In archery, the shape of the bow is taken to be the view from the side. It is the product of the complex relationship of material designed by a bowyer; this shape, viewing the limbs, is designed to take into account the construction materials, the performance required, the intended use of the bow. There are many different kinds of bow shapes. However, most fall into three main categories: straight and compound. Straight and recurve are considered traditional bows. If a limb is ` straight' its effective length remains the same; that is, the string goes directly to the nock in the strung position. The materials must withstand these stresses, store the energy, give back that energy efficiently. Many bows traditional self bows, are made straight in side-view profile. Longbows as used by English Archers in the Middle Ages at such battles as Crecy and Agincourt were straight limb bows. A recurve bow has tips. By definition, the difference between recurve and other bows is that the string touches a section of the limb when the bow is strung.
Recurve bows made out of composite materials were used by, among other groups, the Persians, Scythians, Magyars, Huns, Turks and Chinese. If a limb is ` straight' its effective length remains the same; that is, the string goes directly to the nock in the strung position. When the limb is recurved, the string touches the limb; the effective length of the limb, as the draw commences, is therefore shorter. However, as the bow is drawn, the recurve'unwinds', the limb becomes longer, the mechanical advantage of the archer increases. Counter to this, stresses are building up in the materials of the limbs; the belly of the bow is in compression, the back is in tension, the line between is in shear. The materials must withstand these stresses, store the energy, give back that energy efficiently; the amount of energy stored is determined by the stresses withstood and the shape of the limb, from the unstrung position to strung de-formed further to full draw as the recurve unwinds. These basic principles of changing mechanical advantage, to efficiently store more energy, deliver it to accelerate the arrow, were understood in antiquity, as shown by the examples that follow.
Many bows traditional self bows, are made straight in side-view profile. They are referred to as straight, despite the minor curves of natural wood and the "set" or curvature that a wooden bow takes after use; when the archer commences the draw, mechanical advantage is at its greatest and the bow limbs are only pre-stressed to the strung position. However, the drawing weight increases because mechanical advantage reduces and stresses are building up in the limbs. Drawing weight'stacks'. On release, the reverse happens, the arrow is accelerated by maximum force, this force decreases. Hence, the arrow must be sturdy enough to withstand such acceleration and, as the string may decelerate, it is possible for the arrow to leave the string prematurely, inefficient. Longbows as used by English Archers in the Middle Ages at such battles as Crecy and Agincourt were straight limb bows. Made of yew, these bows were used to great effect by many archers shooting together in massed volleys; the arrows were heavy with armour piercing ` bodkin' heads.
Practice for such long range warfare survives today in a clout shoot, named after a type of shirt. A recurve bow has tips. By definition, the difference between recurve and other bows is that the string touches a section of the limb when the bow is strung. A recurve bow stores more energy and delivers energy more efficiently than an equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving a greater amount of energy and speed to the arrow. A recurve will permit a shorter bow than the simple straight limb bow for a given arrow energy and this form was preferred by archers in environments where long weapons could be cumbersome, such as in brush and forest terrain, or while on horseback. Recurved limbs put greater strain on the materials used to make the bow, they may make more noise with the shot. Extreme recurves make the bow unstable. An unstrung recurve bow can have a confusing shape and many Native American weapons, when separated from their original owners and cultures, were incorrectly strung backwards and destroyed when attempts were made to shoot them.
