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Medieval arrow. Source: spf / Adobe Stock.

Six Medieval Arrow Types, Each With a Deadly Purpose (Video)

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In medieval warfare, archers relied on six key arrow types, each with a specific function. These arrow types were the Plate Cutter, Needle Bodkin, Barbed Type 16, Leaf Shape, Swallow Tail, and Crescent arrows. The Plate Cutter arrow excelled at piercing heavy armor, making it ideal for combat against heavily protected opponents. The Needle Bodkin arrow, designed for targeting lightly armored foes, could exploit vulnerabilities in armor or find gaps to penetrate. For maximum damage, archers employed the Barbed Type 16 arrow, which caused severe internal injuries and proved difficult to remove due to its multiple barbs. The Leaf Shape arrow featured a broadhead resembling a leaf, causing deeper wounds and increased blood loss upon impact.

To improve accuracy over long distances, archers utilized the Swallow Tail arrow, characterized by a wide, concave tip that enhanced stability during flight. The Crescent arrow, with its curved tip, was effective at hooking onto shields or armor, making it harder to dislodge and increasing the likelihood of causing damage. These six arrow types were crucial tools in medieval warfare, addressing different targets and combat situations. From penetrating armor to maximizing damage and increasing accuracy, archers utilized these arrows to gain an advantage on the battlefield.

Top image: Medieval arrow. Source: spf / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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