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Thread: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

  1. #41

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    The weapons are real. Real weapons are not art. If they are art, the crossbow stock would look like fancy ones of the nobility. I'm not following your thinking pattern. If you say that the weapons depict the optimum rather than the real, then the very existence of these weapons show they are capable of achieving the optimum. Increasibg stock length of 71 cm isn't a engineering marvel, it's easy and cheap to do. amAnd if it represents the optimum then that means the long powerstroke is something they want. So we know they want it and they can make it. So what's the problem?



    That's a Han crossbow stock of 70cm, THAT is art. It's sleek and fancy, something Qin crossbows in the terracotta army lacks.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 17, 2017 at 05:52 PM.

  2. #42

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    The weapons are real. Real weapons are not art. If they are art, the crossbow stock would look like fancy ones of the nobility. I'm not following your thinking pattern. If you say that the weapons depict the optimum rather than the real, then the very existence of these weapons show they are capable of achieving the optimum. Increasibg stock length of 71 cm isn't a engineering marvel, it's easy and cheap to do. amAnd if it represents the optimum then that means the long powerstroke is something they want. So we know they want it and they can make it. So what's the problem?



    That's a Han crossbow stock of 70cm, THAT is art. It's sleek and fancy, something Qin crossbows in the terracotta army lacks.
    That doesn't contradicts any point that I raised. There are many ways to explain theses finds and their differences. And that's the point I'm trying to make. There is simply not enough evidence presented to defend any single idea, and using a multitude of evidences from different times also raise problems.

    Note, I do not think it's impossible that the crossbows were fully functional pieces, not different from battlefield ones, but they might not be representative in numbers of the most common type. Moreover, I think the problem raised previously by other posters what that we don't know how powerful was the prod in those crossbows.
    Last edited by sanbourne; December 17, 2017 at 07:15 PM.
    "We will bring Rome to them not because of the strength of our legions, but because we are right"

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  3. #43

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Everything else in terms if weaponry is functional, I don't know why you think crossbows that were found are not. It is against Occam's Razor. There are many ways to explain a lot of things, that doesn't mean those explanations are reasonable. Just look at the flat-earthers.

    So tell me, on what basis do you think a long stock would prevent the crossbow from being fully functional? You need a basis, if you just believe whatever is convenient then you can prove anything. It'll just be wrong. Also, the size of most Qin triggers appear to be around the same size as the Han six stone trigger, which indicates more or less the same draw weight.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 17, 2017 at 09:17 PM.

  4. #44

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    The weapons are real. Real weapons are not art. If they are art, the crossbow stock would look like fancy ones of the nobility. I'm not following your thinking pattern. If you say that the weapons depict the optimum rather than the real, then the very existence of these weapons show they are capable of achieving the optimum. Increasibg stock length of 71 cm isn't a engineering marvel, it's easy and cheap to do. amAnd if it represents the optimum then that means the long powerstroke is something they want. So we know they want it and they can make it. So what's the problem?



    That's a Han crossbow stock of 70cm, THAT is art. It's sleek and fancy, something Qin crossbows in the terracotta army lacks.

    Can you provide the source for that Han stock? your previous postings made no mention of qrchaeological finds for Han stocks.

    i would like to point out that without the prod, we don't know the brace height we can be certain of the ppwerstroke length. And as you pointed out, this is different from the Qin desitn, so you can't assert the prod is the same as the Qin desing. A highly arched prod with a significant brace height.

    You have undermined your own intial argument - that the Han crossbows were similar in design to the Qin, but now you are saying they are not. This "Han" stock reminds me of the Ming like the Yao Kai Nu which had short powerstroke lengths.
    So after repeatedly makint one argument, you now have a different, equally unproven.

  5. #45

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    First of all, I only said it looks fancier. If you think that would make a significant difference in performance, that's your opinion, and it would be a wrong one. I only said Qin and Han crossbows should have more or less the same length, whether one is fancier than the other I said nothing about. You are grasping at anything you can put your hands on here.

    Qin stocks are 71.6 cm, the Han stock shown is 70cm, the difference in length is negligible. However, I didn't use this as evidence because it's a fancy sleek stock for the nobility found in the tomb of Mawangdui. It may strengthen my argument but it is not a stock for soldiers. I don't use it because I have standards and don't use or believe whatever is convenient at the moment.

    The picture is shown for purpose of what a crossbow stock would look like if it was made as an art, instead of just for functionality like the crossbows of soldiers.

    On the other hand, what proof did you provide than Han crossbow powerstrokes were just as short as Medieval European ones? What Han era stock did you provide? You say Han crossbows have short powerstrokes because a dynasty literally well over a millennium later have crossbows with short powerstrokes. As of yet, that's your only 'proof'. Yet the Qin is only one dynasty before the Han, and the Qin crossbows have long powerstrokes and most of the triggers found are the same size as that of the Han six stone trigger. You think a dynasty that is one year apart could not be used as a representative, yet a dynasty of 1,200 years part could be used as a representative. That's double standard.

    i would like to point out that without the prod, we don't know the brace height we can be certain of the ppwerstroke length.
    You used Ming crossbow as representative of Han crossbow powerstroke, so I don't know why you are not using Ming crossbow brace height as representative for Han crossbow brace height. Ming crossbow brace height was described to be 2 cun or 2.6 inches. Instead it seems you would rather believe that the Han brace height is comically high, because for a 28 inch stock (that you apparently THINK I was using to represent Han crossbows) only a comically high brace height would be enough for the powerstroke to be as low as the powerstroke of Medieval European crossbows. I also don't know what reason the Han would have to use a comically high brace height.

    This "Han" stock reminds me of the Ming like the Yao Kai Nu which had short powerstroke lengths.
    The Ming YaoKaiNu has a stock much shorter than the stock shown above (21 inches vs 28 inches), that's why its powerstroke is shorter, but the YaoKaiNu's powerstroke is still twice as long as powerstrokes for Medieval European crossbows, despite the YaoKaiNu having a much shorter stock and similar draw strength. That is the advantage of having a compact trigger.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 17, 2017 at 10:28 PM.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Anyway, here is the Han six stone trigger:





    It was excavated in 1983 in HuanXian, now located in the HuanXian Museum. The etchings say that the trigger is for a six stone (~387 lbs)crossbow, and that it was made during the YongYuan era (which is 89-105 AD). The length is 12 cm, the width 3.5 cm, the "wangshan" is 7.5 cm, and the handle is 8 cm. It weighs 1,250 grams (2.76 lbs).

    In comparison, Qin crossbow triggers were only 8 cm in length, but its short length is due to the lack of a trigger box (and the box wouldn't contribute to trigger pull). With a box, its length would probably approach 12 cm. Qin handles were 8 cm and the wangshan, if counting only from the surface of the stock to the top, is 5.66 cm while the entire thing is 8.24 cm. So when you judge the moving parts, the amount of force both triggers are designed to handle seems to be more or less the same.

  7. #47

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    First of all, I only said it looks fancier. If you think that would make a significant difference in performance, that's your opinion, and it would be a wrong one. I only said Qin and Han crossbows should have more or less the same length, whether one is fancier than the other I said nothing about. You are grasping at anything you can put your hands on here.

    Qin stocks are 71.6 cm, the Han stock shown is 70cm, the difference in length is negligible. However, I didn't use this as evidence because it's a fancy sleek stock for the nobility found in the tomb of Mawangdui. It may strengthen my argument but it is not a stock for soldiers. I don't use it because I have standards and don't use or believe whatever is convenient at the moment.

    The picture is shown for purpose of what a crossbow stock would look like if it was made as an art, instead of just for functionality like the crossbows of soldiers.

    On the other hand, what proof did you provide than Han crossbow powerstrokes were just as short as Medieval European ones? What Han era stock did you provide? You say Han crossbows have short powerstrokes because a dynasty literally well over a millennium later have crossbows with short powerstrokes. As of yet, that's your only 'proof'. Yet the Qin is only one dynasty before the Han, and the Qin crossbows have long powerstrokes and most of the triggers found are the same size as th?at of the Han six stone trigger. You think a dynasty that is one year apart could not be used as a representative, yet a dynasty of 1,200 years part could be used as a representative. That's double standard.



