New Britain’s Winter 2017 Catalog – Available Spring 2017!


When the hero dies in the Old English epic poem Beowulf, we hear; “…Now flames, the blazing fire, must devour the lord of warriors who often endured the iron-tipped arrow shower, when the dark cloud loosed by bow strings broke above the shield wall, quivering; when the eager shaft, with its feather garb, discharged its duty to the barb.”

We know that the Vikings made use of the bow quite extensively both on land and at sea. As to how much the Saxons used archery we cannot be so sure. Certainly they knew of, and used, bows both as weapons of war and for hunting as the longbow was in continuous use in northern Europe ever since the late stone age.

The oldest longbow yet found in England is a yew bow from Somerset and is dated 2,665 BC, and ones even older have been found on the continent. Although fir and elm were known to have been used for bows, the best were made from Scandinavian yew.

Some of these bows were self nocked, others had nocks of horn or iron, some of them sharp enough to use as weapons at close quarters. Typically they were from 66″ to 78″ in length. Many of these bows were bound every few inches with linen or sinew tread; it is not certain whether this was purely decorative or was to help stop the wood from splitting.

A fair number of arrow shafts and hundreds of heads have survived. The shafts are made of hazel, pine or ash. Of the many arrowheads found the majority have been broadheads, with or without bards and were generally tanged, with sockets becoming more common through the ninth to eleventh centuries.

Traces of goose feather fletchings have been found and swan and eagle are also known to be good feathers for fletching. On how the archer was used is really unknown, But it is possible that archers in the period did what later English archers are known to have done; shoot in volleys at long range where the scale of the attack can make up for the lack of accuracy and then pick individual targets at closer range where the accuracy is better.

Wrath of the Norseman

Museum Collection

Museum Collection



Sudan War

The Egyptian army, led by Ahmed Urabi, rebelled in 1882, discontented with Egypt and its close ties to British and French financiers.

The United Kingdom reacted to protect its financial interests in the country, in particular the Suez Canal, and sent a force of 24,000 British and 7,000 Indian troops to quell the revolt.

The main Egyptian force dug in at Tel-el-Kebir, north of Cairo. The defenses were hastily prepared, but included trenches and redoubts and studded with 60 pieces of artillery.

Rather than making an out flanking movement around Urabi’s entrenchments, the British staged a night attack, relying on the element of surprise to secure
the field.

W.Britain captures the savage, close-quarter fighting of this desperate engagement with an offering of 18 dramatic, new figures.

Battle of Tamai March 13, 1884

WWI – British

While not the most effective, gas was certainly the cruelest weapon of World War One. A machine gun could saw you in half, an artillery shell, vaporize you in an instant, but gas…

Depending on which agent was deployed, gas would leave a soldier weeping and wheezing; blind and helpless; make his skin to blister and burn; cause a build-up of fluid in his lungs, ultimately drowning him.

Gas was heavier than air and would fill the trenches, dugouts and shell holes where it had been known to lurk for two or three days. It would permeate to a soldier’s clothing and cling to his equipment. Many of those who suffered exposure were unable to return to the front. Those who did recover were at higher risk of developing cancers later in life.

While gas accounted for less than 1% of the total deaths in WWI, by the end of the conflict, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front
contained gas.

Battle of the Somme

Zulu War

Rorke’s Drift – Matte Version

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