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WHAT IS A "WAR ARROW"

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ratty:
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Yeomanbowman:

--- Quote from: ratty on June 05, 2007, 08:59:02 am ---heres my bit of information to add ;)

tudor war arrows were over spined.

made of ash poplar beech and hazel. and 1/2" diameter  :)

length debateable ;)

piles points / warheads were of hand forged steel.

fletchings were goose or swan. 7.5" - 8.5" inch long


arrows were spiral whipped with linen and covered with (something= copper and tar i think, but i think im wrong, maybe someone can correct me on that) ;)(to stop the rats eating the fletchings during storage ?) :-\


and arrows were nocked with horn. and no deeper than 1/4" and 1/8" wide for the string, tapered to 3/8" at the nock from 1/2" from the pile.

--- End quote ---
Ratty, I hope you don't mind but I've broken your points down.
1.  Over-spined?  Perhaps for the vicarage lawn, not for war.  Light arrows mean poor penetration.
2.  Add birch and oak at least.  Fletchers seemed to use a wide variety of hardwoods.  Also there is good documentary evidence of coppiced shafts as well as split.
3.  Well iron and steel, really. 
4.  Peacock too maybe?  As to the length I’m a bit confused, Dr. Margaret Rule state s the average MR fletch was 6”, but as you mention I seen it written as longer.  The low triangular shape seems the most commonly represented but that does not mean it was the only cut used.
5.  Maybe silk as well, and were all war arrows whipped? As to the seating compound on MR arrows I’m also confused.  Al has tried to simulate this compound using this mix… (ish)
1 part boiled linseed oil
3 parts Dammar resin
1 part pure turpentine
0.5 parts ground verdigris
3 parts bees wax
It works well but takes a while to dry.  However, what was it for?  Surely mites would still attack the feathers, that were not coated and the arrows were stored in a chest.  Wouldn’t this deter the furry pests?  It must have been there for a reason.  Perhaps to moisture proof the animal glue to hold the fletches down?
6. Were all war arrows cross-nocked/horn or bone reinforced?  If soo why are they specifically requested in orders.
Hmmm, interesting tread.
J   

Loki:
This Dandy's got some interesting arrows,i can see the red binding at the start of the feather but cant see any whipping,maybe the artist couldnt be bothered (i know how he feels i hate whipping arrows  :D),the Nocks allso look too large,can you splice the bone to the end of your arrow instead of inserting a piece?
Like his glove  8).


Image removed

DanaM:
I realize you guys are looking at a more medevial time period, but I'd say any arrow designed with the express purpose of killing humans  would be a war arrow.

Lloyd:
Here's my 2 cents worth

tudor war arrows were over spined.
Spine is not a medieval or renaissance concept to best of my knowledge. Spineing shafts only really comes in the 1st third of the 20th century so to say they are over spined is over complicating things a bit. Are they over spined by today's standards? Bugger me if I now. All the so called normal rules about spine can't be extended that far. By modern standards a #120@32 bow with 125g points needs a #140 shaft, more or less, how much extra do you need to add for an extra 400 grains in the point? #5 for every 25 grains would mean 55 lbs of spine? Now you are up to #195 shafts. I've seen some 1/2" ash that spines as high as #260 and some that only spines #100 but they all seem to work. One thing I'll bet on is that medieval archers did not use arrows that didn't fly right.

made of ash poplar beech and hazel. and 1/2" diameter  :)
Ascham mentions several woods but he definitely preferred Ash for war arrows, here is a partial quote from Toxophilus
...as Brafell, Turkiewood, Fusticke, Sugarcheste, and such like, make dead, heavy lumpish, hobbling shafts. Again Hulder, black thorne, Serues tree, Beche, Elder, Afpe, and Sallow, either for their weakness or lightness, make hollow, starting, studding, gadding shafts. But Birche, Hardbeme, some Oak, and some Ash, being both strong enough to stand in a bow, and also light enough to fly far, are best...Yet as concerning sheaf Arrows for war (as I suppose) it were better to make them of good Ash, and not of Afpe, as they be nowadays"

notice the SOME Oak and SOME Ash, which seems to imply that not all Ash is good arrow wood and that Birch and Hardbeme (Hornbeam?) may be generally better suited One of my goals is try all of Ascham's arrow woods and come to my own conclusions. So far I've done lots of ash and some oak, and birch.  Beech and hopefully hornbeam is next. Ash is good, some birch is OK. I hate oak for arrows but it's good for quarrels.



length debatable ;)
yes

piles points / warheads were of hand forged steel.
Debatable, and debated by lots and lots of people. Don't get Jaroslav started on this one ;). Some make a case for case hardening wrought iron heads. This has been an ongoing argument for a long time. Personally I think by Tudor times they are using steel, but I can't prove it. It seems to me if you are using steel for your armor and your swords then a little more for your arrow heads isn't that big a deal.

fletchings were goose or swan. 7.5" - 8.5" inch long
Ascham also mentions peacock and duck although the seems to dislike everything except goose. I prefer peacock. Length is hard to judge in period art, and I'm not aware of any surviving fletched arrows. The longest fletchings I've ever done was 10" for a swallow tail


arrows were spiral whipped with linen and covered with (something= copper and tar i think, but i think im wrong, maybe someone can correct me on that) ;)(to stop the rats eating the fletchings during storage ?) :-\
I seem to remember some references to red silk bindings on the Mary Rose arrows but I can't find the reference.


and arrows were nocked with horn. and no deeper than 1/4" and 1/8" wide for the string, tapered to 3/8" at the nock from 1/2" from the pile.
Probably generally true but Ascham never mentions horn inserts, and....
"Again likewise as no one wood can be greatly meet for all kind of Shafts,no more can one fashion of the stele be fit for every shooter For those that be little breasted and big toward the head called by their likeness taper fashion, reshe (rush?) grown, and of some merry fellows bobtails, be fit for them which shoot under hand because they shoot with a soft lowfe (loose?), and stress not a shaft much in the breast where the weight of the bow lieth as you may perceive by the wearing of every shaft."

He talks about big shafts, little shafts, short shafts and long shafts. There's also a passage about the different kind, shape and size of nocks but I can't find it right now.

All in all I think your mostly correct, an arrow made to your specifications would certainly meet my criteria for a war arrow, and also meets my definition of the BEST war arrow, but I also think it's an overly narrow definition for all sheaf, livery or war arrows, For true war arrows, which are munitions grade weapons, they are mass produced, so you know the workmanship will not be top notch.  Here's one last quote and then I'm done "but let every man when he knoweth his own strength and the nature of every wood, provide and fit himself thereafter"

In the end, from a historical perspective we have the Mary Rose arrows, I think one other true medieval arrow in a cathedral somewhere in England, and Toxophilus for primary sources. The rest of it is all guess work, supposition, and practical experimentation. Which is where the fun begins.

well, that was little more the $.02. Sorry to go for so long.

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