Bows

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timmy1
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Re: Bows

Post by timmy1 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:58 am

I can see it now 'Musket, Arquebus, and Caliver: Rules for Gunpowder Warfare'...

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Re: Bows

Post by Jhykronos » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:15 pm

timmy1 wrote:I can see it now 'Musket, Arquebus, and Caliver: Rules for Gunpowder Warfare'...
Heh, why stop there? If we backtrack the dates for the rules to cover the academically acknowledged Renaissance period, as opposed to the wargaming one (say 1420-1658 or 1348-1658 depending on which conflict you want to catch in the start date), you could have: "Handgonne, Arquebus, Caliver, Musket"...

Of course, while I'm making wishlists, it might be refreshing to see more rule sets do something nice for crossbows as well...

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Re: Bows

Post by spedders » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:53 am

The facetious answer to Don's point is that bows did indeed become defunct! Sorry couldn't resist that!

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Re: Bows

Post by spedders » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:09 am

Seriously though I don't see it will be that devastating to bow. It means against a warrior unit they will get 2 long range shots and 1 short range shot as opposed to 1 long range and 2 short range. If the interaction is samurai v bow generally the bow are toast either way. I have no particular issue with increasing arquebus to 4" instead but not sure what the other interactions that would be effected are. I am not sure why other ranges should be increased by this change?

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Re: Bows

Post by quackstheking » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:04 am

spedders wrote:The facetious answer to Don's point is that bows did indeed become defunct! Sorry couldn't resist that!
But they didn't become defunct because of a lack of effectiveness but because it was quicker and easier to train a peasant to use firearms!

I suspect we could even train you to use a musket but it would take years to train you to properly use a bow! :D

Don

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Re: Bows

Post by kevinj » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:49 am

This appears to be the area that's currently generating the most controversy. From my perspective, there are 3 areas to consider:

1) The interaction between Bow armed foot and Firearm foot. The extra effective range of the Bow provides a significant advantage against Muskets, and can shoot without reply against Arquebus. I'll always fancy my chances with a Bow based army against one with a lot of Pike and Shot 6 packs. That doesn't seem right, so reducing the Bow effective range to 3MU would improve this.
2) Mounted Bow. There is concern that allowing cavalry to drop back will allow them to remain untouchable. Reducing their range will mitigate this.
3) Bows vs Early armies/Warriors. there is concern that reducing the Bow range will make Bow armed troops useless in this interaction. As Keith has pointed out the likely effect, if the Bowmen are looking to maximise shooting and the others are looking to initiate combat, is that the bowmen will get one round of shooting at Long range rather than Effective range. However, this is a situation which I believe is already bad for the bowmen and which most players would seek to avoid with the current rules.

So, this may be a loaded question, but does making Bows a bit worse in a situation that's already bad for them outweigh the benefits of 1 and 2?

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Re: Bows

Post by jonphilp » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:00 pm

Hi,

The problem we have with bows is the interaction between the west and far east. Having always gravitated to Chinese armies I have always believed that we have a poor understanding of far eastern warfare and technological advances they used on the battlefield. Using bow troops in the Italian wars works well, the lack of instant death rolls makes interesting battlefield decisions. When looking at the Ming/ Koreans v Japanese it is not the bow that is the problem rather the designation of firearm units being classed as Arquebus armed. The Japanese were well advanced in the production of uniform firearms and their range and hitting power at least matched European firearms. I realise FOGR seems to have the 1590's as the start of Musket use (the Imjin war was 1592 to 98) in the west Qinq still have Arquebus up to 1698 which I can understand for the mixed firearm/bow units but not the "pure" firearm regulars. Special pleading perhaps but changing the bow rules may be in response to special situations rather than bow interactions in general.

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Re: Bows

Post by Vespasian28 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:10 pm

So, this may be a loaded question, but does making Bows a bit worse in a situation that's already bad for them outweigh the benefits of 1 and 2?
No.

This is the trouble with a set of rules covering "the Renaissance" world wide. Some things won't quite work for everything perfectly but as long as most things work historically I am fine with that . Plus I think we are trying to factor into tabletop performance reasons for certain troop types being superceded (bows, cuirassiers) which had more to do with reasons off the battlefield like training and economics.

If you are going to do games involving ahistorical opponents do a house/tourney rule.

