Warfare During the Renaissance

Topics: English longbow, Longbow, Cannon Pages: 4 (1205 words) Published: December 16, 2003
Warfare During the Renaissance
Warfare did not get invented during the Renaissance, but there were some significant innovations. Feudal cavalry lost its strength of the battlefield, infantry gained in stature, states learned how to field large armies for long periods of time. Most important of all, however, was the use of gunpowder. The chief result of these innovations was that warfare once and for all was taken out of the hands of private individuals (the nobility) and was taken over by the nation-state. Moreover, war became so expensive and destructive that it became ever more difficult and dangerous for small states to wage war, even at the local level. Warfare became big business and the business of big players. Decline of feudal Cavalry

Up until the 14th century, the battlefield belonged to the medieval knight. The knight of 1300 was well armored. Plate mail was still in the future, but armor had developed to the point where most of a knight was covered in metal, and even his horse wore padded armor. The knight was adept at the use of the lance, the sword and the shield, and was every bit as effective on foot as he was on horseback. What happened in the 14th century was that there emerged other forces on the field that could withstand the feudal cavalry charge and could even win battles. The most notable of these were the English Longbowmen and the Swiss Pikemen. English Longbows

The English longbow was much bigger than other bows. It was as tall as a man or taller and could fire with accuracy well over 200 yards. An English archer could fire accurately three arrows a minute and when pressed could double that rate. A hundred archers could launch a thousand arrows a minute, with withering results, due to the fact that there arrows were much lighter, and wind caused them to change direction after about 50 feet. The longbow is credited with the English victory at Crècy (1346) and Poitiers (1356). Because an arrow fired from a longbow could pierce...
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