November 27, 2020 at 5:04 pm #1751
Firearms before their time
Breech-loading matchlock arquebus, Nuremberg 1470
Plan for a nearly identical weapon from a manuscript from 1456 by Lorenzo Ghiberti
Eight barrel matchlock revolver from 1580 Nuremberg
Breech-loading wheelock pistol, ~1560, German
Matchlock breechloader for Henry VIII (one of two he possessed, and used multiple times for hunting) – 1537
This was originally a wheel-lockNovember 27, 2020 at 5:10 pm #1752
This one shows both of Henry’s breach-loadersNovember 29, 2020 at 4:18 am #1760March 30, 2021 at 4:51 pm #2394
Self spanning crossbow from Codex Löffelholz
Modern reproduction by Andreas Bichler, shooting three boltsMarch 30, 2021 at 8:45 pm #2395
I think this was over on the old forum, but it was still great to see it again. To me, the stock/lever looks like it could use to be reinforced… I guess I don’t quite trust that hollowed out piece of wood with several hundred pounds of prod force!
…Can’t find a video, but I do know the Uruk-Hai crossbows in the Lord of the Rings movies had a lever recocking mechanism. The only question there is if the props shop was aware that this was actually a historic development, or if they simply felt they were being extra clever.April 1, 2021 at 5:52 pm #2396
Yes you are right about the Uruk-Hai in LOTR, I think they were copying this thing down there in New Zealand. They also had pikes (sort of) and functional armor and gunpowder weapons. I think I saw Sallet helmets too. In a way the Uruk Hai were the closest thing to late medieval army in that movie. The Gondor dudes didn’t even use lances in their charge and their armor was apparently made of cardboard.
I think these latchet crossbows were an historic development. Anyway at least three functional replicas were made based just on the Löffelholz manual so I think it’s clearly a viable design.
It is a light weapon as medieval crossbows go, Bichler mentions his has about 100 kg draw weight. I suspect the handle would hold up if you made it with the right materials.
It would have limited value as a weapon, not really ideal as a military weapon though it would have some utility for a horsemen (such as as a backup weapon). I see it as a personal defense / hunting weapon ideal for horseback. Maybe equivalent to carrying a small caliber automatic pistol like a 9mm for personal protection. Not something you would use as your main weapon if you were in the military and being deployed overseas, but it might be good as a backup.April 1, 2021 at 5:53 pm #2397
And speaking of battlefield uses, here is an excellent paper that someone just linked on MyArmoury which is a very interesting overview of both longbows and crossbowsMay 15, 2021 at 8:49 pm #2478
Not quite a weapon, but a tool:
…This is a neat channel, so far as I can tell. Danish ex-pat veteran who moved to Siberia. Here, he reviews a Siberian native-style axe, why it has the features it has, and what those features are and aren’t good for. It’s a classic study of how traditional tools almost perfectly merge the form factor of the blade with the ergonomics of the handle – something a lot of contemporary tools are severely lacking in. I think it’s relevant here, as I’m sure this style of axe was probably around in the medieval period as well.May 16, 2021 at 6:35 pm #2479
Cool review, totally agree with your point in the customization of hand tools (and their handles). Some neat examples hereJune 26, 2021 at 12:43 am #2536
The tools were very neat to look at – sorry for the belayed response.
But, then – THE FULLERS! LOOK AT THE FULLERS!:!:!:
July 1, 2021 at 9:08 pm #2540
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Thaeris.
Well, tried editing the first post a time or two, and then the forums decided I could edit it no more. Looks like MyArmoury will NOT let you link images directly. Here, at least, is a non-picture link:
Obviously, the attached is a historically-inspired piece rather than a historical one, as it is a training sword. However, I readily believe a combination of complex hollow-grinds and fullers could have existed on a similar historical weapon. There is an obvious aesthetic and functional appeal for such weapons, though they come at the price of… price! Not to mention durability and rigidity – it’s a false notion that the fuller confers strength – the fuller is a trade-off between strength and weight.
July 2, 2021 at 10:41 pm #2542
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Thaeris.
Oh yes, are you familiar with the cinquedea family of weapons?July 4, 2021 at 3:41 am #2547
Yes! Unfortunately, it seems many of the contemporary reviewers I’m familiar with don’t care for them, and many replicas are just… shoddy. But, I love short swords, and a small, broad-bladed weapon can be a brilliant cut-and-thrust weapon by all accounts.
Speaking of replicas, I’m not sure it’s really possible to make a decent “economy” cinquedea, seeing as the fullers on almost all of the surviving examples you see are very crisp and often angular (something a low-cost sword cutler will not produce for an affordable price point). Furthermore, while it is likely there were cheap versions of the sword in their day, almost all of the surviving swords are very intricately etched and detailed. Both of those things make getting a reasonable representation of one very prohibitive.
…First thing that comes to mind is the “eket” of Lord of the Rings. If you ever tinker with The Last Days mod for Warband, Gondor has those things everywhere. 🙂July 5, 2021 at 3:53 pm #2548
Haven’t played Lord of the Rings or whatever game it is, but I agree it’s probably difficult to make a ‘cheap’ cinquedea. They seem to be somewhat prestige items, associated with Claccisism in the Renaissance. I’ve seen some cheap type ones but usually they are what you might call ‘pseudo cinquedea’. By coincidence I was discussing this with [HEMA translator] Christian Trosclair on the phone last night. Nobody is really certain precisely how conquedea were used, though there may possibly be some references to them, or a class of weapons which include them, in some manuals.July 21, 2021 at 11:50 pm #2592
The historical (as opposed to fantasy) flail, starting with the Hussite flail
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