Author Topic: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute  (Read 25247 times)

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Offline Ian.

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 10:10:53 am »
I was taking more about the Barbow video that was trying to be something it wasn't, I know Keiths post was about accuracy its a good type of shooting to do that I think we should do more of it.
ALways happy to help anyone get into heavy weight archery: https://www.facebook.com/bostonwarbowsbows/

Offline CraigMBeckett

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2011, 10:38:31 am »
Yep you need real armour to do a kosher armour test. What we've set out to show with the metal plate is that an arrow still has considerable powers of penetration at long range. Ballistic curves and terminal velocity etc.

The question, in this context, then becomes "What is Real Armour"? As far as I am aware the single most extensive metalurgical testing of medieval armour revealed that the majority of the plate was not steel but iron with only a few extant examples actually being steel. The deformation and penetration of iron plate armour would be considerably different to that of any steel, mild, or of higher carbon content. I would also suggest that if armour is still extant then it is likely to have been of better quality than that which has not survived. Which leads us back to the fact the English saw fit, over an extended period, to develop an artillery arm or indeed developed their armies into artillery regiments with supporting Men at arms, now if the armour of the day made its wearer effectively immune to bow shot why would they have persisted and why did the English succeed in numerous engagements when overwhelmingly outnumbered by plate wearing adversaries mounted on well barded horses. By the way we are talking of the armour that was used during the majority of the 100 years war not that which was produced towards the end of the period.

Craig.

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2011, 01:57:54 am »
I don't know about the "armor was almost all iron", I'll see if I can find any articles or research that might debunk that.   About that, brief q: do you all think that plate armor was designed primarily to defend against arrows, or against edged weapons like swords?  It certainly works well against the latter, as sword techniques of the time rely on getting the point in gaps of the armor, or using the weapon as an improvised club or leveraging device for grappling.


Anyway, before I get off topic on that,

Let me try this at another angle.  Rapid loosing as a technique and not a quantity of arrows"per minute".  As in, not the rate of discharge, but the speed at which the arrow is drawn and loosed.

It would be a waste of arrows to try to discharge as many as possible within a longer stretch of time, I think that's the consensus.

But would the arrow have more or less penetrating force depending on how long the archer held the arrow at full draw?  I see a lot of videos of the long range shots, the archers take their time at full draw, or rotate the bow upwards after achieving full draw with the arrow point angled downward at first.

Does this improve the energy/speed of the arrow (and thus improving its range), or would holding it at full draw for that long make the arrow lose stored kinetic potential?

The bows the Byzantines used weren't warbows by a longshot  (they used composite bows similar to those used by nomadic groups and other mediterranean and middle eastern cultures' they also used crossbows at this time, too but this passage refers to the former), but here is what the Strategikon says right away about training an individual soldier:

"He should be trained to shoot rapidly on foot, either in the Roman or Persian manner.  Speed is important in shaking the arrow loose and discharging it with force.  This is essential and should be practiced while mounted.  In fact, even when the arrow is well aimed, firing slowly is useless."

("Maurice's Strategikon; translated by Geoge T. Dennis, pg. 11)

Now, do you think that his advice regarding rapid draw/loosing is completely unrelated to warbow archery centuries later?  Or does Maurice have a point here?

At what point of time does aiming an arrow become counter productive to the speed at which the arrow is loosed?  And if this is a case of comparing apples to oranges (which it likely is, I just want to see what you guys think about the quote), why are the shooting mechanics of warbows so vastly different to their composite ancestors/contemporaries in the East?
"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2012, 11:18:57 pm »
Hello all war bow enthusiasts!

As someone who's interested in building strength and getting into war bow shooting in the near future, I have a question.  Well, I have several:

Is there a historical source that indicates how fast per minute medieval archers would ideally loose their arrows?  I'm referring to this as "rate of fire" though I realize that there might be better ways of saying it. And how many at a time did they have on hand for this? How important is volume of arrows to your practice of the English war bow?


