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Old September 7th, 2010, 11:56 AM

Eximius Sus Eximius Sus is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

Originally Posted by rdonj View Post
Although the topic had faded into obscurity for quite some time, until one forum troll revived it to embarrass poor lingchih. Sigh.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

The modern use of the word "arbalest" tends to denote a steel crossbow, and is useful as such. The medieval word was indeed interchangeable.

Squirreloid: Since you find fault with my references, what exact are yours? How can a crossbow be considered a "museum piece" when they're still being manufactured today? And if armour was being thickened only to protect against bullets, why were crossbows disavowed due to their ability to kill armoured knights, in the first place?

Here are a list of non-Wikipedia references:

Crossbows were banned by the church in 1139AD. http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castle36.htm
Does anyone wish to argue that the influence of the Church was unimportant and easily disregarded, in medieval Europe?

The arquebus (a very primitive handgun) was first used in Europe circa AD1450+ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/arquebus http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...5834/harquebus
and it was compared directly to the crossbow.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...44231/crossbow "The crossbow was the leading missle weapon of the middle ages". That's a direct quote from the online Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Cannons were used in warfare before that point, ofcourse, but it's ridiculous to imagine an army made up of only cannons, even modern cannon in modern times (armies aren't even made up entirely of mobile armor tanks).

Pike and shot tactics were employed as early as 1503, and it was a combination of arms that granted it's success (pike, cannon, and firearms--which include the English longbow)
This success continued through the 30 Years War, past the mid 1800s, and it was even suggested as late as the American Civil War, that Confederate regiments include 2 companies of pike, a plan supported by Rober E. Lee.

However, the Swiss were already using similar tactics, as early as 1315, utilizing the crossbow. "If the worst occurred and an isolated column was caught in the open, the troops could always form a square or hedgehog, facing outward in all directions while keeping up a steady fire from their crossbows and relying on their pikes to keep the opposing horse at a respectful distance until help arrived."

Plate armour, as used by the classical knight, was still being perfected (not thickened) in the 16th century (Maximillian-style gothic plate).

"German full plate armor in the sixteenth century represented the height of personal body armor in all of human history. This armor was called Maximilian armor and it was nearly impenetrable by all hand-powered weapons at the time. Even arrows and crossbow bolts were known to bounce off of such armor harmlessly. Furthermore, Maximilian armor distributed weight evenly throughout the body allowing freedom of movement and jogging."

Clearly, gunpowder didn't immediately render plate obsolete upon it's arrival.

"Battles such as the massacre at Wisby or the battle of Poitiers pointed out the vulnerabilities of many types of armor to arrows and crossbow bolts."

The battle of Crecy, where thousands of crossbows were used by the winning side, occurred in 1346.

The battle of Agincourt (very famously won by longbow-using English) occurred circa 1415, and included crossbows on both sides. These were the more primitive, less effective, wood and horn bows, but the Genoise using them were still the most orderly of the French forces, until devastated by longbow fire.

The last major battle of the 100 years war was at Castillon (1453), where thousands of crossbows were used alongside gunpowder weapons, including cannon.

Gunpowder had been manufactured in the Tower of London, in the early 1300's.


All of which would indicate that crossbows were quite common on the battlefield, for well over 100 years after gunpowder was common in Britain, Europe, and the Middle East. Certainly not by the 14th century (1300's).

And the Longbow may not have been used much in France, but the Germans and Scandinavians had no such restriction. http://www.teamultimedia.com/HRMH/Hi...20Longbow.html The Swiss legend of William Tell (an expert crossbowman) should be enough to indicate the popularity of the crossbow in that region.

I couldn't find any direct references, but I've read and heard of a lot of theories and suggestions that heavy crossbows were employed in teams, with one team member firing, while the other reloaded the bow, and perhaps maintained a large pavaise. This makes a certain amount of sense, particularly in a seige, and would easily account for the 2 shots per minute, and more easily account for the use of a very powerful "seige" type hand crossbow.

Crossbows were even employed in WW2, by Austalian commandoes, and by U.S. special forces in Vietnam.

So clearly, there's no issue of them having become mere "museum pieces", even in modern times.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 05:51 PM

Eximius Sus Eximius Sus is offline
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Default Re: Crossbows vs. Longbows

A seige arbalest could be fired accurately, by a single soldier with modest training, at up to 900 meters, every 30 seconds, and deliver 5000 pounds of force
I can't find anything in your above list of reference to back up this claim from your earlier post.

And of course, 5000 lbs draw weight does not deliver 5000 lbs of force at the target. It imparts a certain kinetic energy to the bolt depending on draw distance (work = force x distance). The weight and resulting muzzle velocity of the bolt is a more useful comparison.
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