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 pretty damning:

In the 1592 invasion, everything was swept away. Within a fortnight or a month the cities and fortresses were lost, and everything in the eight directions had crumbled. Although it was [partly] due to there having been a century of peace and the people not being familiar with warfare that this happened, it was really because the Japanese had the use of muskets that could reach beyond several hundred paces, that always pierced what they struck, that came like the wind and the hail, and with which bows and arrows could not compare.

The Japanese were in agreement that their musketry was a great advantage. One of the Japanese commanders wrote home in 1592:

Please arrange to send us guns and ammunition. There is absolutely no use for spears. It is vital that you arrange somehow to obtain a number of guns. Furthermore, you should certainly see to it that those person departing [for Korea] understand this situation. The arrangements for guns should receive your closest attention.

More from Yu Song-nyong:

However, the musket is a very intricate instrument, and very difficult to produce. The Jixiao xinshu [written by Qi Jiguang in 1560] says one month for boring the barrel is optimal- that is, one musket takes the labor of one person for one month before it is ready for use. The difficulty and expense are like that. In recent days, the muskets used by the supervisorate have all been captured Japanese weapons. There are not many and they frequently burst, becoming fewer by the day.

I wonder why the captured Japanese muskets were bursting. Maybe the Koreans, lacking instructors to teach them how to safely use the muskets, were overloading them with powder or were failing to fully seat the bullet against the powder.

Although the musket is superior to the bow and arrow, it is slow and clumsy when loading powder and shot, lighting the match, and aiming and shooting. As for advancing and withdrawing at will, responding to opportunities with leisure or haste, being convenient for both infantry and cavalry, and being suitable for all situations, then it is not equal to the bow and arrow.

When Yu Song-nyong talks about firearms being inconvenient for cavalry, keep in mind that he is talking about matchlock weapons. In Europe at this time, cavalry firearms were of the far more convenient snaphaunce or wheellock variety.

Today, the Japanese exclusively use muskets to attack fortifications. They can reach [the target] from several hundred paces away. Our country’s bows and arrows cannot reach them. At any flat spot outside the walls, the Japanese will build earthen mounds and “flying towers.” They look down into the fortifications and fire their bullets so that the people inside the fortifications cannot conceal themselves. In the end the fortifications are taken. One cannot blame [the defenders] for their situation.

When the Japanese invaded Korea for the second time, there were more firearms on both sides.

The Japanese vanguard of a hundred or more arrived under the fortifications. They fanned out and took cover in the fields in groups of three and five. They fired their muskets at the top of the fortifications for a while, then stopped. They left and then returned again. The men on the fortifications respond with [Chinese-style] “victory guns,” and the Japanese main body sent out skirmishers from a distance to engage them. They advanced cautiously so the guns fired but did not hit them, while the Japanese bullets hit the men on the fortifications, many of whom fell dead.

The combined Korean and Chinese army launched a failed attack on the Japanese base at Ulsan:

At the foot of the hill were rotting fields; our soldiers had no place to plant their feet. The Japanese used their guns from the loopholes, and every shot struck its target…. If [the besiegers] lay prone the guns could not reach them easily; if they stood up they had to move in a crouch to avoid [being shot]. And those who lay prone suffered from the mud that covered their knees. Night and day they surrounded the fortress, and the ice and snow cracked their skin.

The Japanese commander Asano Yukinaga wrote home to his father:

When the troops come [to Korea] from the province of Kai, have them bring as many guns as possible, for no other equipment is needed. Give strict orders that all men, even the samurai, carry guns.

