Archery Misconceptions | The Charging Swordsman Fallacy


[WILD ASIAN WARCRY] Let’s debunk this scenario. You are an archer, and you have a fighter that is charging towads you. Now, this scenario gets raised many times in discussions and debates on archery and bows in close combat and on the virtues of speed shooting and so on. While this may be the stereotypical combat situation, I want to point out a few things that might prove how this scenario is often poorly applied. A swordsman running towards you is not a realistic combat situation. 8000 footmen marching towards 5000 archers is. When you have this many archers, individual rate of fire isn’t so important because there will always be 5000 arrows in the air every few seconds. That is whole lot different compared to a one-on-one duel which would never had happened. Not every fight was a battle. Perhaps two foraging parties who happen to run into each other. Would we then see this charging swordsmen against bowmen? This I still this is an unrealistic scenario. The idea of a swordsman running towards an armed bowman is is almost madness. The point of a forage party is to get food, not kill enemies. If you can come back alive, and preferably with food then you achieved your objective. This kind of skirmish is most likely going to result in both sides returning to their respective battle lines. Because that’s where the battle would be fought, with the main army, not with small groups skirmishing until one side dies. Besides, in a forage party there will more likely be horses so if you really wanted to kill or capture someone you would ride them down on a horse, not run at them with a sword. Because, if you think about it, if they’re not going to fight back they’ll run away as well, and you can’t outrun someone running at the same speed as you. you need a faster vehicle. The bows used by foot archers would typically have an effective range of around 200 to 250 metres. The current world record for a 200m sprint is under 20 seconds. A body of footmen shoulder to shoulder, with arms and armour is not going to sprint that distance. And with arrows raining down constantly they would not be advancing unimpeded. You can’t sprint with your shield held up and with arrows pushing you back. Arrows will find a way through. People will get hit. People will die, so you’ll be pushing away the wounded you’ll be stepping over bodies and arrows will still be coming at you. Remember, this is not a one-on-one duel. This is a battle. Battles take hours. If you and your fellow archers are constantly putting arrows down onto the enemy you have plenty of time to get those arrows off. Archers have often been described as the artillery of the medieval era. Being able to rain down death from a long distance. However, it may be more accurate to describe them as the medieval machine gun. Thousands of arrows, shot within minutes and resupplied by runners from the back line to the front. Just as we would consider it mad for a person to charge a machine gun next running towards a line of archers would be one of the most terrifying things in a medieval battle. Remember that as you got closer, archers would be more likely to hit you. The best range for an archer is around 50 metres. At this distance with the war bows used at the time, that would be point blank. What that means is that someone with a bow and arrow simply puts the point of the arrow straight towards you, and that arrow will hit. It is the easiest point of aim. There is no need calculate how much arc you need. At the closest distances, arrows fly in a straight line, and the accuracy of a line of archers against advancing infantry was devastating. If the advancing force manages to get past the arrow storm and get close to the archers they have to engage the other infantry. Remember, archers were supporting troops. The troops that they were supporting were right next to them. The spearmen and swordsmen and other men-at-arms would be there to charge into the battle. So while these guys are taking the brunt of the charge and fighting in melee, are still shooting on the enemy. If the fighting got too close or the archers ran out of arrows, they would join the melee. Archers were not poorly armed peasants who would run away at the first sight of a sword. These were extremely strong soldiers. They had to be in order to use the bows that they had. And they were armed swords or axes or or hammers or mallets or knives or whatever tools they had with them. And they were very effective in hand-to-hand. And that’s assuming they’re specialised archers as we might see in Western Europe. In other cultures an archer was simply a warrior who was using a bow. And the bow was only one weapon they were proficient in. They would otherwise use swords and spears. So these were well-rounded warriors who weren’t afraid to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, the enemy who have been battered and bruised and concussed, and have been exhausted from marching and running and fighting in melee would find it quite hard to deal with lightly armoured troops who are dancing around them with pointy swords. A fight between an archer in melee and an enemy footman would be quite close. And as we saw in battles like Agincourt, archers in melee made the difference. So what’s the point of this rant? charging towards the archer, we make a lot of incorrect assumptions. This particular scenario is so stacked towards the archer that you really have to give the archer unrealistic disadvantages for them to lose. It doesn’t really prove the need to shoot quickly. Archers shooting at their normal pace would be able to take out most enemies advancing on them. There’s a reason why archery was a highly valued skill and the reason why archers might have been considered overpowered was because the footman could not fight back. The only real counter to an archer was a cavalry charge. Again, this doesn’t really prove the need for speed. An archer only needs to shoot as they normally would and given the adrenaline and the rush of battle they maybe shooting faster than normal so you can expect a reasonable rate of fire of around one arrow every five to seven seconds and that’s fairly reasonable. And given that they have to cross a whole distance to reach you and you get deadlier as you get closer then the archer is going to win 100% of the time without even trying. There are very few recorded instances of an archery formation being routed by footmen. So to sum up the archer versus swords scenario which is often pitched in fantasy battles or theoretical arguments is not going to play out the way you might think in your head. The archer specifically trains to deal with this situation and they have ten or twenty chances to make that one hit happen. The footman, on the other hand, has no way to fight back apart from walking forward and forward and eventually being hit. Again, this isn’t really a scenario which we see often in history either in battle or skirmishes. Archers were effective in numbers, not as individuals. And I think that point is the most important one to take of this video. Anyway, this is NUSensei. Thank you for watching. I’ll see you next time.


