A 14th Century, Tanged, Needle Bodkin Type, Longbowman's Arrow Head, 'Grand Tour' Souvenir From Battle of Poitier Site
Acquired in the 1820's while on a Grand Tour Anglo French battle sites of Northern & Western France from Azincourt, in the Pas-de-Calais, to Poitiers in Aquitaine. Most English war arrows for Longbows would have some type of bodkin or “plate cutter” since their job was to penetrate armour (gambesons, hauberks, and plate). long and short bodkin, plate cutter, leaf, trefoil, crescent, and swallowtail broadheads. Broadheads were for un-armoured men and horse. The Battle of Poitiers was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War. It was fought on 19 September 1356 in Nouaillé, near the city of Poitiers in Aquitaine, western France. Edward, the Black Prince, led an army of English, Welsh, Breton and Gascon troops, many of them veterans of the Battle of Crécy. They were attacked by a larger French force led by King John II of France, which included allied Scottish forces. The French were heavily defeated; an English counter-attack captured King John, along with his youngest son, and much of the French nobility who were present.
The effect of the defeat on France was catastrophic, leaving Dauphin Charles to rule the country. Charles faced populist revolts across the kingdom in the wake of the battle, which had destroyed the prestige of the French nobility. The Edwardian phase of the war ended four years later in 1360, on favourable terms for England.
Poitiers was the second major English victory of the Hundred Years' War, coming a decade after the Battle of Crécy and about half a century before the Battle of Agincourt.The English army was led by Edward, the Black Prince, and composed primarily of English and Welsh troops, though there was a large contingent of Gascon and Breton soldiers with the army. Edward's army consisted of approximately 2,000 longbowmen, 3,000 men-at-arms, and a force of 1,000 Gascon infantry.
Like the earlier engagement at Crécy, the power of the English army lay in the longbow, a tall, thick self-bow made of yew. Longbows had demonstrated their effectiveness against massed infantry and cavalry in several battles, such as Falkirk in 1298, Halidon Hill in 1333, and Crécy in 1346. Poitiers was the second of three major English victories of the Hundred Years' War attributed to the longbow, though its effectiveness against armoured French knights and men-at-arms has been disputedGeoffrey the Baker wrote that the English archers under the Earl of Salisbury "made their arrows prevail over the [French] knights' armour",but the bowmen on the other flank, under Warwick, were initially ineffective against the mounted French men-at-arms who enjoyed the double protection of steel plate armour and large leather shields. Once Warwick's archers redeployed to a position where they could hit the unarmored sides and backs of the horses, however, they quickly routed the cavalry force opposing them. The archers were also unquestionably effective against common infantry, who could not afford plate armour.
The English army was an experienced force; many archers were veterans of the earlier Battle of Crécy, and two of the key commanders, Sir John Chandos, and Captal de Buch were both experienced soldiers. The English army's divisions were led by Edward, the Black Prince, the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Salisbury, Sir John Chandos and Jean III de Grailly, the Captal de Buch.
It has been suggested that the bodkin came into its own as a means of penetrating armour, but research by the Royal Armouries has found no hardened bodkin points, though only two bodkin points were actually tested, not a statistically relevant number. Bodkins did, however, have greater ability to pierce mail armour than broadheads, and historical accounts do speak of bodkin arrows shot from close range piercing plate armour. Broadheads were made from steel, sometimes with hardened edges, but were more often used against lightly armoured men or horses than against an armoured adversary.
In a modern test, a direct hit from a steel bodkin point penetrated mail armour, although at point blank range. However, the test was conducted without a padded jack or gambeson, which was layered cloth armour worn under heavier armour for protection against projectiles, as it was known to stop even heavy arrows.
Armour of the medieval era was not completely proof against arrows until the specialised armour of the Italian city-state mercenary companies. Archery was thought not to be effective against plate armour in the Battle of Neville's Cross (1346), the Battle of Bergerac (1345), and the Battle of Poitiers (1356); such armour became available to European knights and men at arms of fairly modest means by the late 14th century, though never to all soldiers in any army.
Some recent tests have demonstrated that needle bodkins could penetrate all but heavy steel plate armour; one test used padded "jack" armour, coat of plates, iron and steel mail and steel plate. A needle bodkin penetrated every type, but may not have been able to inflict a lethal injury behind plate. As with all other tests, accuracy of these tests is called into question as the arrowheads were all high carbon steel and hardened, and the historical accuracy of the armour tested is unknown.The name comes from the Old English word bodkin or bodekin, a type of sharp, pointed dagger. Arrows of the long bodkin type were used by the Vikings and continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages. The bodkin point eventually fell out of use during the 16th and 17th centuries, as armour largely ceased to be worn and firearms took over from archery. 8 cm long overall including tang.