From Craig Greeson;
I did not mean to imply in my original post that learning how to use the
longbow (or any other weapon) effectively was not extremely difficult.
What I was saying was that I assume men who sign up for a
mercenary company
already have some skill with the appopriate weapons that unit uses. Thus,
when I said archers and infantry took less training than pikes
and cavalry,
I meant they took less training to operate effectively as a unit. I'm no
military expert, but my limited understanding is that pike and cavalry
units have to be pretty precise on the battlefield. I would guess archers
who are individually skilled with the bow could be formed into an
unit easier than pikes of cavalry. Is this an incorrect assumption?
I don't have the historical military knowledge to go on, but perhaps my SCA
experience will help. If you don't know of the SCA they (amongst other
things), perform large scale combats units both experienced units and
individuals attempting to work as a group.
The tendency I have found is that the less variation of movements required to
be learnt by the individual, the less time required to train to act as an
effective unit, assuming that the individual is proficient in his field
individually. Specialist unit training (for example shield walls and formation
charges) add to the training time. From my 8 1/2 years as observer and
combatant, in order from least training time to longest it runs, the list would
be; archers, scouts, pikes, infantry, specialist infantry unit (elite
Hope this is of help,

Dubhghaill (Doyle)
Victoria, Australia, 613 9563 5085
"I love large shields, I want all my opponents to have them" - Graewolfe