Longbow : (Y31) INF

Longbow : (Y31) INF

The most significant weapon in the 14th century was the longbow. Bows and arrows had been used for thousands of years, but the first record of longbows being employed in warfare was in South Wales during the 12th century. William de Braose, an English knight fighting the Welsh in 1188, reported that an arrow had penetrated his chain mail and clothing, passed through his thigh and saddle and finally entered his horse. The English now realised that even heavily mail-clad knights were not safe from the power of the longbow.

This powerful new weapon was soon adopted by the English army. Unlike previous bows, the longbow was longer than the man who used it. Depending on the size of the archer, the longbow could be over 1.85 metres (6 feet) long. Another feature of the longbow was that the string was pulled back to the ear rather than to the front of the chest. This increased both the range and power of the arrow. As well as penetrating armour, the longbow arrow could hit a target 320 metres (350 yards) away. Accurate archers could therefore kill enemy soldiers before they were in a position to attack.

When the longbowmen entered the battlefield, they usually carried several sheaths holding 24 arrows. The arrowheads were made of iron and were about 5 centimetres (2 inches) long. The sheath would contain a variety of arrows of different lengths, weights and feathers. The arrow selected by the archer depended on on the weather conditions and the distance of the intended victim. If longbowmen were captured, their opponents would cut off their thumbs and the first two fingers on the right hand to ensure that they never used a longbow again.

In an attempt to make the English the best longbowmen in the world, a law was passed ordering all men earning less that 100 pence a year to own a longbow. Every village had to arrange for a space to be set aside for men to practise using their longbows.

It was especially important for boys to take up archery at a young age. It was believed that to obtain the necessary rhythm of "laying the body into the bow" the body needed to be young and flexible. It was said that when a young man could hit a squirrel at 100 paces he was ready to join the king's army. In 1314, Edward II became concerned by reports that young people were more interested in playing a new game called football than practising archery. King Edward's answer to this problem was to ban football in England.

It has been claimed that drawing the bowstring back to your cheek bone is equivalent to lifting a 100lb block of concrete with two fingers. To cultivate the special back and shoulder muscles needed it would have been necessary to medieval peasants to have trained from a very young age. This had long-term consequences for the longbowmen. For example, the skeleton of an archer found in the wreck of the Mary Rose showed he had thicker bones in his right arm than his left and a deformed right shoulder from drawing the bow. Other evidence suggests that using such a high-tension weapon often left longbowmen with physical deformities.


USS Pittsburgh (CA-72)

USS Pittsburgh (CA-72), originally named USS Albany (CA-72), was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser of the US Navy and the third ship to bear the name. She was laid down on the 3 February 1943 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts, launched on 22 February 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Cornelius D. Scully, wife of the Mayor of Pittsburgh and commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts on 10 October 1944, with Capt. John Edward Gingrich in command.


The Crossbow vs. the Longbow in the Medieval Period

The crossbow played an important role in the late Medieval period. The crossbow was really the first hand-held weapon that could be used by an untrained soldier to injure or kill a knight in plate armour. The most powerful crossbows could penetrate armour and kill at 200 yards. Longbowmen could certainly penetrate plate mail (though perhaps not at such a great distance), but longbowman were generally highly trained soldiers. This meant that they were also expensive, and that they could not be replaced easily. (Many bowmen were recruited at a young age to master their craft.)

Anyone could use a crossbow though. Crossbows are easier to aim than longbows because the crossbowman doesn't have to use a hand to hold the string back while aiming. On a similar note, a crossbow can be loaded long before the bowman might need to shoot. In this way, the bowman would be able to shoot immediately if surprised. Crossbows require less upper body strength to operate as well. One can use both arms to span (draw back) a crossbow. Crossbows do, of course, come with a price. That price is in efficiency and in the firing rate. Longbowman could shoot 2-5 times more frequently in a given time than a crossbowman. Efficiency is a more technical problem.

Although it is impossible for any bow to be perfectly efficient, crossbows are particularly inefficient when compared to longbows. The reason for this is that the draw length and the lath (also called a prod) of crossbows are much shorter than those of longbows. So even though a crossbow may have more stored energy when spanned, the tips of the lathe do not have enough time to reach the maximum velocity that the amount of stored energy would otherwise allow. It is the lathe tip velocity that determines the speed of the bolt that is loosed. (Crossbows are not "fired", which is a term related to gunpowder.)
W.F. Paterson (1990) published data from Stephen V. Grancsay about an experiment comparing a longbow and a crossbow that was spanned with a cranequin.