    You used Ming crossbow as representative of Han crossbow powerstroke, so I don't know why you think Ming brace height is not. Ming crossbow brace height was described to be 2 cun or 2.6 inches. Instead it seems you would rather believe that the Han brace height is comically high, because for a 28 inch stock (that you apparently THINK I was using to represent Han crossbows) only a comically high brace height would be enough for the powerstroke to be as low as the powerstroke of Medieval European crossbows.

    You have avoided answering the question directly asked you as to where did the source of the Han crossbow stock come from. You didn't mention it in your earlier postings, if you gave the source in a later posting I ovdrlooked, then say so.

    Your entire argument is based on the Han crossbows being the same as rhe Qin, and now that is not some. The differences that we see may only be superficial, but there could have been more significant differences that did not get preserved. This entire debate could be ended if you could provide actual powerstoke average lengths for Han dynasty crossbows. If you can't provide such data, be honest and admit it. I would like you to explain why we don't have similar data for Han and later dynasty crossbows. Later dynasties buried all kinds of weapons and complicated medhqnsims in their tombs, so we can't use the lack of burial argument. If a few got preserved in Qin tombs, then some should have gotten preserved in Han tombs too. I don't understand why the Han and later dynasties made an exception to crossbows when other weapons were buried, or why the Qin tombs did so much better job of preserving them.

    You want to assume the Han powerstrokes were the same as the Qin, fine, but it is an assumption. Only a 100 years separate the Ming from the Song, but the crossbow design changed radically in that time. Same thing could happened between the Qin and the Han. As for the Ming, unlike for the Han, we don't have to infer or guess at the measurements like we do for the Han. When we don't have to rely on assumptions, but based on actual measurements, independently we notice that for high draw weights we have much shorter powerstroke lemgths than is alleged for the Han and Song crossbows.

    And you still haven't satisfactorily explained why the Yao Kai Nu has such a short powerstroke. You seem to avoid the issue, but it is central to this entire thread. You might explain the short powerstrokes on the other Ming crossbows because they were regulated to the function of a pistol, but that does not apply to the Yao Kai Nu. It was no pistol. Why did it have such a short powerstroke compared to the Han or Song crossbows? So fqr, you haven't provided a valid answer. It clearly wasn't lack of a trigger mechanism, the Yao Kai Nu trigger was strong enough. And since the Yao Kai Nu stock was only 0.52 m, it ckearly could have been made longer for a longer powerstroke. So why go for what you have said is an inferior design, the Ming were not stupid, unless the shorter powerstroke provided advantages you overlooked?

    On European crossbows, the short powerstroke meant you could use mechanical aids such as goat's levers, cranequin, or rope and pulley windlasses, but the Chinese design precluded such mechanical aids, since there was no empty straight stock you could attack aan aid to, since the trigger was at the back, and I am not sure the Chinese trigger could be mored easily to the middle with a straight stock. It would be an awkward rdach of the trigger if it was in the middle with a straighr stock. You could use a rifle but type addition to the stock to extend it qnd make the trigger accessible, but then you couldn't attach a pulley and rope windlass, or a goat's lever to the bow. Europeans with their long horizontal trigger did not have this issue. I suppose you could have a trigger handle coming down from the center the stock to allow the crossbowman's hand to support the rear of the bow, bur I don't recall seeing it ever done.

    If you use a short stock, about the only mechanical aid you could use would be a windlass at the end, but you wouldn't be able to use a douple of pulleys to give you mechanical advantage that the European rope and pulley windlasses had, making it much harder to crank. Which is probably why you don't see the Chinese usint mechanicals on even the big Yao Kai Nu, except for belt hook, for handheld crossbows.

    PS - You said in an earlier posting that a Ming crossbow was small enough to hang from the belt. A Jue Zhang Nu Mint crossbow still had a 76 cm/2.5 ft prod, which i think would be a trip hazard hangig from your belt. You woule be better off hanging it over your shoulder, as we see shown for medieval European crossbows. Do we have any Ming pictures showint them hanging from the belt on foot? Wouldn't be an issue for a horseman though. .
    Last edited by Common Soldier; December 17, 2017 at 11:33 PM. Reason: added comment about ming crossbows on belt

  8. #48

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    You have avoided answering the question directly asked you as to where did the source of the Han crossbow stock come from. You didn't mention it in your earlier postings, if you gave the source in a later posting I ovdrlooked, then say so.

    Your entire argument is based on the Han crossbows being the same as rhe Qin, and now that is not some. The differences that we see may only be superficial, but there could have been more significant differences that did not get preserved. This entire debate could be ended if you could provide actual powerstoke average lengths for Han dynasty crossbows. If you can't provide such data, be honest and admit it. I would like you to explain why we don't have similar data for Han and later dynasty crossbows. Later dynasties buried all kinds of weapons and complicated medhqnsims in their tombs, so we can't use the lack of burial argument. If a few got preserved in Qin tombs, then some should have gotten preserved in Han tombs too. I don't understand why the Han and later dynasties made an exception to crossbows when other weapons were buried, or why the Qin tombs did so much better job of preserving them.

    You want to assume the Han powerstrokes were the same as the Qin, fine, but it is an assumption. Only a 100 years separate the Ming from the Song, but the crossbow design changed radically in that time. Same thing could happened between the Qin and the Han. As for the Ming, unlike for the Han, we don't have to infer or guess at the measurements like we do for the Han. When we don't have to rely on assumptions, but based on actual measurements, independently we notice that for high draw weights we have much shorter powerstroke lemgths than is alleged for the Han and Song crossbows.

    And you still haven't satisfactorily explained why the Yao Kai Nu has such a short powerstroke. You seem to avoid the issue, but it is central to this entire thread. You might explain the short powerstrokes on the other Ming crossbows because they were regulated to the function of a pistol, but that does not apply to the Yao Kai Nu. It was no pistol. Why did it have such a short powerstroke compared to the Han or Song crossbows? So fqr, you haven't provided a valid answer. It clearly wasn't lack of a trigger mechanism, the Yao Kai Nu trigger was strong enough. And since the Yao Kai Nu stock was only 0.52 m, it ckearly could have been made longer for a longer powerstroke. So why go for what you have said is an inferior design, the Ming were not stupid, unless the shorter powerstroke provided advantages you overlooked?

    On European crossbows, the short powerstroke meant you could use mechanical aids such as goat's levers, cranequin, or rope and pulley windlasses, but the Chinese design precluded such mechanical aids, since there was no empty straight stock you could attack aan aid to, since the trigger was at the back, and I am not sure the Chinese trigger could be mored easily to the middle with a straight stock. It would be an awkward rdach of the trigger if it was in the middle with a straighr stock. You could use a rifle but type addition to the stock to extend it qnd make the trigger accessible, but then you couldn't attach a pulley and rope windlass, or a goat's lever to the bow. Europeans with their long horizontal trigger did not have this issue. I suppose you could have a trigger handle coming down from the center the stock to allow the crossbowman's hand to support the rear of the bow, bur I don't recall seeing it ever done.

    If you use a short stock, about the only mechanical aid you could use would be a windlass at the end, but you wouldn't be able to use a douple of pulleys to give you mechanical advantage that the European rope and pulley windlasses had, making it much harder to crank. Which is probably why you don't see the Chinese usint mechanicals on even the big Yao Kai Nu, except for belt hook, for handheld crossbows.

    PS - You said in an earlier posting that a Ming crossbow was small enough to hang from the belt. A Jue Zhang Nu Mint crossbow still had a 76 cm/2.5 ft prod, which i think would be a trip hazard hangig from your belt. You woule be better off hanging it over your shoulder, as we see shown for medieval European crossbows. Do we have any Ming pictures showint them hanging from the belt on foot? Wouldn't be an issue for a horseman though. .
    There is more than one way to prove something, not just the one way you demand. (That goes double when the standard you demand is not something you yourself met at all, in fact you've met it far less.). Moving parts of Qin crossbow triggers are the same size as the Han six stone (387 lbs draw weight) trigger, and Qin crossbow stock lengths are 28 inches. We even have terracotta warriors shown in a sitting position, drawing the string with their feet. All these shows high draw weights with a 20 inch powerstroke. So we know that they are capable of building the technology, and we know that they want such a technology from their records, and we know they claim to have such a technology. You ignore Occam's razor.



