A Riveting Read

For you armchair military historians, Arrows Against Steel by Vic Hurley is an absolutely riveting, short history of how military archery influenced and changed warfare and world history. Hurley served on MacArthur’s staff during WWII, and was a prolific author. He describes the schools of warfare here, and focuses on the all-cavalry armies of the 13-century Mongols - probably the greatest soldiers in history. I couldn’t put the book down to even make myself a sandwich.

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Looking it up, now.

I know of at least one battle during the American Revolution where Francis Marion used arrows as indirect fire against a fort. Muskets couldn’t penetrate the walls and he didn’t have cannons, so he called for archers. It worked. Does the book go that far, or does it stop as black powder takes over?

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Yes - I remember the book stopping at the phony Vietnam “War” ( I hope there’s a special place in Hell where LBJ has to read his despicable Tonkin Gulf Resolution through Eternity). Benjamin Franklin wanted to establish a corps of military archers, but the 2 years to make them proficient was too late - it was easier to train troops with the p.o.s. Brown Bess musket. Hurley wrote that most of Custer’s men were pinned down and killed by indirect arrowfire - I also read that empty Henry rifle cartridge-cases found after the battle had several dents in their rims - signs that they’d been reloaded by someone.