Martial Activities

Articles in this section cover youth and adult armoured and rapier combat, archery, and thrown weapons.

Archery Supplies, by Olaf the Grey

Hail and well met, good gentles. This month I intend to present for Your Pleasure, a brief listing of traditional billet and stave suppliers. This should help in your quest for semi-period archery equipment. A grateful nod is given to Traditional Bowhunter and Primitive Archer magazines and the Rialto.

Ambush Archery. Osage orange staves and bows. Free brochure. SASE, Mike Shroger, 10685 Poorman Street SW, Navarre, OH 44662

ARROWS AND BOWS:

Three Rivers Archery Supply.

Catalog $2.00. PO Box 517, Ashley, IN, 46705

T and Me. Traditional suppliers. Free catalog. 2370 Edgewater, Pekin, IL 61554.

J&M. Traditional supplies. RD#2, Box 413, Sunbury, PA 17081

Feather Fletch Traditional Archery. Catalog $2.00. RD#2, Box 2172, Bangor, PA 18013.

Allegheny Mountain. SASE for information. RR 1, Box 178, Ulysses, PA 16948.

Sheeauga Arrows. Listing $1.00. Roger Davis, 14748 Idlewood, Newbury, OH 44065

Green Archery. Catalog $2.00. 313 Trexlet Avenue, Kurztown, PA 19530

Black Crow Arrows. RT2, Box 294A, Hedgesville, WV 25427

SCA BOWYERS AND FLETCHERS:

Robert do Pengraine

(Bobby Patrick), 806 Pickwick, Sheffield, AL 35660-7234

This short listing is by no means complete. If you wish to look at more names, please feel free to see me and I will let you borrow my listings. There are approximately 9-10 pages worth.

Beginning Archery, by Olaf the Grey

Hello and welcome to the first installment of what I shall call the "Archer's Eye." It is my hope to have important archery facts, data, and history here for your Enjoyment in every issue of the Alder Leaf. If not every issue, I'll aim for every other issue. This month, with Pennsic drawing nigh, I would like to address in very Basic terms, "Range Safety and Equipment Inspection."

RANGE SAFETY

  1. While on the range, the appointed marshal is the ultimate judge of all matters regarding the shoot.
  2. At any time, anyone noting an unsafe condition, i.e. "persons wandering into the target area or forward of the line (if not noticed by the marshal) can and must call "HOLD" in a loud, clear voice to stop the shoot until the reason for the delay is cleared up.
  3. Always listen for commands from the marshal.
  4. Never assume nobody can be hurt by your arrow. You hold in your hand a lethal weapon that can KILL out to 200 yards! (Source: Queen's Royal Archery Competitions, England.)
  5. Always face the target area when an arrow is loaded into your bow, "even if not drawn." Never turn around on the line with an arrow in your bow.
  6. Only shoot when directed except in open practice, and cease shooting when directed.
  7. And lastly, treat your bow as you would a loaded firearm and use common sense and you will do all right.

EQUIPMENT INSPECTION

During normal use and even in storage, equipment can and does wear. At Pennsic, equipment inspections are a big priority! Some simple things you can do to assure you are ready to shoot are:

  1. Clean your gear after every use.
  2. Wipe your body oils/moisture off the bow and arrow shafts with a dry, soft cloth. This will prevent a buildup of salts and corrosive chemicals from our bodies.
  3. Wipe your equipment down with a soft cloth and nonoily furniture polish. This will prevent the fine wood parts from drying out and splitting or cracking.
  4. Always store your bow in a dry place and rotate the position it is stored in. Even the crankshaft of your car will warp if stored on one side for an extended time, and it is solid steel!
  5. Never store your equipment in your car for an extended time! The heat will warp the wood.
  6. Always use a good bees' wax or bow wax on your string. This will keep the string supple and help prevent fraying and breakage.
  7. Inspect the bow limbs for cracks, splits, and laminate separation. This is done by running your hands over the limbs and feeling for anything out of place, and by visually inspecting each part.
  8. And lastly...Have fun!!!!!

Until next time May your Aim be true and your Shaft fly straight!

Some Archery History, by Olaf the Grey

Greetings and well-met fellow toxiphiles. Today I would like to share a brief story about the importance of the bow in ancient warfare. I will illustrate this by giving an account of the Battle of Crecy, France in 1346 during the Wars of The Roses and the Hundred Years' war.

We in the United States have been greatly influenced by the six-foot-long English Longbow which for hundreds of years was the sole missile weapon of Great Britain's foot-soldiers. England's supremacy as a military nation was predicated on the skill of the foot-soldier armed with the longbow. By law, every male from sixteen to sixty years of age was required to own and practice with the longbow. Price regulation is not a modern innovation. Since England's safety depended on her archers, the price of a good bow was fixed by law so that no individual could plead that he could not afford one. Now that that is out of the way, on to the battle.

During the Wars of the Roses and the Hundred Years' War archers were the elite troops of Great Britain. They were the decisive factor in many a hard-fought battle. At Crecy, France, in the year 1346, the English longbow proved its worth for the first time in Continental warfare.

The English, under Edward III, lay on a forward slope of a hill with their right flank resting on the River Maye at Crecy and their left flank on the village of Wadicourt. Two divisions, or battles as they were called at the time, consisting of a center of dismounted knights and men-at-arms plus two wings of archers, formed the first line. A third division was in reserve. The total force was 3,900 men-at-arms, 11,000 English archers and 5,000 Welsh light troops.

The French, under King Philip of Valois, were in much greater strength, numbering at least 13,000 men-at-arms, 6,000 Genoese cross-bowmen and over 20,000 foot soldiers. The English chose the battle field and were drawn up waiting for the attack. The French host, marching in column, came unsuspectingly upon the English position when they arrived at the village of Estrees. Philip could not control his unruly feudal lords who, instead of deploying and forming for action as an army, attacked piecemeal with their contingent of troops.

The cross-bowmen and archers opened the battle. After a brief contest, the cross-bowmen, outdistanced by the long-bows of the English, were forced to retreat. Through these men, the first line of French knights tried to charge the English men-at-arms. Into this confused mass the English archers shot with deadly effect. As successive bodies of French knights tried to reach the English lines, they but served to increase the number of dead, exposing themselves to the deadly point-blank flanking fire of the English archers.

From the beginning of the battle, there could be but one result. The French army was practically annihilated. It was customary in those days to record only the chivalry who fell in battle. At Crecy, the French loss was 1,542 men, while the English lost but 50.

For the first time, the calvary arm had met its equal. The choice of ground, the massed firepower of the English archers, and the stability afforded by the steady ranks of spearmen made a tactical combination that provided the margin of victory.

As firearms improved, they gradually replaced the use of the bow in English warfare. The forces of Elizabeth were the last in which the bow played an important role. Sadly to say, of all the longbows that were made and used in England, only four examples survive until the present day. Two of these were taken from a ship that sank in the Thames during the reign of Henry the VIII.