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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Genoese Crossbowmen and crossbow tactics Reply to topic
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Clifford Rogers





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
. Based on stored energy, a crossbow bolt should not be outranged by a longbow.
.


That's an oversimplification. Depends on the longbow and on the crossbow. In 1346 these were probably not steel-bowed crossbows. But in the 15th century, quite possibly in comparison to steel-bowed crossbows, English
longbows were noted as shooting as far as Italian arbalests by Dominic Mancini. Also in the fifteenth century, Bertrandon de la Broquière’s
Voyage d’Outremer, mainly with English longbowmen in mind, treated Christian bows as equivalent to crossbows with crannequins in their superiority to Muslim composite bows, in both range and hitting power.

Clifford J. Rogers
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2012 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
That's an oversimplification. Depends on the longbow and on the crossbow.


Oh, I was quite aware that it was an oversimplification.

My point was not that the crossbows at Crecy should be outranging longbows - but that they should be roughly comparable in terms of range.

The Bolts and arrows would be of similar weight, so the difference would be the enrgey transmitted. And even a 350-700 pound crossbow would be similar in range to a longbow, the 350 perhaps a bit inferior, the 700 pounders superior.

And this range of draw weights is what could have been drawn at the time with belt claw and cord and pulley, the belt claw at the lower end range.

If indeed they were outranged, this had something to do with either the elevation advantage of the English or the strings of the crossbowmen acting adversley due to moisture, or perhaps both reasons factored in.

Or it could be an error in Froissart's chronicles.
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Clifford Rogers





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2012 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.
Clifford J. Rogers
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could the longbow have been improved over time by a new shape like a recurve designs?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clifford Rogers wrote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.

Haven't you been arguing that longbows became more powerful as well?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim


Well, there is certainly evidence to the contrary of longbows having the same range as later heavy crossbows.

Payne-Gallwey estimates the range of an ordinary steel bow of the 15th century at 370-380 yards.

Here's some ideas on the range of the Longbow, using Shakepeare as a quote

Quote:
Shallow. Is old Double of your town living yet ?
Silence. Dead, sir.
Silence. Jesu, Jesu, dead ! a' drew a good bow; and dead! a' shot a fine shoot; John A Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on his head. Dead! a' would have clapped i' the clout at twelve score, and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half, that it would have done a man's heart good to see.


Quote:
From this passage we may take it that in Shakespeare's time to hit the clout at twelve score was considered a great feat, while to shoot a 'forehand shaft, fourteen or fourteen and a half score, that is 280 or 290 yards, was excellent flight-shooting. What a 'forehand shaft' is, is not precisely known, but the context seems to suggest that it was a light arrow for distance shooting--in fact, what we should nowadays call a ' flight arrow.' This passage is quoted because it corresponds with singular exactness to the practice of Ford and other modern archers


I've seen other's that estimate the range of a longbow at 180-250 yards.

There is a report of an archer in the 15th century who loosed an arrow 400 yards - but it is also indicated that this is with a flight arrow, not the type that would be used on the battlefield.

The longbow loosed a very heavy arrow - 1000 grains plus - and it was not desigend for great distance, though the heavy arrow would hold it's energy well for penetration.

I heavy draw crossbow should have a higher exit velocity than a long bow. That's simple physics, though the ultra heavy crossbows don't have quite the initial velocity one would expect by the stored energy, due primarily to the law of diminishing returns trying to propel a comparitively light projectile. But it still should significantly have more exit velocity than a longbow.

After than for range purposes it's aerodynamics - and in osme ways, a crossbow bolt should have the advantage here as well. Being a bit thicker, it has less surface area compared to it's weight, and should thereby see less drag.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clifford Rogers wrote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.


Equating, or even closely tying range to general power is not safe assumption though - range generally depends on sheer velocity, and of course the ways of 'preserving' it - proper balance, harmonics, aerodynamics, so the arrows spends it's energy flying far, with minimal drag, vibrations etc.

Longbows and other selbows are naturally not very fast after all, shooting really light arrows with them doesn't have much sense, because they won't fly much faster than some heavier ones anyway.

