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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jul, 2012 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So if we area already at an upper limit of 147 J with an 850 lb draw prod, it will be interesting to see where we are with a 1200 lb crossbow.

J

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jul, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote
Quote:
So if we area already at an upper limit of 147 J with an 850 lb draw prod, it will be interesting to see where we are with a 1200 lb crossbow.


I am sure that some time in the next 2 years I can let you know......................

I wish I had more time/energy/speed/direction.................

Randall it would be great to see you again and also useful to have you around. - come back!

Tod

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jul, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, I'm patient, I started this thread two years ago... and I've learned a lot from it, very gradually.

Who knows I might buy one of those myself.

J

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Gareth Prior




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2012 7:50 am    Post subject: Bolt weight         Reply with quote

Hi All,

I recently bought a windlass crossbow approx. draw weight 1000lbs though this has yet to be confirmed but the bolts available to test it were obviously far too light and basically were thrown/ flipped off the end of the front of the bow no more than 12 ft or so. Unfortunately the windlass strings then parted.

Having renewed the windlass and made more appropriate bolts 1 1/3 oz and having read the entirety of this thread I now suspect that even these will be too light to operate properly - and indeed they were tossed of the front of the bow much like the lighter bolts - you can see the bruise on the bolt just forward of the flights where the string has made a second contact with the bolt rather than shooting it straight.

As there are a few makers on this forum, can this be a result just of insufficient bolt weight or is there a mechanical problem with the string leaving the nut?

My next intention was to recreate the bolts that PG found to be optimum but even these may be too light. Comments please Happy

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The bolt weight will not cause this. the string is slipping over the bolt.

A larger diameter may help. Otherwise talk to the maker.d
Good luck

tod

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Gareth Prior




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

from observation it would appear to be going under the bolt - i will try and film it next w/e to see for sure
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gareth,

That sounds curious.

Out of interest, could you let me know the bow dimensions at the centre and near the tips and the length of the bow?

A picture would be great also.

Thanks

Tod

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Gareth Prior




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep, 2012 12:10 am    Post subject: Dimensions         Reply with quote

Length 35" width 1 1/2" depth at nut 3 1/4" string 30" braced at 6"

Pics attached sorry the quality isn't brill taken using phone



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Alexander Hinman




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Sep, 2012 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One primary source that no-one has yet mentioned but deals very heavily with crossbows is Gutierre Diaz de Gamez's El Vitorial. Written between 1431 and 1449, this piece chronicles the deeds of Don Pero Niņo, a Castilian knight active from the late 14th century, and was written by his standard bearer. Thus, although a clearly biased work, it provides excellent detail and a strong military perspective from a participant in war. What makes it interesting for the topic at-hand is that Pero Niņo was an avid user of the crossbow, and in his fights against the English as a corsair was often on the receiving end of longbow arrows.

On the crossbow, itself, Diaz does not tell us the composition of the prods, nor the size of the weapons as such. He does, however, include one important detail: He only ever mentions crossbows being drawn 'from the belt'. Indeed, he seems to consider this method of draw a superior one, for he writes that when the King of Castile assembled men for one of Pero Niņo's expeditions he made sure 'that the best crossbowmen should be sought for, men well knowing the handling of their arms, good marksmen and trained to bend the arbalest from the girdle'. Likewise he describes Pero Niņo bending one of his strongest crossbows, called La Niņa, from the belt.

While much of the time Don Pero fought against lightly-armed drovers and local troops in North Africa, he also spent some time fighting the more heavily armed English. In these fights we have little evidence to show how the English were wounded, but we do have a few good examples of fights. In one of these, at Portland in 1405, he is described as making 'some fair shots with the crossbow, wherewith he overthrew and wounded many of the English.' Though we know the English brought both men-at-arms and archers to the fight, we do not know which was wounded how.

More interestingly, we have another combat from this same expedition outside of Poole. There the English brought up 'a fair array of men at arms and bowmen', and brought doors which they propped on the ground in front of their lines. According to Gutierre, 'They did this for fear of the arbalests, which used to kill many of them.' The longbow, meanwhile, seems to have been less efficacious. Though he notes that the men were so close he could tell 'the light from the dark' and 'the arrows came in so thick the crossbowmen did not dare to bend their bows', nevertheless he makes no mention of serious losses on the Castilian side, only mentioning arrows sticking out of leather jerkins and surcoats. Indeed, speaking of his personal experience he writes 'The standard and he who bore it were likewise riddled with arrows ... but he was well shielded by his good armour, although this was already bent in several places'.

Pero Niņo himself was wounded by arrows or bolts on a few occasions. In one of these instances an arrow 'knit together his gorget and his neck'. It should be said that Diaz de Gamez is at times loose with his terminology, and as the opponents in this fight were Spanish and were only expicitly mentioned shooting crossbows at him one could certainly argue that the 'arrow' was in fact a crossbow bolt. In all other instances he was pierced in relatively armoured places, most notably when he was 'pierced through the nostrils' by a bolt.

Regardless of the strength of crossbows at this time they certainly seem to be effective to some degree, and not notably outmatched by longbows.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's precisely the thing I've mentioned a couple of times about the variable quality of English archers. Since the ones picked in indentures and/or royal recruitments for expeditions to France were usually the cream of the crop, the quality of the archers left to man the militia arrays at home seem to have suffered somewhat by comparison. The Wars of the Roses also showed that the quality of the archers available at home for a civil war could vary quite dramatically.