Type of Weapon Draw weight Bolt weight Speed of bolt Difference
Longbow 68 lbs. 2.5 oz 133.7 fps Not much!!
Crossbow 740 lbs 1.25 oz. 138.7 fps Not much!!

This problem could have been alleviated with a longer draw length or a longer lath, but that would increase the weight and bulkiness of the crossbow, which are already two distinct disadvantages of crossbows. In the above example, it should be stated that the bolt loosed by the crossbow could have been heavier without experiencing much of a decrease in exit velocity. A heavier arrow loosed by the longbow would have had a significantly reduced exit velocity.

NOTE: through the use of modern engineering and advanced materials, modern crossbows are now much more efficient. The Excalibur Exomag has a draw weight of 185 pounds, and is able to send a bolt at 290 fps. The 165 pound draw weight Excalibur Exocet looses bolts at 270 fps, and the 150 pound draw weight Excalibur Vixen looses bolts at 250 fps. Special thanks to Excalibur Crossbows for the use of crossbow specs.

The following was written in response (edited slightly) to a question posed to me about the relative range and power of Medieval longbows and crossbows:

Although there are working examples of Medieval crossbows, there are no working examples of Medieval longbows, so a direct comparison between the two cannot be made. Hence, the only data I can draw on for longbows is either from historical evidence or from reproductions of Medieval longbows. It is my belief that while the range of longbows changed very little from the 11th. century through Medieval times, the range of crossbows certainly did increase. Historical evidence would indicate that in the hands of a well-trained longbowmen, distances of 250-350 yards were commonly attained. A few modern archers have regularly achieved distances of 350-450 yards with reproduction longbows. Inigo Simot loosed an arrow 462 yards 9 inches in 1914, and there is a claim of someone loosing an arrow 482 yards with a longbow.

At the time of the battle of Crecy (1346 C.E.), the English longbow almost certainly had a greater range than the crossbow used in field combat. Throughout the Medieval Period though, crossbows became more powerful. Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey loosed a bolt from an actual Medieval crossbow spanned with a cranequin and achieve a cast of 490 yards. The ordinary 15th. century crossbow would likely cast a bolt 370-380 yards. These crossbows would surely outperform almost any longbow in terms of distance, but the accuracy of the crossbow at those ranges would likely be poor at best.

With range out of the way, power is an even more difficult subject to breach. In general, arrows weigh more than bolts, so they have a larger momentum (kinetic energy) at a given velocity. However, a late Medieval crossbow could loose a bolt at a higher velocity, thus overcoming the lower mass (the the kinetic energy being equal to the mass times the square of the velocity). Both longbows and crossbows were capable of penetrating all but the thickest plate maile armour, but my understanding is that the heavy crossbow was the main driving force leading to heavier and heavier plate maile armour. At point blank range, the crossbow almost certainly had greater penetrating power than a long bow. By the 15th century, and possibly earlier, it is safe to say that heavy crossbows (such as a windlass spanned crossbow) were more powerful than longbows. The common crossbow probably wasn't much more powerful though.


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Thank you for visiting the Michigan Longbow Association website. Together, we are making the world a happier place, one longbow at a time.

In 1983 a group of enthusiasts gathered together to promote the use of the longbow and enjoy the camaraderie of other archers. After only a short time, it was evident they stumbled on to something special — something that could be shared and built upon.

Since then, hundreds of archers have joined us. We have constructed a vibrant community with members hailing from all over Michigan, across the U.S., and beyond. They come to us in celebration of the longbow, but stay for our family-oriented atmosphere and the connections they form at our events. The MLA is a wonderful place to be and the word is getting out.

Please explore our website to learn more about becoming a member. We think you will like what you find! Should you have questions, do not hesitate to ask.

In the meantime, join us on social media to connect with our members and officers virtually. We are there to answer questions, update you on the latest happenings, and share our longbow experiences.