Quote:
After than for range purposes it's aerodynamics - and in osme ways, a crossbow bolt should have the advantage here as well. Being a bit thicker, it has less surface area compared to it's weight, and should thereby see less drag.


Bolts are much stiffer for the same weight, generally, from obvious reasons. Archer's paradox isn't as pronounced as well, so they generally don't waste as much energy vibrating, bending etc. in air.


I would be interested in some data about bolts behavior while shot at steep angles though - they are balanced completely different for given weight, compared to arrows.

There's a lot of talking in different places about crossbows having less practical maximal range, due to being "unsuitable" for arch shooting. Wonder how much truth there is to this from some time.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
There's a lot of talking in different places about crossbows having less practical maximal range, due to being "unsuitable" for arch shooting. Wonder how much truth there is to this from some time.


Well, no "arch shooting" would cut their range by half or more.

But I've seen nothing but these statements you mention to indicate crossbows cannot be used for arching fire. On the contrary, I've seen statements from those that have used these bows that they work fine for arching fire. I think the statement "crossbows can't be used for arching fire" is a bit of an old wives tale.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:


Well, no "arch shooting" would cut their range by half or more.

But I've seen nothing but these statements you mention to indicate crossbows cannot be used for arching fire. On the contrary, I've seen statements from those that have used these bows that they work fine for arching fire. I think the statement "crossbows can't be used for arching fire" is a bit of an old wives tale.


It's not so much that they 'can't' be used obviously, there's plenty of sources about them being used like that, but that bolts won't fly as far/well that way.

Supposedly that they will have problems with tumbling right way while in air. I can see the point in this, as longer arrows seem to generally fspin more 'gently', but haven't seen any proper experiment and comparison.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand now. You are questioning the aerodynamics of the corssbow bolt vs a longbow arrow when used in arching fire.
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Clifford Rogers





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Clifford Rogers wrote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.

Haven't you been arguing that longbows became more powerful as well?


I think they did become marginally more powerful over that timeframe, though there's not really any strong evidence to support that assertion. But since the circumference of the bow in the 1313 indictment was comparable to a MR longbow, the change from Crecy to Castillon wouldn't be a difference nearly as large as the difference you see in crossbows between the mid c14, when they were mostly not steel-bowed or crannequin-cocked, vs. the c15 when steel bows and mechanical drawing devices became more the norm.

Clifford J. Rogers
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Clifford Rogers





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
Clifford Rogers wrote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.


Equating, or even closely tying range to general power is not safe assumption though - range generally depends on sheer velocity, and of course the ways of 'preserving' it - proper balance, harmonics, aerodynamics, so the arrows spends it's energy flying far, with minimal drag, vibrations etc.


The sources I cited both are talking specifically about range, not general power.

Clifford J. Rogers
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Jan Boucký




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clifford Rogers wrote:
Bartek Strojek wrote:
Clifford Rogers wrote:
But my point is that if longbows had ranges equivalent to Italian arbalests of the 1480s and crannequin crossbows of the 1440s, they probably had better range than crossbows of the 1340s, since crossbows had become more powerful in the interim.


Equating, or even closely tying range to general power is not safe assumption though - range generally depends on sheer velocity, and of course the ways of 'preserving' it - proper balance, harmonics, aerodynamics, so the arrows spends it's energy flying far, with minimal drag, vibrations etc.


The sources I cited both are talking specifically about range, not general power.


Guys, I would like to hear something about effective range...I think it is really fruitless to discuss velocities angels and etc.---- Wink ...
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Clifford Rogers





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Aug, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan Boucký wrote:

Guys, I would like to hear something about effective range...I think it is really fruitless to discuss velocities angels and etc.---- Wink ...


The problem there is defining "effective" range. However, from my Agincourt article:

Not only were these weapons [longbows] astoundingly accurate in the hands of a skilled user–under Henry VIII, a statute set 220 yards as the minimum allowable distance for target-shooting–they were also extremely powerful.
[FN: 220 yards: Francis Grose, Military Antiquities Respecting a History of the English Army (London, 1801), 135. Cf. 380 yards: Gerry Embleton and John Howe, The Medieval Soldier. 15th Century Campaign Life Recreated in Colour Photographs (London, 1994), 66.]


