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Thread: Were Medieval arrows tipped with metal points?

  1. #1 Were Medieval arrows tipped with metal points? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Yes they did, I guess as soon as you combine bows metal crafts and war you probably get metal tips soon enough.
    (Got the answer from Wikipedia sorry I cant erase the post)

    thanks


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  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Mediaeval arrows were certainly metal-tipped, with various forms of tip depending on the target expected.


    According to Wiki metallic (copper) arrow heads date back to "late prehistoric" times.


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  4. #3  
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    There are some bronze arrowheads shown here dating to around 1500 BC.
    The Greek Age of Bronze - Armour
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Slightly off-thread, but taking part in a mediaeval battle must have been a particularly frightening, and possibly fatal, experience.
    I'm sure many of the combatants were coerced by their "superiors" whilst others were motivated by ideological and/or financial considerations.
    For individual soldiers, taking part must have required large amounts of courage and, possibly equally large amounts of alcohol!
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    ya an' those there arrows are powerful sharp...
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    If anyone was curious, like me, the crescent head arrow tip in Dywyddyr's post was used for hunting. At least according to this website:

    CRESCENT HEAD MEDIEVAL STYLE ARROWHEAD

    Originally I too thought it would've been used for cutting rope, but then I realised how difficult it would be to hit a rope with an arrow. Then I thought it might be a sort of anti-siege weapon arrow - thinking it might stick into things better than a regular arrow. But, nope, hunting arrow.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Slightly off-thread, but taking part in a mediaeval battle must have been a particularly frightening, and possibly fatal, experience.
    I'm sure many of the combatants were coerced by their "superiors" whilst others were motivated by ideological and/or financial considerations.
    For individual soldiers, taking part must have required large amounts of courage and, possibly equally large amounts of alcohol!
    And apparently sword fighting looked a lot more like these two examples. Edge to edge parrying was completely useless, well not useless, just ill-advised. A nice way of ruining the sword's edge, and possibly even breaking it.

    Harnischfechten-Armoured Free Play - YouTube

    Viking Sword Fighting - YouTube
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    There are two basic reasons for using a crescent shape or even a blunt headed arrow. If hunting fowl, you prefer to knock it out of the sky or tree it's perched on. A sharp or narrow pointed arrow would pierce right through a bird and keep on going... or pin it to a tree. Out of reach, knowing luck... The crescent head meant less walking and tracking, less loss and for some, less climbing.

    If hunting large game, a sharp pointed arrow will make a smaller puncture wound that an animal can probably ignore until out of danger, unless you make a direct hit on heart or lungs. The crescent shape, however, allowed deep gouging cuts that give a greater likelihood of the game bleeding heavily and running out of steam- or blood- meaning less chasing, tracking or loss of game.
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  10. #9  
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    Archery has been one of the most important methods of warfare for thousands of years even going into the 15th century where the long bow was the decisive weapon at the battle of Agincourt that allowed for victory against vastly larger army.

    Battle of Agincourt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  11. #10  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Slightly off-thread, but taking part in a mediaeval battle must have been a particularly frightening, and possibly fatal, experience.I'm sure many of the combatants were coerced by their "superiors" whilst others were motivated by ideological and/or financial considerations.For individual soldiers, taking part must have required large amounts of courage and, possibly equally large amounts of alcohol!
    It was also one of very few ways available for a peasant to distinguish themself and have a slight chance to achieve upward mobility. Or for lesser knights to rise to other knightly stations.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It was also one of very few ways available for a peasant to distinguish themself and have a slight chance to achieve upward mobility. Or for lesser knights to rise to other knightly stations.
    I agree that achievment in combat gave those you refer to as "lesser knights" or less important nobles a chance to improve their social status, and their finances, by being given land/estates.
    I'm far less certain about the position of members of the lower classes, in mediaeval society, who fought as ordinary soldiers. I do believe that the size of armies, in mediaeval battles, was often exaggerated, but there were certainly thousands of men involved, in most battles, and it is difficult to see how any more than a very few soldiers, who may have especially distinguished themselves, could be given any reward, in terms of upward social mobility, that would outweigh the dreadful risks involved when taking part in this brutal melee.
    I suppose there was always the chance the ordinary soldier could pick up relatively small amounts of booty, loot or plunder, after the battle.
    Last edited by Halliday; February 8th, 2013 at 07:12 AM.
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  13. #12  
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    I guess it depends how badly the lesser noble wanted to move forward. If he wanted to be victorious on the battlefield he did well to surround himself with knights who could fight, not just knights with the "right breeding."

    However, even leaving that possibility out, I'm hard pressed to believe they stood nothing at all to gain. For one thing, there would still be varying prestige among peasants. Just because you're at the bottom of the caste system doesn't mean there isn't a pecking order. In any village setting, there are some who are more greatly respected than others. The Lord could still hand out stations like "mayor" or "head grain planter" or stuff like that without upsetting the order of things.
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  14. #13  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    The second point from the top was used to punch through plate armor.
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  15. #14  
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    It is also possible that the majority of those in the fight did not act with courage at all. After all, the main way to get soldiers was to co-opt them from the peasants who worked the Lord's estate. Those guys would have no reason to put their lives at risk, with nothing to gain. It would have been a case of whipping them forward, and probably observe them putting up a very lousy job of fighting.
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  16. #15  
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    So you're thinking it was a lot like the Russians at Stalingrad? Cannon fodder who only fight the enemy because their masters are scarier?However, a lot of medieval campaigns were fought a good distance from the attacking Lord's estate. Logistically how would he have been able to provide for a big army of inferior soldiers? Wouldn't it make more sense to bring a few knights and support staff, and leave the peasants at home growing grain to send?It's hard to besiege a castle if you don't have an advantage in terms of your access to supplies.
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  17. #16  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    kojax

    In Medieval times it was certainly true that the knights and other professionals were by far the superior soldiers. However, peasants were subject to a levy which made them march off to war, even when it was a long way from home. They did not perform well, and many were killed, but the Lords of that time did not value their lives very highly, and probably did not think that was a problem. Even poorly performing cannon fodder has its value.
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  18. #17  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    "Sir!! What are we plebs suppost to do during the battle?"
    "You're to run up and catch all the arrows from their archers, while the real soldiers advance"
    "oh..."
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  19. #18  
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    I suppose this made peasant archers more useful than their ineptness would suggest. While most formations loathed an actual clash of arms, and could hesitate (for minutes? hours?) beyond the enemy's reach, archers would inaccurately volley into a formation and maybe maim one dude per minute, per archer. Bonus: as with firing squad, an archer may sleep well telling himself that he did his duty but probably didn't kill anybody.
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  20. #19  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Not sure where you get "ineptness" and "inaccurate" from.
    Archers were, by and large, highly trained. Especially "English" ones - they were required by law to train at least once a week.

    Ineptitude and inaccuracy came in with the crossbow.
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  21. #20  
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    Thanks, I was guessing and I'm not surprised I was wrong.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Yes, but the English archers were not the peasant levy. Instead, they were, as stated highly trained.
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  23. #22  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    True: peasant levies were more usually armed with farming tools anyway.
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