Crossbow tests

The place to discuss the weapon stats provided in Codex Martialis.

Re: Crossbow tests

Postby drkguy3107 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:42 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiXHImU ... ure=relmfu

He says what I have very long thought, that arbalests have a longer range than a long bow. My question is, is that true. He says that a longbow can shoot for about 300 yards, but I wonder if that is only direct fire. If 300 is only direct fire, then the stats are fine.
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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:19 pm

It's a good question. Payne Gallwey claims he shot one of those monster 1200 lb Arbalests over 400 meters, back in 1905. But this was not only a heavy one in terms of draw power, it was also physically one of the really big ones with a wide prod and a long power stroke.

Since then, nobody has been brave enough to shoot one of the antiques, and people making replicas have not really figured out how to make a really functional 1200 lb crossbow. Leo Todeschini and a handful of other craftsmen are close to doing this, they are starting to figure out how safely make the prods, and the strings, that can handle that much power. Right now they are trying to figure out the right weight for the bolts.

Leo shot a 850 lb one with a heavy bolt with a power of 147 joules, which is more in the range of what I was expecting. But he hasn't done any distance tests.

I do think the Codex rules are going to have to be adjusted so that crossbows can in fact shoot in plunging shots, since it's clear that they were used that way. So rather than making crossbows direct-shot only just make them less effective at it. I'll take a look at the book tonight.

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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:09 pm

Up to now though a lot of the tests with powerful crossbow replicas have ben disappointing, Leos test that I mentioned upthread is one of the few that were not; so I have to be careful proceeding with this because there are a lot of English longbow and Mongol recurve fanatics out there and the issue of which weapon could shoot the farthest is extremely contentious. Some people already think I give the crossbows too much credit.

I will adopt an outlier position if I have hard data to support it, but until I do I need to stick fairly close to the consensus in Academia. And in the mean time I continue to push for tests. I may even buy one of these crossbows myself, after seeing that one in Boston I have a kind of craving to get one.

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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby drkguy3107 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:30 am

Stumbled across a paper by a myarmoury member, Timo A. Nieminen.

I found it very informative. Note, it is about bows, not crossbows.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1101/1101.1677.pdf
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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:22 pm

Seems like a good paper. He agrees with what is in the Codex Baltic as far as weights of projectiles for recurve vs. longbow, and how the recurve was used. The only part I disagree with him on is about the steel bows. Nobody is really certain how they performed but there seems to have been many different types (including really small so-called 'cupid bows') and the Mughals among others widely adopted them for cavalry use, not just the type used for siege warfare.

Useful data though for the most part.

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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby drkguy3107 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:58 pm

I kinda ignored the metal bow part as it does not interest me. I don't use them in my game (European), nor study Indian weaponry in any critical way (lack of high quality secondary literature on the subject). To me the most interesting part is the claim that high poundage bows, since they have thicker limbs, naturally accelerate slower and decrease one's range. This means that a higher poundage bow has a decreased range compared to a light bow. If true it would mean that the English style bows were more focused on point blank shooting than, let's say, Turkish bows were.

Of course one possibility he did not mention is that plunging fire (since much of the strength on the shot is pretty much spent at the height of its arch) derives much of its strength from the weight of the arrow, as a lighter arrow will not gain much momentum in the fall compared to a heavy arrow.

Thus, even if a heavy bow decreases one's range, a heavy arrow will increase the power of the long distance-plunging shot, and the point blank shot. So while the range of the bombard is less, the impact of the bombard is greater.

However if what he says about the decreased range of high-poundage bows is correct, then what would be the point in carrying flight arrows for them?
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Re: Crossbow tests

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:31 pm

Well, I know the Turks and Mongols often carried two bows. But what is usually said is that one was for speed (rapid shots) and one for range.

I don't agree with this guys conclusion that heavy bows have shorter range, but I'm probably not qualified to argue with it.

I think the consensus, (though it's a bit delicate because everyone is really opinionated about longbows and recurves and they still argue about it) is that both English style longbows and reurves were used BOTH at short range (point blank) and at their maximum range. The big difference is the Turks and Tartars put more emphasis on the lighter (40 gram) flight arrows to get a really big advantage in maximum range, which they would use for harassing shots, to put pressure on morale, then charge in close and shoot at more point blank shots and sweep away again; until morale broke. The English archers (who usually fought as infantry) would rain much more lethal (80 gram) arrows on their opponents which could kill men and horses at close to their maximum range. You would only need to use lighter (50-60 gram) flight arrows when facing opponents who also had good long range missile weapons (like other longbowmen or properly deployed crossbowmen with heavy crossbows)

This is what is described in 'The Great Warbow' and other highly regarded analysis of the English Longbow. Some people do think however that the English longbow was used mainly for point blank shooting.

We do know incidentally, that English longbowmen were used in the Baltic a few times, and they probably did face Tartars. Don't have any details on the encounter though the Teutonic Knights praised the English longbow and even bought some. They put much more investment in the crossbow though.

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