Longbowmen, like men-at-arms, had to be trained from youth, developing “bodies stronger than other people’s,” and “hands and arms of iron.” A 150-pound bow could drive a heavy 60-gram arrow 320 yards, and a light target arrow 350.
[Note: According to the calculations of Pratt, “Arrow,” 203. The same author figures that a 100-lb bow could fire arrows of 24, 40 and 60 grams to a range of 300, 255 and 230 yards, respectively. These last two figures are good matches for the ranges achieved by Mark Stretton with even heavier arrows of 50 and 100 grams: respectively, 250 and 225 yards. http://www.primitivearcher.com/articles/warbow.html; note also Mark Stretton, “Medieval Arrow Heads. Practical Tests, Part 1,” The Glade 107 (2005), 23. Likewise, Simon Stanley can attain a range of 340 yards with a 42 gram arrow from a 145-pound bow. Roy King, “Rambling on the Longbow- The Other Archery,” Instinctive Archer Magazine, Spring 1996, pp. 10-12 and online at http://www.tradgang.com/ia/1996spring/p10.jpg, ~p11.jpg, and ~p12.jpg; with similar results noted in Anna B. Crowley, “Appendix,” in Strickland and Hardy, Great Warbow, 409 (arrow 1), and Hardy, Longbow, 53 (a skilled archer using a 116-lb bow “in the presence of witnesses consistently shot arrows to 350 yards.”) In the sixteenth century, Sir John Smythe stated that many archers could shoot 333 or 400 yards. Certain Discourses Militarie (London, 1590), 14v (margin)]

Also: when the married men of Calais challenged the bachelors of the town to a shooting-match in 1478, the distance between the targets was set at 260 yards. [Strickland and Hardy, 381]

I'll leave it to others to answer for the crossbow.

Clifford J. Rogers
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Aug, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not debate the accuracy of the arrow weights and how far they were launched. However, most everything I have read puts longbow war arrows in the 1000-1500 grain range, or 65 to 97 grams.

I think we also have to look at the flight arrow results as just that - flight arrows are designed for maximum range, and are not the equivalent of what would be used on a battlefield. And by the 16th century, archery was losing ground as a true martial excersize and was becoming more of a sporting one as it is now.

Turkish archers achieved distances of over 800 yards with flight arrows - but I would not extrapolate this to say their battlefield range was 800 yards.

Also, I'd not be to quick to discount the abilities of a Composite Crossbow. While they did not have the draw weight of the later steel bows, from everything I have read they were more efficient. The Limbs of the bow were much lighter, meaning that less of the stored energy was lost propelling the limbs forward. Secondly, they were springier and would have a better velocity compared to a steel bow of the same draw weight. The composite seems to have given the best bang for the buck when transmitting stored energy - much in the same way composite turkish bows are more efficient in the transfer of energy than tradiional english longbows. I would guess steel would be the least efficient of the three, but the most durable.

And there is what I like to refer to as the law of diminishing returns with heavier bows - the lighter the projectile, the lower percentage of stored energy is delivered to the arrow or bolt. A 50 pound draw Turkish bow is more effective with a very heavy 1500 grain arrow than with a more customary 500 grain projectile - and the same holds true for crossbows, which is why IMO they don't deliver the stored energy directly to the projectile that one would think they are capable of. One the other hand, going from 50 meters pers second to 70 meters per second is a huge jump in both range and hitting power, as impact is generally measured in mass time the squared velocity.

I'm not saying a 600 pound Composite crossbow would have the same range and power of a 1200 pound draw steel bow - but it might be a lot closer than one would think.


