|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Empires III, see Longbowman (Age of Empires III).|
|“||British unique unit. Powerful archer with long range.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Longbowmen can be upgraded to Elite Longbowmen in the Imperial Age.
Longbowmen are the archers of England and Wales, boasting powerful damage and a very long range. These soldiers are often instrumental for Briton victory.
Regular Longbowmen have the same range as Crossbowmen, but their Elite counterpart comes with +1 attack, range, and pierce armor in comparison to the Arbalester. Furthering their range with Blacksmith upgrades, Yeomen, and the Britons' civilization bonus (+1 range in the Castle Age and +1 in the Imperial Age (+2 in total)), Elite Longbowmen can get as much as 12 range, an unprecedented value among archer units. It enables them to outrange Castles, Towers, Onagers, Galleons, as well as all other archer units.
Longbowmen work best in a group. While a single Longbowman does not 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 from behind Walls can prove valuable for base defense.
With the protection of melee infantry or cavalry, Longbowmen can hold their ground against most units, taking a fearful toll of enemy troops while supporting the frontliners. Without protection, a group of them can instead perform hit-and-run techniques, killing the closest enemy while backing up constantly. Of course, they cannot do that as effectively as Cavalry Archers, and will struggle especially against cavalry.
It is recommended to set Longbowmen to Stand Ground stance. That way, they will not disrupt the formation and avoid rushing into situations they cannot handle.
Since the Britons lack Thumb Ring, they fire slower than other civilizations' archers and lack the 100% accuracy, which can be a considerable disadvantage. On the other hand, when focus-firing individual targets as a group, lacking Thumb Ring can prevent overkilling a target. Most arrows will strike their target, while stray arrows may damage nearby enemies. This inaccuracy can grant Briton archers an Onager-like firing pattern.
When facing massed heavy siege weapons like Siege Onagers or Heavy Scorpions, archers' long range can be used to destroy one siege weapon at a time, instead of letting them fire at will. Otherwise, once the siege engines come into firing range, they will quickly flatten the archers with a few shots.
A group of Longbowmen can be used as a siege option if the player is teamed with a Saracen, as the Longbowmen get additional attack bonus against standard buildings and can take them down more quickly. Teutonic Castles, Korean towers, and Turkish Bombard Towers are the only defensive structures capable of returning fire. Still, Trebuchets should always be brought to sieges, especially since Warwolf was introduced in The Forgotten.
And, of course, siege weapons are a heavy threat, but the Longbowmen fare far better against them than all other archers, especially when massed, because they can take them out (apart from Bombard Cannons) from a safe distance without coming under fire.
Rams are also effective against Longbowmen, as the player can put them between their own Skirmishers/archers and the enemy, thereby soaking up the damage (as units auto attack the nearest foe).
They cannot be killed in one strike in the Castle Age, but Coustilliers are still a great threat for Longbowmen, because of their charge attack, which is extremely devastating against archers. In the Castle Age, while they cannot strike them down in one hit, they will greatly wound Longbowmen. In the Imperial Age, the Elite Coustillier has better charge attack and base attack, and can kill the Longbowman in just one hit with charge attack when the Burgundians have only Iron Casting researched.
As Longbowmen are unique to the Britons, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Infantry, archers|
|Weak vs.||Skirmishers, Samurai (in close range), siege weapons, cavalry, Huskarls, Eagle Warriors, Genitours|
|Attack|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Range|| Fletching (+1)|
Bodkin Arrow (+1)
|Accuracy||Ballistics (hit moving targets)|
|Armor|| Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)|
Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
- Britons: Longbowmen have +1/+2 range in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, Longbowmen are created and upgraded 25% faster, and Conscription and Yeomen are researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Bulgarians: Blacksmith upgrades are researched faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Faith is researched 20% faster.
- A team containing Magyars: Longbowmen have +2 Line of Sight.
- A team containing Malians: Researching Chemistry and Ballistics is 80% faster.
- A team containing Saracens: Longbowmen have attack against standard buildings.
- A team containing Teutons: Longbowmen are more resistant to conversion.
The Age of Kings
- Longbowmen train in 19 seconds.
- Longbowmen gain an attack bonus of +2 against Spearmen.
- Yeomen introduced. It is available in the Imperial Age.
- Longbowmen train in 18 seconds.
- Yeomen moved to the Castle Age.
- Medieval English longbows took a lot of strength to draw due to their very high draw weights: ranging from 100-200 lbs, with the average bow between 120-160 lbs. These draw weights accounted for the longbow's incredible power in battle.
- The Longbowmen in Age of Empires II are erroneously depicted wearing quivers on their backs, when in fact historical English Longbowmen placed their arrow bags behind their waists or simply stuffed arrows in their belts (but never wore them on their backs).
- The Longbowman line is the second most affected line by Thumb Ring in the entire game right after the Cavalry Archer, despite the Britons not even receiving the tech, it is only experienced via a glitch in the scenario editor or in full tech tree mode.
- The Longbowman is the only unique archer whose civilization does not have access to Thumb Ring.
|“||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.||”|
|—Age of Empires II manual|