Technologically sophisticated and powerful, the crossbow has long enjoyed a popular reputation for villainous superiority because it could be used with little training as a weapon of assassination. The study of bow designs, trigger mechanisms and spanning devices reveals a tale of considerable mechanical ingenuity; advances that produced a battlefield weapon requiring comparatively little training to use. It was an extremely useful weapon, and especially effective in siege warfare for both attack and defence.
Known to the Ancient Greeks and the Chinese as early as the 5th century BC, the crossbow developed both in Western Europe and in the Far East. Advances in trigger mechanisms, spanning and bow design allowed the development of ever more powerful bows. In this study acknowledged weaponry expert Mike Loades traces the origins, development, combat record and lasting legacy of the crossbow, the formidable projectile weapon that played a key role in a host of battles and sieges across Europe and Asia.
Country of Publication:
01 April 2018
Introduction / Development / Use / Impact / Conclusion / Bibliography / Index
Mike Loades is a respected author, broadcaster, director and action arranger who has made numerous television appearances as a historical weapons expert and military historian. He is the author of Swords and Swordsmen (2010), The Longbow (2013) and The Composite Bow (2016). He lives in California. Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. He lives in the UK.
Reviews for The Crossbow
I really appreciated the structure that Mike Loades utilized, starting with the individual components and accessories that really covered a broad range of crossbow utility. I found the section on the use of the Chinese repeating crossbow quite interesting. Essentially a short range defensive weapon, it was light enough that even a woman had enough strength to operate it. It used a large lever to draw the string back to allow a bolt from the magazine to drop into position. A low cost weapon, it typically carried ten bolts, although some variants carried up to 15 bolts. Variants of this repeater could fire two bolts simultaneously and remained in use in China into the 1950s. - IPMS / USA