The unqualified phrase "recurve bow" or just "a recurve" in modern archery circles refers to a typical modern recurve bow, as used by archers in the Olympics and many other competitive events. A reflex bow is a bow that has curved or curled arms which turn away from the archer throughout their length; when unstrung, the entire length of the bow curves forward from the belly, resembling a "C". The curves put the materials of the bow under greater stress, allowing a rather short bow to have a high draw weight and a long draw length; this allows a bow, shorter than a recurve or a longbow to shoot with the same or greater velocity and power. They became the classic weapon of the horse archers who have conquered much
History of archery
The bow and arrow are known to have been invented by the end of the Upper Paleolithic, for at least 10,000 years archery was an important military and hunting skill, features prominently in the mythologies of many cultures. Archers, whether on foot, in chariots or on horseback were a major part of most militaries until about 1500 when they began to be replaced by firearms, first in Europe, progressively elsewhere. Archery continues to be a popular sport. Based on indirect evidence, the bow seems to have been invented near the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic, some 10,000 years ago; the oldest direct evidence dates to 8,000 years ago. The discovery of stone points that could have been employed successfully as insets for spears or arrows in Sibudu Cave, South Africa, has prompted the proposal that bow and arrow technology could have existed as early as 64,000 years ago. In the Levant, artifacts which may be arrow-shaft straighteners are known from the Natufian culture, onwards.
The Khiamian and PPN A shouldered. The oldest indication for archery in Europe comes from Stellmoor in the Ahrensburg valley north of Hamburg, Germany, they were associated with artifacts of the late Paleolithic. The arrows were made of pine and consisted of a mainshaft and a 15-20 centimetre long foreshaft with a flint point, they had shallow grooves on the base. The oldest definite bows known so far come from the Holmegård swamp in Denmark. In the 1940s, two bows were found there, dated to about 8,000 BP; the Holmegaard bows have flat arms and a D-shaped midsection. The center section is biconvex; the complete bow is 1.50 m long. Bows of Holmegaard-type were in use until the Bronze Age. Mesolithic pointed shafts have been found in England, Germany and Sweden, they were rather long, up to 120 cm and made of European hazel, wayfaring tree and other small woody shoots. Some still have flint arrow-heads preserved; the ends show traces of fletching, fastened on with birch-tar. The oldest depictions of combat, found in Iberian cave art of the Mesolithic, show battles between archers.
A group of three archers encircled by a group of four is found in Cueva del Roure, Morella la Vella, Castellón, Valencia. A depiction of a larger battle, in which eleven archers are attacked by seventeen running archers, is found in Les Dogue, Ares del Maestrat, Castellón, Valencia. At Val del Charco del Agua Amarga, Alcañiz, seven archers with plumes on their heads are fleeing a group of eight archers running in pursuit. Archery seems to have arrived in the Americas via Alaska, as early as 6000 BCE, with the Arctic small tool tradition, about 2,500 BCE, spreading south into the temperate zones as early as 2,000 BCE, was known among the indigenous peoples of North America from about 500 CE; the oldest Neolithic bow known from Europe was found in anaerobic layers dating between 7,400-7,200 BP, the earliest layer of settlement at the lake settlement at La Draga, Girona, Spain. The intact specimen is short at 1.08m, has a D-shaped cross-section, is made of yew wood. Stone wrist-guards, interpreted as display versions of bracers, form a defining part of the Beaker culture and arrowheads are commonly found in Beaker graves.
European Neolithic fortifications, arrow-heads and representations indicate that, in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Europe, archery was a major form of interpersonal violence. For example, the Neolithic settlement at Carn Brea was occupied between around 3700 and 3400 BC. Chariot-borne archers became a defining feature of Middle Bronze Age warfare, from Europe to Eastern Asia and India. However, in the Middle Bronze Age, with the development of massed infantry tactics, with the use of chariots for shock tactics or as prestigious command vehicles, archery seems to have lessened in importance in European warfare. In the same period, with the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon and the spread of the Andronovo culture, mounted archery became a defining feature of Eurasian nomad cultures and a foundation of their military success, until the massed use of guns. In China, crossbows were developed, Han Dynasty writers attributed Chinese success in battles against nomad invaders to the massed use of crossbows, first attested at the Battle of Ma-Ling in 341 BCE.