100 Responses

  1. Morten Jacobsen

    January 26, 2018 4:56 pm

    not sure if a cavalry charge is the best against archers , like in world war 1 when the snipers dominated the trenches ,until they got shelled , the rise of other sniper schools and training was implemented to deal with them so you got sniper vs sniper. relating this to archer gives us a scenario where you enter into the realm of close combat so a shielded unit like the crossbow men could advance under cover or other archers , of course the archers with the heavier bows would have better reach so first one to shoot from further away wins. a mouted knight was costly and most of the advantage was the expensive trained war horse. charging into the arrows storm is most likely the horse being bigger will get hit and die reducing the mounted unit to a footman giving you more time to pelt them with arrows . taking out dollars worth of units with arrows costing pennies . why roman shield wasnt used to close the distance is beyond me

  2. 32shumble

    January 26, 2018 5:00 pm

    'fallacy' implies that it would never happen.
    But not all bows are war bows. Not all archers highly trained and steadfast. Not all combats battles. Not all armour ineffective at resisting arrows. Not all archers perfectly rested and fed while their opponents are not.
    And not all quivers filled with an infinite number of arrows.

  3. Morten Jacobsen

    January 26, 2018 5:04 pm

    I doubt a "swordsman " trained in the art of war would charge without a shield is he gonna twirl his sword like a windmill hitting arrows out of the air ? and people forget or simply do not know that bows who where used to speed shoot in war was not heavy bows perhaps 60 pounds max and intended to wound to reduce the enemy fighting ability

  4. James Badger

    January 26, 2018 5:10 pm

    As I've previously mentioned; in war scenarios wherein two armies are facing off against each other, there would likely be formations of pikemen and swordsmen battling it out in the skirmish. The only way for a line of swordsmen from army A to come charging at a line of archers from army B in a 1:1 ratio would be if the swordsmen and pikemen of army B were all dead, in which case, the archers of army B would retreat (with a lot more stamina than the charging, battle fatigued, armoured swordsmen) while retaining the advantage of being able to pepper the charging swordsmen with arrows while retreating. Add to that the use of terrain as an advantage in military tactics, the charging swordsmen would likely be running uphill. Finally, as discussed by LindyBeige in the video "Pursuit in Battles – Don't Try Too Hard", it's a bad idea to chase a retreating enemy, since you're more likely to survive if you don't catch up, and the battle will still have been won.

  5. John Doe

    January 26, 2018 5:14 pm

    There's one more consideration: The other side having skirmishers of their own. Infantry's job is to take and hold ground, not get kited by skirmishers and cavalry. A better comparison might be archer vs. slinger vs. javelineer vs. crossbowman instead of vs. swordsman.

  6. M. Pink

    January 26, 2018 5:27 pm

    Once again NUSensei against Totalwar players or Turn by Turn RPG fans x) . Logic and knowledge against Folklore and modern believes. Of course archers are very underestimate troops in close combat, to simplify numerous video games rules but guys this is not reality. In middle age in europe, the word "Archer" is used in strategic context most of the time. Because most of troops was "Men at arms". At the beginning this word is used to define a polyvalent warrior. The "Men at Arms" can be archer in Battle number 1 and Spearmen in battle number 2 it just depend of what kind of "Arms" your superior gived to you before battle. An "archer" is a soldier in first place. Take a look of the battle of "Azincourt".

