Musket instead of Bow and Arrow, why?

Discussion in 'History' started by jay dogg, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    True, but logistically speaking it seems like the unit volume is so much smaller for a similar result.

    Seems to me the point about expertise rings most true. Less training time, similar firepower, that's an advantage. Packing more ammo into a smaller space also helps.
     
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  3. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Indeed. But as you are probablty aware, training covers more than just how to load, aim and fire. following orders, marching about, formations to take, etc. Quality of leadership also counts.
    And it still comes down to economics in anotehr way. I was reading "de Pyrotechnia" and "De re Mettalica", 16th century mettalurgy and "chemistry" books, and what they had for getting saltpetre were often wee farms, turning calcium nitrate from decayed earth, manure etc, into potassium nitrate. It is of course quite expensive to set one up and it takes a wee while to work.

    Hey Thersites, what are your era's of interest in warfare?
     
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  5. path Militant wiseguy Registered Senior Member

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    I forget the exact details but I remember reading some years ago that some divers found the wreck of an english warship from the late 16th, early 17th century that had longbows in the ships stores. This long after bows were supposedly replaced with muskets. So it could be that bows were still being used long after conventional wisdom claims they were. Also the armor of the 15th century knight was proof against longbows but not muskets and crossbows.
     
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  7. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    That is likely one of the reasons plate was introduced, that it is more arrow proof than anything else, though they did make metal piercing heads to help get through it.

    As for bows being replaced by muskets, it did take a long time, the point is as much that despite their utility bows did get replaced. You cannot draw a line in teh sand and say that bows were not used after this date. The last time a bow was used in battle in Europe that I have heard of was in WW2, in the Channel islands.

    As for 15th century armour, I am not sure how gun proof it was. By the 16th century they were having to add special breastplates to make them musket proof, but guns had been evolving for 80 years by then.
     
  8. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    another advantage to a crossobow is that firing it wolud nto give away your position, meaning you could take cover in bushes instead of the conventional open field stance
     
  9. oscarmitre Registered Senior Member

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    I think it was cheaper in the long run. The objective of both these weapons is long distance damage. I concede that archers did more damage at a greater distance than the early arquebusiers but I think because of the lead time to develop their skills they would have cost more as well. I think it would have been quicker to train, equip and pay an arquebusier than it would have been an archer and with the development of better armour against arrows it may well have been sound economics to dump archers and go for the musketeers.
     
  10. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    UUmmm, all sorts of bows are great for sniping, true, but 5,000 archers is impossible to hide properly.

    And Oscarmitre neatly summed up what we've been saying for the past 2 pages.
     
  11. oscarmitre Registered Senior Member

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    I should have read everything then, sorry I read the first page and then scanned.
     
  12. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Hey, its a ncie way to end the thread, unless someone else pops up saying "bows are best" or something.
     
  13. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    bows are the best, and hiding 5000bowmen wolud be considerbaly easier than hiding 5000 musketeers
     
  14. Thersites Registered Senior Member

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    As they were replaced they obviously weren't, whatever the reasons.
    Why?They had to stand up to reload.


    Other points:
    Guthrie One of the perks of running a pub in the sixteenth century was selling off the soil from the latrine. The urine from drunks supplied much better saltpetre.
    It's been suggested that one reason the xtians began to be more successful against the /turks is that the transfer of the skills used in bell casting to cannon-founding gave the Europeans an increasing technological edge: being able to shout loudly from a tower had no spill-over effect.
    Cavalry used armour for much longer: the French cuirassiers at Waterloo had musket-proof breastplates. As their horses were shot down instead, it didn't do them much good though.
     
  15. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Did anyone mention the fear factor.

    Guns make lots of noise. That was new on the battlefield and terrorizing.

    edit: here is a story on the decline of the longbow - http://huntingsociety.org/LongbowDecline.html

    another article on longbows. There is a short paragraph on the decline of longbows at the end. Not a satisfactory one though. Interestingly "the Saracens Using highly flexed composite bows, and shooting from horseback, encountered during the Crusades were able to trounce the English archer army. The Saracen archers were far to quick and mobile for the English archer army."

    http://www.thebeckoning.com/medieval/longbow/the-longbow.html

    And in Japan:
    http://www.brookhursthobbies.com/Killer Katanas/Sampaper.htm
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2004
  16. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    but in the midst of that noise you can steak across the enemy line to get some easy kills with a sword or knife
     
  17. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    The whole discussion reminded me of the PC game medieval total war. I have played this strategic game to death. You command armes consisting of any unit imaginable, cavalry, archers, pikemen, spearmen etc. You also have musket units in the later periods.

    In its predecessor, Shogun total war, musket units were frikking deadly units. Obviously they were carved to bits if you just had them standing there. What you needed was the proper formation, with the proper auxilliry units to protect them and they would utterly destroy any army that just had archers.

    They made the musket units less effective in Medieval total war. I imagine it is because they were too superior if they had real life qualities like they were in the first game Shogun total war.

    So I propose that musket units were just more effective than archer units if they were used in a certain strategic manner. Tactics had to be changed to adapt to the strengths of the musket, or arquebus.
     
  18. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    ugh, i played total war for about 3 days, then i got bored to death with how mindlessly boring it is
     
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    People are all different. Some people like boring stuff.
     
  20. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    slayer sees you are referring to yourself in the 3rd person
     
  21. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    bcak on topic: if one man with a bow alone in a battle came across 5 men armed with muskets, who do you think would win?
     
  22. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Wars are not fought with just archers and musketeers. And also not with a few individuals. Also experience and motivation play a major part in the outcome of a battle, together with position and luck. So we (haha) are not going to answer your question directly.

    But I have slaughtered thousands of men (including archers) with a single army consisting of muskets and auxillery units in the game. I imagine something similar might be possible in real life.

    But I was also fucked when it rained.
     
  23. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    think about it, you sneak up a tree, then you can shoot half of them in the head before they even realise what is happening, then their lousy lead pellets wolud probably not reach halfway up a tree anyway
     

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