Longbowmen Weapons
The weapons used by medieval longbowmen were, like other archers, also arrows and bows. The length of the medieval longbow could be up to 7 feet. The bow was generally shaped into a D-section with the use of a flexible wood. The arrows could be as long as three feet.
Medieval Longbowmen Fighting Skills
Compared to the crossbow, medieval longbowmen required considerable training and skills for proper accuracy during the battle. On the other hand, medieval longbowmen could shoot arrows at the rate of 10-12 arrows per minute, which was much higher than the crossbowmen. The arrow shot with a longbow could have as much range as 250 feet.
Medieval Longbowmen Training
The use of a longbow required much more extensive training compared to the crossbow. Special places called “Butts” were used for the training of medieval longbowmen. Various common commands were used during training, including “ready your bows!”, “Nock!”, “Mark!”, “Draw!”, “Loose”, and others. Extensive training was required for medieval longbowmen to become expert marksmen.
Vertical image of medieval Longbow used by Longbowmen
Medieval Longbowmen in Battle
The longbow is generally considered a British form of archery, although it was invented in the Wales and later adopted in England. Extensive use of longbowmen was made during major medieval battles. For instance, during the Battle of Crecy in 1346, it is estimated that 6,000 England archers were used who launched as many as 42,000 arrows per minute.
Medieval Longbowmen Battle Formations
Multiple positions and formations could be used for medieval longbowmen during battles. In the main, they could be either deployed on the flanks or sometimes to the front in which case they started the action. It was also common to have a skirmish formation with longbowmen used along with arquebusiers.
Famous Medieval Longbowmen Battles
Other than the famous Battle of Crecy described above, medieval longbowmen were used in many other major battles. For instance, the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 saw heavy use of longbowmen. This battle is particularly noteworthy because most of the army of the British king, Henry VI, consisted of longbowmen from England and Wales.
Medieval Longbowmen Summary
Medieval longbowmen were a necessary part of every major battle during the medieval times. This was particularly true for England since the use of longbows was invented by the Welsh and it became widespread in England during the medieval times. Medieval longbowmen required extensive training and they could shoot arrows at a much higher rate compared to medieval crossbowmen.