Last edited by Gary Teuscher on Thu 16 Aug, 2012 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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William P




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Aug, 2012 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

interestingly, the byzantine manual 'the anonymous byzantine treatise on strategy' a 6th century manual, never explicitely states how far archers should be able to shoot, the pieces on training aspects of shooting are accuracy, power (i made a thread on methods of how to help train archers to increase the POWER of their shooting
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight= ) and training for rate of fire, but it gives i think very little mention about training for shooting at targets a long way away which is odd, ill have to go back and look at it again to see if i missed anything....

although i guess more power and more accuracy means you can cast an arrow further because it therefore means more energy is available to cast the arrow further,

is there any mention on HOW the english archers were trained to increase the effectiveness of their shots aka the power of their shots, or the accuracy, aside from simply turning up to the butts once or twice a week and shooting for an hour or two?

one thing is consistent though, is that the idea of encouraging competition amongst archers as a means of improving them my understanding is that the English towns and shires, here and there organized shooting competitions to help encourage archers to get better with the priomise of some sort of prize for winning of course..

then again my understanding is that the Swiss while still very effective appeared to have little to no records regarding HOW they practiced and learned how to fight as the Swiss halberdiers did in the 15th century.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Aug, 2012 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo believes that a crossbow of 450 pounds is the equivalent roughly of a longbow of 100 pounds. I've read other sources that put it in the 300 to 100 ratio.

If this is looked at as a range, we are looking at 300-450 pound crossbow is equal to a 100 pound longbow. But I do believe these estimates are based on performances of steel bows.

I know a composite would be more efficient than a steel bow, but no real idea as by how much, other than perhaps comparing performances of composite to wooden selfbows.

Just with an at the hip thought, lets assume a composite is 10% more efficient than a wooden bow (If the wooden bow has an efficiency of 58%, the composite would be 64%). This actually seems in line with comparisons of wooden to composite selfbows, looking at the turkish bows tested, ,their projectiles and velocity, compared to some tests of longbows (replica, not modern, linen strings, again not modern materials)

Maybe a steel bow is another 10% less efficient than a wooden bow?

This would put a composite crossbow of 700 draw equivalent to a 770 pound wooden bow, or a 847 pound draw steel bow.

This would put a 700 pound composite at roughly the ability of a 190 pound draw longbow, and a lighter 350 pound belt claw composite at roughly the equivalent of a 94 pound longbow.

Or if using the 300 to 100 ratio, a 700 pound composite would be comparable to a 285 pound longbow, the 350 pound draw crossbow the equivalent of a 141 pound longbow.

This is all hypothetical talk of course. Anyone know of any testing of composite vs. wooden vs. steel crossbows?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 17 Aug, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is some testing of Composite crossbows. Can't comment on the quality of the mail, but otherwise seems to have been done very well and things like exit velocities and ranges are probably as accurate as anything that may be found.

Only issue I see is the lighter composite crossbow seems a bit light a draweight, under 300 pounds.

http://www.historiavivens1300.at/biblio/beschuss/beschuss1-e.htm
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Aug, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It uses Indian mail just like all the other mail tests. I've already given a list of why it is not appropriate for weapons tests. The mail weave is also stretched way too tight which further reduces its weapon resistance.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the other hand crossbows probably turned out to be somehow 'lower end' try - to bad they didn't post more detailed velocity stats.

But from those posted, ~ 95 J of energy with pretty heavy bolt would put over 600 pound crossbow, with very decent draw lenght, around maybe 110 pound longbow.

I any case, this test is really fun, if there was much more stuff like that easily accessible, then maybe I could complain.


Just with an at the hip thought, lets assume a composite is 10% more efficient than a wooden bow (If the wooden bow has an efficiency of 58%, the composite would be 64%). This actually seems in line with comparisons of wooden to composite selfbows, looking at the turkish bows tested, ,their projectiles and velocity, compared to some tests of longbows (replica, not modern, linen strings, again not modern materials)

Maybe a steel bow is another 10% less efficient than a wooden bow?

This would put a composite crossbow of 700 draw equivalent to a 770 pound wooden bow, or a 847 pound draw steel bow


Depends on what efficiency we're talking about, from what I've read, wooden bows can get up to 70%. Some Karpowicz bows were apparently getting up to 80-some, but that's all with pretty 'perfect' loose.

That's with heavy arrows, of course.

And then, there's also efficiency of energy storage during drawing, probably even more important.
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