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Archers in Front or Behind?

Discussion of topics concerning life in the middle ages around the world, including architecture, history, and warfare.

Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby brickboy12 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:02 pm

Ithink I read somewhere where someone had archers in the front with foot soldiers to protect them with their shields whilst re loading
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby PsychoPixie » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:13 pm

My understanding based on some historical texts and re-inactment stuff... ((dont quote me on it but....))

if it is a defensive line: Archers may start off in the front, with pike-men and foot soldiers behind them. The archers fire off volleys at the onrushing attackers army until the get close up. At which point the line would divide, the pike-men and foot soldiers could step through and begin defensive tactics.

when the line is offensive: the archers would likely be to the rear. Firing off volleys at the defensive army until their own troops get to close for it to be safe from friendly fire.

It would also depend on the range and style of Bows being used. The longbow has greater range, so their placement in a battalion may differ from the placement of say... Crossbowmen.

Archers will also have less armor, and be practically useless in close up, hand to hand combat. Troops were very specialized, foot soldiers and infantrymen would not have been very good with a bow and arrows, and archers would not have been good with a long-sword. They would start training young, and focus on what they were best at. Weapons such as pole-arms, great-swords and others were very specialized. Your typical footman would be able to handle only a few types of weapons. Becoming a master at some of those weapons from these ages would have taken decades of training and experience.

** edit:: Someone in a previous reply mentioned that trainign archers would be cheap... Far from it. The cheapest soldiers for training and equipping were the basic footmen. give a farmer a short sword, a wooden shield and a basic Gambison for armor, toss him in the front lines and let the enemy chew through those, wear themselves down before reaching the highly paid more trained troops.

since we are discussing tactics. The mounted soldiers had a tremendous advantage. it really surprises me that we dont see more mounted battalions in the big MOC castles. They kicked butt!!!!
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby AK_Brickster » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:54 pm

PsychoPixie wrote:It really surprises me that we dont see more mounted battalions in the big MOC castles. They kicked butt!!!!
One thing you'll quickly learn is that mounted battalions take up a LOT of room, so your MOC has to be huge to accommodate them. Also, prior to the new horse design, the amount of action you could portray with the old horse mold was pretty limited, so having a whole battalion of horses didn't look as dynamic as it should have.

Interesting comment about it varying depending on what type of bow they were using. This led me to look into whether crossbows or longbows had longer effective ranges, and it seems that the results are extremely varied, depending on what type of crossbow you're talking about, since the draw weight on them varied anywhere from 100-300 lbs.
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby PsychoPixie » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:46 pm

AK_Brickster wrote:
PsychoPixie wrote:It really surprises me that we dont see more mounted battalions in the big MOC castles. They kicked butt!!!!
One thing you'll quickly learn is that mounted battalions take up a LOT of room, so your MOC has to be huge to accommodate them. Also, prior to the new horse design, the amount of action you could portray with the old horse mold was pretty limited, so having a whole battalion of horses didn't look as dynamic as it should have.

Interesting comment about it varying depending on what type of bow they were using. This led me to look into whether crossbows or longbows had longer effective ranges, and it seems that the results are extremely varied, depending on what type of crossbow you're talking about, since the draw weight on them varied anywhere from 100-300 lbs.


Yeah... a full calvary charge would be hard to depict unless it was a huge MOC... Had not thought about that really. Perhaps a large landscape with minimal castle work. Like a rolling field with a cavalry charge?

As to the bows, absolutly. a friend of mine competes in medieval archery, made her own bows and even her own arrows. There are many different types of bows and crossbows. Anything from a simple home made ash and twine hunting bow, to the huge english longbow. The tensile strength of the wood and string, the depth of the bows "belly" curve, all had impact on the range of a bow. Crossbows would vary greatly depending on type of material used for the lath and string, the size and length of the Lath, and stock.

For Lego purposes, we have 3 styles? The old style bow, the crossbow, and with the release of the LotR sets, a basic compound style bow. I would say for lego placement it would be Crossbows in defensive positions on a castles walls, and the regular bows in the standing army's. placing them to the front for defensive battalions and to the rear for offensive.
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby AK_Brickster » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:55 pm

I'd consider the new bow to be more of a re-curve model than a compound bow. When I think "compound" I think of the one that comes with the Marvel Hawkeye fig (ie, with mechanical pulleys), but maybe the term refers simply to anything other than a simple curved bow?
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby PsychoPixie » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:49 pm

AK_Brickster wrote:I'd consider the new bow to be more of a re-curve model than a compound bow. When I think "compound" I think of the one that comes with the Marvel Hawkeye fig (ie, with mechanical pulleys), but maybe the term refers simply to anything other than a simple curved bow?


yeah sorry. I realized that about ten minutes ago while making lunch. I was thinking, "Did I say compound or re-curve? drat! Now I gotta go check and edit."

Too late. haha!

the compound bow is a more modern item, and does have pulleys... the re-curve would be the one i meant.
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby Redav » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:30 am

PsychoPixie wrote:the compound bow is a more modern item, and does have pulleys

I tried drawing my mates compound bow once. I could only manage full draw once :oops: . He said it was one the heaviest ones available and it was incredibly strong (not that I'm particularly strong, just no weakling).
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:51 am

Well, the best thing about a compound bow is that once you draw past a certain point, the pulleys kick in and it's extremely easy to hold it at a full draw for an extended period of time :)
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby Redav » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:21 am

AK_Brickster wrote:once you draw past a certain point, the pulleys kick in and it's extremely easy to hold it at a full draw for an extended period of time :)

Yes, but you gotta get it there first! He uses it for hunting. I reckon I'd scare the animals away with the 'ggggnnnnnnnn's' hahaha
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby Lil_Curt » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Ok so thinking about this the last couple of weeks, there is some good info in here an some not so good. I am a basement archer an have been since i was 12. I do have to say that there is missinformation about long bows being beter then recurve. That info is wrong :o , i have shot all the bows listed an have owned all but a good long bow at one point in my life. The recurve has more power and shoots farther then a comperable long bow, but really it is left to personal prefrence. An also cross bows are a different animal an shouldnt even be considered in the same grouping as bows.

So this brings me to why i am posting. A good movie for tactics on archers is the 2010 ridley scott " Robin Hood " has some fairly well orcastrated battle sequiences that show archers and tactics used in the 13 centry. Take a look it shows many of the tactis that have been discused in this thread.

Just my 2 cents,

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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby Ferretclaw » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:40 am

Ok so I am also an archer, and have been since i have about 5. So i have some experience in this field. Personally, I prefer to use a longbow recurve hybrid bow to shoot, but compounds are nice too. Anyway, if I were the commander, I would have 3 lines of archers behind a line of spikes. That way the first row can fire and duck down to reload, while the second row fires, then ducks down, and the third row fires. By then the first row has reloaded and can spring up to fire again. This is great because you have a continuous barrage of arrows. Then I would position a row of cavalry on either side of the archers, and if the enemy force gets too close, the cavalry can just charge in and the archers can continue firing over them. And the main infantry force would be positioned behind the archers in case the battle lasted long enough to turn into hand to hand combat. A few battalions like this = almost guaranteed victory. :D

Ps: Of course, for this technique you do have to have a batch of extremely skilled archers. :?
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Re: Archers in Front or Behind?

Postby Sir Erathor » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:28 pm

I would always have my archers behind my spearmen/swordsmen, so they can provide more attacking power whilst the others engage in hand-to-hand combat. This should mean that more enemies get taken down :)
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