Ancient civilizations, notably the Persians, Egyptians, Indians, Koreans and Japanese fielded large numbers of archers in their armies. Arrows were destructive against massed formations, the use of archers proved decisive; the Sanskrit term for archery, came to refer to martial arts in general. Mounted archers were used as the main military force for many of the equestrian nomads, including the Cimmerians and the Mongols; the ancient Egyptian people took to archery as early as 5,000 years ago. Archery was widespread by the time of the earliest pharaohs and was practiced both for hunting and use in warfare. Legendary figures from the tombs of Thebes are depicted giving "lessons in archery"; some Egyptian deities are connected to archery. The "Nine bows" were a conventional representation
A longbow is a type of bow, tall – equal to the height of the user – allowing the archer a long draw. A longbow is not recurved, its limbs are narrow so that they are circular or D-shaped in cross section. Flatbows can be just as long. Longbows for hunting and warfare have been made from many different woods by many cultures; the historical longbow was a self bow made of a single piece of wood, but modern longbows may be made from modern materials or by gluing different timbers together. Organisations that run archery competitions have set out formal definitions for the various classes; some archery clubs in the USA classify longbows as bows with strings that do not come in contact with their limbs. According to the British Longbow Society, the English longbow is made so that its thickness is at least 5⁄8 of its width, as in Victorian longbows, is widest at the handle; this differs from the Medieval longbow. The Victorian longbow does not bend throughout the entire length, as does the medieval longbow.
The earliest known example of a longbow was found in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps with a natural mummy known as Ötzi. His bow was 1.82 metres long. Forty longbows have been discovered in a peat bog at Nydam in Denmark which date from the 4th century AD. In the Middle Ages the Welsh and English were famous for their powerful longbows, used en masse to great effect against the French in the Hundred Years' War, with notable success at the battles of Crécy, Agincourt. During the reign of Edward III of England, laws were passed allowing fletchers and bowyers to be impressed into the army and enjoining them to practice archery; the dominance of the longbow on the battlefield continued until the French began to use cannon to break the formations of English archers at the Battle of Formigny and the Battle of Castillon. Their use continued in the Wars of the Roses however and they survived as a weapon of war in England well beyond the introduction of effective firearms; the average length of arrow shafts recovered from the 1545 sinking of the Mary Rose is 75 cm/30 in.
In 1588, the militia was called out in anticipation of an invasion by the Spanish Armada and it included many archers in its ranks. The first book in English about longbow archery was Toxophilus by Roger Ascham, first published in London in 1545 and dedicated to King Henry VIII. Although firearms supplanted bows in warfare, wooden or fibreglass laminated longbows continue to be used by traditional archers and some tribal societies for recreation and hunting. A longbow has practical advantages compared to a modern compound bow. However, other things being equal, the modern bow will shoot a faster arrow more than the longbow; the Battle of Flodden was "a landmark in the history of archery, as the last battle on English soil to be fought with the longbow as the principal weapon..." The Battle of Tippermuir, in Scotland, may have been the last battle involving the longbow in significant numbers. The last recorded use of the longbow in war was by British Lt. Col. Jack Churchill, who used it to kill a German soldier in World War II.
Because the longbow can be made from a single piece of wood, it can be crafted easily and quickly. Amateur bowyers today can make a longbow in about ten to twenty hours, while skilled bowyers, such as those who produced medieval English longbows, can make wooden longbows in just a few hours. One of the simpler longbow designs is known as the self bow, by definition made from a single piece of wood. Traditional English longbows are self bows made from yew wood; the bowstave is cut from the radius of the tree so that sapwood becomes the back and forms about one third of the total thickness. Yew sapwood is good only in tension. However, compromises must be made when making a yew longbow, as it is difficult to find perfect unblemished yew; the demand for yew bowstaves was such that by the late 16th century mature yew trees were extinct in northern Europe. In other desirable woods such as Osage orange and mulberry the sapwood is useless and is removed entirely. Longbows, because of their narrow limbs and rounded cross-section, need to be less powerful, longer or of more elastic wood than an equivalent flatbow.
