“Beware the Medieval Military Complex “ Dwarf Kind Dwight Eissen HowlerIt's simple. Each medieval weapons manufacturer wants to lock you into its own proprietary ecosystem for add-ons, embellishments, upgrades, and enchantments. Therefore you have a wide range of different, yet very similar weapons, none of which are compatible with each other. There have been some attempts to create Universal Sharpeners and the like, but generally you have to stick with the accessories designed for that particular brand of weapon.
To be honest, crossbows are harder to use than most people think. Combat use is slow to load, fitting the bolt on the move can result in being disarmed, and they cannot be fired from the uncocked mode. 2 shots per minute is realistically a fast sustained rate for a very light crossbow.Crossbows are easy to learn, whereas bows require years of training and practice to turn into a combat archer.
Punching a hole in it would be "opening" it (for some values of open* )... I have seen on a mediaeval market a warhammer tested on a shield. The blunt side didn't do much damage. The pointy side made a nice hole through the shield.Thing is, they don't open the can... they just punch a small hole in the armor (and vs plate, potentially get stuck into it). And, like thrusting weapons, the Bec and the pick often deflect, resulting in essentially a quarterstaff hit.
This is a bit crazy, a novice can't pick up and fire a 200lb longbow so I am not sure why you are mixing the two, novices can't manage the draw weight of a bow like that, more likely they could just about draw a 20lb bow which is not going to be used as a warbow. 200lb by itself is the top end and seems unlikely to be common for most archers.Meanwhile, a similar power selfbow, it can be fired every 15 seconds or more even by novices who never held a bow before. Versus formations, which was the default situation, accuracy is far less important than rate of fire. Further, a competent archer can pull, knock, draw, and release as one swift action, taking under 3 seconds.
The takeover of the crossbow has as much or more to do with power as training. A person can, at peak, pull around a 200 lb 28" draw. A person with a lever cocker pull a 250 to 300 lb 28" draw crossbow... putting the same mass significantly faster... and more likely to penetrate chain and plate.
It doesn't hurt that crossbows once introduced were pretty common in seiges, to be used by defenders who generally weren't worry about firing quickly as the whole affair could take months.Having fired a variety of bows and several crossbows, crossbows aren't any more accurate. they are more comfortable, allow much longer operational time, but at the cost of much slower firing rates.
A novice won't be picking up a 250# crossbow, either, as the loading sequence for both is pretty hard. But the medieval bows all seem to have been well over the 70# common for hunting today. Whether that's survival selection (lesser bows got damaged easier), hard to say. But the peak human recurve bow was 200 lbs or so (Drawn to 180 before the curator said "No further"). There are several surviving examples of ones that dimension. About 150 would be the peak crossbow for novices, and about 70 lb for self bows.This is a bit crazy, a novice can't pick up and fire a 200lb longbow so I am not sure why you are mixing the two, novices can't manage the draw weight of a bow like that, more likely they could just about draw a 20lb bow which is not going to be used as a warbow. 200lb by itself is the top end and seems unlikely to be common for most archers.
Crossbows are much less powerful per-draw-weight than a longbow because their draw length is so short. Medieval crossbows can't be drawn to 28" or anywhere near it (more like 8"), but you just don't need the strength or the skill to handle a crossbow that you do with a longbow.
Takes months to years of drill to be reloaded effectively in battle. Those 1000# draw windlass set crossbows need plenty of practice to be able to do it effectively, especially under fire.A windlass crossbow [...]
Since you've brought up war hammers, I feel the need to mention the fact that there's two very distinct types of war hammer. There's the maul, which is your standard fantasy heavy war hammer that looks kind of like a sledgehammer, and there's also the lucerne hammer (and other similar long warhammers), which is basically a halberd with a hammer head in place of the axe blade. Both had the advantage over blades that they were less likely to ricochet off of metal armor. IIRC the long handled warhammers had the advantage of being able to easily punch straight through armor if the wielder got a clean shot, whereas a maul had the advantage of also being usable in the capacity of a regular sledgehammerwhy not just all swords? What benefit does a battleaxe or warhammer or mace have over a good old longsword? What about longsword vs. great sword? Axe vs hammer? Sword vs axe? Etc.
I'm sorry but most of your assumptions and conclusions are wrong. It's clear that crossbows are much slower and clumsier to use than bows, although with a goat's foot lever you are down to "only" twice as slow as a longbow (windlass is more powerful but much slower). I also agree that the power of crossbows came to equal and then exceed longbows, but much of what you have said does not agree with physics, mechanics or history.Takes months to years of drill to be reloaded effectively in battle. Those 1000# draw windlass set crossbows need plenty of practice to be able to do it effectively, especially under fire.
Plus, one must reset the windlass to use it again. Not fast.
This was always my understanding. And that a big part of the later success of guns was that they took the crossbow's advantages even further, they don't even require the strength necessary to work a crank or a stirrup, and they're even simpler to aim. Which is why it peeves me every time I see a rulebook or module suggest that anachronistic weapons be classed in the exotic weapon category requiring a special feat and/or proficiency when the whole point of them is that anybody can pick up one and use it with a minimal amount of training, whereas the rest of the exotic weapons are things like the orc double axe or the gnome hooked hammer that nobody should ever be able to use proficiently at all, with any amount of training.Crossbows are easier to learn and more accurate. These two are related, from what I can tell you are ignoring the strength required to use a bow of sufficient power, despite using a 200lb longbow as an example, which is at the top end of what is likely to be in use - a bow like that would take years to develop the strength and ability to use. To draw and loose the arrow accurately of a bow like that is extremely difficult, and this is what makes aiming difficult - it is much, much easier to aim with a low draw weight bow because your body is not under that enormous tension drawing the bow. In comparison a crossbow can be aimed and loosed at ease, it can be held, aimed and tracked for very long periods without any tension, even used lying down. This makes aiming and accuracy so much easier because you don't need any where near the strength to keep the crossbow steady, you need some strength to hold it and release the bolt but there's no comparison to a longbow or any other war bow.
They did the same thing in 2e with slings; wizards were unable to use crossbows (due to the training required) but were able to use slings, which would seem to take a lot more technique to be effective than a crossbow.And that a big part of the later success of guns was that they took the crossbow's advantages even further, they don't even require the strength necessary to work a crank or a stirrup, and they're even simpler to aim. Which is why it peeves me every time I see a rulebook or module suggest that anachronistic weapons be classed in the exotic weapon category requiring a special feat and/or proficiency when the whole point of them is that anybody can pick up one and use it with a minimal amount of training,
Slings are not hard to use for enfilade use... an afternoon or two to get the skill down to putting bullets into an enemy formation.They did the same thing in 2e with slings; wizards were unable to use crossbows (due to the training required) but were able to use slings, which would seem to take a lot more technique to be effective than a crossbow.
Please don't confuse medieveal weapons with the toys reenactors use today.Crossbow accuracy wasn't even that good. Bow (70#) was easily learned by teens in summer camp - more than adequate for enfilade use. But note that very few people can handle reloading a crossbow, not even a 25# SCA-legal one, while under fire. During the "Light Infantry Experiment" many were able to get authorized quick ... and the reloading of a crossbow under fire is no longer trivial difficulty.