"If the hawk is flying to his nest, we two will shoot down the fledgeling with our gilded arrows."
— The Lay of Prince Igor
Clad in hauberks of steel and bearing sturdy bucklers, these men are as resilient as they are as deadly with a bow: their composite bows of laminted wood are as strong as the most advanced arbalests in the world, and thanks to years of training are often just as deadly. All infantry must pay obesiance to heavy archers, although their being slow on foot makes them easier prey for more mobile and agile attackers, and while they may be able to resist light cavalry, medium and heavy cavalry can make short work of them.
Ultimately, their best use as units go by would be to break enemy ranged units.
- When the Going Gets ... — Heavy Archers are of a strong disposition at the cost of mobility, thus they often can be used for defensive frontline duty. This addition of hitpoints works especially well in the favour of Poland and Serbia which recruit slow-training but strong Slavic "meat shield" units.
- Under Heavy Fire — Added durability means that Heavy Archers are ideal as counter-archery units.
- Counter Fire — Thus, use only fast-moving units with sufficient armour such as heavy cavalry, or ranged units that can outrange normal archers such as longbowmen or even siege weapons to take them down.
Contrary to popular belief, the bow itself was not a popular weapon with many ancient cultures of the Old World. It was ideal for most of the time for hunting and attacking unarmoured foes, but once body armour, made either from simply textiles or even bronze, became more popular, soldier gradually switched either to slings or for javelins. These weapons were difficult to use, or had far lower range, but they had one advantage and that was the ability to damage targets wearing armour.
This, however, did not mean the end of archery per so. The simple bow was improved by using better materials and by better training. Employing better wood or strips of laminated wood increased the tensile strength of the bow, increasing power and thus range. Arrows were improved also by such changes as metal arrowheads. Even so the cost and man-hours required to create a weapon that was sufficiently powerful enough to match the stopping power of slingshot or javelins meant that such weapons and such training was normally limited to an aristocratic warrior caste for most of the Bronze Age.