[Northkeep] jumping the gun...
Hugh & Belinda Niewoehner
burgborrendohl at valornet.com
Mon Aug 31 10:11:59 PDT 2009
aoife at cableone.net wrote:
> Umm...The Battle Of Hastings...didn't they use the
> bowmen for that?
Not a great example of fine archery use, unless you believe the
tradition that Harold was shot through the eye. I was thinking more
along the lines of Henry's Welsh bowmen.
The battle commenced with an archery barrage from the Norman archers and
crossbowmen. However, the Norman archers drew their bowstrings only to
the chest and their crossbow
<http://en.allexperts.com/e/c/cr/crossbow.htm>s were loaded by hand
without assistance from a windlass
<http://en.allexperts.com/e/w/wi/windlass.htm>, so most shots either
failed to penetrate the housecarls' shields or sailed over their heads
to fall harmlessly beyond. The Normans therefore had no other choice
than to charge the English time and time again, only to be repulsed.
Another tactic used was to pretend to retreat and then when the English
chased after them off the hill they were fighting on, without warning
the Normans would turn round and attack with the English away from
cover. In any event, the archery failed to make any impression on the
English lines. Norman archery tactics in general relied on picking up
enemy arrows shot back at them, and as the Saxons had left their bowmen
in York <http://en.allexperts.com/e/y/yo/york.htm> during the rush to
meet William, the Norman arrowfire soon decreased.
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