A Complete Recreation of the Deadliest Medieval Arm
Dominating medieval battlefields for more than two centuries but requiring long and arduous practice to command, the English war bow and its battle shaft are the symbols of the rise of British power in Europe. Despite being crafted for hundreds of years and wielded by generations of archers, no example of the war bow—the military version of the longbow—exists, outside of a single broken limb. Now for the first time, expert craftsmen use all available evidence including applied archaeology to unlock the secrets of the English war bow. Historian Hugh D. H. Soar is joined by Mark Stretton, master blacksmith, and Joseph Gibbs, bowyer, in order to demonstrate how a war bow and its associated arrow heads and shafts may have been constructed and used. In addition to showing the complete manufacture of a bow from tree selection to stringing and how specialized arrowheads were forged and attached to shafts, Secrets of the English War Bow provides information on the actual performance of the war bow, including the bow's effectiveness against various materials and, for the first time, its use against moving targets, since bows were often drawn against mounted soldiers. Armed with this new information, Soar provides an analysis of both successes and failures of the war bow in several important battles. Illustrated in color and black and white, Secrets of the English War Bow provides an invaluable service for those interested in medieval military history, archery, and technology.