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Arbalest with Cranequin Spanner - AH5104

Arbalest with Cranequin Spanner
 

Retail Price:$539.00
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The Arbalest was the apex of medieval crossbow development. More powerful and with greater range, the Arbalest substituted the wooden bow for a steel one and mounted it into a larger and more reinforced wooden stock and a simple lever release mechanism.

The high-powered projectile weapon of the day, bolts cast from the Arbalest had grievous penetrative power, but this came at the cost of being slow to reload. Normal crossbows were already substantially slower in their rate of fire than bows, but the arbalest was outrightly sluggish by comparison. The Arbalest had so much draw weight that its user required mechanical advantage to span the bow - this could be achieved through either a turning rack-and-pinion cranequin or a block-and-tackle windlass. These devices were already in existence for normal crossbows, but the arbalest took it a step further in size and load-bearing requirements.

Though slow to reload, the power of the bolt was such that the bow had been superseded by the crossbow by even the 12th century throughout most of Europe, with the notable exception of England. The crossbow and (especially the arbalest) was best used to defend a castle or fortification, where the arbalester could reload in safety, before firing his deadly bolt from the ramparts or through the arrow slit. Sometimes he would have an assistant, who would load a second crossbow while he aimed and fired his shot before passing it back in return for a loaded arbalest. On the field though, the arbalester often improvised by bringing a large pavise shield that he could reload behind, giving him protection from enemy missiles.

Though a skilled archer had a higher rate of fire than a crossbowman, that archer was not easily replaced. Archery is a very difficult skill to master to a proficiency fit for battle, and often requires a culture with a focus on archery. For those lacking this, but needing ranged soldiers, the crossbow fit the bill, for after a mere week of training a crossbowman was suitable for the field. This is a realization that the Medieval italians and especially the Medieval Chinese exploited to field large numbers of missile troops.

The medieval Genoese in particular became famous for fielding companies of crossbowmen from their city guild, who were available for hire by European monarchs willing to pay the coin for these competant and deadly mercenaries. They had a good reputation for well earning their pay, but this was sullied at the 1346 Battle of Crécy, when these crossbowmen, in service to the French King, handily lost a missile slinging match with English longbowmen. The rain before the battle had loosened the strings for their crossbows, greatly hampering their range and power. The longbowmen were less affected, for they could easily remove their bowstrings and keep them dry. Also, the crossbowmen and their slow rate of fire were no match for the torrential rain of iron that the longbowmen could drop upon their foes.

The Arbalest would be used well into the Renaissance, and still had a part to play even among early gunpowder guns in the battle line. They were brought into the New World by the Spanish, who used the arbalest and other crossbows in their conquests.

This Arbalest has a thick steel bowstave mounted onto a sturdy, wooden stock with a steel trigger. It is spanned by a thick string. It has a small stirrup of steel and a brass cap and brass accents. The nut / catch is of carved horn. The spanning cranequin device is crafted from blackened steel and wood for a grip.. Comes with a single bolt with a shaft of wood and an armor-piercing tip of steel.

Overall Length: 35 1/4''
Weight: 11 lb 8 oz
Bolt: 16 1/2''







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