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Weapons History

Uploaded by cevster on Mar 20, 2004

Weapons that had an Influence on the Course of History

Over the centuries, there have been many weapons that have come and gone. Many have been rendered useless after millennia of use by new and more destructive tools of obliteration. While these weapons have all been significant, there have been a few that have shaped history irrevocably. Among these are the longbow, gunpowder, and the nuclear bomb. These weapons of annihilation have wrought history into what it is today and have eternally changed our world.

First was the use of the longbow by the English. Longbows had been around before the English began using them, but never as efficiently as the English from the thirteenth century to the sixteenth century. Most bows in use at the time had short ranges and were almost useless against the French crossbow. With their crossbows, the French defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. Learning from their mistakes, the English then employed the relatively new longbow. This new weapon had a considerably longer range and displayed the ability to shoot a large number of arrows at a time. The amount of force required to pull the bow was increased to about 100-120 lbs, which required extensive training in shooting the bow and massive strength to actually operate the bow at long range. Experienced archers could manage about 8 to 10 arrows a minute, while masters could handle up to 15, or 20 with a reduction in accuracy. With this firing rate, 5,000 archers could launch 40,000-50,000 arrows a minute, or 700 arrows a second. Infantry and cavalry alike were decimated under the barrage of missiles. With this new weapon, the English routed the French at the Battle of Crecy, where less than 200 British fell and French deaths numbered 5,000-10,000. This new strategy was nearly invincible against the crossbows and short bows of the French; their bows had nowhere near the range of the English longbow. No one could get near the English archers without being filled with projectiles from the longbows. However, it was possible for the French to overcome the English. They could have exploited the weariness of the English army by putting to use their superior numbers and mobility to attack from the rear of the flank. While the English eventually lost the war, the longbow aided in the prolongation of the war. Without this potent weapon, the English would have been...

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Uploaded by:   cevster

Date:   03/20/2004

Category:   History

Length:   5 pages (1,129 words)

Views:   14285

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