In Europe the last approach was used, with yew being the wood of choice, because of its high compressive strength, light weight, elasticity. Yew is the best widespread European timber that will make good self longbows, has been the main wood used in European bows since Neolithic times. More common and cheaper hard woods, including elm, oak, hi
Ya is the Japanese word for arrow, refers to the arrows used in Kyudo. Ya refers to the arrows used by samurai during the feudal era of Japan. Unlike Western arrows, the ya is close to a metre longer. Traditional ya are made from natural materials bamboo, while modern ones may use aluminium or carbon fiber; the US company Easton and the Japanese company Mizuno are the main manufacturers of modern ya shafts. More than 90 percent of Kyudo practitioners in Japan today use Easton shafts; the no are made from yadake bamboo and can have different shapes – straight, or tapering – depending on the use of the arrow in long-distance shooting or target practice. Lighter arrows can lose their stability when shot from a strong bow, heavier arrows have a trajectory that arcs more, they use bamboo from the Kanto area. This is for a purely practical reason: bamboo will not grow fast enough in a cold area and the joints are too close together, whereas in a warm area the bamboo grows too fast and the joints are too far apart.
So the Kanto area has a moderate climate. The joints of your shaft help with the balance. After harvesting bamboo it still changes size and shape, so it must rest for 2 1⁄2 to 3 years after cutting it before it can be used; when it has aged the proper time the bamboo should provide a good tight grip around the tang of the yanone. The bamboo is tempered in a special kiln similar to the Viking beehive style and straightened with a tool called a tomegi, or "tree tame", used when creating bamboo fishing poles; the appearance of the No varies. Some are plain; the proper length is measured from the archer's throat to five centimeters beyond the tip of the outstretched left hand. The arrows are fletched with hane about fifteen centimetres in length and can be the most expensive part of the arrow. Traditionally, the outermost tail feathers of large birds of prey were considered the finest. Many of these birds are now endangered – in particular the sea eagle – therefore, feathers of lesser eagles, geese or turkeys are being used in modern times.
On the other hand, owl feathers were never used. They would use feathers from both the left and right wing, because wing feathers curve left or right. Ya with feathers from the left wing are called haya and they spiral clockwise, whereas ya made from the right wing feathers are called otoya and they spiraled counter-clockwise; the nock or hazu is made from goat or deer horn and archers file the slot to match the diameter of their own bowstring. Older or ceremonial ya can have bamboo nocks. Ya used for target practice have a conical iron tip called a ne. Ya used in war by the samurai had a variety of tips called yajiri or yanone. There are many different kinds of arrowhead and they all have their own special name. Togari-ya is a simple pointed design; the yanagi-ba known as "willow-leaf", is known for its elegant design. Karimata have a unique split point, are sometimes referred to as "rope-cutters"; the barbed "flesh-torn" is known as watakushi. The tagone-ya is shaped like a chisel. Kaburi-ya was used for signalling and creating fear with the loud whistling noise it would produce.
They were large enough that they could be signed on the tang by the fletcher in the manner of Japanese swords. Kabura-ya DeProspero. "Kyudo Equipment"
For millennia, Chinese archery has played a pivotal role in Chinese society. In particular, archery featured prominently in ancient Chinese culture and philosophy: archery was one of the Six Noble Arts of the Zhou dynasty; because the cultures associated with Chinese society spanned a wide geography and time range, the techniques and equipment associated with Chinese archery are diverse. The improvement of firearms and other circumstances of 20th century China led to the demise of archery as a military and ritual practice, for much of the 20th century only one traditional bow and arrow workshop remained. However, in the beginning of the 21st century, there has been revival in interest among craftsmen looking to construct bows and arrows, as well as practice technique in the traditional Chinese style; the practice of Chinese archery can be referred to as The Way of Archery, a term derived from the 17th century Ming Dynasty archery manuals written by Gao Ying. The use of 道 can be seen in names used for other East Asian styles, such as Japanese archery and Korean archery.
