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  #1  
Old January 18th, 2009, 12:30 AM
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Lingchih Lingchih is offline
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Default Crossbows vs. Longbows

So, something that has always bothered me. Crossbows are armor piercing, while Longbows are not.

Don't get me wrong. I have never been in a crossbow or a longbow fight, but the Battle of Crecy was won by longbowmen zinging the French Knights to death, right?

Crossbowmen were generally poorly trained troops who could crank a handle, and shoot quickly without much training. Longbowmen were highly trained veterans, who could shoot with amazing force. I believe the longbow hit with much more force than the the crossbow.

So, why are Longbows not armor piercing?
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Old January 18th, 2009, 12:59 AM

analytic_kernel analytic_kernel is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

I've wondered that as well.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that a properly trained Welsh or English longbowman could achieve a greater rate of fire than a continental crossbowman or arbalestier(?). I'm not sure if that was comparing against cranequin(?)-style crossbows or ones that used a lever (goat's foot?) to tension.

One difference is that you can aim a crossbow. My understanding is that longbowmen involved their entire bodies in drawing their bows, and so it was difficult to aim. So, they had to make up the difference with greater range and rate of fire.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 01:25 AM

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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

i've actually done some light research on this topic as i prepare to add these items, alongside firearms, into the Fourth Age project.

Longbows:
less force
higher rate of fire
years of training required

crossbow:
more force
lower rate of fire
weeks of training required

firearms:
terrible aim
dangerous
cheap
little to no training required. the weapons had such poor accuracy there was actually no point in training marksmenship. all soldiers needed to know how to do was to prepare the weapon to fire and to move in the correct formations.

i've read that firearms were actually cheaper than crossbows, which is the another reason they were used, other wise they were worse in every capacity (except for low train time).

the ammunition required for the weapons was another reason firearms were used.

longbows:
fletching requires skill and is expensive. it may take weeks to produce a bundle of war worthy arrows.

crossbows:
bolts require less skill and less money

firearms:
shot required little skill and could be made quickly for very little money. soldiers could actually produce their own shot in the field if necessary.

lastly, their were environmental factors.

longbows:
wind could easily cause stray arrows

crossbow:
with more force, wind was less of a factor

firearms:
wind had relatively little effect on firearm shot. additionally, the accuracy of the weapon itself was so poor a little straying didn't matter at all. additionally, all the smoke would foul cavalry charges a little. however, in the rain the weapons were little more than clubs.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

A couple of points on crossbows as well. Much like modern guns, crossbows didn't require the extensive training that longbows did to fire. You could give anyone a crossbow, and show them how to load it. Beyond the ability to turn a crank, or stretch the initial string, the force of the weapon was completely independent of the wielder's own strength. Obviously they still have to aim the thing, but the mechanics beyond that are very simple.

It was also my understanding that the mud in the field made it very, very difficult for the knights on foot to do any fighting. Since the bottom of their feet were basically broad plates of metal, they would squish down into the mud, and then when the knights when to lift their feet out of it, there would be a huge amount of suction keeping them in place. The longbow men had much different foot wear (I can't remember exactly what) that was /much/ better suited for fighting in the muddy field that they were fighting on.

Jazzepi
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Old January 18th, 2009, 03:55 AM
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Horst F. JENS Horst F. JENS is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

Another factor favouring firearms over bows/crossbows was the quantity of ammunition a solider could carry.

Transporting 50 arrows takes a lot more space than transporting 50 bullets and gunpoder.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 07:56 AM

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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

I agree with the OP.
Imo longbows should be armor piercing but much more expensive than crossbowmen.

Another thing that I find funny about missile troops is that slingers are mostly represented as inferior to archers.
Slings are superior to most bows.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sling_(...epresentations
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Old January 18th, 2009, 09:57 AM

Aezeal Aezeal is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

I'm not convinced about the slingers really. That wiki has obviously been made by someone fond about sling (as will the wiki's of all weapons probably) but to me.. I look at it practically.

In midevil times shepards had slings in wide use, IF they where so much better overall (better range etc) then they would never have started using the more expensive arrows.

I think the main point of it is that sling bullets aren't AP..

In dominions it's sad there is only regular, AP (50%) and AN (100%) ... a % of AP (0-100) would probably be better as a value for weapons.

Blunt weapons (maces and slings etc) would then have like 5-10% AP,
swords 10-20% AP
piercing arrows 50%
crossbows 65 %

and magic weapons sometimes 100%.

(Omni if you are still in here, plz think about this as an extra stat too weaponry for your game in addtion to dmg/att/def
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Old January 18th, 2009, 10:00 AM

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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminated One View Post
Another thing that I find funny about missile troops is that slingers are mostly represented as inferior to archers.
Slings are superior to most bows.
Some slingers do have shields (i.e Marverni ones), which give them edge over archers.

Besides, I beileve slingers are much cheaper and thus useful in skirmish against bowmen. They are very effective in beating independent missile cavalries if deployed carefully.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

Slings are better than early, poor-quality bows used in Biblical times and during the early Roman empire. I'm not sure when bows evolved to the point where arrows had longer range than sling bullets, but Mongol recurve bows and English longbows both had better range. Those would be Longbows and Composite Bows in dominions terms.

Aezeal's guess about sling bullets not being armor-piercing also comes pretty close. The blunt trauma sling can deal is amazing, and armor doesn't help that much unless it is padded well. I think medieval armor had more protective layers of cloth and/or leather than e.g. Greek hoplites used.

I used to practice slinging and read about them quite a bit. Funny story: when I was doing my military service, we had to do a 60 km march across the woods doing all kinds of stupid stuff along the way. The first task we had to do was two-fold: to replace a person's backbag with one we made from natural materials and stuff we had with us; and to make a sling. I had my sling with me, of course, and got to shine for a moment. Unfortunately, I lost the sling later during the march, I guess it fell into a swamp when we were taking a "shortcut".
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Old January 18th, 2009, 12:40 PM

Illuminated One Illuminated One is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enderopez
Slings are better than early, poor-quality bows used in Biblical times and during the early Roman empire. I'm not sure when bows evolved to the point where arrows had longer range than sling bullets, but Mongol recurve bows and English longbows both had better range. Those would be Longbows and Composite Bows in dominions terms.
Quote:
Aezeal's guess about sling bullets not being armor-piercing also comes pretty close. The blunt trauma sling can deal is amazing, and armor doesn't help that much unless it is padded well. I think medieval armor had more protective layers of cloth and/or leather than e.g. Greek hoplites used.
Didn't hoplites wear armor mostly made from linen? Although that point may be true.
Which would still leave short bows (which are the majority of bows in dominions IIRC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azeal
In midevil times shepards had slings in wide use, IF they where so much better overall (better range etc) then they would never have started using the more expensive arrows.
Hmm, that depends what you mean by overall.
Longbows and crossbow were better than early firearms and were still replaced by them.
The sling might be more effective and less expensive to make than a shortbow, but it requires far more training to use effectively. Well, anyone can shoot a shortbow but with a sling you always risk shooting yourself in the head.
Also bows/crossbows should be superior when fighting in tight formations or medieval castles.
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