    There is a word for discounting evidence on basis that repeated "bad luck" made it unrepresentative. It's called ignoring evidence.

    You think Ming crossbows of more than a thousand years later are somehow representative of Han crossbow powerstroke length, yet you ignore that Qin crossbows are only a year apart (as opposed to more than 1000 years) and you think they don't represent Han crossbow powerstroke.

    We only have information on LATE Ming crossbows, not early Ming crossbows. So it is not 100 years of difference. The late Ming had firearms and other hard hitting gunpowder weapons which replaced the crossbow. The Ming author himself admitted as much. The Han did not have firearms and other hard hitting gunpowder weapons to replace the hard-hitting capability of the crossbow. And just because you know both the powerstroke and draw weight of the Ming crossbow, does not mean you can say that any of them are the same as that for the Han crossbow. It is a ridiculous assumption.

    I have not avoided the issue of the YaoKainu, you're just not reading. I repeat what I told you before:
    Now, the YaoKaiNu have a powerstroke of 12 inches as opposed the the 6.5 inches of the JueZhangNu. This is already a significant increase in powerstroke length already. The author can't increase it by anymore with the stock length that he is used to. If a 12 inch powerstroke can support a 1050 lb draw weight prod, then why can't a 19 inch powerstroke support a far smaller draw weight of 400 lbs?
    I have already stated that its short powerstroke is due to its short stock like all the other Ming crossbow stocks, but ancient Qin/Han/Song crossbows do not suffer this. The author may simply be used to using short stocks for crossbows, because that's all he ever experienced. On the other hand, you have ignored how even the YaoKaiNu STILL have a powerstroke that is twice that of Meideval European crossbows anyways. You argued that there is an inverse relationship between draw force and draw length. The YaoKaiNu have 1050 lbs in draw weight and 14 inch draw length. By your argument, as draw strength decreases powerstroke would increase given the same brace height. So a 387 lb ancient-medieval Chinese crossbow would have a much higher draw length than 14 inches because its draw weight of 387 lbs < 1050 lbs of the YaoKaiNu. Such as...


    ^Definitely stronger than a hand-drawn crossbow of a single man (~200 lbs), I would say it's around 400 lbs.

    The JueZhangNu's prod length may be around the same as that of a Medieval windlass crossbow, but the JueZhangNu's stock length is way shorter than that of a Medieval windlass European crossbow. So in total the space it takes is a much smaller area.

    Do we have any Ming pictures showint them hanging from the belt on foot?
    This is my third time giving this picture, and I linked to it too. The crossbow is circled in red each time too.



    As I've said before, all three crossbows are to scale. The Ming crossbow is obviously the smaller than the Medieval windlass despite having around the same powerstroke. You can sling the Medieval crossbow across the shoulder, but for the Ming crossbow you also have the option to attach it to the back of your belt as shown in the picture provided. However, when fighting with a two handed weapon, you cannot sling the crossbow across your shoulder because that requires one hand, and you are already using a two handed weapon. For a Ming crossbow you can just attach it to behind your belt. For the Han crossbow and Medieval crossbow you'll have to drop the crossbow entirely.

    Chinese crossbows used mechanical aides for shooting speed:



    There is even evidence of a Han one for a windlass:



    But generally speaking ancient-Medieval military HANDHELD crossbows don't use one, as their long powerstroke allows hand drawn crossbows to be even more powerful than Medieval European winched crossbows. They already had great amounts of shooting power without a mechanical aide, so there's less need to drag a mechanical aide around.
    A video was shown here in which a 160 lb Chinese replica seems to do similarly in shooting power as the 975 lb windlass replica of Medieval Europe:
    http://historum.com/asian-history/13...4?postcount=27

    The double pulley of Tod Todeschini's steel crossbow of 1250 lbs draw weight, still only resulted in 140 joules. Some heavy warbows could fire at around that level of power.

    1) You have not shown any Han stocks with powerstroke as short as that of Medieval European crossbows. I have at least shown that Qin average excavated stocks were around 28 inches, with powerstroke around 20 inches if not more, and a draw weight of 387 lbs given that its trigger's moving parts are the same as that of the Han 387 lb draw weight trigger. This meant it was within the capability of ancient Chinese to do, and they wanted to do it,and the Qin did it in scale. Six stone crossbows were also the most common crossbows of the Han as shown by the Chu_yen Slips.
    2) I have shown that the Song ShenBiNu was recorded to have 1 meter stock length and draw weight of several hundred pounds, read the link provided. All you have is "oh we know Ming crossbow powerstroke/draw weight, so they must represent the powerstroke/draw weight of crossbows more than 1000 years earlier." This is despite the fact that Ming crossbows stocks are terribly short, that they put the prod behind the front of the crossbow, and have a cheek rest, all of which contributes to its short powerstroke. Ancient to Medieval Chinese military crossbows don't share these qualities. They are THE weapon, not just a sidearm like Ming crossbows.
    3) You have shown zero evidence why a long stock of 28 inches or so could not support a crossbow prod of 387 lbs. That's pretty much what your entire argument relies on, otherwise there's nothing stopping the Chinese from having long powerstroke crossbows except when something better comes along (gunpowder weapons such as firearms)
    4) In your very first post of this thread, you argue that there seems to be an "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length", meaning that as draw force decreases, draw length increases. The YaoKaiNu has a draw force of 1055 lbs, with a draw length of ~14 inches (powerstroke ~12 inches). Ergo, an ancient to medieval Chinese crossbow with 1/3 the draw weight, would have a powerstroke well over 12 inches. And they could do this because of their longer stock. This conclusion is made by your logic of "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length".



    Now let's see the evidence available here for ancient-medieval Chinese crossbows:

    1) Chu-Yen slips show high draw weight for most crossbows

    2) Chu-Yen records show high penetration power, able to shoot through a wooden wall (fence?) At 252 meters. This is only possible with long powerstroke.

    3) Records of Wu and Yue's arrow grading scale indicate higher crossbow power as draw weight increases. Which wouldn't make sense without long powerstroke.

    4) Song Shi indicate even longer powerstroke, along with high draw weight.

    5) Written records indicate high shooting power, more than that of a bow, which is only possible with powerstroke way longer than that of Medieval European crossbows of ~6 inches.

    6) We know they had the technology for compact triggers that allow high powerstroke and high draw weight.

    7) All Qin military crossbow stocks excavated are around 28 inches long, and all of their trigger's moving parts are the same size as that of a Han six stone trigger (387 lbs draw weight)



    Evidence against ancient-medieval long powerstroke for Chinese crossbows:


    A Ming military blog(I admit an impressive one) whose author later changed his mind when shown additional evidence. So he would actually agree with me now.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 18, 2017 at 09:37 AM.

  9. #49

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Despite repeated request, information has not been provided on the source of the alleged Han crossbow stock a picturee was provided up - no information of where the stock came from (from a legitimate excavation or from the black blackmarket on an illegal dig). Picture appears to be from a museum display, but no caption is shown, and given the reliability of Chinese museums (one was shut down because every item in it was a fake), and China is home to the world's leading forgeries, that picture will have to be dismissed as evidence until more information is provided.

    Which leaves us with draw weight data from one dynasty, and crossbow dimension from another dynasty, witn the assumption they are the same for both dynasties, which might not be a valid assumption. The average draw weighrs of the QinIn might have been lighter than the Han, and while it is likely they were the same, it is very possible they were not.

    If assumption is wrong, and the powerstroke on Han crossbows was not a long powerstroke, then the mystery of why the Yao Kai Nu had a short powserstroke is solved - the Ming Yao Kai Nu just continued the design from earlier dynasties.