John Bingham- The Tactiks of Aelian, 1616

P24-27

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 Persians. For Xenophon confesseth, that the Persian bowe overreached the Cretan a great way: and that the Rhodians with theire sling owt-threw the Cretan bow. Of the Carduchans a people, through whose Countrey the Graecians passed at theire returne out of Persia, Xenophon writeth thus: They caried noe other armes, then bowes and slinges. They were excellent archers; and had bowes well nighe three cubits long; arrowes more, then two Cubits. When they shotte, they drewe the string, applieng theire hand some what toward the neither end of the bowe, setting theire left foote foreward. With theire arrowes they pierced both targets, and Curates. The Graecians putting thonges to the middest of theire arrowes sent them back at the enemy in steede of Dartes. The same in effect is reported by Diodorus Siculus. Of the Parthian horsemen, Appian saith: When Crassus commaunded the light-armed to disband, & goe to the charge, they went not farre, but meeting with many arrowes, and being sore galled with them, they retired streight, and hid themselues emongest the armed, and gaue beginning of disorder, and feare, repraesenting to the sight of the rest, the force, and violence of the shotte, that rent all armes, they fell vppon, and made way aswell thorough bodies, that had the best, as the worst furniture defensiue: giving mighty and violent strokes from stiffe and great bowes, and forcing out the arrowe boisterously with the compasse, and bent of the bowe. Plutarch hath the very wordes, that are in Appian. The Indians also were good archers, albeit not much praised by Q. Curtius. Hee saith: theire arrowes were two Cubits long, which they deliver out of theire bowes, with more labour, then effect: for as much as the arrow, whose whole efficacy is in lightnesse, becometh altogether vnwieldy by reason of the weight. And yet hee telleth, that Alexander, at the assault of the principall City of the Mallians, was strooke thorough his Curace into the side beneath the pappes with an In∣dian arrowe: with whome Plutarch and Diod. Siculus accord. Arrian addeth the wound was so deep, that his breath was seene to issue out together with his blood. The Gothes and other people of the north, that invaded the Roman empire, had theire chiefe victories against the Romans by the help of bowes, and arrowes. Vegetius (before alleaged) speaketh it plainely: So our souldiers, saith hee, vnarmed both bodies and heads, encountring with the Gothes, were oftentimes wholy defeated, and slaine, with the multitude of theire arrowes. I may not pretermitte the praise of our nation in this skill. Our owne stories testify, that the great battailes, we gayned against the french, were gayned by the ioint-shooting of our archers principally. And that the English haue heretofore excelled in archery & shooting, is cleere by the testimony even of Strangers. Cicuta (whom I named before) commending the vse of bows, as necessary for the service of the field (& that long after gunnes were invented) praeferreth the English before all other, and setteth him downe, as a patterne for other to follow. And Patritius, disputing of the violence of arrows, doubteth not to affirme, that an English arrowe with a litle waxe put vpon the point of the head, wil passe through any ordinary Corslette or Curace. Howsoever the credit of bowes is lost, at this present, with many great souldiers, yet haue they of auncient time been highly prised. Vegetius saith; how great advantage good archers bring in fight, both Cato in his bookes of military discipline doth shewe evidently, and Claudius, by augmenting the number of archers, and teaching of them the vse of theire bowes, overcame the enemy, whome before hee was not able to matche. Scipio Africanus (the yonger) being to giue battaile to the Numantines, that before had forced a Roman army to passe vnder the yoake, thought hee could not otherwise haue the better, vnlesse hee mingled chosen archers in euery. And Leo the Emperour in his Constitutions military hath this Constitution ongest other: You shall commund all the Roman youth, till they come to fourty yeares of age, whether they haue meane skill in shooting, or not, to cary bowes & quivers of arrowes. For since the art of shooting hath been neglected, many, & great losses haue befallen the Romans. And in another place: you shall enioyne the Commaunders vnder you, in winter to take a view, and to signify to the Turmches (Coronells) how many horse, & what kinde of armes the souldiers, vnder their commaundes, stand in need of, that necessary provision bee made, & the souldiers be furnished in time convenient. But specially you are to haue care of archers; & that they, whoe remaine at home, & haue vacation from warre, hold bowes and arrowes in their howses. For carelessnesse heerin hath brought great dammage to the Roman State. So Leo. This of ould time was the opinion of the Romans concerning archers. Howe wee are fallen out with them in our dayes (the skill of the bowe, being a quality so commendable, and so proper to our nation) I knowe not, vnlesse fire-weapons perhaps haue put them out of countenance. And surely it may not bee denied, that the force of fireweapons of our time doth farre exceed the height of all old inventions for anoyeng the enemy. And, when I haue given them the first place, I will not doubt to giue the second to bowes and arrowes being so farre from casting them of, that I would rather fol∣low the wisdome of the Graecians; whoe albeit they esteemed arrowes the best flieng weapons, yet thought it not amisse to hold in vse slinges, and dartes- Every weapon hath it property; and that which is fitte for one service, is not so fitte for another. The fireweapons haue theire advantages; They haue also theire disadvantages. Theire advantage is, they pierce all defence of armour, and lighting vpon a place of the body, the wound whereof endaungereth life, they bring with them certeine death. Theire disadvantages are, they are not alwayes certeine, sometimes for want of charging, sometimes through over charging, sometimes the bullet rowling out, sometimes for want of good powder, or of dryed powder, sometimes because of an ill dryed matche, not fitte to coale, or not well cocked. Besides they are somewhat long in charging, while the musketier takes downe his musket, vncockes the matche, blowes, proynes, shuttes, casts of the pan, castes about the musket, opens his charges, chargeth, drawes out his sticke, rammes in the powder, drawes