Arrow versus musket

A joint meeting with the Sheffield Branch of the Welding Institute’s Professional Division was held at Renishaw Hall, on the edge of Sheffield, on the evening of June 4th.

The evening began with a delicious meal of gammon and salmon, served with fresh buttered new potatoes and salad, in the Gallery cafe. After coffee, the audience moved to the Rex Whistler room for the main event of the evening.

The first presentation covered the relative merits of the longbow and musket, explaining that although the longbow was superior to the musket in terms of rate of firepower, accuracy and range, it was replaced in service by the musket. The chief attribute of the musket was that it could be used with relative proficiency after only a short period of training whereas the longbow took many years of practice before an archer could be considered proficient in its use. Additionally, the musket developed sufficient power to penetrate armour and kill outright whereas arrow strikes frequently only disabled the wounded party and required him to be finished off in hand to hand combat.

At Waterloo, Wellington noted that a company of archers could have decimated the French ranks and as late as 1915 the British War Office gave consideration to raising companies of archers as it was perceived that their ability to deliver accurate, rapid, plunging fire into opposing trenches would have been extremely useful. The last recorded use of the longbow in warfare was in WW2, when a longbow was used on several occasions on and around D Day silently to eliminate German sentries and several machine gun crews.

The  second presentation was a report by Ryan Stevenson, a Master’s student from the University of Strathclyde on the process of neck annealing and implications of neck tension when reloading cartridges. Ryan has been working with Tim Stuart, European F Class gold medallist at 1000 yards, to study the effects of various process parameters, for example original case quality, reloading procedure, annealing procedure, number of uses of each case and so forth on the subsequent performance of the cartridge. Tim also attended, and between them Ryan and Tim enthralled the audience with their account of the requirements of high level target shooting. Tim was the first to admit that he has probably been doing things wrongly for many years (along with thousands of others !!!) and his preparations for the coming season have certainly been revised in the light of Ryan’s findings.