Let’s Get It Right: Longbow vs Crossbow

Let’s Get It Right: Longbow vs Crossbow – A Video Essay

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Everyone has a strong opinion on whether the longbow or the crossbow was the better ranged weapon in the middle ages. There are speculative but nonetheless common claims like: “the longbow was the machine gun of the middle ages and the crossbow was the sniper rifle”. History buffs, testers and historians can get into heated debates about armor penetration, rate of fire and tactical application of these weapons. Certain aspects like rate of fire or penetration power can be tested experimentally, as has been done, for example, by fellow YouTuber Tod from Tod’s Workshop , but testing has limits: after all, tests are not battles. Also, the interpretation of such tests often leads to logical fallacies – for example: a better rate of fire doesn’t necessarily imply a more effective weapon in battle. In the same vein traditional historiography runs into problems because they often ignore the tactical implications of practical tests. A proper comparison of the two weapons needs to consider both practical tests and historiography. So, in this video we’d like to shed some light on the main arguments of the debate. We‘ll bring together testing and research and – maybe – get a baby step closer to understanding these two weapons and their roles in medieval warfare.

Bradbury, Jim, The Medieval Archer, Woodbrige 1985.
DeVries, Kelly, “Catapults Are Not Atomic Bombs: Towards a Redefinition of ‘Effectiveness’ in Premodern Military Technology”, in: War in History 4, No. 4 (November 1997), pp. 454-470.
Devries, K., Medieval Military Technology, 1994.
Green, David, The Hundred Year’s War: A People’s History, Padstow 2014.
Payne-Gallwey, Ralph, The Crossbow: Its Military and Sporting History, Construction and Use, London 1903.
Prestwich, Michael, Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, (1996, repr. Hong Kong, 2006.
Rogers, Clifford J., Tactics and the Face of Battle, in: Tallet, Frank/Trim, D. J. B. (Ed.), European Warfare 1350-1750, Cambridge 2010.
Rogers, Clifford J., The Efficacy of the English Longbow, 1998.
Strickland, Matthew and Hardy, Robert, The Great Warbow, Stroud 2005.
Soar, H., Gibbs, J., Jury, C., Stretton, M., Secrets of the English War Bow. Westholme, 2010, pp. 127–151.
Credit to : SandRhoman History

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