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Re: Bows

Post by Jhykronos » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:18 pm

quackstheking wrote:But they didn't become defunct because of a lack of effectiveness but because it was quicker and easier to train a peasant to use firearms!
I'd say it's a bit hasty to just assume they "didn't become defunct because of a lack of effectiveness" and " it was quicker and easier to train a peasant to use firearms"... It's not like we have a bunch of examples of attritional wars between "bow powers" and "gun powers" where the gunners triumphed due to mass levying of the peasantry (In fact, I'd say most of the powers of the time period would have been appalled at the very prospect).

Logistical and training issues are a valid point, especially over the long term, but IMO the nature of the evolution from bows to guns suggests that the primary reason most went to guns is that they -were- more effective.

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Re: Bows

Post by Vespasian28 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:53 pm

Sorry I'm with Don on this. It was about "training" in as much as the physical attributes of a longbowman took years to develop(see the Mary Rose skeletons) hence all the mandatory training on the village green and the banning of football and other recreations. An arquebusier could be trained in a matter of weeks and was less dependent on maintaining his health on campaign to be effective with his weapon. A bow outranged and outshot an arquebus but you can replace an arquebusier a lot easier than a good bowman. In that way at least it was more effective.

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Re: Bows

Post by Jhykronos » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:52 am

Vespasian28 wrote:Sorry I'm with Don on this. It was about "training" in as much as the physical attributes of a longbowman took years to develop(see the Mary Rose skeletons) hence all the mandatory training on the village green and the banning of football and other recreations. An arquebusier could be trained in a matter of weeks and was less dependent on maintaining his health on campaign to be effective with his weapon. A bow outranged and outshot an arquebus but you can replace an arquebusier a lot easier than a good bowman. In that way at least it was more effective.
And are all bows Mary Rose Longbows? And even using longbows as your benchmark, do we actually have head to head encounters to say they "outranged" or "outshot" the contemporary firearms, or are we talking theoretical capabilities?

Burgundy and France developed pretty significant longbow forces... until both started suffering defeats to armies based around the pike square, then the archers were relegated to a secondary role and eventually disappear. Then all the continental powers are using pike squares. And eventually someone figures out that attaching gunners to the pikes makes them even more effective, and the use of guns starts becoming a lot more widespread. Because they were effective. If somebody thought that going to the expense of training up a bunch of archers to support the pike would give them a slight heads-up, then why didn't someone try it at some point? Or even just try to hire some from the Tudor kings, who had plenty on hand?

Many later Ottoman Timariots were armed with both guns and bows... why bother with guns when you are already skilled at firing your powerful composite bow, with it's "superior" range and rate of fire?

In Japan, the spear had relegated the bow to secondary importance in a similar manner to the pike in Europe (though I'm not certain there are any battles that could be called a turning point for this). Now the Japanese Yumi is not remotely an English warbow... in fact, the original mounted Samurai tended to shoot at such close ranges that it could practically be considered a melee weapon in most miniatures games. But then along comes the Teppo, originally rare and expensive enough that concerns about training huge forces would hardly even be an issue, yet battlefield performance (Nagashino, Nagashima, etc.) lands even the most conservative daimyo the inescapable conclusion that it's the superior weapon system.

Effectiveness. Not levying up huge forces of peasant conscripts who are easy to train, which I doubt crossed anyone's mind in the 16th century... well except for some peasant rebellions that were pretty woefully short of guns anyway.

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Re: Bows

Post by Vespasian28 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:54 pm

And are all bows Mary Rose Longbows? And even using longbows as your benchmark, do we actually have head to head encounters to say they "outranged" or "outshot" the contemporary firearms, or are we talking theoretical capabilities?
Under FOGR a bow is a bow and reliant on muscle power and the health of the individual which was my point. The Mary Rose skeletons are just an example of a weapon relying on the human body and all it's deficiencies against a weapon whose power is chemical.

Maniakes made a post a lot earlier in this thread about one instance of bows outshooting firearms.

I had one experience of the Western Sudanese comprehensively outshooting my Spanish but that didn't make me think the rules were wrong. Just a consequence of un-historical match ups that I usually avoid by not doing competitions that often.