    If the Han dynasty crossbows really had long powerstrokes and high draw weights, then the mystery remains. The argument that the Yao Kai Nu had a short stroke because it had a short stock is nonsense, because the Ming could have just built the Yao Kai Nu with a longer stock if they wanted a longer powestroke. To imply the Ming could not build longer crossbow stocks is so laughable it doesn' need refuting.

    Nor is the argument that the short powestroke was because of the Ming trigger. The Ming trigger could handle the load, and there is no reason they could not be used on a longer stock for a longer powerstroke. Nor were the Ming stupid, so they either deliberately powerstroke for some advantage, or because they could not make a long powerstroke and high draw weight for some reason other than because of trigger or stock.

    As for advantage, I am not sure what it would have been. Unlike European crossbows, the Chinese did not use mechanical aids in cocking their crossbows. A short powerstroke is an advantage in using mechanica. aid. And with a 2 m prod, the Ming Kai Nu wasn't made significaly more wieldy with a shorter powerstroke. It might be that it is ergonomically easier to pull a high weight a shortet distance than a lower weight a longer distance, but that is speculation.

    As for what factor could have prevented the Ming from making a high draw weight and a longpower stroke, the only thing I can think of is the Ming were unable to make prods with the right properties to do so. Modern reconstructionist have been unable to produce Chinese crossbows with high draw weights (300+ lbs) and lopower strokes, being able to produce Han crossbows with only a low 160 lbs.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; December 18, 2017 at 02:18 PM.

  10. #50

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    You read absolutely nothing from any of my posts, have you? Anyway...

    Despite repeated request, information has not been provided on the source of the alleged Han crossbow stock a picturee was provided up - no information of where the stock came from (from a legitimate excavation or from the black blackmarket on an illegal dig). Picture appears to be from a museum display, but no caption is shown, and given the reliability of Chinese museums (one was shut down because every item in it was a fake), and China is home to the world's leading forgeries, that picture will have to be dismissed as evidence until more information is provided.
    In post 48 I told you: First of all, I only said it looks fancier. If you think that would make a significant difference in performance, that's your opinion, and it would be a wrong one. I only said Qin and Han crossbows should have more or less the same length, whether one is fancier than the other I said nothing about. You are grasping at anything you can put your hands on here.

    Qin stocks are 71.6 cm, the Han stock shown is 70cm, the difference in length is negligible. However, I didn't use this as evidence because it's a fancy sleek stock for the nobility found in the tomb of Mawangdui. It may strengthen my argument but it is not a stock for soldiers. I don't use it because I have standards and don't use or believe whatever is convenient at the moment.

    you can easily google search "Mawangdui" and "crossbow" to get the information you need. And if you are going to discount the source anyways (and I've already told you I'm not using it as a source), then why do you even bother asking as if it matters....

    Which leaves us with draw weight data from one dynasty, and crossbow dimension from another dynasty, witn the assumption they are the same for both dynasties, which might not be a valid assumption. The average draw weighrs of the QinIn might have been lighter than the Han, and while it is likely they were the same, it is very possible they were not.
    In post 46 I've told you:

    Anyway, here is the Han six stone trigger:





    It was excavated in 1983 in HuanXian, now located in the HuanXian Museum. The etchings say that the trigger is for a six stone (~387 lbs)crossbow, and that it was made during the YongYuan era (which is 89-105 AD). The length is 12 cm, the width 3.5 cm, the "wangshan" is 7.5 cm, and the handle is 8 cm. It weighs 1,250 grams (2.76 lbs).

    In comparison, Qin crossbow triggers were only 8 cm in length, but its short length is due to the lack of a trigger box (and the box wouldn't contribute to trigger pull). With a box, its length would probably approach 12 cm. Qin handles were 8 cm and the wangshan, if counting only from the surface of the stock to the top, is 5.66 cm while the entire thing is 8.24 cm. So when you judge the moving parts, the amount of force both triggers are designed to handle seems to be more or less the same.

    If assumption is wrong, and the powerstroke on Han crossbows was not a long powerstroke, then the mystery of why the Yao Kai Nu had a short powserstroke is solved - the Ming Yao Kai Nu just continued the design from earlier dynasties.

    If the Han dynasty crossbows really had long powerstrokes and high draw weights, then the mystery remains. The argument that the Yao Kai Nu had a short stroke because it had a short stock is nonsense, because the Ming could have just built the Yao Kai Nu with a longer stock if they wanted a longer powestroke. To imply the Ming could not build longer crossbow stocks is so laughable it doesn' need refuting.
    In post 48 I've told you:
    In your very first post of this thread, you argue that there seems to be an "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length", meaning that as draw force decreases, draw length increases. The YaoKaiNu has a draw force of 1055 lbs, with a draw length of ~14 inches (powerstroke ~12 inches). Ergo, an ancient to medieval Chinese crossbow with 1/3 the draw weight, would have a powerstroke well over 12 inches. And they could do this because of their longer stock. This conclusion is made by your logic of "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length".

    Ergo, your YaoKaiNu example does not show that typical Han crossbows were limited to 12 inch powerstroke, it shows that Han crossbows had powerstroke well over 12 inches.

    Nor is the argument that the short powestroke was because of the Ming trigger. The Ming trigger could handle the load, and there is no reason they could not be used on a longer stock for a longer powerstroke. Nor were the Ming stupid, so they either deliberately powerstroke for some advantage, or because they could not make a long powerstroke and high draw weight for some reason other than because of trigger or stock.

    Nobody here made that argument. You are refuting an argument nobody here made.

    Let's turn what you said around:

    Despite repeated request, information has not been provided on the source of the alleged short Han crossbow stock, not even a picture has been provided- no information on any short Han dynasty powerstroke came from.

    Which leaves us with draw weight and crossbow dimension from another dynasty set more than 1000 years later, with the assumption they are the same for both dynasties, which might not be a valid assumption. The average draw weights of the Ming might have been heavier than the Han, and it is very possible they were not. The draw weight and powerstroke of the dynasty 1 year before (as opposed to 1000 years later) is ignored.

    If assumption is wrong, and the powerstroke on Han crossbows was not a short powerstroke, then the mystery of why the Yao Kai Nu had a short powserstroke is solved – draw weight and draw length have an inverse relationship, so Han crossbows would have much higher draw length than the YaoKaiNu

    If the Han dynasty crossbows really had short powerstrokes and low draw weights, then the mystery remains. The argument that the Yao Kai Nu is reflective reflective of Han powerstroke is nonsense, because as Common Soldier admitted himself, draw weights have a inverse relationship with draw length, so the YaoKaiNu would have a much lower draw length than that of the Han due to the YaoKaiNu’s great draw weight.

    And the attack on the argument that the short powestroke was because of the Ming trigger is nonsense, because nobody in this thread made that argument. The Ming crossbow had a short stock, which decreased powerstroke length, because it was used as a sidearm rather than as a big weapon.

    As for advantage, I am not sure what it would have been. Unlike Chinese crossbows, the European crossbows did not use mechanical aids in cocking their crossbows. A long powerstroke is an advantage in that it does not require a mechanical aide to reach the same level of power. And with such a short powerstroke, the European windlass crossbow is made very slow and cumbersome as the prod must be way stiffer, and hence heavier, in order to achieve the same potential energy. It might be that it is ergonomically easier to pull a low weight a longer distance than a higher weight a shorter distance, but that is speculation.

    As for what factor could have prevented the European crossbows from making a high draw weight and a longpower stroke, the only thing I can think of is they were unable to make triggers with the right properties to do so. Modern reconstructionist have been unable to produce Medieval European crossbows with long powerstroke (15+ inches) and high draw weights, without making it the size of field artillery or bigger.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 18, 2017 at 03:22 PM.

  11. #51
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    you can easily google search "Mawangdui" and "crossbow" to get the information you need. And if you are going to discount the source anyways (and I've already told you I'm not using it as a source), then why do you even bother asking as if it matters....
    I'm noticing a consistent pattern with your posts here. You have refused several times now to refer to an actual academic source to back up any of your claims, which I view as more and more spurious as the discussion continues. Googling "Mawangdui" and "crossbow" yields basically no relevant results. From what I know the Mawangdui tombs of Lady Dai and the Marquis of Dai, Li Cang, did not have any crossbows. You could easily dispel this by linking to an academic source like I mentioned previously, preferably with a quote this time.