out againe, and puts vp his skowring stick, layes the musket on the rest, blowes of the matche, cockes, and tryes it, gardes the pan, and so makes ready. All which actions must necessarily bee observed, if you will not faile of the true vse of a musket. In raine, snowe fogges, or when the enemy hath gayned the winde, they haue small vse. Adde that but one ranke (that is the first) can giue vpon the enemy at once. For the rest behinde, discharging, shall either wound theire owne Companions before, or else shoote at randon, and so nothing endaunger the enemy, the force of a musket being onely availeable at point blanck. Contrary wise the disadvantage of arrowes is in the weaknesse of the stroke; which is not able to enter a Curace, that the foote or horse nowe vse. Yet can noe weather bee founde, where in you may not haue good vse of bowes: raine, snowe, winde, haile, fogges, hinder litle (especially the string of the bowe being not to wette) may rather profit Because in them you can hardly discerne, much lesse avoide, the fall of the arrowe. As for quicknesse in delivery the bowe farre excelleth the musket. A good single archer is able to giue fiue shotte in exchange for one of the musketier; and that with such certainty, that you shall not heare of an archer that misseth the delivery of his arrow, where the musketier, often faileth by reason of the accidents and impediuients before by mee rehearsed. Ioine that a whole squadron of archers, being embattailed, may shoote at once together: which onely the first ranke of musketiers may doe. And make the case there were a hundred musketters, and a hundred bowe-men eche digested into ten files, eche file conteyning ten men, the bowe men shall bee able to shoote at once a hundred arrowes (all theire arrowes) for ten bullets given by the musketiers, namely those ten of the first ranke discharging alone. It must not bee pretermitted, that the bowe and quiver both for marching, & all service, are lighter and of lesse labour to vse, then a musket, which is noe small advantage in armes and fight. To conclude the bowe-men may bee placed behinde the armed foote, and yet in shooting over the Phalange anoy the enemy before ioyning, and all the time of fight, even whilest they are at pushe of pike; where the musketier, there placed, must either idlely look on, or else playeng with his musket, most of all endaunger his owne friendes. Neither is the force of arrowes so weake, as is immagined, noe not in the arming of our dayes. For the pike albeit hee haue his head and body covered, yet are his legges, and feete, his armes, and handes open to woundes: any of which parts being wounded bringes a disability of service. To say nothing of his face, and eyes, before which the showers of arrowes falling like a tempest without intermission, must needes breed a remedilesse terrour, and make him thinke rather of saving himselfe, then offending his enemy. The musketier being also vnarmed is as subiect to the shotte of arrowes, as the archer is to the shotte of the musket; and the arrow touching any vitall parte, as much taketh away life, as doth the musket. Lastly a horse-man for his owne person (I must confesse) is safe enough from the daunger of arrowes by reason of his armour but his horse, being a faire and large mark, and having neither barbe, nor pectorall, nor ought else to hide his head or breast, how can hee escape woundes? Witnesse our fieldes in France, where our Archers alwayes beate the frenche horse, being barbed, and better armed, then our horse are, at this day. And for the bloudy effect of bowes the story of Plutarch is worth the rehersing. He, in the life of Crassus hath thus: The Parthians opposing the Cataphracts against the Roman horse, the other Persians galloping heer and there dispersedly, and troubling the face of the field, broke vp from the bottom, hills of sand, that raised infinite dust, whereby the Romans lost theire sight and voice: and thronging together, & thrusting one another were wounded, and died not a simple, or quicke deathe, but tormented with convulsions and panges of grief, wallowing vp, and downe, in the sande to breake the arrowes in theire woundes, or else endevouring to pluck out the hooked heades, which had pierced vaines and sinewes, renting a freshe themselues, & adding torment to torment: so that many died in this manner, & the rest became vnprofitable. And when Publius Crassus desired them once more to charge the Cataphracts, they shewed theire handes nailed to their targets, and theire feete fastened to the grownde, whereby they were vnable either to fly, or fight. These wonders did the Parthian bowes, which notwithstanding were not to bee compared to our auncient English bowes, either for strength, or farre shooting. And that wee may not seeme to rely vpon antiquity alone. The battaile of Curzolare (commonly called the battaile of Lepanto) fought in our dayes betwixt the Turkes, & Christians by sea may serue for an experience of the service of bowes and arrowes. In which there died of the Christians by the arrowes of the Turkes aboue siue thowsand, albeit they were in galleyes and ships, and had theire blindes pretended to saue from sight, and mark of the Turks, where as the artillery of all sorts of the Christians consumed not so many Turkes: notwithstanding the Christians had the victory. Nowe then for vs to leaue the bowe, being a weapon of so great efficacy, so ready, so familiar, and as it were so domesticall to our nation, to which wee were wont to bee accustomed from our Cradle, because other nations take themselues to the Musket, hath not so much as any shewe of reason. Other nations may well for beare that, they never had. Neither Italian, nor Spaniard, nor Frenche, nor Dutche, had these fiue hundred years, been accounted Archers. It was a skill almost appropriated to our nation. By it, wee gayned the battailes of Cressy, of Poitiers, of Agincourt, in France: of Navarre, in Spaine: By it, wee made our selues famous over Christendome. And to giue it over vpon a conceit onely (for noe experience can say that our bowe was ever beaten out of the field by the musket) will proue an immitation of Aesops dogge, whoe carieng a piece of fleshe in his mouth over a river, and seing the shadowe in the water, snatched at the shadowe, and left the fleshe. I speake not this to a base the service of muskets, which all men must acknowledge to bee great; I onely shewe, there may bee good vse of bowes, if our archers were such, as they were wont: which is not to bee dispaired, and will easily come with exercise.