Thanks

      It is reported that archers were expected to shoot at least ten aimed arrows a minute. [a minute was first recognized in the 15th century]. The Duke of York struck off four of his 300 archers who failed the test following the 1415 siege of Harfleur that began Henry V's French campaign. This is of course with a powerful warbow, and modern warbow archers have not been able to better it. It is a different story and a much easier feat with a light weight bow.  Standard minimum issue was a sheaf of 24 arrows, sometimes two sheafs or even three sheafs have been reported. Concerning accuracy, a Vevetian visitor reported that any decent English archer, whether shooting level or with elevation, would hit within a half palm of his mark. Good luck on your project.                                                                                                                       

                                                                     Erik   

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2012, 03:09:14 am »
Thank you Erik.  I have a question for you:  What specific primary source or sources does that information come from?  Some of the people here do not think that is from an accurate, primary source, it might be BS made up by a secondary source.  Do you know specifically where that comes from?  Because I've heard of the 12 arrows per minute thing before, but I've never read the specific source that says that.

"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2012, 04:57:40 pm »
Thank you Erik.  I have a question for you:  What specific primary source or sources does that information come from?  Some of the people here do not think that is from an accurate, primary source, it might be BS made up by a secondary source.  Do you know specifically where that comes from?  Because I've heard of the 12 arrows per minute thing before, but I've never read the specific source that says that.
I don't have more specific information than that. What part do your "people here" have a problem with ? Did they also question the two finger salute ? Mark Stretton, as close to a mediaeval longbowman as exists today, couldn't quite equal the shooting speed quoted. It sounds right to me. Take it or leave it.

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2012, 08:03:04 pm »
You have to think of the application; the English used the bow over long range when aimed shots over a distance was needed, most of the speed shooting is done at targets very close like the video you posted. And the bow in the video is only 110lb so below what would have been used in the period. Most heavy bow archers agree that 6 or 7 aimed arrows a minute is all that you would keep up with. And even then I doubt it would be continual the English didn't carry that many arrows into France for them to be wasted. oh and no one knows where the 12 arrows a minute quote came from its just something historians who know no better like to bat around.

If you want to do speed shooting then you need a horsebow, it isn't practical or historical to do it with a heavy bow.

Quote
Ian is correct here, I have tried unsuccessfully to track this claim down even though it is mentioned by a number of Historians/writers on history most of whom use the "fire" word in  their "quote" from a supposed letter that mentions that an archer recruit was sent home as he failed to meet the target of 12 per minute.  (How exactly a minute could be counted when the few clocks around only displayed hours and then not very accurately is anyones guess.)

By "these people" I meant people who have posted in this very thread before you. Here is what they said, emphasis put by me in bold. If you can't provide a citation for the information you're providing, I can't trust it as historically accurate. 

Not saying I disagree with you, but, where the heck does that quote that I've heard come from?  What are the primary sources for the battle of Agincourt, anyway? And are any available online? I'll ask around and see what I can find.
"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)

Offline Ian.

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2012, 09:12:05 pm »
You do need to quote names and dates with information like that Bowtoxo other wise it is worthless.

And Mark is indeed good but he and others like Simon Stanley and Joe Gibbs in fact anyone who is able to shoot a heavy bow agrees that 6 or 7 a minute is a realistic goal. Don't get me wrong you can do 20 a minute if you want to but that would be 20 wasted arrows. Its important to remember that the archers who fought in the 14 and 15th century's were far better than anyone today, of those that shoot today none of whom would be considered good enough to serve as archers. I do not doubt that these archers could do 12 well aimed shots a minute but at that rate the archer would be spent after a few minutes. When you have thousands of archers you can be a little more efficient.
ALways happy to help anyone get into heavy weight archery: https://www.facebook.com/bostonwarbowsbows/

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2012, 01:52:50 pm »
You do need to quote names and dates with information like that Bowtoxo other wise it is worthless.

 I did quote names and date and situation. More than one chronicler, including Jehan de Wavrin from the French side, reported on Henry V's invasion of France, I don't know which one provided this information. I invite you to look it up.  Concerning minutes, the wooden clocks used in the 14th century were marked in hours and can be adjusted by balance weights to excellent accuracy. In the 15th century, the century cited, the clock faces were further divided into minutes for the first time.

Offline Ian.

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2012, 02:17:20 pm »
 "The Duke of York struck off four of his 300 archers who failed the test following the 1415 siege of Harfleur that began Henry V's French campaign."

"Concerning accuracy, a Vevetian visitor reported that any decent English archer, whether shooting level or with elevation, would hit within a half palm of his mark."


