Composite bow

A composite bow is made from various materials laminated together, usually applied under tension. Different materials are used in order to take advantage of the properties of each material. Materials particularly resistant to compression, such as horn, antler, or compression resistant woods like yew, are used on the belly of the bow (the part facing the archer when shooting) while materials that are very strong under tension, such as sinew, silk or tendon cables, or tough wood like hickory, are used on the back of the bow (the part facing away from the archer when shooting).

First appeared in East Asia,maybe invented by the Horse people like Xiongnu. The Hun bow is one eminent Composite bow.

The Persian, Parthian, Turkish, Hun and Magyar Bows use horn on the belly and sinew on the back. As with most other composite bows made before the 20th century the layers were glued on using glue made from hide, or fish bladders. They are recurve bows as the shape curves back on itself and it is this design that gives the bows tremendous power compared with their size.

The composite bow was frequently used by the cavalry archers of the Parthians, Turks, Mongols and other Asiatic nomads. In fact, most of the Mongol horde consisted of light cavalry archers mounted on fast Mongolian horses.

The English longbow has a natural composite of yew sap wood and heart wood. The heart wood is on the inside of the bow and resists compression and the outer sapwood stretches. This makes a powerful natural spring.

Modern composite bows such as compound bows use laminated wood, plastic and fiberglass. These are little affected by changes of temperature and humidity.

The Composite bow's construction gave it extreme strength for its small size. Some Mongolian composite bows are known to have been able to produce a draw string weight of nearly 160 lb. That can be compared to the approximately 80–180 pounds of the European Longbow which was twice the size.

The Mongols, Seljuk Turks and Parthian horse archers used strong fire and retreat strategies. Parthians are known for using their composite bows while sitting on horses backwards. The term "parthian shot" comes from the horse archers. The Mongols used many different types of arrows.

References

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