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 with musquets: the Tartars had nothing by their Scymetars, with Bows and Arrows, which they discharged with strange dexterity & Art. But because they chiefly feared the musquet bullets, they resolved by a Stratagem to make that unknown Instrument less hurtfull to them than their Enemies did imagin. For the Tartarian King commanded such as made the first onset, to carry a thick hard board for their Shield, which was as good to them as a wooden Wall; these men were seconded by other Companies who carried Ladders to climb up the Walls; an the Horse came up in the Rear. In this manner he set upon the City in four quarters, and received the discharge of their Musquets against his Wooden wall; Then in a moment the scaling ladders being applied, before they could charge again, they were upon the Walls and enterd the City; for such is the quickness and nimbleness of the Tartars (in which they excel all Nations, and idn which also they place their chief art) that in a trice, they either prevail in their Designs, or retire: and the little skill the Chineses had in the use of Musquets, was no small hinderance to this War. For the Tartars quickness and nimblenes not giving them time to charge again being astonished with the suddain inundation of armed men, they presently fled which way soever they could…


The Ming seem to have had a shortage of bullets or cannon balls, at least in Beijing. In 1644 Beijing, the Ming capital, was besieged and captured by Li Zicheng’s rebel army. Shortly after crowning himself Emperor, Li fled the city to escape the invading Manchu army. This is the second reference I have seen to cannons being fired empty:


Page 85

But, however it was, these Pilferers came in a short time to besiege the Royal City of Peking. There was in that City a vast Garrison, and as great a quantity of Artillery; but on the Quarters upon which the enemy made there assault, there was none charged with Bullets, but only with Powder.


The second comes from the scholar-bureaucrat Liu Shangyou, who had arrived in Beijing just a few months before the siege:


Lynn A. Struve, Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm. Yale University Press, 2003. 11-12

On the 17th [of the 3rd month, April 23] artillery fire shook the heavens, and I knew the bandits had reached the foot of the city walls. The guns on the walls were fired empty as often as not– for lack of ammunition. Below the walls the bandits also relied on artillery for their attack; each firing of a cannon was sure to collapse a roof or topple some tiles– anything that got in the way was smashed. Their ammunition was shaped like a man’s thumb– keen and shiny, hard and slick, really effective.


