War bows dominated battlefields across the world for centuries. In their various forms, they allowed trained archers to take down even well-armoured targets from great distances and played a key role in some of the most famous battles in human history.
The composite bow was a versatile and devastatingly effective weapon, on foot, from chariots and on horseback for over a thousand years, used by cultures as diverse as the Hittites, the Romans, the Mongols and the Ottoman Turks.
The Middle Ages saw a clash between the iconic longbow and the more technologically sophisticated crossbow, most famously during the Hundred Years War, while in Japan, the samurai used the yumi to deadly effect, unleashing bursts of arrows from their galloping steeds.
Historical weapons expert Mike Loades reveals the full history of these four iconic weapons that changed the nature of warfare. Complete with modern ballistics testing, action recreations of what it is like to fire each bow and a critical analysis of the technology and tactics associated with each bow, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in ancient arms.
“Anyone with an interest in war bows or the history of warfare would greatly benefit from a copy of this comprehensive work… Loades’s experience with bows, both in terms of their history and real-life handling, shines through in this well-researched and beautifully written and illustrated book.” - History of War magazine
“The book can be strongly recommended to anyone interested in the use of the bow and crossbow, particularly as a military weapon. Loades presents in a vivid and readable fashion a survey of their use over many centuries… The account of the composite bow is masterly.” - Military History Matters magazine
Mike Loades is a respected author, broadcaster, director and action arranger who has made numerous television appearances as a historical weapons expert and military historian. He is the author of The Longbow for Osprey (2013). His book Swords and Swordsmen, published by Pen & Sword in 2010, attracted positive reviews for its knowledgeable but engaging approach.
Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. A keen wargamer and modelmaker, he is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.