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The Crossbow   >  Chapter 7   >   Handgun in Relation to the Crossbow   > p.38

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

The Crossbow

Chapter VII

The Hand-Gun in Relation to the Crossbow

The reliance placed by English commanders on longbows, and by Continental captains on crossbows, made the introduction of hand-guns a very slow process. The French and Spaniards were the last nations to discard the crossbow for the hand-gun, the French being particularly averse to the latter weapon, though they seem to have employed fire-arms (cannon) for many years previously to arming their soldiery with hand-guns.

Handguns must not be confused with firearms, as cannon were invented long before hand-guns, and are even said to have been used as early as 1346, at Crecy. Though Gibbon, the historian, doubts the presence of cannon at Crecy, and Froissart does not mention them, yet Villani,1 who died probably within two or three years after the battle, and later De Montluc2 positively assert that the cannon brought to Crecy by Edward III. materially assisted in the victory of the English.

The hand-gun became more or less popular, ineffective as it was, with various Continental nations and States many years before it was used in France. For instance, hand-guns were employed by the Hussites in their revolutionary wars in Bohemia (1419-1436), as well as by the Florentines at the siege of Lucca in 1431.

According to Sismondi,3 the Milanese armed their militia in 1449 with these new weapons, and at the battle of Morat in 1476, when the Duke of Burgundy was so signally defeated by the Swiss, the victors had among their troops 6,000 men who carried hand-guns.

At all events, the hand-gun took the place of the crossbow on the Continent at a much earlier date than it superseded the longbow in England.

1 G. Villani—Florentine historian, wrote Storie Florentine, born about 1280, died about 1348. The Storie were continued to 1363 by his brother Matteo, and then to 1364 by Matteo's son Filippo.

2 De Montluc. Blaise de Lasseran Massencome, Seigneur de Montluc, born 1503, died 1577, Marshal of France. Wrote the memoirs of his career as a soldier, which were termed by Henry IV. of France the Soldier's Breviary. Was made a captain under Francis I. in 1523. His life is given in Petitot's History of France. "

3 S. de Sismondi—Swiss historian, born 1773, died 1842.

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 7   >   Handgun in Relation to the Crossbow   > p.38


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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. 

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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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