Robert Barret – The Theorike and Practike of Moderne VVarres, 1598

Barret is another military writer critical of “inueterate conceirers of bowes and blacke billes”. Barret asserts the superiority of the firearm over the bow, the corselet over the jack, and the pike over the bill (halberd). I have skipped over the sections dealing with the bill and jack.
Pages 2-3
Gent.

You haue touched many pointes vnder a few termes, but (Captaine) all this and much more will hardly perswade our rurall sort; and I thinke many of vs Gentlemen not farre better minded: for in executing her Maiesties commands, for trayning our men, prouiding of armour, I heare many say, what neede so much a do, and great charge in Calliuer, Musket, Pyke and Corselet? our auncestors won many battels with bowes, blacke Billes, and Iackes. But what thinke you of that?

Captaine.

Sir, then was then, and now is now; the wars are much altered since the fierie weapons first came vp: the Cannon, the Musket, the Caliuer and Pistoll. Although some haue attempted stifly to maintaine the sufficiencie of Bowes, yet daily experience doth and will shew vs the contrarie. And for that their reasons haue bene answered by others, I leaue at this instant to speake thereof.

Gent.

Why, do you not like of our old archerie of England?

Capt.

I do not altogether disalow them; true it is, they may serue to some sorts of seruice, but to no such effect as any of the fierie weapons.

Gent.

Will not a thousand bowes handled by good bowmen, do as good seruice, as a thousand hargubuze or muskets, especially amongst horsemen?

Capt.

No, were there such bowmen as were in the old time, yet could there be no comparison.

Gent.

Your reasons.

Capt.

First, you must confesse that one of your best Archers can hardly shoot any good sheffe arrow aboue twelue score off, to performe any great execution, except vpon a naked man, or horse. A good Calliuer charged with good powder and bullet, and discharged at point blanck by any reasonable shot, will, at that distance, performe afar better execution, yea, to passe any armour, except it be of prooffe, & much more neare the marke then your Archer shal: And the said Calliuer at randon will reach & performe twentie, or foure and twentie score off, whereunto you haue few archers will come neare. And if you reply, that a good archer will shoot many shots to one; Truly no, your archer shall hardly get one in fiue of a ready shot, nay happely scarce one; besides, considering the execution of the one and the other, there is great oddes, and no comparison at all.

Gent.

But our bowmen may shoot by vollies, as thicke as hayle in the ayre.

Capt.

They may shoot thicke, but to small performance, except (as I said) vpon naked men or horse. But should there be led but eight hundred perfect hargubu∣ziers, or sixe hundred good musketiers against your thousand bowmen, I thinke your bowmen would be forced to forsake their ground, all premisses considered: and moreouer a vollie of musket or hargubuze goeth with more terrour, fury, and execution, then doth your vollie of arrowes. And againe, against a resolute troupe of horse, either Pistoletiers, Hargulatiers or Lanciers, they will stand lesse time (except they be well fronted with hedge, ditch or trench; or seconded with a strong stand of pikes,) then either Hargubuze or Musket, considering the execution of the one & the other. And what souldier is he, that commeth against a weapon wherein there is little hazard of life, which will not more resolutely charge, then against a weapon, whose execution he knoweth to be present death? Many more reasons might be alledged for the sufficiencie of the one, and the insufficiencie of the other, but others haue answered the same already, besides the proofe which dayly experience bringeth: and thus you heare mine opinion of your Bowes; desiring you (Gentlemen and others) not to conceiue sinisterly of me for this mine opinion, as not held of me for any dislike I haue of our old Archery of England: but that common experience hath made it most manifest in these our later warres: well wishing in my hart (had it bene Gods good will) that this infernall fierie engine had neuer bin found out. Then might we boldly haue compared (as our auncestors did) with the proudest Archers in the world.

But you must note this by the way, that the fierie shot, either on horsebacke, or foote, being not in hands of the skilfull, may do vnto themselues more hurt then good: wherefore the same is often to be practised, that men may grow perfect and skilfull therein.

