how common were crossbowmen in warfare?

would they replace archers entirely ? it seems a very strong weapon. is there any reason why in medieval times they wouldnt have battles entirely consisting of crossbowmen vs crossbowmen with a little melee skirmishes? something like trench warfare but with crossbows

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Crossbowmen became pretty common in the middle ages as the technology to make compact, powerful crossbows that could used effectively on the battlefield developed. Some areas had renowned professional crossbowmen who were frequently hired as mercenaries. They didn't replace archers entirely because crossbows aren't a clearly, comprehensively better weapon in all circumstances, so bows weren't obsolete. Archers could and did contend with crossbowmen in open field battles and sieges, so there wasn't some massive unassailable gap in performance between them.

    >is there any reason why in medieval times they wouldnt have battles entirely consisting of crossbowmen vs crossbowmen
    Armour. And cavalry. And especially armoured cavalry.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Crossbows were typically better at siege warfare. For one, you dont have to stand up and have 2 ft behind you in order to shoot. I reckon a guess bows stayed around for so long cause areows were easier or cheaper to make than bolts, but im just guessing on that

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        A big deal about crossbows is the ability to hold them armed for long periods of time easily, which massively helps during siege. This also allows them to be aimed easier.
        >areows were easier or cheaper to make than bolts
        It's the opposite. It's not easy or cheap to make good arrows that would fly true because of the balance and the flex they need to get around the bow(see: archer's paradox) and generally being longer. Crossbow bolts were shorter, didn't need to bend and often used wood fletchings for long term storage.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Archery hung around because it had a better rate of fire. Crossbows were always more complicated to load compared to nocking an arrow and later crossbows were so strong you needed levers, pulleys, or even cranks to span them.

        Some of them were pretty clever, like this Goat's Foot.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Crossbowmen became pretty common in the middle ages as the technology to make compact, powerful crossbows that could used effectively on the battlefield developed.

      They weren't common. Due to the expense and complicated nature of the crossbow, the local prince could only afford a handful of the weapon in their arsenal. There were always more archers than crossbowmen available at any given time. All the academic texts point to the fact that crossbowmen were specialist troops and tended to be professional soldiers and mercenaries; when a feudal prince wanted crossbowmen, he typical hired them on contract.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Commonly used in warfare, then. Crossbowmen became a mainstay of the meta in the high middle ages, expensive or not.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Were there situations where you had crossbowmen, archers and arquebuses/hand cannons all on the same side?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        I don't remember any specific examples off the top of my head, but the 16th century had an overlap in the use of all those weapons so it probably happened then. Possibly the abortive 1545 French invasion of England would have had this, as Henry scrambled together everyone he could conceivably find to fight for him. There were definitely longbows and firearms on the English side, not sure about crossbows. The Italian Wars are also a pretty likely case for all three weapons to be in the same army.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yes battle of taku forts 1860. The qing used, surprisingly enough, a repeating crossbow in the engagement along with arquebuesiers?(Idk the nomenclature).

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Armour
      No matter if you're right or wrong you're a noguns eurotrash loser and thus have no voice here.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        This is a medieval thread amerimutt. Euros rule these lands. You have no authority here

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          No gun no opinion on /k/
          Gunless gay is always wrong. Go back.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            who said this was a guns board Black person?
            that 56% really isn't doing your iq any favours

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    What about medieval China? And im pretty sure crossbows are effective vs armor anmyway ?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Depends on the crossbow and the armour. A heavy one would ice you in chainmail and could even pierce thin parts of some plate, but against full late medieval plate harness your kill percentage would be very low, almost to the point of being completely ineffective in practice against the top armour of the day, which of course wasn't worn by everyone you might be shooting at.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >Which is why the pope wrote a letter about how unfair arbalests were to use against knights in combat, because crossbows couldn't pierce plate

        I love how autistic /k/ is, really. Inb4 "Arbalests weren't crossbows tho, stop making my autism hurt"

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          That letter was written in 1139, long before plate armour. Very high draw weight crossbows could pierce certain pieces of plate armour, as I said, but they weren't guns.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Long before plate armor

            (Mycenaen armor 15th century BC)

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Long before medieval plate armour, which crossbows mostly.couldn't pierce. In the mid 12th century it would have been mostly chainmail those crossbows were up against.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                Anon didn't specify 'medieval' plate what am I gonna do wrangle my own autism :p my handlers are nowhere to be found.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              homosexual

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Actually a common myth: the papal ban of the Second Council of the Lateran (1139) extends to archers as well.
          See Canon 29 here: https://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum10.htm

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Yeah don't use ranged weapons against fellow Christians

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Unless it's the friggin Pope!!

