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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.