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Trebuchet Catapults - Fully Assembled Working Model Trebuchets , Trebuchet Kits , Trebuchet Plans

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 5   >   Range of the Medieval Crossbow   > p.26

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The Crossbow

least six shafts to every bullet fired by their opponents, and they would also, I believe, shoot with greater accuracy and effect.1

In connection with long-distance shooting with the bow, I append a letter written by one of my ancestors to another, who were both skilled and enthusiastic archers in their day. This letter, and the paper that follows it, describe the extraordinary distances said to have been achieved by the Turks with their bows, when shooting to attain a long range with a miniature flighting arrow.

I must explain, however, (and this goes a long way to account for the distances recorded in the letter and paper quoted,) that the flight arrows of the Turks and Persians were lighter and shorter than an English flight arrow. These Turkish and Persian arrows were only 2 ft. to 2 ft. 2 in. in length, and those which I have seen and owned, were made of bamboo. A small cap of steel or ivory acted as a head, and a little piece of hard wood as the nock, the feathering being formed of two strips of thin paper, varnished to keep it hard and upright. The arrow being so short, its head was drawn several inches inside the belly of the bow; for this reason, the forepart of the arrow was laid on a flat piece of horn about 8 in. long, with a straight groove down its centre. This horn piece was buckled in a level position along the wrist of the bow-arm of the archer, so that the arrow could be discharged without striking his wrist or the inside of the bow. In fact, the archer turned himself into a great crossbow, and in this way he discharged a short light arrow from a very powerful bow, and hence of course attained an immense range with it.

I need scarcely add that an arrow of this description was useless for

1 As an example of what was considered a good shot with the 'Brown Bess' at about the time of Waterloo, I give the following extract.

The original MS. in which the occurrence is recorded, is in the possession of my friend - the diarist's nephew - Sir Henry Ingilby, of Ripley Castle, Yorkshire.

Extract from tlie Diary of Lieutenant Ingilby, R.H.A. (afterwards General Sir William Ingilby}, in the Peninsular and Waterloo Campaigns.

'May 10, 1811. - A Spanish officer of Don Juliano's Guerillas was killed to-day through his own imprudence. An uncommon thick fog obscured the morning, and, as the sun dissipated it, this officer made his appearance between the lines of vedettes, brandishing his sabre and making most extravagant gestures. He was as near the French vedettes as our own. Lord Wellington mistook him for a French dragoon and instantly ordered a soldier of the guard to fire at him, who, resting his musket on one of our gun-wheels, fired, and the ball passing through the head of the person, he fell dead to the ground. I witnessed myself this singular shot. The distance of it was afterwards measured and found to be 80 yards!'

NOTE ON THE ' BROWN BESS.' - The flint-lock arquebus was introduced into England from the Netherlands by William III. The last syllable of the name ' arquebus' was detached in England, and anglicised into ' Bess ;' the weapon being called ' Brown Bess ' either from the colour of its barrel, or of its dark walnut stock. ' Bess,' as pointed out, was an English corruption of the Dutch ' Bus,' a barrel. The word ' Bus' was formerly applied indifferently to a barrel or a gun. For example, ' Donner-bus ' in Dutch meant the ' thundering barrel,' but was changed in England to blunderbuss.

Again, ' Handbus' was a pistol, literally a hand-gun, and' Bus-scbieter' a gunner or barrel-shooter. The transition of the name from Arquebus to Brown Bess may be taken as : - The Brown Arquebus - Brown Bus (i.e. brown barrel or gun) - Brown Bess.

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 5   >   Range of the Medieval Crossbow   > p.26


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The trebuchet kit includes fully precut and drilled frame parts, pins and axles, sling cord and sewn pouch, projectiles and fully illustrated assembly and firing instructions. 

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Inspired by the great war machines and siege catapults of Leonardo da Vinci , this all Red Oak hardwood trebuchet features an open counterweight cabinet for range and trajectory adjustment. 

Fire with an empty counterweight for indoor use, or add weight (nuts, bolts, scrap lead, iron or steel, sand, or small rocks not included) for increased range.

Individually crafted from cabinet-grade red oak, the da Vinci Trebuchet stands 14 inches tall in the cocked position, 24 inches tall in the fired position and will hurl a projectile up to 60 feet. Includes six projectiles and fully illustrated instructions.

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