The Longbow appears to have developed in south Wales, at least as early as the reign of Henry II. It was longer and stronger than the earlier short bow, and required a different technique, with the bow-string being pulled back to the ear, rather than just to the chest as with the smaller bows. This gave it a much greater range and penetration than the shortbow. The Longbow was mentioned at the siege of Abergavenny in 1182, when Welsh arrows penetrated a four inch thick oak door, and appeared in England in 1216 when it was used agained Prince Louise of France. In the Assize of Arms of 1252, all citizens with lands worth over nine marks were ordered to array with bow and arrow, marking the longbow's appearance as an important weapon. It first played a part in a royal army at Falkirk, before going on to play a major part in the English successes during the Hundred Years War. The Longbow when skillfully used could be fired faster and further than the crossbow, and was ideal for the defensive battles favoured by the English in France. The Longbow continued to develop in strength as least as late as the reign of Henry VIII, and many were recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (6 April 2001), Longbow, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_longbow.html