  7. B R

    January 26, 2018 7:49 pm

    And then a infantryman has the idee to take his equiment with him, like shield or armour, ops. If archery was so superior to infantry as you seem to pretend, there would be only archer as footmen. History never lie, all part of an army as it utility. As you say a battle is never a 1vs1 situation and it's valid for type of unit, it's never one type vs another. Secondly a sword was nerver a primary weapon, it's a sidearm for when your primary one is unaviable. Infantery will use pole weapon (spear, hallbard, pike depending on periods and location) and fight in formation, don't giving much of a chance for archer with sword and small shield fighting close quarter. Don't get me wrong, archer was a very usefull part of a medieval army but with flaw and strengh, like every other part of the army.

  8. Monikan Cultist

    January 26, 2018 8:41 pm

    Just something to share during the Imjin War, the Koreans are renowned for their archery however they were often denied by the quick charges made by the Japanese. They were only able to fire two to three shots before they get routed.

  9. Sagan Enzenieer

    January 26, 2018 8:50 pm

    #NuSensei Actualy in battle of Marathon, Athenians sprinted over the battlefield to reach the Persians and mitigating the archers effect. I think always is counting also the way how you deploy the infantry

  10. C B

    January 26, 2018 10:32 pm

    Another interesting point is this scenario always seems to be based around a foot archer. Considering that most "speed shooting experts" use horsebows then why not flip it around? What happens if a swordsman charges a Mongol? He rides away is the boring answer, no speed shooting needed.

  11. Urazoe

    January 26, 2018 10:54 pm

    this is not really helpful in debunking this senario.
    firstly if i talk about man at arms, what time are we talking? early medievel waering a full assembly of mail or plate?
    that alone makes all the differenc in how effective the archers will be. while bursting the ring of mail is a realistic senario puncturing plate isnt. sure u could always hit a gapp but aming at those 50m+, not sure. they arnt that exposed to beginn with if ur advancing normaly. the how poilnt of armored combat is to wrestel down the enemy to get in these gapps, its not easy.
    also more likty to have a speerman charde at u since swords were what hand guns are now, side arms used only as back up or in civillian fights.

    pls dont say lightly armored archres dance around heavy armord man at arms, full plate is not half the disadvantege fantasy makes it out to be. full plate is all benefit no down site. the restriction of movement comes mostly from what u were beneth the plate not the plate itself, full plate was in most cases articulated more then the human joins could move in the first place. the the food man wears plate and the archer doesnt the it looks bad eaven if the food man is more exausted. if both were mail the the archer would still have to over come the reach advantege to the polearm and pass by a shield that he may be missing.

    i dont think that a soldier armed with sword or spear, etc would charge an archer in the first place. if i were an archer and found my self in the senario unable to retreat i would drop my bow and draw my sword axe mace etc. and fight back like that. archers are armend for meele. but if we really take this serious i think the arches chance od winning in close combat are 40% at best. ur an archer ur are not equipped to fight in the conditions, the tool u have are really u last ditch not ur trump card.

    my concluson:
    archers in meele far from helpless but still far bedder of is the dont get to close.

  12. KILLKING110

    January 27, 2018 4:00 am

    Your very wrong here because your underestimating plate armor they had back then and archers were better off going to a melee weapon because a arrow has to be precise on a eradic moving target to be able to land a successful hit and by the time you get that second arrow out onto string they will be on top of you with a full blown sword and you can deflect arrows with a shield just like you can deflect a bullet with a shovel so please look up proper historical armor and weapon information. plus knights are used to running around in armor think about it when you have to wear 100+ lbs constantly in battle you would become very buff and there is specialized fabric armor that a lot of footmen wore that could stop arrows that used the same basic principle as kevalar body armor today. So archers would have some major problems and the simple fact that they were support unit meant they didn't have proper training to defend against a opponent that was better trained and the only way the archers could get that could is if they take a lot of time away from there bows and practiced swordsmanship and in midevil Europe once you were locked into a profession you couldn't get out its just that simple.

  13. Dom Sow

    January 27, 2018 5:38 am

    You mentioned that the warbow had a range of 200-250 meters. Where did you find these numbers? I am curious because it seems I need to do some real digging to get effective range for bows in ancient times. I am interested in military history, would be nice if an archer such as yourself had a recommendation for books or passages which we could learn. Thanks again for the video.

  14. Rhys Parremore

    January 27, 2018 6:54 am

    Hey nusensei i am looking for a recurve to start on and use for hunting i don't what bow to get if you have any advice it would be appreciated. And also i live in australia so would i need to get a permit to own a american bow?

