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The Crossbow   >  Chapter 1   >   Military Crossbow   >   p.9

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

The Military Crossbow

the approach to its gateway. A crossbow could be strung in , and discharged from, a room not 6 feet high to the ceiling, whilst a longbowman required a height of at least 7 feet in order to shoot an arrow with effect.

Nor did the crossbow require the strength, skill and practice to manipulate it that were so necessary in the case of the longbow.

The narrow cruciform loophole, called by architects "Arbalestina," which is usually to be seen in the masonry of a mediaeval fortress, was designed for the special use of crossbowmen in repelling an assault.

Fig 5. - Arbalestina

Fig 5. - Arbalestina

From the Glossary of Terms of Architechure, 1840

To enable the crossbow, or longbow, to be aimed to the right or left through a loophole, the aperture was greatly widened out on the inside face of the perforated wall.

The perpendicular loopholes, also common in ancient castles, were intended for the archer with his longbow, hence they were not cruciform in outline1.

The perfected military crossbow of the fifteenth century, with its steel bow and appendages, being heavy, and slow in action, could not be utilised so readily for shooting quickly at single combatants, or at small bodies of men and horse on the open field of battle, as could the longbow. Its weight alone precluded it from being aimed with success against rapidly moving objects, nor could its bolt be directed with precision if a hurried aim was taken.

Fig 6 -  Crossbowmen

Fig 6 -  Crossbowmen

They represent French soldiers at the defence of Rouen, 1419, shooting from behind the shelter of shields propped up in front of them.

On the other hand, a skilful archer with his longbow might quite possibly pierce a galloping stag with an arrow at a distance of 70 yards, and, if he failed to strike his mark, send another shaft at his quarry before it was out of bow-shot.2

This advantage of rapid aiming and shooting, the longbowman could apply

1 ' Our Chateau de Cheeignee we have assigned to the Earl of Montfort in such wise that he is to understand we cannot allow in it any perpendicular loophole for archers, nor any cruciform loophole for crossbow-men.' - From a Royal Charter of France dated 1239 and quoted in Sir S. Meyrick's work on Ancient Armour.

2 If an archer expected to use two arrows in rapid succession, he held his second arrow against the back of his bow with his left hand, or else pressed into the palm of the right hand by the thumb, so that he could instantly seize it and fit it to his bow-string, and thus save the time that would otherwise be spent in extracting it from a quiver. On the other hand the crossbowman, when bending his bow, held a bolt between his teeth, so that it might be ready to fit to his weapon without any delay. Pages 49, 124.

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 1   >   Military Crossbow   >   p.9


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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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