The Worst Shark Attack in History

Related Content

Survivors of the USS Indianapolis are taken to medical aid on the island of Guam. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

The USS Indianapolis had delivered the crucial components of the first operational atomic bomb to a naval base on the Pacific island of Tinian. On August 6, 1945, the weapon would level Hiroshima. But now, on July 28, the Indianapolis sailed from Guam, without an escort, to meet the battleship USS Idaho in the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines and prepare for an invasion of Japan.

The next day was quiet, with the Indianapolis making about 17 knots through swells of five or six feet in the seemingly endless Pacific. As the sun set over the ship, the sailors played cards and read books some spoke with the ship’s priest, Father Thomas Conway.

But shortly after midnight, a Japanese torpedo hit the Indianapolis in the starboard bow, blowing almost 65 feet of the ship’s bow out of the water and igniting a tank containing 3,500 gallons of aviation fuel into a pillar of fire shooting several hundred feet into the sky. Then another torpedo from the same submarine hit closer to midship, hitting fuel tanks and powder magazines and setting off a chain reaction of explosions that effectively ripped the Indianapolis in two. Still traveling at 17 knots, the Indianapolis began taking on massive amounts of water the ship sank in just 12 minutes. Of the 1,196 men aboard, 900 made it into the water alive. Their ordeal—what is considered the worst shark attack in history—was just beginning.

As the sun rose on July 30, the survivors bobbed in the water. Life rafts were scarce. The living searched for the dead floating in the water and appropriated their lifejackets for survivors who had none. Hoping to keep some semblance of order, survivors began forming groups—some small, some over 300—in the open water. Soon enough they would be staving off exposure, thirst—and sharks.

The animals were drawn by the sound of the explosions, the sinking of the ship and the thrashing and blood in the water. Though many species of shark live in the open water, none is considered as aggressive as the oceanic whitetip. Reports from the Indianapolis survivors indicate that the sharks tended to attack live victims close to the surface, leading historians to believe that most of the shark-related causalities came from oceanic whitetips.

The first night, the sharks focused on the floating dead. But the survivors’ struggles in the water only attracted more and more sharks, which could feel their motions through a biological feature known as a lateral line: receptors along their bodies that pick up changes in pressure and movement from hundreds of yards away. As the sharks turned their attentions toward the living, especially the injured and the bleeding, sailors tried to quarantine themselves away from anyone with an open wound, and when someone died, they would push the body away, hoping to sacrifice the corpse in return for a reprieve from a shark’s jaw. Many survivors were paralyzed with fear, unable even to eat or drink from the meager rations they had salvaged from their ship. One group of survivors made the mistake of opening a can of Spam—but before they could taste it, the scent of the meat drew a swarm of sharks around them. They got rid of their meat rations rather than risk a second swarming.

The sharks fed for days, with no sign of rescue for the men. Navy intelligence had intercepted a message from the Japanese submarine that had torpedoed the Indianapolis describing how it had sunk an American battleship along the Indianapolis’ route, but the message was disregarded as a trick to lure American rescue boats into an ambush. In the meantime, the Indianapolis survivors learned that they had the best odds in a group, and ideally in the center of the group. The men on the margins or, worse, alone, were the most susceptible to the sharks.

As the days passed, many survivors succumbed to heat and thirst, or suffered hallucinations that compelled them to drink the seawater around them—a sentence of death by salt poisoning. Those who so slaked their thirst would slip into madness, foaming at the mouth as their tongues and lips swelled. They often became as great a threat to the survivors as the sharks circling below—many dragged their comrades underwater with them as they died.

After 11:00 a.m. on their fourth day in the water, a Navy plane flying overhead spotted the Indianapolis survivors and radioed for help. Within hours, another seaplane, manned by Lieutenant Adrian Marks, returned to the scene and dropped rafts and survival supplies. When Marks saw men being attacked by sharks, he disobeyed orders and landed in the infested waters, and then began taxiing his plane to help the wounded and stragglers, who were at the greatest risk. A little after midnight, the USS Doyle arrived on the scene and helped to pull the last survivors from the water. Of the Indianapolis’ original 1,196-man crew, only 317 remained. Estimates of the number who died from shark attacks range from a few dozen to almost 150. It’s impossible to be sure. But either way, the ordeal of the Indianapolis survivors remains the worst maritime disaster in U.S. naval history.

