Medieval arrows

sknox

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Good video; thanks for that. Now I'm wondering what the marines used. In particular, the famous crossbowmen who worked on the ships of Aragon or Genoa. Did they use any of those six types, or was there something in particular for them? I'm guessing the leaf shape would be most ideal. After all, they'd be shooting mainly at people not in armor, and having to cover a fair distance, ship to ship.

Just as a postscript to this, I'm reading a book on medieval maritime warfare, and in there I read that the Catalan crossbowmen--famous in their time--were all able to completely build their own crossbow from scratch. They regarded it as a necessary qualification. Made me think of riflemen breaking down their rifle and reassembling it.
 

sknox

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Sure. But I still wonder what sort of head was use on a crossbow bolt when the crossbow was one wielded by a Catalan of the 13thc. Like as not we'll never know, since those would have for the most part wound up at the bottom of the sea.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Saw the 7,000 man terracotta army in China, circa 210 BC, 2014 update on PBS, Emperor's Ghost Army. It had a nice feature on the crossbows. They are still digging up the site. One crossbow model unearthed in 2015 was 2/3 the length of an English long bow and was figured it could hit something 9 football fields away, 900 yards. No idea of the accuracy. Most of the wood parts that are dug up are rotted and not able to be used. The metal parts survived being buried in the dirt pretty good.

The bow and the stock were two separate pieces. The 3 big features on the stock was the gun like trigger, which was mass produced, made of high quality cast metal, some kind of bronze. That automatically made any crossbow easy to learn how to use it, and easy to operate it accurately and quickly. The end of the stock was slotted so a bow could easily be tied to it by almost anyone. You probably only did that wrong once. It was simple wood working to fit the trigger mechanism and notch the end of the stock, which made the stocks easy to mass produce. The bows required more skill to put together but could be done by a different group of workers.

Because they used bamboo for the arrow shafts, the arrow heads were very interesting. The actual point was a elongated solid pyramid, either 3 or 4 sides. The sides were slightly curved and ground flat on a grinder. Attached to the point was a 7 inch metal shaft. I imagine this added to the weight and impact of the arrow head, improving its penetrability, though it might not have been designed for that. The metal shaft was placed inside the bamboo tube (arrow body) and tied in place. Maybe they even had some kind of metal to wood glue.

The trick was in attaching the point to the shaft. They used two different bronze alloys for the shaft and the point, so when you stuck the shaft in a hole in the point, and then heated it up to a high temperature, the shaft fused to the point. There was more tin in the shaft, which probably made it fuse together. Tin will help all kinds of different metals melt together. The shaft was also a little bit more flexible metal than the point metal was.

When it hit, the solid pointed point with the attached metal shaft was probably more like a bullet than an arrowhead.
 

paranoid marvin

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Saw the 7,000 man terracotta army in China, circa 210 BC, 2014 update on PBS, Emperor's Ghost Army. It had a nice feature on the crossbows. They are still digging up the site. One crossbow model unearthed in 2015 was 2/3 the length of an English long bow and was figured it could hit something 9 football fields away, 900 yards. No idea of the accuracy. Most of the wood parts that are dug up are rotted and not able to be used. The metal parts survived being buried in the dirt pretty good.

The bow and the stock were two separate pieces. The 3 big features on the stock was the gun like trigger, which was mass produced, made of high quality cast metal, some kind of bronze. That automatically made any crossbow easy to learn how to use it, and easy to operate it accurately and quickly. The end of the stock was slotted so a bow could easily be tied to it by almost anyone. You probably only did that wrong once. It was simple wood working to fit the trigger mechanism and notch the end of the stock, which made the stocks easy to mass produce. The bows required more skill to put together but could be done by a different group of workers.

Because they used bamboo for the arrow shafts, the arrow heads were very interesting. The actual point was a elongated solid pyramid, either 3 or 4 sides. The sides were slightly curved and ground flat on a grinder. Attached to the point was a 7 inch metal shaft. I imagine this added to the weight and impact of the arrow head, improving its penetrability, though it might not have been designed for that. The metal shaft was placed inside the bamboo tube (arrow body) and tied in place. Maybe they even had some kind of metal to wood glue.

The trick was in attaching the point to the shaft. They used two different bronze alloys for the shaft and the point, so when you stuck the shaft in a hole in the point, and then heated it up to a high temperature, the shaft fused to the point. There was more tin in the shaft, which probably made it fuse together. Tin will help all kinds of different metals melt together. The shaft was also a little bit more flexible metal than the point metal was.

When it hit, the solid pointed point with the attached metal shaft was probably more like a bullet than an arrowhead.


It sounds more like an armour-piecing shell than a bullet. Impressive technology, such a shame that man always seem to be most developed in the art of warfare.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Saw the 7,000 man terracotta army in China, circa 210 BC, 2014 update on PBS, Emperor's Ghost Army. It had a nice feature on the crossbows. They are still digging up the site. One crossbow model unearthed in 2015 was 2/3 the length of an English long bow and was figured it could hit something 9 football fields away, 900 yards. No idea of the accuracy. Most of the wood parts that are dug up are rotted and not able to be used. The metal parts survived being buried in the dirt pretty good.
A mate of mine has just left China after living there for 10 years or so. The week before he left he went to Xi'an and said it really blew his mind. Pictures really do not do the sheer scale of it justice. They think there's an entire hill of soldiers in the Emperor's tomb and a scale model of all the rivers of China made out of Mercury.

I saw a few figures when they came to the London Natural History Museum and they were impressive enough - I can't imagine what else they'll find.
 

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