To draw the bowstring of a powerful crossbow to the nut, a windlass
or a cranequin is necessary. Though the distance which the bow-string has
to be pulled along the top of the stock is only some 5 or 6 in., no manual
strength could draw it half-way.
Fig. 77. - Crossbowmen - Fifteenth Century.
The stooping figure has a windlass crossbow, and is
winding up the bowstring of his weapon.
The erect figure carries a crossbow that is bent by
the metal claw, which may be seen hanging from his belt. See Chapter XV.
for a description of the belt and claw.
A crossbow windlass, small though it be, has immense power, and will
draw the bow-string to the nut smoothly and quickly, and with no perceptible
strain or exertion.
To use the windlass, the sheath of its handle end is fitted over the