Sources: Richard Bedser. Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever . Discovery Channel: United States, 2007 Cathleen Bester. “Oceanic Whitetip Shark,” On the Florida Museum of Natural History. Accessed August 7, 2013 Nick Collins. “Oceanic whitetip shark: ten facts,” On Telegraph UK, December 6, 2010. Accessed August 6, 2013 Tom Harris. “How Sharks Work,” On How Stuff Works, March 30, 2001. Accessed August 6, 2013 Alex Last. “USS Indianapolis sinking: ‘You could see sharks circling’” on BBC News Magazine, July 28, 2013. Accessed August 6, 2013 Raymond B. Leach. The Tragic Fate of the USS Indianapolis. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000 Marc Nobleman. The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Publishers, 2006 “Oral History -The Sinking of USS Indianapolis,” On Naval Historical Center, September 1, 1999. Accessed August 7, 2013 “The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, 1945.” On Eyewitness to History, 2006. Accessed August 6, 2013 Doug Stanton. In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors. New York, NY: Macmillan, 2003 “The Story.” On the USS Indianapolis CA-35, March 1998. Accessed August 6, 2013 Jennifer Viegas. “Worst Shark Attack,” On Discovery Channel. Accessed August 6, 2013.


The History of Quilting Patterns & Free Quilt Block Patterns

Before magazines and mail order patterns were widely available women shared them with each other. A pattern might have been mailed to a sister out west as well as given to the neighbor just down the road.

The study of these patterns is an intriguing blend of fact and myth. Where did their names come from and when were they designed?

Free doll and baby quilt patterns from the 19th and 20th
centuries along with the history of children's quilts.

I've been having so much fun designing quilts I decided to build a little pattern site. Go visit Patterns From History and take a look around. They are all free for you to use.

Traditional Bible Block History and Patterns
Make a Bible quilt in remembrance of how important the Bible
has been to women throughout American history.

Quilt Block Patterns of America's Pioneers
These are for quilts related to the westward migrations including a bit of history as to why they were popular with pioneer women.

Quilt Block Patterns from the Colonial Revival
For popular quilts from the 1920s and 30s when there was a new interest in the "old fashioned" art of quilting.

Civil War Quilting Patterns
Make quilts like those made for fairs and for soldiers.


Curbside Classic: 2002 Nissan Y31 Cedric Brougham – So Square It’s Hip

It would be interesting to hear a Japanese person say “Cedric Brougham”. It is even more interesting to hear their idea of what a Brougham is. This is (I think) the last Japanese-made Brougham – even when it came out in 1991, it must have looked a bit dated. But perhaps this was the intention.

The Japanese love to adopt new foreign fads, but in doing so, they make them very Japanese and transform them beyond recognition. For instance, when the Americans “opened up” Japan for trade in the 1860s, they introduced the Japanese to beef. Nobody was eating beef in Japan in those days – an ancient taboo in many parts of Asia. Now, we have wagyu and kobe varieties of that most un-oriental of meats. They took it, ran with it, made it theirs and created something new. The same thing happened with trains, whisky, pastry, Buddhism, animation, uniforms and industry, among other things.

So when faced with America’s infatuation with “Broughams” (a term that is impossible to translate into any known language), Japanese automakers studied what the Big Three were using to define the package and translated it into their car culture.

Gaudy chrome grille with stand-up hood ornament – check. Plush interior with full carpeting and soft seats – check. Fat upright C-pillar with model’s logo and (possibly) padded vinyl roof – check. Writing the word “Brougham” in mock-18 th century longhand script on the rear of the car – check.

1981 Nissan Cedric 280 E. What happened to you, man? You used to be cool…

The vinyl roof never made it to this Nissan, but it did invade Japan in the ‘70s. Thankfully, doing “Broughams” was just a side-line for Japanese automakers. Their bread-and-butter (or rather rice-and-fish) were smaller cars and mini kei cars. By the late ‘80s, most big Japanese cars had lost the American-tinged style of the previous decade. Even Americans weren’t that keen on American cars any more by that point anyways. Nissan Cedrics of the period were kind of cool hardtop sedans with large engines.

But Toyota and Nissan, the Coke and Pepsi of the Japanese car industry, both realized that their bigger cars were getting too big and complicated for a key demographic: taxis. The taxi trade wanted a big car with a small engine, lots of room, a low retail price and simple mechanicals. Toyota would ultimately respond with the Crown Comfort. Nissan just decontented the Y31 Cedric and launched the Crew.

