The longbowmen were not the most battle worthy men, as they were usually trained to shoot an arrow long distances, and not to fight with close range weapons. The longbow was used in an almost machine gun like fashion. The archer would stick all of his arrows in the ground in order to get to them quickly. He would grab an arrow and quickly shoot at the approaching army, then quickly reload and fire again. He would use his index and ring finger to draw and fire the bow. This was known as “plucking”, as it resembled plucking a stringed instrument.
The French hated the longbow. Whenever a longbowman was captured, the French would cut of their index and ring fingers, so they couldn’t fire their weapons, and hence be useless to the war.
The captured English prisoners returned with nothing left but their middle fingers, and in a short period of time learned to use their middle finger to draw their longbows, and “pluck” once again.
Before one battle, the French, knowing they had their opponent greatly outnumbered (around six to one), had a grand party the night before the battle was to begin. Realizing this, the English attacked early the ...