|HP||35, 40 (elite)|
|Attack||6, 7 (elite)|
|Range||5, 6 (elite)|
|0, 1 (elite)|
|Upgraded To||Elite Longbowman|
|Cost to Upgrade||850 Food |
Longbowmen are the famed archers of England, boasting the greatest range of all bowmen. Armed with powerful attack damage as well, hordes of these medieval archers are instrumental for British victory.
Starting off at 5 base range, archery upgrades at the Blacksmith will increase their range further. Researching Elite Longbowman will add one tile to their range. In the Conquerors Expansion, researching Yeomen will add another tile. All the upgrades combined will give the Longbowman a maximum range of 12. This means fully upgraded Longbowmen will outrange Castles, Towers, Mangonels, Scorpions, and rival archers from other civilizations. They feature greater attack damage than normal archers as well.
Longbowmen work best as a group. While a single Longbowman doesn't present much of a threat, a group can be a deadly force as they can mow down opposing forces from long range before they can even attack. Longbowmen firing behind Walls can prove valuable for base defense.
With protection of melee infantry, cavalry or Skirmishers, Longbowmen can hold their ground against most units, taking a fearful toll of enemy troops while supporting the front liners. Without protection, a group of bowmen can instead perform hit and run techniques.
- It is important to set the English archers to Stand Ground Stance. That way, they won't disrupt the formation and avoid rushing into situations they cannot handle.
- A good tactic is to make two large armies of Longbowmen, then position the two groups a few tiles away from each other. This will double the firing rate, provide greater targeting area and maximize accuracy. But with only one large army available, the alternative is to set the bowmen to Flank Formation, splitting the group into two.
- A group of Longbowmen are a passable but time consuming siege option: the Teutonic Castle, Korean Towers, and the Turkish Bombard Tower are the only defensive structures capable of returning fire. They also have a higher resistance to Skirmishers than conventional archers.
The longbow was very tall, 5 or 6 feet long, and crafted from a single piece of wood, commonly yew. It fired 3-foot-long arrows at a great range and, in the hands of an expert, could be extremely accurate. Edward I (Longshanks) of England grasped the value of this weapon and the English thereafter employed large contingents of longbowmen in their Middle Age armies. All sports other than archery were banned on Sundays in Britain to ensure that archers practiced. The long bow was used effectively in long-range barrages against massed troops, firing thin pointed arrows called bodkins that could pierce armor. Arrows were fired simultaneously by thousands of archers and aimed at a distant area rather than a specific target. Enemy troops within the area were forced to receive the barrage with no cover but their armor and shields. The barrage caused casualties and reduced enemy morale. The most famous examples of this tactic were the great English victories at Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt during the Hundred Years War. French knights recalled with horror the awful sound of thousands of arrows in flight and the sky turning dark from their shafts.