    By the way, I know of a Western Han crossbow, an image I've seen on Wiki for years. It comes from the Guimet Museum in Paris. See? Was that so hard?
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...seCrossbow.JPG
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Just to be thorough and to demonstrate what I've been saying about validating your claims with actual academic references, here's a University of Washington webpage ("depts.washington.edu") showing an inventory of Han-dynasty-period artifacts from the Musée Guimet, including the crossbow I have shown and linked to above.

    https://depts.washington.edu/silkroa...gchinahan.html

    See! That was easy! Right? You should do that with each of your posts from now on, if you want to hush up your detractors.

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    Yang Hong is a book written by a historian. Not a blog. I did not use a blog as a source, where did I do that?
    Lol. Seriously? It was your very first post in this thread, addressed to me no less:

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    If you think that is entertaining, I suggest you read this: http://historum.com/asian-history/13...ossbow-ii.html

    It addresses everything questioned here with historical/archaeological sourcing to back it up.
    Yeah, we're going to need a citation and full reference info for these alleged archaeologists at this point. Surely you can do that for us. Right?

    I summarized the sources on post 35. You should read it.
    You made a list of a bunch of primary sources, ancient bamboo slips found in tombs and the Song shi written hundreds of years ago. How about something vetted by a modern historian, at least from the latter half of the 20th century? No? You can't find any? I'm not sure why you are so averse to explaining where you get all these ideas of yours and if they are claims made by actual scholars and professionals in the fields of archaeology, sinology, or military history. By that I mean people who are actually tied to a university or other credible institution like a library, museum, or research facility.

    Give us one link. Come on! Give it a try!

    Plus, the news article is filled with click bait. If I took the article for granted, then 800 meters is a hell of a range. There are other Qin crossbow stocks with the dimensions available. This one is intact enough that we can see the string. But that does not mean there aren't older finds in which we can measure the stock length. I guarantee you that if you search through the same click-bait heading you will find at least another excavated crossbow which looks to be the same length. That's because click-bait news isn't trustworthy. Also, if Yang Hong was just guessing, then that is one hell of an accurate guess based on the newest find available. Such articles also claim it has the power of an AK-47 and other BS. This would actually support my argument, but I don't use these sources because they are click-bait. I can, however, use the recorded dimensions...
    It's easy to criticize a news article by a bunch of journalists who have to dumb down things for the general public, but apparently for you it's much harder to produce a link of your own to a much better website of some sort, preferably with an ".edu" domain at this point. You keep referring to all of these Qin crossbows when, from what I can tell, you haven't actually made a single quote or link from a single archaeologist by name. Surely if this stuff is so self-evident you could find a link for us in two seconds? Right?

    Meanwhile, here's an article from the Scientific American back in 2014, which makes no mention of intact crossbow stocks. In fact, it specifically talks about the bronze trigger mechanisms and tips, due to the wood or bamboo rotting away centuries ago. It's the little things like this, HackneyedScribe, which casts doubt onto pretty much all of your claims thus far.

  12. #52

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    A good way I see this going foward that is not the same small pieces of information repreated over and over again is a physical reconstruction to test the viability of the crossbow and how it would operate. I wonder why there have never been any?
    "We will bring Rome to them not because of the strength of our legions, but because we are right"

    "The Romans had left marble and stone, brick and glory."

  13. #53

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I'm noticing a consistent pattern with your posts here. You have refused several times now to refer to an actual academic source to back up any of your claims, which I view as more and more spurious as the discussion continues. Googling "Mawangdui" and "crossbow" yields basically no relevant results. From what I know the Mawangdui tombs of Lady Dai and the Marquis of Dai, Li Cang, did not have any crossbows. You could easily dispel this by linking to an academic source like I mentioned previously, preferably with a quote this time.

    By the way, I know of a Western Han crossbow, an image I've seen on Wiki for years. It comes from the Guimet Museum in Paris. See? Was that so hard?
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...seCrossbow.JPG
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Just to be thorough and to demonstrate what I've been saying about validating your claims with actual academic references, here's a University of Washington webpage ("depts.washington.edu") showing an inventory of Han-dynasty-period artifacts from the Musée Guimet, including the crossbow I have shown and linked to above.

    https://depts.washington.edu/silkroa...gchinahan.html

    See! That was easy! Right? You should do that with each of your posts from now on, if you want to hush up your detractors.



    Lol. Seriously? It was your very first post in this thread, addressed to me no less:



    Yeah, we're going to need a citation and full reference info for these alleged archaeologists at this point. Surely you can do that for us. Right?



    You made a list of a bunch of primary sources, ancient bamboo slips found in tombs and the Song shi written hundreds of years ago. How about something vetted by a modern historian, at least from the latter half of the 20th century? No? You can't find any? I'm not sure why you are so averse to explaining where you get all these ideas of yours and if they are claims made by actual scholars and professionals in the fields of archaeology, sinology, or military history. By that I mean people who are actually tied to a university or other credible institution like a library, museum, or research facility.

    Give us one link. Come on! Give it a try!



    It's easy to criticize a news article by a bunch of journalists who have to dumb down things for the general public, but apparently for you it's much harder to produce a link of your own to a much better website of some sort, preferably with an ".edu" domain at this point. You keep referring to all of these Qin crossbows when, from what I can tell, you haven't actually made a single quote or link from a single archaeologist by name. Surely if this stuff is so self-evident you could find a link for us in two seconds? Right?

    Meanwhile, here's an article from the Scientific American back in 2014, which makes no mention of intact crossbow stocks. In fact, it specifically talks about the bronze trigger mechanisms and tips, due to the wood or bamboo rotting away centuries ago. It's the little things like this, HackneyedScribe, which casts doubt onto pretty much all of your claims thus far.
    You make it sounds as if anyone else is providing the quotes. I gave the author and title for my sources which is more than the ZERO amount of sources anyone else gave, unless you call unnamed historians as sources. Your crossbow picture, for example, came from the Guimet museum (good job finding the museum) with no info on where it's excavated or whether it was a military crossbow or a recreational crossbow for the nobility. That's not good enough for me. If you think it's source worthy then you post it using your own argument, I don't want to use it as a part of my argument.. That's why I didn't use it. It falls below my standard for evidence. If you can give evidence on where the crossbow is excavated, and if it is still relevant to the discussion (such as proving it is a military crossbow rather than the fancy crossbows of the nobility), then I will use it.

    Now, if you promise to be as aggressive to everyone else in providing the quotes, or promise to be less aggressive when asking for my quotes, then I promise to provide the quotes. You have my word on that. At least I gave the author and title and where the artifacts were excavated, which is more information on sourcing than anyone else gave. So I don't know why I am the one you are solely targeting as 'highly doubtful', because you already have the author and title for my claims. For other people's claims, you have absolutely nothing. I think it's wishful thinking to expect quotes will 'silence detractors' or whatever you call it.

    Lol. Seriously? It was your very first post in this thread, addressed to me no less:
    You know I wrote that thread, right? It came with a crapload of quotes, and I thought quotes were what you asked for. And I mean specifically the quote on Ming crossbows. The thread isn't the source, the quotes and sources links on the thread is the source. Seriously.

    Also, I've said twice already that I am not using the Mawangdui crossbow as evidence for anything other than that it looks fancy. Maybe I'm not interested in providing it as a source because I'm not using it as a source nor am I using it as evidence. <-- That is my third time saying it. Now, I'm not obligated to give the source on this because I did NOT use it as evidence, I only said it looks 'sleek and fancy'. But since people insist for some reason then here it is: http://61.187.53.122/collection.aspx?id=1295&lang=zh-CN

    ^The website is the website of the Hunan Provincial Museum, which is where the crossbow is currently located.



