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- Common abilities:
- May Not Melee Attack
- Special abilities:
- Range promotion (+1 Range.)
Longbowmen are the only pre-Industrial Era unit capable of firing 3 tiles away. This gives the English a unique advantage mid-game, allowing them unmatched firing range. Often Longbowmen stationed safely in cities may fire upon half the advancing enemy army, and in offense they may fire at cities outside their defensive range, as Artillery later can. An experienced player may set up Forts at strategic points and station Longbowmen there to gain crucial positional advantage. Furthermore, the +1 Range promotion transfers when these units are upgraded to Gatling Guns, so the English can potentially become the only civilization whose late-game ranged units have 2 range.
Note that Longbowmen lack the Indirect Fire promotion, which may force them to come within the bombardment range of enemy cities located in rough terrain. But should they find a convenient location, their range allows them to safely gain experience and build levels, especially on longer game speeds when there will be plenty of time until more powerful units arrive.
The English longbow developed during the 12th century, as the English were fighting to conquer Wales. The longbow was made from yew or elm, and was five to seven feet in height (depending upon the height and strength of the user). The longbow was extremely difficult to master, but well-trained English longbowmen could shoot farther, faster and more accurately than the crossbowmen of the day. But this did require years of training. As the country's population grew the English wilderness was transformed into farmland. Opportunities for hunting disappeared and the English yeomen became less proficient with bow and arrow. This, more so even than the advent of gunpowder, led to the decline of the English longbow.