  15. Jamie G

    January 27, 2018 12:11 pm

    Still dealing with the fallout from that Lars speedshooter guy, huh? So, that Saracen archery manual is . . . fake?

  16. Johan Öhgren

    January 27, 2018 2:21 pm

    A quick question; Does anyone know if there is sight for bows that can be calibrated for different ranges?
    Kinda like a rifle, where you shoot in the bow at intervalls, 20m, 30m, etc..

  17. Sciver Zero

    January 29, 2018 12:30 pm

    I suspect the prevalence of the archer vs swordsman thought experiment is actually an extrapolation of knife versus gun, from modern day police practical experiments.

    The experiment using several hundred participants, over many trials, has shown that a knife is 80% more effective than an unprepared gun armed person when the distance is less than 7 meters.

    The average time it takes a knife weilding assailant to bury the knife in a target from a distance of 7 meters, is right around 1.2-1.8 seconds. Many factors were included, such as elderly knife holders, people on crutches, people at the peak of health, short and tall people, etc.
    The average time it took to draw, find target, and fire for the stationary gunner was around 2 seconds.

    The precedent was therefore set that within a radius of 7 meters, a ranged target was at a severe speed disadvantage to a mobile melee assailant.

    Reality is of course not a laboratory experiment, and people are not averages of the populace, but the upper limit set forth by the experiment was that trained and untrained shooters alike, could not fire adequately in the space of time most likely to be alotted for defensive action, in that space.

    Where this becomes important is that we tend to think of swordsmen as 'people with long knives' and we think of archers as 'ye olde gunmen'.

    However, the logistics of modern self defense and police shooting, are wildly different from the logistics of realistice medieval battle scenarios.

    Its not impossible that a person only armed with a bow might at some point have unluckily been assailed by someone only armed with a sword, at any point in history, but it would have been an exception to the rule of how archers and swordsmen behaved… an exception, that, as it is so rare and exceptional, exists only to confirm the rule is in place. (Barring any evidence contradicting this that we may find in the future, though we have not as of now)

    In this rare event, then the answer would be a function of probabilities (not absolutes) related to the average speed at which an archer could nock, point, and loose an arrow, by comparison to the average speed a swordsman could close a distance and execute a debilitating attack (which is further reliant on both the average speeds of the archer and swordsmen in order to set said distance).

    These are variables we can only guess at at best, given modern examples and historical accounting, neither of which are necessarily accurate.

    I would posit, as a very rough estimate, that 20 meters is effectively skewed in the favor of melee versus ranged, given period data, and negating the possibility of a melee defense in kind. 20 Meters seems like a relatively easy to cross distance which would subvert the ability to nock and loose.

    The problem then becomes: How does one engineer a scenario where target A and target B have become that close without both being prepared for each other beforehand?

  18. Ray Zamfir

    January 29, 2018 6:21 pm

    I agree with you that a swordsman charging a bowman is madness.
    I wish the idiots commanding armies 100's of years ago could see your videos on YouTube and learn how to do battle.
    The generals of the medieval time were not so bright. They were sending troops against the enemy line to overpower them and play the number game. Gingis Han who almost conquered Europe would send hoards of men against fortified castles under the rain of arrows and stones and will eventually overpower the defenders. The battle of Agincourt is an exception because the Longbow was a "modernish" bow with lot of power and English bowmen were trained every Sunday by law to be able to use such a strong bow. And the French were fools because they were charging on horseback and horses are a big target and most vulnerable to arrows. I don't know any other battles where the bow won the day. (excepting the battles with Long Bows) . If the French would send infantry with shields against English bowmen… may be diffrent outcome.
    I believe was very common as infantry to charge under arrow rain and rich the enemy. Yes, will be thousands of death. 40 50% of the men will die. But that was the battle tactics at that time.
    The generals weren't too smart The infantry was charging in WW1 and WW2 against rifles and even machine guns with no shields or body armor to protect them. Millions died. Today doesn't make any sense to charge against machine guns or archers, but that time that was the role of the infantry to charge the enemy under arrows or firepower. This takes us to the dumbest battle formation ever created.
    Used extensively in the Napoleonic war and the American Revolution where 2 line of men with muskets will shoot at each other at the blank point range and win the one who will still have men standing after they finish all bullets. No cover at all. You were the shooter and the standing target for the enemy. I guess this battle formation evolved from changing the spear with a musket but didn't change the mode of using it at all. Before they were pocking at each other with spears now they were shooting with a musket standing up.
    You have to take in consideration that Iife was cheap these times and the soldiers were trained to stand tall in front of the enemy fire.
    I know is crazy, but it was like that. Napoleon won most of his battles because the enemy will not hide their troops and will charge against the French cannons and get decimated again and again and again.
    Willington changed the battle formation and puts his reserve troops behind the hill and not in the moth of Napoleon cannons. Americans won against British because they learn to take cover behind trees when firing at British troops and not stay in line like dummies. British troops were to trained and too proud to change tactics.
    So, if a soldier was trained to charge with his sword he will do just what he was trained to do and will not flinch from arrows. And I guess the swordsman will close the gap if he carries a shield. The only example I have in mind now is Jon Snow vs Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones. I know is fiction but paints a good picture of a swordsman vs a bowman in a hand to hand combat. (It doesn't mean the bowman could not fight with a sword or a pickaxe better than Ramsey 🙂
    I just want to tell you that I love your videos they are very instructive. I start archery only few month ago and I learn most from you.
    Thank YOU.