1988-91 Nissan Cedric Y31 hard-top sedan: our feature car’s direct ancestor.

The Cedric nameplate lived on in several forms, not unlike the Toyota Crown which begat a whole family of cars. The Nissan Cedric Y31 “hardtop” was discontinued in 1991 to be replaced by the new Y32 model. This Cedric line continued until 2005 (Y34).

The Y31 became a conservative alternative to the new Cedrics. It was a squared-up car with 2- or 3-litre V6 power, but also with several levels of trim – from “Cedric” plain and simple to Custom, Super Custom, Classic SV, Brougham and VIP Brougham. Our car is the Brougham, and therefore a high-level trim, but not the super-duper DeLuxe long wheelbase VIP.

I’m a little hazy on some of the details for this car, as all the good info out there on the Internets is in Japanese. But it seems this car would be a pre-2005 facelift model, judging by the hood ornament. I picked 2002 as the model year because I like palindromes (and the other palindrome year, 1991, was the car’s launch year…)

It also seems that Nissan stopped making this car. I went to Japan a few months ago, and can report that it is still very much in taxi use, as it replaced the Nissan Crew (discontinued in 2009 and getting scarce in the streets of Tokyo now) as the only RWD alternative to the ubiquitous Toyota Crown.

I found this one in my township (read: district) of Rangoon. The streets are filled with JDM imports here, so a few of these roam the roads of Myanmar. This car was probably never a taxi. It was likely a fleet car for a big company or municipality. These cars are near worthless in Japan nowadays. The Japanese government has put a very aggressive cash-for-clunkers programme in place, which practically forces people to buy new cars every five years or so. The old cars are usually exported throughout the Asia-Pacific region at extremely competitive prices. This contributed to Samoa switching to left-hand traffic in 2009. Some Y31 Cedrics were exported in LHD to China and Russia in the ‘90s.

In Myanmar, people drive on the right. But because most cars are Japanese (either JDM or Thai-made models), about 90% of cars are RHD, as is the case here. A real boon for road safety. Seems you could also order these with a column shifter, which I did see a few times in taxis around Japan. Not much point to it though, as there is no bench seat, unlike the older Crowns I remember taking in Hong Kong.

The last Nippon-made Brougham seems to have been put to rest in late 2014. It was probably time for it to go. It will remain a fairly common sight in the streets and roads of Asia and Russia for some years, but it is already sorely missed.


Welcome to the Butte Archives

Since 1981, the Archives has provided access to Butte's rich history and culture through our manuscript and photograph collections, enabling us to foster relationships with patrons worldwide.

Talking about history in Butte is like talking about food in France. There’s so much of it, and it’s all so good, it’s hard to choose.

The town grew on the side of The Hill and it was Butte all at once, out of the copper womb.

Butte people measure their wealth in the richness of their culture, their value as workers, their strength in family and friends – a valuable and lasting prosperity.

Silver Bow was rugged and harsh, but it had a certain unpremeditated beauty… Always you fought it with your heart … this raw American mining camp.

Now don’t forget, Lizzie, when you get to the new world, don’t stop in America. You go straight to Butte, Montana.

Butte was mercurial… The wicked, wealthy, hospitable, full-blooded little city welcomed me with wild enthusiasm of the most disorderly kind.


Indigenous Exhibitions on Now

New reduced admission for all visitors! Make sure you reserve your timed-tickets before you come to the museum.

We know art and culture can provide inspiration, solace, and, most importantly, a sense of connection to the people and world around us. Our mission is to activate art, objects, and ideas so everyone who experiences Glenbow leaves with something to share.

Glenbow is located on Treaty 7 territory and respects the history, languages, traditions and cultures of the nations on whose traditional land we reside: the Niitsitapi from the Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes Siksika, Piikani and Kainaiwa the Îyârhe Nakoda of the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley Nations and the Dene of the Tsuut’ina Nation as well as the Métis Nation Region III. Their contributions to the museum and continued support are integral to our success in educating our visitors and sharing the rich heritage of this land. We further acknowledge the vital connections we have to other indigenous people (including other First Nations, Inuit and Métis), whose visual and intangible culture is represented in our collections and exhibitions.


Watch the video: 11-201113First Trad Buck With a Longbow