Andrew Battell of Leigh in Angola

Andrew Battell was an English trader who spent a very long time as a prisoner and conscript in Portuguese West Africa. He made multiple failed escape attempts. After Battell's first attempt to escape by stowing away aboard a Dutch ship, he was sentenced to military service. He spent six years in Fort Massangano before making … Continue reading Andrew Battell of Leigh in Angola

Samuel Champlain, Part 1

I'm going to make two or three posts on French explorers and their battles against native archery. This post will focus on Samuel Champlain, explorer of Quebec and the Great Lakes region. Champlain fought in several battles against the Iroquois on behalf of his allies, the Huron and Algonquins. In July 1609, Champlain and two … Continue reading Samuel Champlain, Part 1

Saukamappee: Plains Indians Use Guns in Battle for the First Time

This is an account by the Peigan Indian Saukamappee, whose life and times were recorded by the explorer David Thompson. Saukamappee describes the radical effect of firearms on Plains Indian warfare. Before, battles were fought with stone clubs and bows, and ended in stalemate unless one side was much larger. With only a handful of … Continue reading Saukamappee: Plains Indians Use Guns in Battle for the First Time

John Smythe on archers at Kett’s Rebellion and the Prayer Book Rebellion

The fiercest advocate of the longbow during the period of the Elizabethan bow vs. gun debates was John Smythe, a nobleman and a cantankerous soldier of long experience. Smythe had first served in France during the short reign of Edward VI, and afterwards had fought in the Netherlands (on the side of the Spanish) and … Continue reading John Smythe on archers at Kett’s Rebellion and the Prayer Book Rebellion

Bows Vs. Muskets in the Imjin War, part 2

More incidents from the Imjin War. These are taken from Firearms: A Global History to 1700 by Kenneth Chase. Bizarrely, Chase takes the typical position that bows were a superior battlefield weapon to firearms despite his book being full of evidence to the contrary. This quote by the Korean official Yu Song-nyong, for example, is … Continue reading Bows Vs. Muskets in the Imjin War, part 2

Bows Vs. Muskets in the Imjin War, part 1

The Imjin War was an invasion of Korea by the Japanese between 1592-1598. Although the Koreans were initially no match for the Japanese armies, the Japanese were eventually driven out thanks to Chinese military assistance and several decisive naval battles. At the beginning of the war, the Koreans had virtually no firearms. The Japanese, on … Continue reading Bows Vs. Muskets in the Imjin War, part 1

Martino Martini – Bellum Tartaricum, 1654

Unlike Polofox, who I posted earlier, the Italian missionary Martino Martini, the author of this history of the Manchu conquest, had actually been to China. He has little to say on the types of arms used, only this: Pages 16-18 But the City [Leaotung] was defended by exceeding many men, who generally were all armed … Continue reading Martino Martini – Bellum Tartaricum, 1654

The Commentaries of Messire Blaize de Montluc, Mareschal of France

Blaize de Montluc, 1500?-1577, a French soldier serving 50 or 60 years. He gives some accounts of battles which will embarrass English archers, and lend more credence to Humfrey Barwick and Roger William's opinions that the longbow was by that time obsolete. This battle takes place just a few days after the sinking of the … Continue reading The Commentaries of Messire Blaize de Montluc, Mareschal of France