  19. Dimitri Zaitsew

    February 3, 2018 2:48 pm

    What a load of crap.
    Best coutermeasure to archers is armor and shields.
    Archers were much, MUCH cheaper than armored heavy infantry, that's why they hired archers in great numbers.
    Archers were paid three pence per day, men-at-arms were paid 12 pence per day, knights were paid a whole pound (20 shillings.).
    Source: "The Road to Crecy" by Livingstone and Witzel.
    You need to research more before making these videos.

  20. Daniel Van Der Ploeg

    February 23, 2018 7:28 am

    I love your video's, however the battle of Marathon was won by melee units against archers by charging.. in full armor. So it's not madness, although the Persians always lacked discipline it seems. Still, in my opinion, it's a valid question. 😊 many good vids on YouTube on how..

  21. Slayer 1

    March 6, 2018 10:58 pm

    I had to stop watching right at the beginning. I was too intimidated and got scared by the charge.

  22. Chris Duke

    March 8, 2018 10:52 pm

    I'm really surprised that archery died off as a military tool after the invention of the musket as soon as it did.
    Archery: 7 shots per minute, works when wet, reasonably light weight.
    Musket: 1 shot per minute, won't work when wet, and a bit heavy to carry around.
    Effective range moot point until the invention of the rifled barrel.
    Archery: Volley fired at 200 meters.
    Musket: Volley fired at point blank 70 meters.
    Not to mention that body armor fell out of fashion once muskets were on the field. This would of made the archer more effective.

  23. Curumo

    March 16, 2018 4:40 pm

    Since you holding a Larp Sword , i share a bit about my experience from there, also with the archer volley topic.

    so i play in a group that is mainly made from around 10-15 people all equipped with a 25 pounds bow.

    even without any support of other troups normaly a close combat enemy feels nervous rushing against us.
    cause your assumption is absolutly correct, the closer they get, the better we hit
    a similar siced meele troup mostly reaches us when they are down to 5 oder 7 persons.

    and then we have to decide, since we all have close combat weapons we could rush them with supirior number, or since we dont wear much armor, only gambelsons, we are most of the time faster, we still can outrun them pretty easy
    (( ok in Larp the shield is invincible that is a huge problem, but i will only mention it here ))

    it is a matter of fact that an arrcher will just switch to his sidearm when the enemy gets close. even an one and one scenario has the archer the adventage, the first who strikes will most likely win.

    now about the volley. Actualy we never informed us much about how it realy happend in the middle age. since the larp scenario allows only battles with around 100 people on each side, with ca 20 archers it comes often down to this,
    we shoot one volley as a first strike, and to keep the enemy occopied, while our meeles rush in.
    then we switch to individual fire, even going so far as to closing in our and breaking our own battleline to use the gaps between the own meele troops. aiming for weak spots at the enemy line or special targets.

    since its small scale we run out of arrows and then switch just to meele fighting at the flanks of the battle .

    as i say i am not sure how it was realy down to that time, but since it feels natural to do so, i would assume that in the old times they applyed same tactics

    and thanks for the intressting videos

  24. Erick Lopes

    March 26, 2018 1:16 am

    Alternatively, the swordsmen could just throw their pummel at the archers, stunt them and thrust forward. They won't expect. Won't even see it coming.

  25. graham sneddon

    March 30, 2018 5:35 pm

    Should stick to olympic target archery stuff. You don't really know what you're talking about.

