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The true History of the middle Finger

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by wivanr, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. wivanr

    wivanr Member

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    THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE FINGER...


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Our Continuing Education course today is History 101: The History of the
    Middle Finger.

    Well, now......here's something I never knew before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the hope that they, too, will feel edified.

    Isn't history more fun when you know something about it?


    Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victoryover the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers.

    Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future.

    This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").

    Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew!

    Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative 'F',

    and thus the words often used in conjunction with the 'one-finger-salute!


    It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird."


    IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE TO THE FRENCH TODAY!

    And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing.
     
  2. slayer

    slayer Well-Known Member

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    it's been a long long winter
     
  3. Dickgshot

    Dickgshot Well-Known Member

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    While we probably should have a special category for long winded attempts at humor that aren't funny, this section is for shooting related posts.
     
  4. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Cute little story. No actual evidence that there's any historical truth to it.
     
  5. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    The French cut off of both the middle and index fingers. For what it's worth, "mooning" the opposing side was often part of the preliminaries of middle ages battles.

    At Agincourt, a starving force of 1000 English knights and 6,000 longbow archers defeated a force of over 20,000 French knights and crossbow men. The French force blocked the road to Calais and the English were obliged to attack or surrender. The English advanced into a narrow valley with woods on each side. This negated the ability of French knights to attack the English flanks on horseback.

    The English halted when they were in extreme longbow range (about 300 yards) and began to shower the French mounted knights with showers of steel bodkin tipped arrows. A bodkin is a needle shaped arrow head. The arrows slaughtered the French horses. The French were enraged and charged into the valley. The floor of the valley had been recently plowed for winter wheat and it rained the night before the battle. The French found themselves weighted down with plate armor and were ankle deep in soft mud.

    The French advanced into an arrow storm and were slaughtered. The English knights, squires and archers who were now short on arrows advanced on the tightly packed dismounted knights with swords, lead mallets, long thin knives and battle axes. In less than 4 hours the cream of French nobility was either dead or captured.

    The English king, Henry V, personally fought in the battle and many of the bodyguards around him were wounded. He won an impossible victory against a vastly superior enemy on ground of the enemy's choosing. French losses are believed to be in excess of 5,000 dead and many thousands captured. During the battle, Henry gave orders that no prisoners were to be taken as he did not have personnel to guard them. After the battle was over, prisoners were taken.

    This was one of the latter battles of the 100 Years War. Agincourt, Pointers and Crecy were three major battles in which English longbow archers were the deciding factor.

    English archers trained from childhood and the draw weight of their 6' long bows ranged from 100 to 150 pounds. As they pulled their 40" arrows back to their ears, they did not aim their arrow in the traditional sense as a crossbow was aimed. Instead like a trap shooter, they had their eyes on the target when they "loosed" their arrows. A skilled archer could "loose" several arrows before the impact of the first arrow. During the battle, each archer was provided with several hundred arrows each. Their fingers were raw after the battle.

    At 100 meters, an English steel bodkin tipped arrow could slice through chain mail, plate armor and penetrate 2"-3" of oak. The arrows were shot high into the air and they gained energy on the downward path of the arrow.

    Against dismounted un-armored enemy, the English used a sharpened steel "flesh arrow" not unlike a modern broadhead.

    Not until the advent of the Baker Rifle in 1790 or so, did the English possess a weapon with the accuracy and penetration power of the English longbow.

    Ed Ward
     
  6. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    Where is the opening post? Why was it removed?
     
  7. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    "... a starving force of 1000 English knights and 6,000 longbow archers defeated a force of over 20,000 French knights..."

    Ed:

    If the Brits had squared off with an opposing military force, I could understand how the ending might be a surprise. They didn't. The other side was a bunch of brie eating Frogs.

    I'm thinking three elderly nuns and a pee wee league football team could have whipped them.

    sissy : )
     
  8. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Sissy:


    The French were a formidable force but they lacked unity of command. It was a classic battle with too many chiefs and no one was willing to be subordinate to another. The nobility of France was so sure of an easy victory that they clamored to be in the front rank. French pride ensured defeat.