    It says:
    年代:西汉
    来源:1973年长沙马王堆三号汉墓出土
    尺寸:长70厘米

    Period: Western Han
    Origin: excavated in 1973 from ChangSha MaWangDui number 3 tomb
    Measurement: 70 cm long

    If you don't believe me then look at the Chinese words, and match it with the words in the link. Copy the words I provided and paste it into google translate or something. I didn't use it as evidence because it is a crossbow meant for the nobility, for recreational purposes, and thus not reflective of military crossbows. Albeit chances are military crossbows on average would have a stock longer than recreational crossbows, as recreational crossbows were meant to hunt rabbits and deer, not kill men in armor. Ergo recreational crossbows don't have as much incentive to lengthen powerstroke.

    The following is from a book published in the 1980s with info of Qin excavations as far back as the 1970s showing an excavation of the Qin crossbow, it's apparent that you can estimate stock length from the excavation:

    Book can be bought here: https://book.douban.com/subject/1585277/

    So any present news which claims pre-2015 excavated Qin crossbows were too deteriorated to tell their dimensions would be utter BS as seen by the picture above. Such news is click bait. Don't fall for the click bait.

    Edit: You know what? I'll gives the links here to show the quotes (And again, the thread isn't the source, the quotes I shared in the thread is the source.):

    I've already given the quotes on Yang Hong's mention of Qin crossbow stock length here:
    http://historum.com/asian-history/90...y-7-print.html

    I've already given the quotes on Yang Hong's mention of Han crossbow draw weights here:
    http://historum.com/war-military-his...4?postcount=81

    I've already given the quotes on Medieval European quarrel weights here:
    http://historum.com/war-military-his...7?postcount=88

    Length of draw of Han crossbows were quoted here:
    http://historum.com/asian-history/65...9?postcount=14


    Yang Hong belongs to the category of modern historian, and so is Dirk H Breiding amongst others. These are historians from the last half of the twentieth century. So when you tell me to 'give it a try' on quoting more modern historians, know that I've already did.
    So, in the threads above, who do you think Bart Dale and Snascimento is, using pseudonyms in this thread? Here's a hint, Bart Dale is someone in this thread and Snascimento is someone in this thread. So your statement that giving quotes will somehow convince them is something I find unlikely, because I already gave them the quotes. Fact is I've argued with these guys before and I already gave them the exact quotes you 'asked' for. So I felt less need to do it again. There is a history that you are not aware of. Now that we have established the fact that what I've stated about my sourcing is NOT dubious, it's only fair you demand quotes from everybody else.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 18, 2017 at 10:37 PM.

  14. #54

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    In European crossbows we see an inverse relationship between draw force and draw length - the higher the draw force, the shorter the draw length. Steel crossbows with very high draw force had shorter draw lengths than simple crossbows with lower draw forces.
    This isn't really the case. 15th century military crossbows in europe tended to have a pretty consistent distance between the lathe and the latch of about 7-8 in. There is a bit more variation among surviving steel crossbows than composite ones but it doesn't seem to have any clear correlation with draw weight. The 1200 lb. crossbow described by Payne-Galloway had a power stroke of 7 in., which would have been somewhat above average.

    The reason crossbows were often made with short powerstrokes like this isn't clear but it doesn't seem to be because Europeans couldn't come up with a different trigger design or didn't know how to make more efficient bows. They understood, for example, that you could mount a longbow on a tiller like a crossbow and the result performed more or less equal to a longbow held in the hand, but more accurate. In Anna Komnena's description of the foot-drawn crossbow used by the crusaders she states that groove between where the string latches and the bow was about as long as a regular-sized arrow and that the weapon was very powerful, capable of piercing shields, armor, and bronze statues.

    I've come across a couple of possible reasons that crossbows started to be built with very short draws, Although I still don't know why exactly:

    With a short draw a crossbow could be made more compact/easier to handle.

    A short draw was perhaps considered safer/made the bow less likely to fail catastrophically

    Crossbows made this way perhaps lasted longer or endured weather more effectively. (People make this mistake with longbows a lot. As explained by Barnabe Rich: on the practice range many men using well made sporting bows and carefully selected flight arrows could easily shoot 320-360 yards, but when given sturdy military bows, built to last and withstand weather, and given mass-produced arrows with ruffled or uneven feathers very few could actually shoot more than 200 yards in combat)

    One last thing to keep in mind is that piercing armor isn't everything. Even example crossbows like Todd's which seem to have a very inefficient energy transfer would have no problem punching through shields and armor if loaded with a solid iron bolt weighted with lead, but the resulting shot would travel slowly with a very pronounced arc, making it extremely difficult to aim. A high initial velocity on the other hand greatly improves accuracy since a shooter doesn't have estimate range as accurately and doesn't have to lead a moving target by very much. At the other end of the spectrum "stone crossbows", which were popular sport and hunting weapons and shot a round stone or clay bullet, didn't have a great maxim range due to air resistance and weren't considered very lethal against humans but allowed a good shot to easily hit even a small target at a distance or kill a bird mid-flight.

    ---

    Regarding firearms, the small cannons or fast lances used by the Ming could shoot much farther and with more force than any bow or crossbow but probably weren't as accurate. The ming did consider them very effective against horse archers and nomad armies on the norther frontier though.

    By the 16th century long barreled arquebuses and muskets were becoming far more accurate than any archer or crossbowman was.

  15. #55

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    :
    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    You read absolutely nothing from any of my posts, have you? Anyway...



    In post 48 I told you: First of all, I only said it looks fancier. If you think that would make a significant difference in performance, that's your opinion, and it would be a wrong one. I only said Qin and Han crossbows should have more or less the same length, whether one is fancier than the other I said nothing about. You are grasping at anything you can put your hands on here.

    Qin stocks are 71.6 cm, the Han stock shown is 70cm, the difference in length is negligible. However, I didn't use this as evidence because it's a fancy sleek stock for the nobility found in the tomb of Mawangdui. It may strengthen my argument but it is not a stock for soldiers. I don't use it because I have standards and don't use or believe whatever is convenient at the moment.

    you can easily google search "Mawangdui" and "crossbow" to get the information you need. And if you are going to discount the source anyways (and I've already told you I'm not using it as a source), then why do you even bother asking as if it matters....



    In post 46 I've told you:

    Anyway, here is the Han six stone trigger:





    It was excavated in 1983 in HuanXian, now located in the HuanXian Museum. The etchings say that the trigger is for a six stone (~387 lbs)crossbow, and that it was made during the YongYuan era (which is 89-105 AD). The length is 12 cm, the width 3.5 cm, the "wangshan" is 7.5 cm, and the handle is 8 cm. It weighs 1,250 grams (2.76 lbs).

    In comparison, Qin crossbow triggers were only 8 cm in length, but its short length is due to the lack of a trigger box (and the box wouldn't contribute to trigger pull). With a box, its length would probably approach 12 cm. Qin handles were 8 cm and the wangshan, if counting only from the surface of the stock to the top, is 5.66 cm while the entire thing is 8.24 cm. So when you judge the moving parts, the amount of force both triggers are designed to handle seems to be more or less the same.



    In post 48 I've told you:
    In your very first post of this thread, you argue that there seems to be an "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length", meaning that as draw force decreases, draw length increases. The YaoKaiNu has a draw force of 1055 lbs, with a draw length of ~14 inches (powerstroke ~12 inches). Ergo, an ancient to medieval Chinese crossbow with 1/3 the draw weight, would have a powerstroke well over 12 inches. And they could do this because of their longer stock. This conclusion is made by your logic of "inverse relationship of draw force to draw length".

    Ergo, your YaoKaiNu example does not show that typical Han crossbows were limited to 12 inch powerstroke, it shows that Han crossbows had powerstroke well over 12 inches.




    Nobody here made that argument. You are refuting an argument nobody here made.

    Let's turn what you said around:

    Despite repeated request, information has not been provided on the source of the alleged short Han crossbow stock, not even a picture has been provided- no information on any short Han dynasty powerstroke came from.