  26. Stuart Redman

    April 4, 2018 10:34 am

    NuSensei's most Buzz Killington video yet!
    "Who would win in a fight between archer and Swordman?"
    "Ahem, well, first off, that scenario would never happen. That said, their battle would be interrupted by the multitude of other forces present on the battlefield."

    Yeah, thanks. I'm sure the "one swordsman vs one archer" or "small group of swords men vs archers" must have occurred in history. Would there have been no armed bandit encounters in the woods with sword-wielding bandits, and bow wielding hunters carrying fresh kills?

    Even if the bandit encounter is fiction, as a general thought exercise, given what you know about archery and history, what distance do you think an archer would need the draw, nock, and loose an arrow and have any hope of hitting a moving target charging at him? How easy would it have been for a person in that situation to shoot accurately, given the high adrenalin?

    Let's make it simple, too: there's little to no armour, they're both essentially wearing clothing. One hit from the swordsman would be crippling, as would one well-placed arrow from the archer. So what distance does the archer need to not be disadvantaged?

  27. Jazzman3121

    April 5, 2018 9:43 am

    The biggest thing that people just don't get about extreme range archery firing en masse onto an advancing enemy is that the individual archer within that archer unit is not aiming at any particular enemy soldier. The whole group firing together is massing their fire so that they can get a combined effect and a certain percentage of arrows while hit a vulnerable spot… It's the same as a machine gunner firing at a formation of enemy soldiers at 1000 meters, he isn't using pinpointed fire, he's using short bursts of what's called 'grazing fire' and sometimes 'plunging fire' …. The object is not for an individually aimed shot to hit with pinpointed accuracy but the bursts of bullets to keep the enemies' heads down, keep them from effectively maneuvering to flank and mount a counter attack…. It's the difference between direct fire and indirect fire.

  28. Reel Fishing

    May 26, 2018 6:31 am

    Of course the other side would also have archer , horsemen ,

    And as times goes on , introducing the crossbow ..

    How about catapult?

  29. LordKamikaze

    May 26, 2018 8:34 pm

    I did Kendo for a bit , and I can honestly say , if there was a samurai charging at me with a yari spear , I would sh!t my pants before I even nock the arrow

  30. Hirvee5

    June 1, 2018 12:43 am

    If I had to hit the moving armpit or chin of a running and jumping man with 2 arrows I would be pretty terrified.

  31. D McBirb

    June 20, 2018 5:12 pm

    Attacking enemy foraging parties was a very common activity in pretty much all eras of warfare. It denies the enemy food and gives your soldiers the chance to gain experience and confidence overcoming weak opposition.

  32. Modern Bladesmith

    June 23, 2018 5:06 am

    this is why people think archers would get destroyed, but i'm glad that you brought up other arms that archers carried. people tend to look this over.

  33. Aubree Rose

    June 24, 2018 3:56 am

    I'm going to give a bit of a different scenario. Lets say there are two very skilled fighters in modern day, one being an archer and the other focusing on quicker lighter swords. These two fighters would be trained in all sorts of different fighting techniques learned from past styles focusing on multiple different weapon types. Lets say the light sword fighter is trained in many martial art techniques and has other smaller weapons such as knives and rapiers, and the archer is trained in two handed weapons such as katana's. Also lets assume that they are solo fighters, having to learn dodges as neither have ways to block other than their swords or specially crafted knifes. Could there be an equal chance for a winner?

  34. The Unknown Figure

    June 26, 2018 1:03 am

    This is preposterous… fantasized characters usually seem to be better than the average (sometimes, that one badass that’s stronger and faster than the rest). Like anime for example, a lot of the time.. every character seems to be some type of evolved human, besides regular civilians… they die normally and regularly as they do in real life. Most likely.. as long as the characters have enhanced speed and strength.. yes.. they will beat an archer, of course to some extent still depending on the situation. Archers still have the advantage.. as long as the swordsman isn’t within hand to hand combat… from there that’s just individual skill with sword.

  35. TheFireLizard

    July 12, 2018 12:05 pm

    People who ask this kind of question don't know much about ancient warfare. By the time the lines met the archers fell back. The archers were in the back to begin with. A knight commanding an army would never risk his archers by putting them in the middle of the melee at the front lines. If An archer did meet an enemy one on one, as in they were broken off in confusing terrain like thick forest and surprised one another mutually. He would also be carrying a sword, or mace, a dagger or two. Not even a knight went out with just armor and a sword. So in that scenario an archer would not even reach for his bow. Keep in mind he was a squire before he became an archer. That means he learned the basics of hand to hand, as well as staves, swords, and bow from a young age. He is an archer because in his youth training his teachers noted him to be proficient in bow and taught it to him as a focus. That doesn't mean all he knows how to use is a bow. Like you said. In usual situations these types of encounters were rare if not unheard of. It would have to be an arena situation where you drop two combatants in an arena with selected equipment and see what happens.