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Re: Bows

Post by Jhykronos » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:16 pm

Vespasian28 wrote: Maniakes made a post a lot earlier in this thread about one instance of bows outshooting firearms.
An example we do not have many details for, but I'd be very interested in the numbers there (somehow I think the Ming could put a good order of magnitude more bowmen on the field than a Colonial Dutch army would have of musketeers).
I had one experience of the Western Sudanese comprehensively outshooting my Spanish but that didn't make me think the rules were wrong. Just a consequence of un-historical match ups that I usually avoid by not doing competitions that often.
Fine, but in the same period the Spanish are fighting Ottomans and Amerindians, whose bows will also out-shoot them in this game.

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Re: Bows

Post by Greetings44 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:46 pm

Whilst the range of firearms might exceed that of bows their accuracy and hence effective range was far more restricted, various sources citing 50-80yds. The accuracy being reduced by using a smaller ball than the bore to aid reloading speed but promoting 'rattling' of the ball down the barrel during firing. With a bow at least you get feedback from the flight of the previous arrow and the relatively quick reload time to enable meaningful adjustment to aiming. So perhaps the -2 to hits and death throw could be applied outside effective range. The shooting POA take no account of the 'order' a target is, it is as easy to hit a base of light foot as a base of heavy foot. With bow fire this is not so apparent with the -2 being applied to death throws, however with firearms no limitation, perhaps the -2 could be applied when firing at LF, LH and deployed artillery with firearms.

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Re: Bows

Post by Maniakes » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:40 pm

Jhykronos wrote:
Vespasian28 wrote: Maniakes made a post a lot earlier in this thread about one instance of bows outshooting firearms.
An example we do not have many details for, but I'd be very interested in the numbers there (somehow I think the Ming could put a good order of magnitude more bowmen on the field than a Colonial Dutch army would have of musketeers).

Coxinga came to Taiwan after having been beaten by the Jin - so it may have been a small-ish army (small enough to fit inside his fleet anyway). The Dutch sallied out expecting to win so presumably weren't too over-awed. The suggestion is that the Dutch were expecting levies and came up against battle-hardened troops (though that might be a comment from a secondary source). So over-all the answer is:- I don't know the numbers but they weren't suggested as the critical factor in what I read.

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Re: Bows

Post by spedders » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:47 pm

Having just played at badcon, first and third were Western Sudanese, both of which beat every western army they faced, in no small part due to the power of 6 man warrior bow units out shooting 4 and 2 six packs.

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Re: Bows

Post by Vespasian28 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:48 pm

In a competition that had any army from any book. That is the problem from my non-competitive point of view.

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Re: Bows

Post by RonanTheLibrarian » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:47 am

spedders wrote:Having just played at badcon, first and third were Western Sudanese, both of which beat every western army they faced, in no small part due to the power of 6 man warrior bow units out shooting 4 and 2 six packs.
IIRC, some of those 6-base warrior bow units were cleverly disguised as 8-base warrior bow units; same outcome, only slightly quicker. :roll:

There was also the small matter of European horse having to fight disrupted against camels.

Kevin J actually said to me at the time that it was one of the reasons he felt bow short range should be reduced from 4" to 3".
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Re: Bows

Post by jonphilp » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:38 pm

Looking at the thread again it appears that the move to change bow in FOGR is being driven by what is seemed by the wrong result from western armies losing to non theme African/ Eastern armies. However I would be wary of making a change without a lot of play testing as you may find that armies from these areas become unviable even in theme/period as they often face warrior foot who will I believe run riot especially as they run in 8 plus units. Besides did not early European armies meet many reverses against North African armies in the period covered by FOGR so perhaps the Sudanese etc should be a challenge.

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Re: Bows

Post by RonanTheLibrarian » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:07 pm

In fairness, it's not just one competition - Alasdair Harley has won several FoGR tournaments (often by some margin) using Western Sudanese; that said, Alasdair beats most people with any army he chooses, so......

Personally, I don't think such an ahistorical match-up should be used as justification for big changes to rules that I think work ok. As the "owner" of one of the western European armies defeated - 25-0 since you ask - by one of the two West Sudanese armies (there were two of them), I could argue that there were other factors involved as well - 1) the terrain fell kindly for them, 2) the dice even more so, and 3) I had the smallest army in the competition (13 units, they had 19 - so half an army more again). For me, given that armies from that part of the world were occasionally over-running less numerous European opponents two-and-a-half centuries later, when the latter had repeating rifles, modern artillery, and the machine gun, I don't see it as that much of an anomaly. If P&S armies have no answer to ahistorical match-ups against camelry and 8-pack warrior bowmen, then it is up to tournament organisers to decide whether they should allow the latter in or not.
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