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

Christine de Pizan, The Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry, 1410

Christine de Pizan, a French noblewoman, is notable not only for her poetry, but for having written this book on the virtues of martial training. The work is largely based on Vegetius's De Re Militari, but Christine adds in plenty of commentary unique to the military situation of 15th century France. Most interesting is her … Continue reading Christine de Pizan, The Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry, 1410

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

Lindsay Boynton, The Elizabethan Militia, 1967

Boynton doesn't mince his words. Page 113: "One of the reasons that firearms superseded bows, it is suggested, is that they could be mastered in a shorter time. Such an argument runs wholly counter to the growing professionalisation of military affairs. Training, in particular, was becoming ever more comprehensive and the specious argument that firearms … Continue reading Lindsay Boynton, The Elizabethan Militia, 1967

Thomas Churchyard- A Praise of the Bovve, 1583

This poem appears in The Avncient Order, Societie, and Vnitie Laudable, of Prince Arthure, and his Knightly Armory of the Round Table. With a Threefold Assertion frendly in fauour and furtherance of English Archery at this day, translated and editted by R. R., 1583. A Praise of the Bovve and Commendation of this Booke, written … Continue reading Thomas Churchyard- A Praise of the Bovve, 1583

John Bingham- The Tactiks of Aelian, 1616

P24-27 http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A05855.0001.001 Archers haue alwayes beene of speciall esteeme for the field, and preferred before the other kindes of light-armed. Many nations haue beene commended for theire skill in shooting. Emongest the Graecians the Cretans were (of ancient time) sole archers, as Pausanias witnesseth. Yet was not theire service aequall with the service of the … Continue reading John Bingham- The Tactiks of Aelian, 1616

Barnabe Rich- A right exelent and pleasaunt dialogue, 1574

I was surprised to find that this one was published in 1574. The arguments are extremely similar to those of Roger Williams, whose Discourses were not published until 1590. The argument takes place in the form of a dialogue between Mercury and an English soldier. Since speaker tags have been forgotten in some places I've … Continue reading Barnabe Rich- A right exelent and pleasaunt dialogue, 1574

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