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Original
            >Artem autem illam mortiferam et deo odibilem [ballistariorum] et [sagittariorum] adversus christianos et catholicos exerceri de cetero sub anathemate prohibemus

            English
            >We prohibit under anathema that murderous art of [crossbowmen] and [archers], which is hateful to God, to be employed against Christians and Catholics from now on.

            parentheses mine

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      The Han dynasty (roughly contemperaneous with the roman empire) fielded absolute frick tons of crossbows. The donghai armory (which was one of the 10 imperial armories) recorded in 16 B.C picrel. The number is not yearly production but what has been stockpiled but the chinese mass produced some very powerful crossbows. They used a lean manufacturing method and the parts were even interchangeable provided they were made in the same factory.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Due to their trigger construction the chinese crossbows had quite a long powerstroke so their energy to target was similar to late medieval european steel crossbows.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          I doubt that wood crossbows could reach steel crossbow strength

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            They can if by strength you mean energy. Generally steel crossbows have a powerstroke of 5- 6.5 in with draw weights being 1000+ lbs and the composite crossbow has 20+ in of powerstroke with draw weights 400+ lbs. Even with a significantly reduced draw weight the energy would be very similar. Just basic physics.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Wood bows already reached and surpassed steel crossbow strength. The best Chinese crossbows were just full length bows mounted on handles sideways, the scale of which obviously caused it's own problems.

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Bowa were better at piercing armor, were better for firing in arcs of fire. They had a few a advantages. Crossbows were more acurrate and could be held loaded for a while. They were both used together for most of their overlapping histories.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Archers, specifically English longbowmen, outperformed crossbows (and early firearms) in range and rate of fire. The big advantage of crossbows is that they didn't require a lifetime of practice to become proficient

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    The crossbow fit in the battle field a lot more like a squad level support weapon.
    And then only in some units.
    Really depends on time, place, force, and the mission.

    What is really interesting to think about is was the crossbow ever used in any sort of proto CQB?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Yes it actually was but in china and for self defense situations rather than military confrontation. One of the niche uses of the small repeating crossbow was its use for close range personal engagements. It had no power at range. They did poison the bolts it used.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Chink crossbows are low velocity shit.

        Yeah don't use ranged weapons against fellow Christians

        The idea was to make war a thing that nobles and their men at arms engaged in rather than conscripting peasants. Or at least if they were conscripted they'd just stand in lines and shake their spears without fighting. Would never have worked but the moral reason was to prevent the death of those who don't profit from the war and are compelled to fight by circumstance, the more salient economic reasons is peasants at war don't produce and dead peasants don't produce anything except teeth for dentures.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          https://i.imgur.com/iuEkAkb.png

          Yes it actually was but in china and for self defense situations rather than military confrontation. One of the niche uses of the small repeating crossbow was its use for close range personal engagements. It had no power at range. They did poison the bolts it used.

          The chinese repeating crossbow was hyper niche dogshit, but those giant crossbows you had to load by laying down, or getting a friend to help you, had fantastic penetration, and actually dominated Chinese warfare until politics saw massive, disastrous, change of military policy.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Yeah sure but their velocity was shit compared to an equally sized european counterpart. Yeah, chinks used footbows which let them have some of the functionality of the english longbow for example, but you can't aim for shit and by the tiem the long bow got lionized it wasn't used for raining arrows but for dumping 5 arrows at buttholes 30 yards away.

            Wood bows already reached and surpassed steel crossbow strength. The best Chinese crossbows were just full length bows mounted on handles sideways, the scale of which obviously caused it's own problems.

            Depends on the steel, spanish and italian spring steel from 1500 is very different from "steel" in 800 AD chinkland.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Engagement ranges of han dynasty crossbows commonly reached 150+ meters for their 4+ stone crossbows. Where are you getting your sources for their having significantly lower velocities (Not talking about hyperniche repeating crossbows)? I suggest you read some Joseph Needham.While admittedly he has some biases, he utilizes actual examples and records to corroborate his claims for this instance i believe volume 4 (could be wrong) of science and technology. He goes quite in depth with different weapon systems that were deployed at any given dynasty. Also almost every crossbow mechanism produced by the chinese has etched markings for creating sight pictures why do you seem to imply they cannot be aimed efficiently when this was common practice? As for your remarks on steel production; the chinese had blast furnaces since before the han. By the time you reach the han the furnaces were being powered by hydraulic bellows. They possessed a precursor to the modern bessemer process and could produce steel with fairly consistent quality in massive quantities (even rome sought seric "iron"), do not mistake them for japan who could* produce good steel but lacked good ore and methods.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                He's talking out of his ass. He's one of several anti-chinese /misc/ schizos who trolls this board. You can tell he doesn't know what the frick he's talking about when he mentions the memebow in his shit post.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                I hate the Chinese as much as any reasonable man on /k/ but that's no excuse for simply lying about the power of a crossbow.

              • 1 month ago
                Anonymous

                >I suggest you read some Joseph Needham
                Lol, absolutely nothing that quack made up has any value.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              I was comparing bows to European steel limbed crossbows, dingbat. Problems with the steel were legendary, and this was mitigated with super short lines and short power strokes.

              1000# steel crossbows were barely able to keep up with wooden longbows in Europe in terms of FPS or energy/momentum on target.

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    they were common because training someone to shoot a crossbow can be done very quickly so if you had an armory filled with crossbows you could very quickly mobilise an effective defensive force from an untrained civilian population

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