One of my friends and automatic knife fanatic Sinza, has an interesting thread going on in his forum “Exotic Automatic”. It’s centered on the unique question of how one might create a retractable, wrist mounted, automatically operated bow.
Now there’s quite a lot of back and forth going on about the topic, (you can visit the forums here to check it out, or throw in any ideas you might have) but I thought it interesting because I happened to also run into this little puppy in my archives:
While not anywhere as cool or exotic as an automatic wrist mounted bow, I thought this would be a a cool weapon to post about. Crossbows are fairly simple weapons. In essence what you have is a short bow, attached to a long stock that had a trigger attached to a pin that was used to either directly hold the string, or push the string out of a slot in the rear of the stock into which the it would be pulled in order to “cock” it.
Then a crossbow arrow or (which is actually called a “bolt”) would be placed in a specially designed groove in the long rifle like stock just ahead of the string. The crossbow was aimed, the trigger was pulled, and the bolt was fired. Simple as 1, 2, 3. However as an advancement in weapon technology, it was a huge step forward.
What is interesting about this weapon was that, in comparison to it’s predecessor, the longbow, it could be made to fire much heavier projectiles, it was easier to aim, and thus easier to learn, and you did not have to “hold” the entire time you were aiming, making it possible to fire much more lethal projectiles, using prods that could develop quite prodigious quantities of force.
Medieval long bow were generally designed to develop anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds of force at their desired maximum draw. Heavy siege Cross bows could have prods generating in excess of 1500 lbs! Now seriously, what would one fire at with a 1500lb crossbow? Elephants?? … Oh… Nevermind… Anyway, siege crossbows with draw weights like this would not exactly be a breeze to use…
Now To be fair, I should also point out that crossbows required a more compact prod design, since the bow sat sideways, and soldiers poking the soldier next to them in the eye during loading was frowned upon by the military brass. As a result, they had shorter bows, and obviously had a much shorter draw length, and therefore needed to have a greater draw weight in order to fire any given projectile at the same speed as a comparable Longbow.
However the fact that one did not had to actually hold it, and could draw it using equipment that gave the user a mechanical advantage, spawned crossbows of massive draws such as the 800lb monster draw, that could fire equally massive bolts. And with the lighter crossbows, all this could be done by a hastily trained infantryman who might never have picked up a longbow in their lives. Talk about a strategic advantage!
Anyway, I suppose I’m blathering on about stuff already know, so before some General Weisenheimer tells me I’m telling you all something you already know, I’ll just point you to the pic above, and say ogle away…
Conver Guard Crossbow – [Realm Collections]