Pages 4-5
Gent.

Your proportion I like well, but our countrey people are loth to be at the charges of so many costly weapons, although her Maiestie and her honorable priuie Counsell, haue giuen orders and directions for the same.

Capt.

I perceiue it to be so, whereat I grieue not a litle, considering, how dangerous is the time; how malicious, strong, & politike is the enimie; how carelesse, yea senslesse are we; and how vnwilling to our owne weale? But should these your secure men once heare the Alarme of the enemie, (from the which God defend vs,) then should you soone see them alter their copies, chaunge their colours, forget their great bragges of blacke Bills and Bowes, and stand at their wittes ende what course to take; and should they yet recall their courage, and plucke vp their spirites, and dare to looke the enimie in the face, what guides (I pray) haue they? It is not enough to say downe with them, downe with them, Lay on Billes and Bowes: they should encounter strong squares of armed Pikes, gallant squadrons of Muskets, braue troupes of shot, conducted by skilfull Leaders: then should they soone see the difference of weapons; the danger of the one, the litle doubt of the other, with repentance (perhaps) for not taking them to other weapons in time. Thus much I speak to our inueterate conceirers of bowes and blacke billes.

Raimond Fourquevaux – Instructions for the Warres

The translator of this discourse, Paule Ive, attributes the original French work to William de Bellay. Everyone else seems to attribute it to Raimond Fourquevaux. According to Wikipedia the original was published 1548. This translation dates 1589.

Page 25-26

The Harquebusse hath bin inuented within these fewe yeares, and is verie good, so that it be used by those that haue skill, but at this present euery man will be a Harquebusier : I knowe not whether it be to take the more wages, or to be the lighter laden, or to fight the further off, wherein there must be an order taken, to appoint fewer Harquebusiers, and those that are good, then many that are worth nothing : for this negligence is cause that in a skirmish wherein tenne thousand Harquebussados are shot, there dieth not so mutch as one man, for the Harquebusiers content themselues with making of a noyse, and so shoote at all aduentures… Amongst other weapons least accustomed, are the Bowe and Crossebowe, which are two weapons that may do very good seruice against unarmed men, or those that are ill armed, specially in we weather, when the Harquebusier loseth his season. And were it so that the archers and crossebow men could carry about them their prouision for their bowes and crossebowes, as easily as the Harquebusiers may do theirs for their Harquebusse, as well for their readinesse in shooting, as also for the surenesse of their shot, which is almost neuer in vayne. And although the Harquebusier may shoote further, notwithstanding the Archer and Crossebow man will kill a C. or CC. pases off, aswell as the best Harquebusier : and sometime the harnesse, except it be the better, can not hold out : at the uttermost the remedy is that they should be brought as neere before they do shoote as possibly they may, and if it were so handled, there would be more slaine by their shot, then by twice as many harquebusiers, and this I will prooue by one Crossebow man that was in Thurin, when as the Lord Marshall of Annibault was Gouernour there, who, as I haue understood, in fiue or sixe skirmishes, did kill and hurt more of our enemyes, then fiue or skixe of the best harquebusiers did, during the whole time of the siege. I hauve heard say of one other only that was in the army that the King had under the charge of Mounsieur de Lautrec, who slewe in the battaile of Bycorque a Spanish Captaine called Iohn of Cardone, in the lifting up of his helmet. I haue spoken of these two specially, because that being employed amongst great store of Harquebusiers, they made themselues to be so knowne, that they deserued to be spoken of: what would a great number of sutch do…

Page 27

The Harquebusse likewise must be accompted amongst weapons, and the Bowe and Crossebowe also. True it is that I would that these two last should be caried by the people of the Countrey where they haue their most course, and but a certaine number of them.

Pages 28-29

…the Harquebusiers, Archers, and crossebowmen should be armed with a shirt [with] sleeues of male, and with a good headpeece : or for want of a shirt of male, they should have cotes of plate, and good Jacks, yet they are almost out of season, but that maketh no matter, so there be any aduantage to be found by them.

Page 31
[Fourquevaux describes a method for organizing the troops into a Legion of 6100, divided into 12 bands, each further subdivided into six companies of four squadrons of two deciniers. Ten of the bands would consist mainly of pikemen, with 1/12th of the band being shot. Fourquevaux recommends that half of this shot be archers and crossbowmen. The remaining two bands, called the Forlorne Hope, would be mostly arquebusiers with a few pikes in loose order and some archers mingled among them.]

