The Longbow

Best book on the medieval soldier this decade. A must for every enthusiast of the war-bow. Well written and full of facts others have not produced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (John – Amazon UK review)

This slim volume, in the well-known Osprey series, has been widely acclaimed as an important new work on this iconic weapon. The book contains previously unpublished primary source material and re-evaluates traditional thinking. It debunks lingering myths and casts new light on several aspects of the longbow’s military use.

“Loades is the go to man for sensible, understandable and, above all, accurate background on weaponry.”

(S.C. Liston – Amazon UK review)


Photograph by the author


Photograph by the author


Beautifully illustrated with colour plates from Peter Dennis, drawings from Matthew Ryan, archive images and a great deal of original photography, the text covers the development, manufacture, use and effectiveness of the military longbow, or warbow, as it is also known.


In order to understand what the longbow was up against, the book includes descriptions and assessments for various medieval armour types and their defensive properties.


“an excellent, informative read, treading the line between scholarly assessment and gripping narrative.”

(Sam Wilson – Amazon UK review)

Much emphasis is placed on the longbow’s versatility. As well as examining its role as a battlefield weapon, this study focuses on its function as a naval weapon, as a siege weapon and as a skirmish weapon for marauding, mobile troops on raids and chevauchée. It is this versatility, together with its portability, that made it an ideal choice for the massed armies employed by successive English monarchs in their foreign adventures.

The longbow  was also an economic choice and the book looks at the cost and manufacture of bows and arrows, the training and equipping of archers, their payment and the general logistics of an archer army. Various styles of medieval arrowhead are considered and their effectiveness appraised.


Illustration by Matthew Ryan

80 pages of longbow heaven. Thank you Mr Loades. This book is 100% joy.

(Nick – Amazon UK review)


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The colour plate illustration in the book for the battle of Crécy shows a hooded archer who, at the artist’s intention, resembles the author. Standing next to him (to his left) is a figure, who resembles the artist.

Mike Loades and Peter Dennis have never met in person but Osprey authors collaborate and work closely with the illustrators, designing the action for the colour plates. There were a number of e-mails and phone conversations. When the book arrived, it was a great joy for the author to finally make the artist’s acquaintance by meeting him in one of his own paintings. What better rendez-vous could there be?


Illustrated by Peter Dennis