New weapons and formations: 1250-1500

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  • New weapons and formations
    • The longbow
      • Longbows were introduced in the 1290s for English armies and they were a key part for 150 years
      • 15 arrows could be fired every minute which was 5x more than the crossbow
      • Power was increased and arrows could pierce through chainmail
    • Pikes and schiltrons
      • Scotland used schiltrons under William Wallace
      • Tight formations of infantry gathered together in a circle or square
      • Pikes would face outwards towards the enemy
    • Gunpowder and the development of cannon
      • Gunpowder was introduced to Europe in the 13th century
      • Gunpowder was used to fire cannon and became a standard weapon in 1450, which affected the design of castles because they became vulnerable to cannon fire
      • Limitations of cannon
        • Heavy and expensive to transport
        • Inaccurate as they could only be used against large targets such as walls
        • Had to be close to targets as they had short range
        • Slow to reload
        • Trained personnel needed
      • Advantages and improvements
        • Useful for destroying cities and castle walls
        • Improvements were made with new technology
        • Specialist cannons were developed to launch cannonballs over walls or for longer distances
        • Metal was used for cannon barrels and balls rather than stone to make cannons more effective and accurate
    • The mounted knight
      • Mounted knight declined because of weapons
      • Longbow was more effective to taking down knights, horses and infantry
      • Schiltron was effective at defeating cavalry and increasing infantry
      • Cavalry became more integrated to specialist tasks like patrolling and scouting and fought defensive battles


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