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Thread: Accuracy claims of ancient archers.

  1. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4d4m View Post
    Sorry but are presenting a false dichotomy. At no point did I suggest “super accuracy”, whatever that is.
    Actually, at no point did I suggest you suggested super accuracy.

    I addressed your post.

    Then I continued on with another statement to the audience in general, like if I was presenting to a group.

    I put this same original post on all three main international archery forums to see what would happen.

    It was designed to address some of the fantasy concepts of archery throughout the entire history of mankind by pointing out the undeniable requirements for accuracy and how critical they are for obtaining it.

    When we can understand how technology has allowed these components for accuracy to be achieved, it should be reasonably obvious that concepts of fantastic accuracy should be seen as impossible without them.

    It becomes a case of cascading supportive reasons. The end result is not achievable without all the components in the same way that you can't take one essential component out of the achievement of putting a man on the moon. Let's just start with something as simple as processed metals? You can have everything else, but man wouldn't have walked on the moon with a wooden rocket.

    The one prediction that I made with this particular forum was that English Longbowmen would pretty much be the only thing discussed.

    While as a single avenue of discussion, compared to other periods in the history of archery, they had things at an incredibly high standard compared to stone age archers. They had a level of organisation, professionalism and standardisation as well as specialist manufacturing.
    They fulfilled a military capability which was formidable. Long range artillery with high mobility.

    But they still didn't have the capability to achieve the levels of accuracy portrayed in movie in legend.

  2. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy! View Post
    Actually, at no point did I suggest you suggested super accuracy.

    I addressed your post.

    Then I continued on with another statement to the audience in general, like if I was presenting to a group.
    ...

    But they still didn't have the capability to achieve the levels of accuracy portrayed in movie in legend.
    I agree with most of what you say. What I don't agree with is the proposition (not stated by you per se) that because they could not achieve "pinpoint" accuracy, then they didn't bother with accuracy at all. My point is they were concerned with achieving accuracy within the constraints they had at the time.

  3. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4d4m View Post
    What I don't agree with is the proposition (not stated by you per se) that because they could not achieve "pinpoint" accuracy, then they didn't bother with accuracy at all. My point is they were concerned with achieving accuracy within the constraints they had at the time.
    Right. Where did you get the impression that I would imply that?
    Why would you disagree with something that I didn't actually state?

    It would be absolutely ludicrous to try and state that people weren't interested in hitting what they aimed at. Of course they were.
    They'd have a pretty good understanding of what they were likely to be able to achieve and at what range.

  4. #40
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    I think we are now entering an argument about precision and not accuracy. The two are not exclusive but they are not the same, hence bow tuning.
    again returning back to my old hobby of rifle shooting a modern rifle will have a guaranteed accuracy of say 1 minute of angle at a given distance but an average shooter will only be able to hold an aim of say 2MOA. Now if the group is centred in the middle of the target most of the shots will fall well within the 1MOA and a good shooter will manage a group that mostly falls with half of that say. When you tweak your ammunition to suit the gun the average shooter will not improve much but he good shooter willkeep say 90% of their shots within a much smaller group and thus achive a group of say 1/4 MOA with an occasional flyer. Knowing how the gun behaves at certain distances will let the shooter decide the odds of hitting a target as a certain range. For example, at 600 yds no sniper is going to miss because the group is well within the size of a figure. Go out to 1200 yds and the figure is now a quarter MOA in size so the average bloke will miss and the good shot will hit a likely 90% of the time. That is a shot worth taking. It isnt the size of the group that determines the hit rate but the precision within that group on a shot by shot basis so standard deviation. Now shooting some important bloke at a distance will always provoke some kind of reaction whether massive return fire or the opposition losing morale and running away. WW1 snipers were hated in the trenches because they killed one opponent and invited a heavy rain of artillery in response.
    so back to archery and a bit of Shakespeare. If in the dialogue saying about a person being able to hit a clout at 200 yds or even 240 yds i dont take that as being a boast that the said archer never misses, I read it as the bloke could judge the distance and loose an arrow and be within the theoretical group without having to warm up, take sighters etc and if you were on the receiving end of a single arrow from an unseen foe you would be alarmed even if it missed you because that miss would be as much luck as a hit would be. Now a single arrow lobbed into a mass of infantry may well be almost a certain hit but the effect would not be as damaging because all of the peopel who werent hit would be convinced that the archer wasnt aiming at them personally and may even think it was a deliberate shot at the felled person so nowt for them to worry about. It is only when the next 1000 arrows rain down would the masses be affected mentally. So would our Shakespearean fellow be good on the battlefield? probably no better than anyone else as the tuning he can apply to his arrows and the time taken over a shot arent there to be had as an advantage. With massed ranks he just becomes part of a hammer blow rather than a pinpoint regardless of his abilities.
    I think longbowmen stand out because we know of how archers were used tactically in the 13/4th centuries quite well. The Romans had archers, as did the ancient Greeks and Persians but they were either basically reservists or used at short range either in chariots or on horseback rather than as a separate asset that had several roles. Romans didnt use archers on the open field, footsloggers carried their 2 spears and short sword, Greeks and Persians also used javelins and short sword. The invention of the stirrup after the fall of the Roman empire made horseback warriors the most effective asset on the field for a number of centuries and even WW1 tactics were based around shoving the cavalry though a breach in the enemy line as and them swinging back on them. All of the British chief military staff were ex cavalrymen up until the late 1930's, even in the RAF. That is why archers in their day were a superb asset, they stopped the cavalry. The British square in Napoleonic times was the saving grace for Wellington many a time but as he was a student of history I'm sure that he appreciated the need to change tactics to go with arms development and that really started with the bayonet drills of the time being effective at stopping the Highland Charge in its tracks in the mid 18th century.
    Wandered off a bit again I know but to precis there was a need and that need was filled by having some flexibility and a lot of training/practice that cant be afforded with modern weapons and soldiering

  5. #41
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    My original post looked at every factor that I could think of, which is required to accurately put an arrow where it is aimed.

    The sequence was laid out so that most people reading it could see that these factors were mutually supporting and without all of them being present, accuracy became far more heavily a matter of chance rather than assurance.

    Because this is a matter of looking at where accuracy is today and then removing those factors which achieve it to equate to where history undoubtedly was, I would have thought that this is proof enough that the myth of "archers were better back in the old days" could be pretty soundly defeated.

    I have no idea of the point you were trying to make, other than insisting that your huge single block of text was hard to read. Have you ever wondered why paragraphs are used?

  6. #42
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    Ok I will try and summarise by saying that individual archers are better these days because of equipment and training but if you take archers as a cohort then they were better back then because they could do a better job with their kit than we could if the chronicles are to be believed.
    Would an archer from then outshoot a modern day target archer at target archery with modern day kit? I doubt that they would initially so then you have to look at the scores of the target archers of the 1950's and decide if they were just not as good as today or if it is the advances of equipment that has made the difference. My extrapolation of the data to try and compare like with like suggests there isnt really a difference other than at the very top. The other problem we have is that we shoot at shorter distances than a medieval archer would shoot at so the comparison then becomes a matter of precision rather than accuracy as I tried to point out in my long ramble above.

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