Neither of these are references, a reference is something that points us to the place where we could read the source ourselves. I could spend years trying to track down that particular piece of information. What you have there is hear'say.
ALways happy to help anyone get into heavy weight archery: https://www.facebook.com/bostonwarbowsbows/

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2012, 01:51:40 am »
""Concerning accuracy, a Vevetian visitor reported that any decent English archer, whether shooting level or with elevation, would hit within a half palm of his mark."

Neither of these are references, a reference is something that points us to the place where we could read the source ourselves. I could spend years trying to track down that particular piece of information. What you have there is hear'say.
I can add that the Venetian visitor was Giovanni Mihiel in 1557. I don't have his present address but you can look him up along with his letters on the internet. I hope that will help in your search for authenticity.

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2012, 01:28:23 pm »
I think I have reprised my earlier opinion that "rate of discharge" was so important to warbow archery.  Rather, I think a lot of people would agree that the unity of a volley (which would necessitate being at the speed of the slowest archers) and the concentration of fire would be more important.

And referring to the Strategikon quote, I think it might be a misinterpretation that the author meant "firing rapidly" meant loosing as many arrows as possible in a short time.  I think rather in the context, to get the most speed and power out of the arrow with that kind of bow, it's about drawing and loosing as quickly as possible, and being able to loose an arrow or two, and then put the bow up and bring out the spear (as was a training exercise).  So, mainly advice to a horse archer with a composite bow in that context.

Back to the warbow, here's a couple quotes for ya that we might be familiar with:

Quote
Then the English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so wholly [together] and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoways felt the arrows piercing through heads, arms and breasts, many of them cast down their cross-bows and did cut their strings and returned discomfited.

And

Quote
Then ye should have seen the men of arms dash in among them and killed a great number of them: and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they saw thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and into their horses, and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways, and when they were down, they could not relieve again, the press was so thick that one overthrew another.

From Froissart's account of Crecy, the translation can be found here:
http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Crecy.html


So I think the 6-7 per minute makes a lot more sense in the context of volley fire.  Could archers have loosed 12 per minute or so?  Most likely good archers could when pressed, but it probably wasn't battle practice, for many reasons listed, mostly already mentioned in the thread already.


So unless someone can hunt down that specific quote about the "minimum requirement" (which even if it had been a requirement, doubtless they wouldn't have often actually gone to that maximum rate as it would not have been as effective as measured, concentrated volleys; another thought, could this have been a requirement for a small, elite unit of warbow archers as opposed to the rank and file that made the majority of the english numbers?) which I have looked a little for too, looks like my question regarding this has been answered, unless anyone else wants to offer their thoughts?
"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)

Offline Ian.

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2012, 02:02:41 pm »
I will have a look for that quote Bowtoxo, when I have a few minutes that is.

Ringeck - I think you have summarised in nicely, we know the archers were more accurate than we are today, could shoot further, pull heavier bows. But the physics haven't changed, their fitness level would have been similar to ours and the time it take to pick up and arrow and nock it on the string can only be improved so much. What we can achieve today should be seem as a bare minimum of what we could estimate an English archer could do.
ALways happy to help anyone get into heavy weight archery: https://www.facebook.com/bostonwarbowsbows/

Offline Dag

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2012, 02:22:32 pm »
Not to make a science project out of anyone's children but, it will be interesting to see how many of these children shooting heavy bows (for their respective age) turn out in a few years.  I have noticed several kids in various warbow society videos shooting along with their parents and such. If they choose to stick with it as they grow up perhaps that will give us a new insight on the progression and capabilities of a medieval archer.

Again, I don't want to cause a stir by talking about people's children like they're an experiment because they are certainly not.

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Questions concerning Rate of "fire" per minute
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2012, 04:40:20 pm »
Indeed, Dag.  I am both proud and envious of what some of the younger warbow archers are already able to accomplish, and I believe they will be the premier leaders on the subject in both knowledge and skill in not too long a time if they keep at it.

I can only hope to achieve a lighter weight warbow draw (my goal is to get to 100 lbs if I can, but not to hurry and injure myself), and that will take me a few years of dedicated practice, and some better instruction once I can get myself to some of the current experts.

This is slightly off topic (though maybe I could start a second thread with it?), but I think it would be awesome if we had a "triathalon" sort of thing with warbow archery contests, blunt sword sparring (either sword and buckler or single falchion/messer would probably be most appropriate for archers), and Medieval/Renaissance folk wrestling or maybe dagger play.  It would unite martial artists with warbow archery and vice versa, and it would be a hell of a lot of fun!
"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)