Not that different from Continental crossbowmen, in fact . . . .
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Gareth Prior




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject: Goats foot lever         Reply with quote

Hi all,

the timed min using approx 100lb crossbow with goats foot lever in wet and windy conditions variably 3 to 4 shots with the odd fumble.

How cavalry used it on horse back beats me - unless like later pistoleers they rode up discharged rode away and then reloaded out of range of the enemy...

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gareth, you need practice!

with a 100lb and a goats foot you should get 7 or 8 off, but of course a 100lb bow is not representative of a military bow.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject: Re: Goats foot lever         Reply with quote

Gareth Prior wrote:
How cavalry used it on horse back beats me - unless like later pistoleers they rode up discharged rode away and then reloaded out of range of the enemy...


Late 15th-century evidence shows that they shot once and then charged without reloading, presumably drawing their swords or maces or whatever to do the job. In earlier times (and, I believe, even this late) there was also the option to pick a good position, dismount, and shoot on foot.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Late 15th-century evidence shows that they shot once and then charged without reloading, presumably drawing their swords or maces or whatever to do the job.


Any evidence of ride up close, loose arrows, retire, and do it all over again?

Perhaps the lack of wieldiness upon horseback of these archers prevented these type of tactics, unlike the Eastern Horse archers who seemed far more versatile as far as tactics?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sir John Smythe recommend mounted crossbowers (alongside mounted archers) and wanted them to shoot repeatedly from the saddle. He was specifically inspired by the example of Middle Eastern horse archers. As far as I know, his suggestions were strictly theoretical and never put into practice, though Scottish border horsemen apparently sometimes used crossbows.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Oct, 2012 1:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Any evidence of ride up close, loose arrows, retire, and do it all over again?


Somebody somewhere probably did -- and found that it wasn't such a good idea with crossbows, hence the shoot-and-charge approach. Crossbow-armed cavalry in China (principally during the Han dynasty) were also armed with long halberds, which probably meant that they were meant to engage up close rather than just circling and shooting from a distance.


Quote:
Perhaps the lack of wieldiness upon horseback of these archers prevented these type of tactics, unlike the Eastern Horse archers who seemed far more versatile as far as tactics?


I wouldn't put the comparison quite like that. Late medieval European mounted crossbowmen were a versatile troop type in their own right, being able to shoot mounted or dismounted and even charge home (thanks to their relatively heavy armour). Horse archers, on the other hand, varied widely from tribal semi-amateurs (whose tactical proficiency must have varied greatly from tribe to tribe, perhaps even from person to person) to heavily-armoured and extremely well-trained elites. It's simply not fair to compare a single troop type (or at most a few) against many.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 01 Oct, 2012 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Horse archers, on the other hand, varied widely from tribal semi-amateurs (whose tactical proficiency must have varied greatly from tribe to tribe, perhaps even from person to person) to heavily-armoured and extremely well-trained elites. It's simply not fair to compare a single troop type (or at most a few) against many.


Good point. The Pechenegs seemed to do badly against the Byzantines, while the Turks seemed to fare a lot better. There was one Pecheneg battle where what was thought to have been an attempt at feigned flight routed the whole of the Pecheneg army. I would think as a whole the Pechengs were tactically inferior.

Though I think in general, the Crossbowmen probably did not have the Horsemanship of their Horse Archer counterparts, certainly not for example the Turkish horse archers in the Crusades or the Mongols.

From what I know, Horse archers were horsemen first and foremost, while Crossbow armed horse as a whole were not "bred to the saddle".

There are exceptions though on both ends I'm sure, the Stradiots who used crossbows seemed to be pretty adept horsemen.

I think a good part of it is the western mentality on cavalry. While in the more agrarian western economy horses were a luxury and only the well off or well sponsored rode, but in the nomadic steppe traditon which emphasized husbandry riding a horse was part of your job.
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Gareth Prior




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Oct, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tod, I was timing not shooting - the man shooting was Richard at KOH with his own bow - I wouldn't think the poundage would make much difference to the rate of fire here the awkwardness of the fitting and unfitting of the lever is the problem...maybe with a belt hook up to 8 shots maybe attained - maybe next season...
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Sir John Smythe recommend mounted crossbowers (alongside mounted archers) and wanted them to shoot repeatedly from the saddle. He was specifically inspired by the example of Middle Eastern horse archers. As far as I know, his suggestions were strictly theoretical and never put into practice, though Scottish border horsemen apparently sometimes used crossbows.


Mounted crossbowmen (who were shooting from the saddle) were widely in use in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia from the 14th Century through the 16th.

I was recently lucky enough to get a sort of back-door tour in the Higgins Armoury in Boston, where I saw this recent acquisition, a late 15th Century crossbow and cranequin.



The bow was pretty large and I was struck by how thick the prod was, it was almost as thick as my forearm and I am a pretty big guy. I'd say around 10 cm in diameter? I'd seen crossbows a lot like this in photos and always thought they were much smaller.

They were not sure if it was a composite prod or solid wood, it looked kind of like the latter maybe with another substance over / on top of the wood but it was hard to tell for sure.

I wonder if anyone has any idea how powerful a bow like that might have been?

J

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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2012 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know, composite prods of higher draws could be really thick - which is not surprising, if 100 pounds composite of much greater lenght was around 2 cm thick mid arm, then 1000 pounds short prod must be much thicker - layer of horn alone could be ~ 1/2 inch thick.


Wood composite drawn with cranequin would probably have to be even thicker, so I would suspect horn+sinew being present, but that's obviously impossible to tell from the picture. Big Grin
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