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Why Was The Longbow So Effective?

"Did you hear what happened today? The English just toyed with the French on the battlefield!" "Are you serious? Those Frenchmen were so large in number that they filled the horizon – so we have heard."

"Yes, but those long and heavy weapons that throw flying stuff have shown their miracle. The English won. Their little number wasn't a problem."

If you were walking on a grassy road on a medieval evening a few hundred years back, such a conversation might've reached your years. And you would've been left thinking – why was the longbow so effective in today's remarkable battle?

We are about to disclose the secrets of the weapon's legendary success back in those days. Stay tuned.

The reasons behind the weapon's triumph are many. However, we are going to discuss the most significant ones that changed the course of battles.

The Frequency of Shots

If you want to gain the upper hand during the heat of battle, you must be vigorous and fast. And a longbow on the hands just makes you such in the warfare. By enabling the archers to shoot a dozen of arrows in a minute, longbows wreaked havoc on the battlefield.

An advancing army is the deadliest when it's at the pick of its morale. Now, as the defending opponent, you want to demoralize it. How? Well, let's learn from the Englishmen on the medieval battlefield.

The general would keep the archers ready. And the moment the opposition came within range, he commanded the archers to shoot. And the archers would shoot the arrows at such an amazing speed; the opposite army would be bamboozled by the dark cloud of arrows.

The results were almost always astounding. You would see dead bodies lying down on the ground in hundreds, if not more. What got them were the elements of surprise and fear. Thus, the remaining enemy soldiers used to be left with little courage and willingness to fight.

Armor Piercing Brute Strength

Following the speed, the heaviness of the longbows did the rest of the job. They were so heavy that they wouldn't leave the enemy's armor unscathed. Yes, they pierced what was thought to be the ultimate protective gear. Thus, they didn't leave the soldiers in the armor or the horses unharmed.

The cavalry was the most feared and seriously taken part of an army until the evolution of archers.

They shook the cavalry off of their horsebacks. Therefore, the enemy was always at a disadvantage until it adopted the art of archery itself.

Precision and Discipline

Archers are known to be more composed and calculative than swordsmen. When the arrow misses its target, there's no regaining it. So, you got to be cautious about your ammunition. Thus, this particular type of weapon made the soldiers more focused and determined.

Moreover, it gets frustrating when the enemy meets an army that is destroying them from behind a fortified area. Yes, the generals often positioned the archers behind walls to make the enemy go nuts.

Hitting the Enemy from a Fair Distance

We also want to emphasize the fact that the longbows could kill from a distance of 250-400 yards. So, you can imagine how early in the battle they could turn the situation on the battlefield.

In one moment, you are witnessing an enraged and confident army charging at you. And the next, they are scattered and lying down soulless or severely injured on the ground. No other weapons of the day could reach the enemy line from such a distance.


We know that ambushing the enemy can change the scenario of the battlefield. And archery is the core component of a successful ambush. Yes, that's how lost battles are won at times.

Cavalry may serve the purpose during an ambush. However, you can instill much more fear in the enemy ranks through archery.

Longbow and the Famous "Hundred Years' War"

The weapon became a legend when suddenly it made the English army emerge as an unbeatable entity. Though it forced the warriors to train extensively, it surely gave birth to history. The French army could no more brag about their heavy weaponry and trained soldiers.

The English defeated the enemy three times in a row, thus earning respect as a strong army. However, the extensive training might've been too much on the archers. As a result, they were defeated at a certain point in time.

Final Words

One would have to study the battles where longbows were used to figure out exactly why was the longbow so effective. As for now, our recalling of those historical days is coming to an end. But, of course, you can always refer to the history books if the topic interests you.

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