In historical times, Chinese people used archery for hunting, rituals and warfare. China has a long history of mounted archery. Prior to the Warring States period, shooting from chariot was the primary form of battlefield archery. A typical arrangement was that each chariot would carry one driver, one halberder, one archer. Horseback archery replaced chariot archery during the Warring States period; the earliest recorded use of mounted archery by Han Chinese occurred with the reforms of King Wuling of Zhao in 307 BCE. Despite opposition from his nobles, Zhao Wuling's military reforms included the adoption of archery tactics of the bordering Xiongnu tribes, which meant shooting from horseback and eschewing Han robes in favor of nomadic-style jodhpurs. For infantry, the preferred projectile weapon was the crossbow, because shooting one required less training than shooting a bow; as early as 600 BC, Chinese crossbows employed sophisticated bronze trigger mechanisms, which allowed for high draw weights.
However, crossbow trigger mechanisms reverted to simpler designs during the Ming dynasty because the skill of constructing bronze trigger mechanisms was lost during the Mongolian Yuan dynasty. Nonetheless, infantry archery using the bow and arrow still served important functions in training as well as naval battles. In the Zhou dynasty, nobles held archery rituals which symbolized and reinforced order within the aristocratic hierarchy; the typical arrangement involved pairs of archers shooting at a target in a pavilion, accompanied by ceremonial music and wine. In these rituals, shooting with proper form and conduct was more important than hitting the target. Ritual archery served as a counterpoint to the typical portrayal of archers, who were skillful but brash. Confucius himself was an archery teacher, his own view on archery and archery rituals was that "A refined person has no use for competitiveness, yet if he cannot avoid it let him compete through archery!"Although civil archery rituals fell out of favor after the Zhou dynasty, examinations inspired by the Zhou-era rituals became a regular part of the military syllabus in dynasties such as the Han, Song and Qing.
These exams provided merit-based means of selecting military officials. In addition to archery on foot, the examinations featured mounted archery, as well as strength testing with specially-designed strength testing bows. Football and archery were practiced by the Ming Emperors. Equestrianism and archery were favorite pastimes of He Suonan who served in the Yuan and Ming militaries under Hongwu. Archery towers were built by Zhengtong Emperor at the Forbidden City. Archery towers were built on the city walls of Xi'an erected by Hongwu. Lake Houhu was guarded by archers in Nanjing during the Ming dynasty. Math, literature, archery and rites were the Six Arts. At the Guozijian, math, calligraphy and archery were emphasized by the Ming Hongwu Emperor in addition to Confucian classics and required in the Imperial Examinations. Archery and equestrianism were added to the exam by Hongwu in 1370 like how archery and equestrianism were required for non-military officials at the 武舉 College of War in 1162 by the Song Emperor Xiaozong.
The area around the Meridian Gate of Nanjing was used for archery by guards and generals under Hongwu. The Imperial exam included archery. Archery on horseback was practiced by Chinese living near the frontier. Wang Ju's writings on archery were followed during the Ming and Yuan and the Ming developed new methods of archery. Jinling Tuyong showed archery in Nanjing during the Ming. Contests in archery were held in the capital for Garrison of Guard soldiers. Equestrianism and archery were favored activities of his second son Zhu Gaoxu; the Yongle Emperor's eldest son and successor the Hongxi Emperor was disinterested in military matters but was accomplished in foot archery. Archery and equestrianism were frequent pastimes by the Zhengde Emperor, he practiced horseriding with eunuchs. Tibetan Buddhist monks, Muslim women and musicians were obtained and
The Mongol bow is a type of recurved composite bow used in Mongolia. "Mongol bow" can refer to two types of bow. From the 17th century onward, most of the traditional bows in Mongolia were replaced with the similar Manchu bow, distinguished by larger siyahs and the presence of prominent string bridges; the bows that were used during the rule of Genghis Khan were smaller than the modern Manchu derived weapons used at most Naadam. Paintings as well as at least one surviving example of a 13th-century Mongol bow from Cagaan Chad demonstrate that the medieval Mongolian bows had smaller siyahs and much less prominent leather string bridges. From the 17th–20th century, horseback archery in Mongolia declined in prominence in proportion to the availability of firearms. Contemporary depictions of the 1768 Battle of Khorgos between the Qing Dynasty and the Western Mongolian Dzungars show the mounted Dzungars armed with muskets. Despite changes in bow construction over time, the Mongolian archery tradition has been continuous.