    Which leaves us with draw weight and crossbow dimension from another dynasty set more than 1000 years later, with the assumption they are the same for both dynasties, which might not be a valid assumption. The average draw weights of the Ming might have been heavier than the Han, and it is very possible they were not. The draw weight and powerstroke of the dynasty 1 year before (as opposed to 1000 years later) is ignored.

    If assumption is wrong, and the powerstroke on Han crossbows was not a short powerstroke, then the mystery of why the Yao Kai Nu had a short powserstroke is solved – draw weight and draw length have an inverse relationship, so Han crossbows would have much higher draw length than the YaoKaiNu

    If the Han dynasty crossbows really had short powerstrokes and low draw weights, then the mystery remains. The argument that the Yao Kai Nu is reflective reflective of Han powerstroke is nonsense, because as Common Soldier admitted himself, draw weights have a inverse relationship with draw length, so the YaoKaiNu would have a much lower draw length than that of the Han due to the YaoKaiNu’s great draw weight.

    And the attack on the argument that the short powestroke was because of the Ming trigger is nonsense, because nobody in this thread made that argument. The Ming crossbow had a short stock, which decreased powerstroke length, because it was used as a sidearm rather than as a big weapon.

    As for advantage, I am not sure what it would have been. Unlike Chinese crossbows, the European crossbows did not use mechanical aids in cocking their crossbows. A long powerstroke is an advantage in that it does not require a mechanical aide to reach the same level of power. And with such a short powerstroke, the European windlass crossbow is made very slow and cumbersome as the prod must be way stiffer, and hence heavier, in order to achieve the same potential energy. It might be that it is ergonomically easier to pull a low weight a longer distance than a higher weight a shorter distance, but that is speculation.

    As for what factor could have prevented the European crossbows from making a high draw weight and a longpower stroke, the only thing I can think of is they were unable to make triggers with the right properties to do so. Modern reconstructionist have been unable to produce Medieval European crossbows with long powerstroke (15+ inches) and high draw weights, without making it the size of field artillery or bigger.
    In post 46, you mentioned only a trigger no mention was made of a stock, a stock was my question.So post 46 DID NOT answer my question. Are you saying the stock you pictured was wirh the trigger? You needed to state that fact,, which you did not.

    Any case, the stock is different from the Qin design, and while you say it is just supercial, that is your opinion. As I said, the superficial differnces indicate more significant dirferences not preserved. The more I look at the Han stock, the greater the differences. For example, how was the prod attached? It looks quite bit different than the Qin attachment point, indicating the prods had a different design.

    Also, the Wu Bei Zhi has the Yao Kai Nu draw weight as 1041 lbs, and 10.2" powerstroke, not the 1055 lbs znd 1q" you give. How did you get yournumbers? A different translation? You also exaggerated the draw weight of the Shen Bi Nu in earlier postings, Wu Bei Zhi has the Shen Bi Nu as a 150 catties, which is only 200 lbs, not the 300 lbs you claim. Could it be a different translation of thd same source gave different numbers?

    You said that the longest you have seem a Roman ballista range was only 175 m. I found a couple wiof reonstructions showing longer rranges, one by Tod Todeschini going past a 200 m marker. Roman stone ballista stockpiles have been found 300m from the walls of Gamala, which confirm what Josephus said about ballistas.

    Further, you mistakenly claimed Europeans did not use mechanical aids, which is incorrect, as many of your sttements are. The Europeans did use mechanical aids, which meant that even a not very strong person could cock a crossbow. In the crossbow maker Tod Todeschini's video on his 1250 crossbow, he said even his 9 year old daughter would wind a 800 lbs crossbow with a windlass, giving the European crossbows a huge advantage in that regard. While the smaller Ming crossbows were just weak pistols, European crossbows of similar dimensions and just longer stocks remained powerful weapons. The short powerstrokes allowed Europe crossbows to use shortet, more compact prods.

    For example, crossbow maker Andreas Bilcher 1270 lbs composite crossbow fired bolts of 400+ joules, with a prod of only 1.5 m, compared to the 2 m of the Yao Kai Nu. His 1200 lbs smaller crossbow still shot bolts with 200 joules, and wasn't all that much bigger than the weak Jue Zhang Nu.

    As for your attempt to try to reverse what I said, the situations are not the symetrical. European crossbows always had a relatively short powerstroke, and while it is likely their triggers did not allow for a longer powerstroke, tthey have preferred shorter powerstrokes since it allowed their crossbows to be more compact. A longer stock had some benefits, since it allowed one to steady the crossbow against the cheek, or even rest it on the shoulders, as you see some pictures showing. It also better balanced the weight of the prod, which tends to make a crossblw nose heavy with a short prod, although putting the trigger at the back would help the balance. It seems tiring to have to hold the crossbow ompletely up with the hands, and not steady it aginst the cheek, more fatiguing on the muscles. i would not want to try holdint a Chinese crossbow to my face, since my nose would be practically touching the string, not safe. And no reconstructors have tried making an European crossbow with a long powerstroke, since that is not how they were made - it is absurd of you to expect reconstructors to make what never was. But according to you, Chinese crossbows did have long powerstrokes, and high draw weights (300 lbs and up ), so the failure of reconstructors to duplicate these long draw, high weight crossbows is significant.

    Instead of sarcasm, why don't work on better proposals as to why the Ming chose to build their Yao Kai Nu with a much shorter powerstroke than what you said Han crossbows had. So far, all you seem to want to do is to desperately show the superiority of the Chinese crossbows, rather show why the Ming changed the design on the Yao Kai Nu from what you said the Han design was. Contrary to whar you said, Ming crossbowss did not function as pistols, only some Ming crossbows functioned as pistols, the Yao Kai Nu, and I would say the Shen Bi NNu, did not. (You said Ming crossbows, and didn't qualify your statement that only some/most Ming crossbows acted as pistols. With a 2 m/6 ft prod, and 1041 lbs, the Yao Kai Nu in anyway could be considered a side arm. You are simply wrong, the Yao Kai Nu was not q side arm.):
    Last edited by Common Soldier; December 19, 2017 at 01:20 AM.

  16. #56

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    In post 46, you mentioned only a trigger no mention was made of a stock, a stock was my question.So post 46 DID NOT answer my question. Are you saying the stock you pictured was wirh the trigger? You needed to state that fact,, which you did not.
    Trigger size reflects draw weight because trigger size affects trigger pull. Post 46 answered your statement where you said "The average draw weighrs of the QinIn might have been lighter than the Han, and while it is likely they were the same, it is very possible they were not". Qin stock size was also mentioned already here: http://historum.com/asian-history/90...y-7-print.html

    So I did answer you. The crossbows found in Qin Shihuang's terracotta army likely had around the same draw weight as Han crossbows (as you admit to), and these Qin crossbows had stocks of 28 inches, meaning high powerstroke of around 20 inches. This makes them incredibly powerful. What do you even mean by 'very possible'? If something were "likely" to happen, then the chance of it not happening would be "unlikely". Yet you say the chance of it not happening is "very possible". Possible and likely are not the same thing, what do you mean by "very possible"? You say that it is likely Qin and Han draw weights were the same. I base this off of the same size of moving parts in both their triggers, the Qin triggers having the same sized moving parts as a six stone Han trigger.

    Any case, the stock is different from the Qin design, and while you say it is just supercial, that is your opinion. As I said, the superficial differnces indicate more significant dirferences not preserved. The more I look at the Han stock, the greater the differences. For example, how was the prod attached? It looks quite bit different than the Qin attachment point, indicating the prods had a different design.
    I said the stock is around the same length. I gave evidence that the stock is 70 cm and that the Qin stock is 71 cm. Saying that the stock is different in other ways doesn't prove me wrong.
    The prod is attached at the front like that of the Qin stocks, so it doesn't affect draw length. You can even see the 70cm Han stock have a hook in the front for resting the prod on. So both Qin and Han stocks put the crossbow at the front of the stock, and I think it is safe to say that I don't see a single case of pictorial evidence to deny this fact either.