  36. Jens Piepgrass

    August 10, 2018 8:43 pm

    Even cavalry wasn't proof against archers. Terrain could do a lot to take away a Knight's advantages. At Crecy they had to charge uphill, at Agincourt, muddy ground and simple fortifications (wooden stakes) defeated one cavalry charge. So on flat, open, dry ground, Cavalry is King, but in the other 90% of the world….The English chose their battlegrounds well when they were forced to fight against overwhelming odds. If anything these scenarios show how powerful archery can be when defending ground rather than trying to take it.

  37. Swedish Viking

    September 19, 2018 8:16 pm

    this does not fell right way then do you even need infantry if archers are cheaper and better. There is a reason why archers is only a support unit.

  38. dominicwalli

    December 20, 2018 11:32 pm

    What? An archer shooting a sieging swordsman is not something that happens ? 8 THOUSAND FOOTMEN…do you think on those times , whenever a bow was shoot , it was at that kind of soldiers ? 8 THOUSAND footmen is an army by itself , do you think that bows and swords where only used on full blown wars between kingdoms ? Whats next ? Bowmen riding on horses are myths? Was that a trope ? Bowmen having to fight at close range with swords were also a trope ? An archer never shot anything closer than 100 meters from him ?

    You are right , bowmen had never had to shot at individual targets , they always shot at groups of people…because its impossible to land an arrow at a desired place , without stabilizers and sights on your bow … what did you said about that ? Oh yea , too many variables are into play for you to even bother to aim .

  39. YangÒoÓ _YT

    March 7, 2019 8:35 pm

    War movies make archers look
    weak and they also make them
    look thin in the movies and also looks malnourished good thing there's Legolas to prove them wrong.

  40. Robert Wensman

    March 7, 2019 9:29 pm

    With so many swords and so many bows throughout history, it is pretty safe to bet that sometimes there was a single archer up against a single swordsman. If not on military campaign, but perhaps in the civilian context. For example, imagine a farmer just coming home from target practicing the bow with his friends, when he encounter a road bandit on the way of pillaging one other local farmer, with just a sword. What would happen? It could have happened!

  41. gizmonomono

    May 29, 2019 10:26 pm

    Aaaa 😀 Great intro.
    But, why does it always have to be a war scenario? Thousands against thousands. Bows were used in other situations as well. It was a weapon, much like a gun nowadays. Not all encounters were huge battles.
    You really have a problem with speed shooting, don't you? Again, a bow was a weapon., invented to hunt and protect you. And in that respect being able to shoot as fast as possible was an advantage, isn't it so? Not in a long battle, but in day to day life. Now a days it's just a hobby, but historically, like any martial art, every second counts. And like martial arts, speed shooting techniques have endured for thousands of years. Doesn't that give it any credence? Don't get me wrong, I'm not belittling your reasoning, I just enjoy a good argument. I still love you Nu. Keep doing what you do, man 😀

  42. vk45 de

    July 2, 2019 12:22 pm

    You know, the arrowheads used at Agincourt couldn't actually penetrate the French armor – it was too soft. What basically happened was the French were stuck in the mud and got killed by knives. Similar story in the east where Korean archers couldn't really do much to Japanese infantry in the Imjin war.

  43. Hordil

    July 4, 2019 10:22 pm

    Did anyone here mention Shields already?

    You can't hit what hides behind a towering shield x)

  44. T33K3SS3LCH3N

    July 5, 2019 10:17 pm

    Mostly good points, but I don't think most types of archers participated in melee as you described it? Sure they had melee weapons like swords, but those were generally secondary weapons. If you only have swords (and maybe a small supplementary weapon like a buckler or a dagger), you're pretty screwed against a shieldwall, pike formations, or troops in plate armour.

    Of course that doesn't apply to all archers, as you say. The Samurai are a popular example of warriors who were both archers and heavy melee troops, bringing primary melee weapons like polearms and heavy armour. But I don't think central Europeans for example had archers like that. Agincourt seems to be a very extreme example of a heavyhanded assault through awful terrain, where the French arrived so sparsely, disrupted, and exhausted, into well prepared positions, that even archers could take them down in melee. But there were many battles with archers which had those hours long formation melees, from which archers certainly wanted to keep their distance, unless they could decisively tip the scales against an opponent who was already entirely bound up by other frontline troops.

