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Bruce Smithhammer
Post count: 2514

Critch –

Not sure which video on the English longbow you were watching (maybe the one with Mike Loades?) but I agree – I doubt that a running start, or even an aggressive step forward, was the usual way to shoot an English longbow in war.

Tactically, the English approach to using the bow in war was largely pretty regimented and static (which some historians attribute to why its success was limited). The role of the English archer in battle was primarily for pre-emptive strikes, cover fire upon retreats, and as a supporting role to what the English considered to be the more “valorous” form of fighting – hand-to-hand combat on foot, or even more esteemed – as a nobleman on horseback. As you point out – if a step forward was required of an entire line of archers with every shot, you do not have a static line, you have an advancing line – not what you would always want in those situations.

In addition, it was common for English archers in battle to have a supply of arrows in, or on, the ground by their side. I would bet they would want continue to stand next to that supply and not keep stepping away from it.