Two Rivers Bow
The Two Rivers bow is the largest bow which appears in the Wheel of Time world, is called the “great bow” (LoC, Ch. 49) and is said to be able to kill a man at over 300 paces. This is similar to the English Longbow, which was famous for its long range and high power in medieval warfare. Bows of this type can be used in a direct fire mode (fired flat towards a target that is nearby), in this situation the arrow is very fast and accurate and will penetrate an armored target easily. In battle, they are used at longer ranges in the same way artillery is used, fired upward and then arcing over and hitting a target from a high angle. This is how the extreme range is achieved, and it can be used to attack an formation in depth, with some bowmen attacking the front ranks and others hitting men to the middle and rear of a formation. In the Two Rivers area these bows are used for hunting primarily, and as a primary personal defense weapon for the bowman when in the field against single or a small number of attackers. Their great power makes them appropriate for the use by massed archers though as well.
The wood for the bow itself is ideally Black Yew, a braided wood considered ideal for bow making (KoD, Ch. 6)
The bow’s stave was very large, when unstrung, taller than the man who uses it (TGH, Ch. 2).
Bowstrings were coated with beeswax (to make them water resistant).(TDR, Ch. 44) and used double broadhead points.
Timeline and References
Perrin Aybara was the 2nd best bowman in Emmonds Field among the younger men (TDR, Ch. 44).
Rand’s father Tam won the archery competition in Emmonds Field every year (EoTW, Ch. 1).
In the Siege of the Two Rivers (TSR, Ch. 56) the first arrow shots were at 400 paces during the Trolloc charge and is described as a “goose-fletched hail”. The majority of the attacking trollocs there were probably killed by arrows.
Perrin uses a Two Rivers Longbow to kill a Darkhound with two shots when fighting a pack Darkhounds with Moiraine Sedai in (TDR, Ch. 44). (Moiraine kills the other 9 in the pack with Balefire in this encounter).
Tam al’ Thor, Rand’s father led the group of one hundred Two River’s bowmen who came to Rand & Perrin’s aid at the battle of Dumai’s Wells (LoC, Ch. 54,55).
In (KoD, Ch. 29), a Two Rivers bowmen led by Tam al’Thor attacks the Shaido at Malden, killing many in the assault to free Faile and others who had been previously captured by the Shaido remnants.
By late in the series, the crossbow is starting to replace the Two Rivers Bow as the dominant projectile weapon. In (KoD, Ch. 37), Mat uses crossbowmen with cranked crossbows to deliver similar power to massed bowmen in defeating Seanchan forces attempting to capture Tuon.