  45. daylon boender

    July 7, 2019 5:25 am

    Viking berserkers would probably have even second thought charging an archer. Its idiocy. Pray the guy cant shoot

  46. delta5297

    July 15, 2019 9:52 am

    Okay, so massed archers beat massed swordsmen. That's all I wanted to know…because for years Warcraft has taught me the opposite.

  47. Observing Rogue

    July 29, 2019 2:15 am

    Hi. I'm new to your channel. And I really like it. I'm getting into archery for hunting, and I learned so much from you. Before this video started, I was thinking about the target animal, or a random animal, charging me. And my counter to that, is rapid firing with a reverse string grip & back quiver, or, firing multiple arrows at once into the animal's chest, like that Elf in Lord of the Rings did, to the back of a monster's head. What do you think?

  48. Samuel Cho

    August 1, 2019 6:03 am

    Imagine hating an archer so much that you would push through 200 metres of wounded people, flying arrows, and other swordsmen just to get to them…

  49. TheLoneRideR

    August 13, 2019 5:48 am

    I swordsman runs towards you, you drop the bow and pull your gun… Oh wait you mean historically?

  50. pfalky2k

    August 25, 2019 11:01 pm

    unsure my arrows/minute rate of fire. have never raced a timer. but nock to shoot is about 3 seconds for me – on an inanimate target (or a living target unaware of my presence, if such a thing was A. legal & B. necessary lol), a target, charging with intent to end my days in blistering & savage violence? I think fear, nerve, near panic – may play a slightly psychological role in my ability to shoot straight & well. let us hope I never have to answer that question 😉 lol

  51. redhongkong

    August 29, 2019 7:52 pm

    depends on what kind of archer and what kind of swordman. it could be samurai swordsman charging peasant archer. or samurai archer intercepting peasant swordsman.

  52. mangalores-x_x

    September 21, 2019 11:15 pm

    The "archers were the machine guns of their time" perpetrates a myth of how war worked because we only have few examples of that actually happening. These examples are English and thus propagated widely among an Englishphile internet, but that is not what the wholse scope of history shows. Even in those examples of the 100 Year war and the three famous field battles it actually only ever happened maybe once at Agincourt with a multitude of other factors assisting that victory (to the point that possibly a dedicated line of men at arms without archers would have been able to win as well). At Poitiers the French were routed by a cavalry charge into the rear. Crecy equally described murderous hand to hand combat aka the French were not stopped by the archers.

    The archers had a different role and were not expected to work like machine guns. They hampered the attack, skirmished, brought disorder into the enemy formation, they did not manage to defeat it.

    Even if we look at defeats of foot soldiers, e.g. the Romans at Carrahae. It was horse archers spending days and those legions did not break formation aka never got mown down. And we have plenty of case where determined charges against any kind of missile tropps would rout those missile troops inside minutes with them obviously incapable to inflict any significant number of casualties on their own.

    In other instances we have barely armored Swiss pikemen simply charging and taking any number of enemy lines through sheer determination and the other side being incapable to inflict enough missile weapons on their own (incidently that changed only with field artillery when the Swiss stormed a completely prepared system of field works and prepared guns).

    So overall this image of "machine guns" is entirely lacking in describing the role and effect of those weapons and the role the soldiers wielding them had. Even if we look at complete steppe armies we find the horse archers being largely considered light troops with heavy shock cavalry and other elite soldiers being expected to be the ones to actually win the battle and give those light troops the back bone to stand and fight or fall back to if they got attacked.

  53. Adler Mow

    November 26, 2019 8:01 am

    Light bows and fast shooting do have value! Imagine a family protecting a farm against a small group of thieves. No one will be wearing armor. If someone used to shoot warbows get use a hunting bow, he will be able to shoot very fast and with deadly accuracy. The archer do have a melee weapon and is protected by others. The bandits will have to engage in melee and dodge his arrows. If they got hit, they will be more easily killed in melee. They don't even have to be killed, as they probably will choose an easier target after encountering hard resistance!

  54. A k

    February 28, 2020 1:14 am

    lets say you surrounded the enemy or you caught him from the back by surprise and they can't run in the other direction because the rest of your or your allied troops are there? it's not that black and white


Leave a Reply