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Sunday, July 30, 2023

How were archers supplied with arrows during long wars?

During long wars, supplying archers with arrows was crucial for maintaining their effectiveness on the battlefield. Armies employed several strategies to ensure a steady and sufficient supply of arrows. Here are some of the methods they used:

  1. Ammunition Carriers: Armies often employed specialized soldiers whose primary responsibility was to carry extra arrows into battle. These ammunition carriers, sometimes called "arrow boys" or "arrow runners," would bring fresh quivers of arrows to the archers during lulls in the fighting or as needed.

  2. Supply Trains: Large armies would have supply trains that followed them during their campaigns. These supply trains carried various provisions, including arrowheads, shafts, and fletchings (feathers on the back of the arrow). When the archers ran low on arrows, they could requisition new supplies from the supply train.

  3. Workshop Units: Some armies had mobile workshops or forges that accompanied them. These workshops were manned by skilled craftsmen who could repair damaged arrows or even produce new arrows during the campaign.

  4. Local Production: Depending on the availability of resources, armies might set up temporary arrow-making facilities in captured territories or allied regions. They could use local materials and labor to produce arrows, reducing the burden on the main supply lines.

  5. Looting: In some cases, soldiers might scavenge arrows from the battlefield, especially after a significant engagement. While scavenged arrows might not be of the same quality as professionally made ones, they could still be used in a pinch.

  6. Conservation and Retrieval: Archers were trained to retrieve and reuse their arrows whenever possible. During lulls in the battle, they would collect arrows that had missed their targets and were still in good condition.

  7. Allies and Trade: Armies might rely on their allies or trade partners to supply them with arrows, especially if they were operating in foreign lands where local resources were scarce.

  8. Stockpiling: Before a long campaign or major battle, armies would stockpile arrows to ensure they had a significant reserve to draw upon when needed.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of these strategies varied depending on the time period and the resources available to the armies. As warfare evolved and technology advanced, different methods of resupplying archers emerged. However, regardless of the method, maintaining a consistent supply of arrows was essential for keeping archers effective on the battlefield.

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