Criticality of Accuracy in the Military

In the millennia since missile weapons were introduced to warfare by man, astounding technological developments have been made. Mankind has progressed from slinging rocks to firing missiles, with research in high-energy lasers and electromagnetic railguns promising a new era of destruction from range. While a rock and a laser might not seem to have much in common, parallels can be drawn between the basic principles by which these weapons have been, and will continue to be, employed. trendyworld

Inevitably, projectile weapons led to the development of armor. Perhaps even more inevitably, improved armor spurred the development of improved projectiles and projectile delivery systems, and vice versa. Tactics which emphasize the strengths of one or exploit the weaknesses of another particular factor of a weapon system or target have been theorized, tested in practice, refined under fire, and discarded upon the introduction of a new weapon, tactic, or strategy that renders the previous way of thought less effective. treecuttingbranchoutservices

One constant has remained through the years, though – the requirement for those projectiles to be on target. History provides us with countless examples of actions which were decided, in whole or in part, by the delivery of accurate fire, from arrows to bullets to guided missiles. Many more actions proved indecisive because of a failure – sometimes on both sides – to connect with their intended targets. In this article, a selected few examples from history will be examined with a particular focus on the criticality of accuracy.

The Hundred Years War: Crécy and Poitiers

From 1337 to 1453, France and England fought a series of terribly destructive wars over control of the French throne, and thus, French territory and treasure. Though punctuated by periods of relative peace, the term “Hundred Years’ War,” as was later coined by historians, is an accurate one.

Nine years after the war started, in 1346, the English army had just avoided being trapped by the French between the Seine and Somme rivers after landing in Normandy. Outnumbered by the French and their allies, but given the opportunity to select the ground from which he faced his enemy, King Edward III of England placed his men on high ground with terrain features protecting his flanks and the soon-to-be-setting sun at his back.

The English were heavily dependent on the longbow and the men who were skilled in its use, while the French were heavily dependent on armored cavalry. Although the French had archers and the English had cavalry, each put great emphasis upon the units which their armies were built around.

Having pursued the English for weeks, but more specifically, having marched for most of the day upon which the battle of Crécy took place, the French and their hired Genoese crossbowmen were understandably fatigued. Finally faced with the prospect of battle after pursuing the English for so long, though, the French knights were eager to face their foes.

For their part, the English were also tired from their travels, but as they had stopped first, they were given more of an opportunity to rest. Indeed, contemporary accounts state that the English longbowmen were sitting on the ground until the very moment that they were required to engage their enemies. bjak

The French knights ordered the Genoese crossbowmen to fire at the English; this first volley was entirely ineffective, falling short due to a combination of factors: wet bowstrings from the morning rain and a failure to properly judge the distance to their target. It wasn’t until after this volley that the English longbowmen rose, strung their bows with dry strings, and fired volley after volley into the Genoese lines.

While the English longbowmen fired from behind protective emplacements, the French and the Genoese were out in the open, and the English volleys were devastatingly effective against the crossbowmen. Disheartened, the Genoese attempted to flee, but were cut down by the French knights, who were disgusted with their performance.

This action further fatigued and disorganized the French, still mounted on horseback, who proceeded to charge across open fields towards the English. While the range had previously afforded the English longbowmen the luxury of massed volley fire against the crossbowmen, the approaching knights, though slowed by their armor and the muddy fields they were crossing, required more accurate shots.

Their armor being insufficient to stop the longbowmen’s arrows, and their horses being lightly armored, many French knights and men-at-arms were cut down before they ever reached English lines. Those that did were fatigued and disheartened. Although fighting continued, the battle was in effect over before a single sword or axe connected with a foe.

Ten years later, a similar scenario would play out with frighteningly similar results. At Poitiers, a smaller English army composed of men-at-arms and longbowmen took the high ground, protected by terrain, against a pursuing French army which was largely composed of mounted and heavily armored cavalry.

This time, however, the French had improved their armor, and believed themselves to be essentially invincible in the face of the inferior English longbowmen. In addition, they had the advantage of not being slowed by muddy ground.

As if to play into the French assumption that armored cavalry would be the decisive factor, the English pretended to fall back, which tempted the French knights to charge without consideration for the organization of the other forces involved. However, the English quickly regrouped and began to fire at the charging French knights. Seeing that they were having little effect against the French armor, the English quickly changed positions and shifted fire onto the flanks of the French horses. Successful in bringing down many of the knights, the English watched as the energy of the French charge was disrupted by the falling horses and their riders.

The retreat of the French knights wrought havoc among the French foot soldiers who were attempting to advance; after clearing that considerable obstacle, they, too, had to face the withering and extremely accurate fire from the English longbows. The final blow came when an English reserve force encircled those Frenchmen who had managed to close with the English lines, attacking them from the rear and forcing the French king to surrender. For more info please visit these sites:- 


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