The longbow itself was usually made of a stave of yew wood about the height of the archer himself. It was usually fitted with horn nocks at the tips to take the hemp string. War bows probably needed a pull of at least 36kg and possibly more.

The English used large numbers of Archers, notably against the French during the hundred years war in the 14th and 15th centuries and also in Agincourt. Longbows were used in many European countries, although on the mainland the crossbow was much more popular. In drawing the longbow the string was brought back between the ear and the cheek. A leather bracer protects the wrist from an accidental slap from a string and leather tab protects the archer’s fingers. Archers wore various pieces of armour for protection.

Each archer carried 24 arrows, known as a sheaf, and when these were spent more were brought from supply wagons. Many archers carried their arrow through their belts rather than in a quiver, which was usually hung around the waist. They would often stick their arrows in the ground in front of them, so they could be shot quickly.

Arrows from a longbow could reach a distance of about 1000ft, which meant a creeping barrage of arrows could be dropped on an advancing enemy. Cavalry horses were very vulnerable, and impossible to control when wounded.

A skilled archer could release 12 arrows per minute. A crossbow man could only release about two in one minute, but these would penetrate more deeply.

The Bow

The English enjoyed a strategic advantage from having excellent native yew trees available. Also, the English peasants, not allowed to own swords, were adept at making and using bows for hunting. Most Continental forces used crossbows and ballistas for long-range fires. The English were thus able to deploy the equivalent of artillery, and archers were able to move and maneuver much more easily than mechanical siege engines, as well as being much more easily massed for effect. The power of the longbow was such that even near its maximum range, the ash arrows could penetrate handheld wooden shields and light armor as they rained down on their targets.

Some historians credit the longbow with the famed lopsided victory won by Henry V and his troops over the French at Agincourt.

The Helo

In modern military parlance, 'Longbow' is used to refer to the most recent revision of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter used by the U.S. Army. Its most notable upgrades include millimeter-wave radar with matching millimeter-wave seekers on improved Hellfire missiles for increased 'fire-and-forget' capability.

Compiled overview of the 85 ton Longbow 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

The Longbow is a popular design used by all the houses of the Inner Sphere. The exact number of those produced is unknown, but they are found in the regiments of nearly all armies. Limited production of the two models shown here continues to this day in most of the Successor States.

The Longbow was designed to act as a fire support unit for assault groups. With its two Holly LRM-20 Missile Racks and two Delta Dart LRM-5 Missile Racks it is capable of standing off at long range and launching a devastating preparatory attack against enemy positions and cities.

The LGB-OW Longbow is half of a very effective 'hunter-killer’ team, with specially equipped Fleas or Locusts as the hunters and the Longbow as the killer. In tactical usage the light 'Mech searches out enemy units and pinpoints their location with its laser-directed targeting system. The Longbow then strikes, its long-range missiles guided to the target by the unseen laser beam. The true value of this tactic is being able to engage an enemy unit without exposing ’Mechs. In most cases, the 'hunter-killer’ teams are able to surprise their foes and set the balance of power in their favor. It is in this role that the Longbow is most commonly used, and MechWarriors who seek to avoid being hammered by them are advised to be on the lookout for hidden light 'Mechs.

The Longbow is also found in regular army units operating in a fashion much like that performed by the Archer.

The Longbow does not usually suffer from heat build-up due to its battlefield mission. When used in a support role where movement is not required, it can fire consecutive barrages of missiles while accumulating very little heat.

Even though the LGB-OW model has no short-range armament, its weight makes a punch or kick a potent defense.

Introduced in 2610, the LGB-7Q Longbow was designed to cure some of the problems in the original LGB-0W Longbow, such as the lack of sufficient heat sinks, the lack of short-range weapons, and insufficient armor protection. The 7Q is still produced along with a few 0W models at StarCorps Industries' three remaining BattleMech factories in the Free Worlds League.

The 7Q Longbow's 255 fusion engine is a vast improvement over the original Longbow's huge VOX 340 engine. Lighter and more efficient. The new fusion engine gives the 7Q Longbow a slightly lower top speed but enables the 'Mech to carry three tons of additional armor, twenty-two heat sinks, and two medium lasers to give the 7Q Longbow short range fighting ability. As the 'Mech was never intended for front-line duty, the designers felt that these short-range weapons were sufficient.

The 7Q shares with its 0W model predecessor an antiaircraft targeting and tracking system widely considered to be one of the best in the Inner Sphere.

StarCorps Industries' factories in Marik territory are currently running at full speed to fill all the orders for 7Q Longbows for the Free Worlds League military. The Federated Commonwealth has sent several lances of its Longbows to its Periphery border, and the Lyran Alliance has deployed several lances to its borders with the Jade Falcon occupied zone and Marik space. StarCorps Industries' factories in the Federated Commonwealth are reportedly selling the Longbow to mercenary units employed by the Federated Commonwealth government, and the single StarCorps facility in the Lyran Alliance has announced its intention to sell Longbows to mercenary units stationed within Alliance borders.

Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.

Long"bow` (?), n.

The ordinary bow, not mounted on a stock; -- so called in distinction from the crossbow when both were used as weapons of war. Also, sometimes, such a bow of about the height of a man, as distinguished from a much shorter one.

To draw the longbow, to tell large stories.


© Webster 1913.

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