The traditions of Mongolian archery were kept alive by the Qing Imperial court which maintained a cohort Mongolian Imperial Bodyguards trained in archery with Manchurian bows. Construction of composite bows in Mongolia and Tibet shifted to Manchu derived designs to the point where the traditional "Mongolian bow" used in the Nandaam festival derives from the Manchu popularized design Ancient and modern Mongol bows are part of the Asian composite bow tradition; the core is bamboo, with horn on the sinew on the back, bound together with animal glue. As animal glue is dissolved by water, composite bows may be ruined by excess humidity; the bow is stored in a leather case for protection when not in use. Birch is a typical material for arrows; the normal length of an arrow is between 80 and 100 cm, the shaft's diameter is around 1 cm. As for fletchings, tail feathers of crane are favored. Eagle feathers make a exclusive arrow, but since eagles are rare most arrows cannot have fletchings from eagle's tail feathers.
Feathers taken from the wings are said to flow less smoothly through the air, so if given the choice tail feathers are picked. The Mongols characteristically pay close attention to minutest of detail; these factors are painstakingly considered when making arrows after the Old Mongol standard. The arrowheads, or points, could be everything from wide metal blades used for big game to bone and wooden points, which are used for hunting birds and small animals; the high impact of this bow ensures that a bony point will be lethal when hitting the body of a smaller animal or a bird. In addition to these kinds of arrows, whistling arrows are useful during hunting, because the effect on animals of an arrow whistling away high above the ground is to make it stop, curious to see what is in the air; this gives the hunter time to launch this time with a game head to kill the animal. These whistling arrows made by inserting an arrowhead of bone in which air channels have been created; when shot, such arrowheads make a audible sound through the air.
An inscription thought to be from 1226 was found on a stone stele in Siberia. It may have said: "While Chinggis Khan was holding an assembly of Mongolian dignitaries, after his conquest of Sartaul, Esungge shot a target at 335 alds."In the historical novel "Khökh Sudar" Injinashi, the Mongolian philosopher and writer, imagines the competition amongst all Mongolian men in about 1194–1195: five archers each hit the target three times from a distance of 500 bows. The Mongolian draw, or thumb draw, uses only the thumb, the strongest single digit, to grasp the string. Around the back of the thumb, the index and/or middle fingers reinforce the grip; this is traditional across the Asian steppes, as well as in Korea, Tibet, Turkey and recent Persia. It was used by Ishi, the last of the Yana, with his short bows, it gives a narrower grip on the string, as only one digit is used, this may help to avoid "string pinch" with shorter bows, such as the composite bows used from horseback. Mongol archers would wear a thumb ring made from leather, horn, in some cases silver to protect the thumb.
It may avoid a problem faced by archers using the Mediterranean release, when the three fingers do not release at the same time and thus foul the draw. This release is used with the arrow on the right side of the bow for a right-handed archer who holds the bow in the left hand and draws with the right. Composite bow Turkish bow Korean bow Bow draw Bow string Mounted archery Asian Traditional Archery Research Network
A horse archer is a cavalryman armed with a bow, able to shoot while riding from horseback. Archery has been used from the backs of other riding animals. In large open areas, it was a successful technique for hunting, for protecting the herds, for war, it was a defining characteristic of the Eurasian nomads during antiquity and the medieval period, as well as the Iranian peoples, Indians in antiquity, by the Hungarians and the Turkic peoples during the Middle Ages. By the expansion of these peoples, the practice spread to Eastern Europe and East Asia. In East Asia, horse archery came to be honored in the samurai tradition of Japan, where horse archery is called Yabusame; the term mounted archer occurs in medieval English sources to describe a soldier who rode to battle but who dismounted to shoot.'Horse archer' is the term used more to describe a warrior who shoots from the saddle at the gallop. Another term,'horseback archery', has crept into modern use. Horse archery developed separately among the peoples of the South American pampas and the North American prairies.