    The English on the other hand had a well defined chain of command with excellent leadership, weapons and tactics. They were also sick and starving and wanted to capture the French supply train.

    The battle itself lasted less than four hours. The French blocked the English path to Calais and the English had not eaten for 2 days. From early dawn, the French formed a blocking position and waited for the English to surrender. By mid afternoon, Henry gave the order for his archers to advance and shower the French front ranks with arrows. The French then charged into a narrow valley and were slaughtered.


    Among the French slain were 5 dukes, 8 counts, 1 archbishop, 1 admiral, 1 viscount, several marshals and thousands of mounted knights. Many more French nobles and knights were captured and held for ransom including a future king of France.


    The aftermath of the battle is described by Juliet Barker, a prize winning English historian and author, in her book, AGINCOURT, as “masses, mounds and heaps” of dead Frenchmen. The English lost 2 dukes, an earl, 20 knights and about 100 archers. The victory was so one sided that God’s intervention was often given by both sides as the primary reason for the English success.


    A key factor in the French defeat was that knights in armor, who typically rode large, well trained armored war horses, looked down on archers. Knights were noble born and archers were typically bastard born country folk who were uneducated and lacked manners.


    Agincourt is considered by many historians as the day chivalry died. Under the rules of chivalry, if a knight dropped his lance or sword, the battle paused while the knight’s squire picked it up and handed it to him. At Agincourt, when a French knight was unhorsed, the British pounded on him with lead headed mallets and stuck long, thin knives into eye slits, under his arms, in his groin area and anywhere they could find an opening in the knight’s armor.


    Henry V went on to Paris and became King of France for a while until he died of dysentery (the bloody flux) a few years later. William Shakespeare’s play, Henry V, is based on the battle of Agincourt


    Ed Ward
     
  9. quartering

    quartering Active Member

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    the year was 1415. france dominated the known world. the battle was significant. good luck with it
     
  10. rocko

    rocko Member

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    I barley remember this history lesson, thanks for the reminder.
     
  11. Model Number 12

    Model Number 12 TS Member

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    school teacher, good posting.

    By the way, what happened to the original post?
     
  12. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Model Number 12:

    I guess that the original post was removed by the author. It was a joke type posting that claimed, in error, that the "bird" was derived from a salute given by English archers that told the enemy that they still had their middle finger.

    I responded that the basis of the joke was in error.

    In truth, opposing forces from Stone Age battles to modern times have resorted to various displays of arrogance to intimidate the other side.

    I remember reading accounts of how Polish pilots cursed the Germans in both Polish and German while in battle. For what it is worth, the Polish 303 squadron scored more kills in the Battle of Brittan than any other squadron. These pilots had trained together for years in low performance aircraft and suffered many casualties in the German attack on Poland in 1939. A year later, flying Hurricanes and later Spitfires, they tore into the German formations with the "eye of the tiger."

    Another account I remember is of a Russian pilot who accounted for over hundreds of kills of German tanks. He flew the Ilyushin IL-2“Shturmovik”, also known as the flying tank. The Shturmovik was equipped with twin 23 mm cannons plus machine guns. Some later models had 40 mm cannons. The Shturmovik’s operated in a circular formation at low level that the Germans called the “circle of death”. One plane after another would attack a tank until it was knocked out and then they would move on to the next tank. From the moment his wheels were up, he taunted the Germans in their language and on their radio frequency about the virtue of their mothers and wives, other unprintable insults and what he intended to do to them in battle.

    Some trapshooters engage in similar tactics when they tell a leading shooter that “his timing is great” or that “they have never seen him shoot so fast.” I know of one prominent trap shooter who “accidently” shot the trap house in the middle of a shoot off for the Kentucky State singles championship a number of years back. The trick did not work as she was defeated by my friend.

    Ed Ward
     
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