The bows used in the Middle Ages were of several types: short-range bows, compound bows and long-range bows. Short-range bows measuring between 1 and 1.20 meters in size, and were fairly simple to manufacture and handle. They were the type of bow used most frequently. They had a medium-range, accuracy and strength, and required a good experience and a perfect training so that their use would be effective.
Composite bows were originating in Asia. They were formed by sheets of wood tied together. The sheets turned them into powerful bows, but required greater strength and training. This relatively short bow was the favorite weapon of archers riders, mainly from the Mongols and other Asian people who were specialists in horse riding. A variant of the composite had outwardly curved ends (which was achieved by heating it to steam and curving the blades during the manufacturing process). This curved bow was more powerful and required a high degree of strength and dexterity.
Long-range bows originated in Wales, and from there went to England. Almost two meters long, manufactured from a single piece of wood. Long-range bow arrows were up to a meter long. The wide-tipped arrows could penetrate the leather armor, causing lacerations, and were used to combat infantry. Also, there were arrows of narrow tip that penetrated the Mesh or Dickies and fired against the armored warriors.
To shoot long bow successfully, it was necessary to have enough training and practice. Men skilled in this type of weapon could shoot six well-directed arrows per minute. This kind of bow could reach targets at long-range and was quite powerful. Numerous contingent of experienced archers were a devastating force in many of the battlefields of the Middle Ages. They could fire both individual arrows and a rain of arrows towards a particular area.
In the battles of the Middle Ages, ranged weapons and projectiles of all types played an important role. They were used as weapons of attack against individual targets on the battlefield and during sieges. In some cases they were used as weapons against a certain given area on the field.
The firing of arrows and projectiles allowed to cause casualties from a distance. The archers were used as light troops to deplete the forces and to decrease the morale of the army enemy, causing losses before the start of the battle. If they could weaken or affect the enemy forces, your chances of winning the battle increased.
Since the appearance of the Cavalry, approximately in 1000BC, troops on horseback hadplayed several key roles in the battles. They acted as Scouts, Fighters, shock troops in skirmishes and rear guard force. They also served to pursue enemy army during its retreat. The cavalry was divided into different categories, depending on their equipment and their training. Some of these categories were better prepared than others to perform certain tasks.
The light cavalry wore virtually no armor and served better for exploration missions and as a rearguard. The heavy cavalry used armor and was more suited as a shock against the enemy force. All types of cavalry were excellent for the pursuit of the enemy.
The Knights of the middle ages fell under the category of heavy cavalry, and chivalry, and emphasized its role as a shock force against the opponent. From the 13th century, the term “weapons man” began to be used to describe armored warriors who fought on foot or on horseback. The new term applied both to Knights as Squires, gentlemen and professional soldiers.
The main advantages that had the Knights during the battle consisted of intimidation, power, speed and height. As the Middle Ages progressed, knights equipment was perfected in order to develop these advantages.