Since using a bow requires the rider to let go of the reins with both hands, horse archers need superb equestrian skills if they are to shoot on the move. The natives of large grassland areas used horse archery for hunting, for protecting their herds, for war. Horse archery was for many groups a basic survival skill, additionally made each able-bodied man, at need, a highly-mobile warrior; the buffalo hunts of the North American prairies may be the best-recorded examples of bowhunting by horse archers. In battle, light horse archers were skirmishers armed missile troops capable of moving swiftly to avoid close combat or to deliver a rapid blow to the flanks or rear of the foe. Captain Robert G. Carter described the experience of facing Quanah Parker's forces: "an irregular line of swirling warriors, all moving in right and left hand circles.. while advancing, to the right or left, as concentrating... in the centre... and their falling back in the same manner...all was most puzzling to our... veterans who had never witnessed such tactical maneuvers, or such a flexible line of skirmishers"In the tactic of the Parthian shot the rider would retreat from the enemy while turning his upper body and shooting backward.
Due to the superior speed of mounted archers, troops under attack from horse archers were unable to respond to the threat if they did not have ranged weapons of their own. Constant harassment would result in morale drop and disruption of the formation. Any attempts to charge the archers would slow the entire army down. An example of these tactics comes from an attack on Comanche horse archers by a group of Texas Rangers, who were saved by their muzzle-loading firearms and by a convenient terrain feature. Fifty Rangers armed with guns met about 20 Comanche hunters who were hunting buffalo and attacked them; the Comanches fled keeping clear of the Rangers, for several miles across the open prairie. They led the Rangers into a stronger force of two hundred; the Rangers retreated, only to discover they had committed a classic error in fighting mounted archers: the Comanches pursued in turn, able to shoot what seemed like clouds of arrows. The Rangers found a ravine; the horse archers did not charge but kept the Rangers under siege until seven of them were dead or dying, whereupon the Rangers retreated but claimed victory.
Horse archers may be either light, such as Scythian, Parthian, Cuman or Pecheneg horsemen, or heavy, such as Byzantine kavallarioi, Turkish timariots, Russian druzhina and Japanese samurai. Heavy horse archers fought as disciplined units. Instead of harassing without making contact, they shot in volleys, weakening the enemy before they charged. In addition to bows, they also carried close combat weapons, such as lances or spears; some nations, like medieval Mongols and Cumans fielded both light and heavy horse archers. In some armies, such as those of the Parthians and the Teutonic Order of Knights, the mounted troops consisted of both super-heavy troops without bows, light horse archers. Horse archery first developed during the Iron Age replacing the Bronze Age chariot; the earliest depictions of horse archers are found in artwork of the Neo-Assyrian Empire of about the 9th century BC and reflects the incursions of the early Iranian peoples. Early horse archery, depicted on the Assyrian carvings, involved two riders, one controlling both horses while the second shot.
Heavy horse archers first appeared in the Assyrian army in the 7th century BC after abandoning chariot warfare and formed a link between light skirmishing cavalrymen and heavy cataphract cavalry. The heavy horse archers had mail or lamellar armour and helmets, sometimes their horses were armoured. Skirmishing requires vast areas of free space to run and flee, if the terrain is close, light horse archers can be charged and defeated easily. Light horse archers are very vulnerable to foot archers and crossbowmen, who are smaller targets and can outshoot horsemen. Large armies seldom relied on skirmishing horse archers, but there are many examples of victories in which horse archers played a leading part; the Roman general Crassus led a large army, with inadequate cavalry and missile troops, to catastrophe against Parthian horse archers and cataphracts at the Battle of Carrhae. The Persian king Darius the Great led a campaign against the mounted Scythians, who r