…Those of the sixt Corporall shalbe the one halfe pikemen, with the other halfe Harquebussiers, except that we would mingle some Archers amongst them, and make that the one chiefe of squadron should haue all his men to be Harquebusiers, and that the other chiefe of squadron should haue one Decene of his men to be all Archers, and the other Decene to be all Crossebowes, to the intent to haue seruice of these people, in places where the Harquebusiers should be unseruicable, as in the rayne, as is aforesaid, or to make any secret charge where the fire might discouer them, or in any other place where these two weapopns might serue more sure then the Haquebusse… [Of the Forlorne Hope] Foure of these corporals shall haue all their men Harquebusiers, which may be mingled with Archers and Crossebowes who so would.

Jacopo di Porcia: The Preceptes of Warre

A military manual by Jacopo di Porcia. Some of the advise is obvious, some silly. This is a text transcription from EEBO and I’m not confident at all that it’s accurately transcribed. Translated 1544 by Peter Betham.

32. ¶ Of gonners on horsebacke.
It shal not be vnprofitable to acquaynten and wount your horses, as the duchmen do, to suffer the sytter whyche is a gunner and not to be affrayed therof. For no sorte of souldyers, is more profytable than they nor yet doth more myschife and hurte. For no man is so well harnaysed, that can be saulfe from them: such a vyolence is in that warlye instrumente.
33. ¶ Of gunnes called serpentines wyth other.
It shall be very profitable to haue many wagons & charettes laden with gons For there is none armye so strong, whom they wyll not destroye, so that horses & men far of be slayne, wyth them. Also the great sounde shal so feare men, that their strength and courage shal fal and decay.

42. ¶ Of bowes.
Fotemen with bowes, whych englysh men vse: do greate seruyce in an host. For there is no breste plate, whyche is able to wythstand, and holde owte the stroke of the arrowes, suche force and vyolence is in bowes.

87. ¶ What is to be done when we mistrust our souldyours to be afrayed of the sowne of gunnes and noyse of them yt wayle.
Yf any lykenesse be, or mistrust that thy souldyours bene afrayed of the gunshote and otherwyse, whereby theyr hertes be lyke to fayle, it is a good pollicye, to stop their eares with some thing, and so with out feare they shall fyght, neyther hea∣ryng the wofull waylynges of them that be wounded, ne yet the noyse of gunnes. Whych pollicye wyl serue at these dayes agaynst the Almaynes that vse a greate nombre of gunnes in theyr armyes.

88. ¶ What is to be done when thyne enemyes be moost parte archers.
When our enemyes be for the mooste part archers, then set aganyst them, men fenced with tergates, whych sort of souldyours be sometyme in the hostes of the East partie. And by this pollicie thyne army shal be out of theyr daunger.

92 ¶ A pollicie to diffeate and dispoynt the gunners, that they stande in no stede and vse.
The Frenchemen and Almaynes, at these dayes haue in thēyr armies a great nombre of gunners, which sore trouble & hyndre theyr enemies. Wherfore my counsayle is, that armye (which hath no suche souldyours) to sette vpon them in mooste raynye wether. For at those tymes they be vnseruyable, and can do no good.

Alonso De Contreras Witnesses the Accuracy of a Greek Archer

“I put the Greeks ashore, and went on my way with the caramuzal to the Arm of Mayna, which is not far distant. This Arm of Mayna is a district of the land which is in the Morea, a barren land, and its inhabitants are Greek Christians. They have no houses, but exist in grottos and caves, and are great robbers. They have no elected chief, but they obey him who is the most valiant; and though they are Christians, never, as it seems to me, do they act as such. The Turks have found it impossible to subdue them, although they live in the heart of the Turkish lands. Nay, it is the Turks whose cattle they steal, and sell them to others. They are great archers. One day I saw one of them bet that he would shoot an orange off the head of a son of his with an arrow at twenty paces; and he did it with such ease that I was amazed.”

The Life of Captain Alonso De Contreras: Knight of the Military Order of St. John, Native of Madrid, page 83, as translated by Catherine Alison Phillips.