    Also, the Wu Bei Zhi has the Yao Kai Nu draw weight as 1041 lbs, and 10.2" powerstroke, not the 1055 lbs znd 1q" you give. How did you get yournumbers? A different translation?
    Wu Bei Zhi didn't even mention the YaoKaiNu, what are you talking about? The YaoKaiNu is the invention of a single individual named Cheng Zong You and I doubt his description even made it off the drawing board, I've mentioned this....
    From Cheng Zong You's passage:
    The main body is made from Jujube wood. Embed the front end with deer's horn or copper. The main body can be 1 chi 7 cun long, or 1 chi 6 cun long, though the longer length is preferred. The length of the head portion (from the Prod Hole to the front end) is 3 cun 5 fen. The Flight groove (slot for the arrow, from the Prod to the Tumbler) is 1 chi 1 cun. From the Tumbler to the tail end of the Crossbow, it's 2 cun 5 fen....

    On making the prod the author says: We should use heavy red or yellow color, Greasy Mulberry, with fine grains. The crossbow will have a poundage of 800 catties, therefore the material must be wide and thick.
    1 cun is ~1.3 inches to 1 chi 1 cun is ~14 inches for draw length. Brace height is not mentioned so I set it to the same as that of the JueZhangNu the same author mentioned, or 2 cun. This makes ~12 inches for powerstroke. Where did you get your numbers from? It's not from a blog, is it? And you're really going to haggle over 10 lbs out of 1050.... less than 1% difference. FIne, let's say I was off by 10 lbs caused by different weight standards. Sew me.
    Where did you get your information on the YaoKaiNu? Why do you think it's in the WuBeiZhi? Please quote from the WuBeiZhi where it speaks of the YaoKaiNu, I don't see it.

    You keep contradicting yourself. You say that as draw strength decreases, it allows higher draw length, did you not? It was in your first post, in which you said:
    To make a prod with the draw length of a hand bow, but much greater draw force would be difficult without making the prod excessively large, and it might have required a secret that was lost by Ming times. Unlike the trigger mechanisms, which could be reversed engineered from old samples, once the secret of making stiff but flexible prods was lost, it could not be recaptured.
    The Han crossbow is lighter than the YaoKaiNu in draw strength (387 lbs to over 1000 lbs), is it not? By your logic, the lighter Han crossbow draw weight would mean a longer draw length than the YaoKaiNu. You keep mentioning the YaoKaiNu as somehow evident that the Han crossbow have short powerstroke, but all you've shown is that the Han crossbow had OVER twelve inches of powerstroke, using your own logic. 'Over twelve inches' does not mean 'limited to 12 inches'.

    Also, The YaoKaiNu prod description also shows that the prod is made out of 1 type of wood with no mention of sinew or horn for the prod. This meant the prod was basically a longbow, not a composite bow, which was why its prod was so long. A composite bow like that of the Han crossbow would allow a shorter prod for the same draw length. Anyway, Quotes on the YaoKaiNu came from Geng Yu Sheng Ji, translated by Jack Chen. Now, why don't you give YOUR translation.

    So far there is the argument that heavy draw weights prevents long powerstroke. So by that logic, the much heavier draw weight of the YaoKaiNu meant its powerstroke of 12 inches is much shorter than the powerstroke of Han crossbows.
    Then there is the argument that heavy draw weights do not prevent long powerstroke. In this case, there is nothing to stop the Han crossbow from having long powerstrokes.

    You also exaggerated the draw weight of the Shen Bi Nu in earlier postings, Wu Bei Zhi has the Shen Bi Nu as a 150 catties, which is only 200 lbs, not the 300 lbs you claim. Could it be a different translation of thd same source gave different numbers?
    I was clearly talking about the Song dynasty Shen Bi Nu, that was obvious so I don't know you point to a late Ming manual. The Wu Bei Zhi is talking about the late Ming dynasty in which crossbow design changed considerably.... I already gave the links from heavenlykaghan about Song dynasty draw weights, do you not read it?

    Also, I'm glad you mentioned the Shen Bi Nu of the WuBeiZhi, because it shows that the ShenBiNu didn't just decrease in draw weight, but in draw length considerably. That means the Ming chose a lower draw length for their crossbows not because they couldn't use long draw lengths with high draw weights, because they have crossbows with low draw length and low draw weight.

    Also, you said that the longest you have seem a Roman ballista range was only 175 m. I found a couple wiof reonstructions showing longer rranges, one by Tod Todeschili going past a 200 m marker. Roman stone ballista stockpiles have been found 300m from the walls of Gamala, which confirm what Josephus said about ballistas.
    No, I was talking about siege engines shooting quarrels (not stones) at 175 meters, and only of archaeological evidence. I fully admit that they could fire further if they wanted. You are throwing smoke-bombs here. But if you want to talk about stone throwers, please quote the weight of the Roman stone ballista stockpiles that were found 300 m from the walls of Gamala. For Josephus said: "Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent, and were carried two stadi and further (~380 meters)."

    Also, none of the evidence you gave so far show the design/powerstroke of these machines. Let's look at the standard for academic circles in Roman History:

    Inswingers vs Outswingers: Much of the argument on which one the Romans used is based on which design is more efficient, which design is 'better'.
    Catapult design: There is no pictorial evidence of Onagers at all. There's simply not enough information to give a clear picture of what the machine looks like. Historians argue which design is true by arguing over which design is 'better'.

    ^These are examples in which they assume Roman competence until proven otherwise. You assume Chinese buffoonery, and even when proven otherwise you still assume it anyway, brushing aside contrary evidence as just "bad luck" of archaeologists just happening to excavate non-representative crossbows.

    Further, you mistakenly claimed Europeans did not use mechanical aids, which is incorrect, as many of your sttements are.
    I thought it's pretty obvious that was a typo and what I meant was that most of them required mechanical aides. Considering the sentence I said right afterwards, it should be obvious. I said that long powerstroke like Han crossbows meant you don't need mechanical aides as much. You were the one who stated that Chinese crossbows did not use mechanical aides. I said they did, they were simply rare because the long powerstroke meant there is less incentive to have one.

    The Europeans did use mechanical aids, which meant that even a not very strong person could cock a crossbow. In the crossbow maker Tod Todeschnilli's video on his 1250 crossbow, he said even his 9 year old daughter would wind a 800 lbs crossbow with a windlass, giving the European crossbows a huge advantage in that regard. While the smaller Ming crossbows were just weak pistols, European crossbows of similar dimensions and just longer stocks remained powerful weapons.
    By the time we see small Ming crossbows, firearms dominated the battlefield, not crossbows. Bragging about how Medieval crossbows were more powerful than late Ming crossbows is kinda pointless, because the late Ming were using field cannons, arquebus, and rockets. Crossbows simply weren't a big part of their army anymore.

    Also, Tod Todeschnilli's 975 lb crossbow with a windlass only shot to 110 joules, and his 1250 lb windlass crossbow only shot to 140 joules, and in the same video he said it takes more effort for his 1250 lb windlass. A warbow could achieve those numbers.

    Skallagrim's 350 lb crossbow using mechanical aid of a goat's foot lever only managed around 34 joules whereas a Han replica crossbow of 61 lbs managed 44 joules. The 160 lb Han replica looked no less powerful than the 976 lb Medieval crossbow made by Tod. And although 160 lbs takes effort to draw by hand for a crossbow, it is nothing if drawn by the foot. And although foot drawn crossbows are slower than hand drawn ones, they would still be faster than windlass crossbows: http://historum.com/asian-history/13...sbow-ii-3.html

    For example, crossbow maker Andreas Bilcher 1270 lbs composite crossbow fired bolts of 400+ joules, with a prod of only 1.5 m, compared to the 2 m of the Yao Kai Nu. His 1200 lbs smaller crossbow still shot bolts with 200 joules, and wasn't all that much bigger than the weak Jue Zhang Nu.
    The YaoKaiNu's prod is a longbow. The 1270 Medieval composite crossbow is fired resting on a table because the entire thing weighs 23 lbs.... It's not a handheld crossbow anymore, and by this I meant a crossbow that you can easily fire without need of a rest/stand to prop it. That makes it field artillery. Judge a weapon by its size and weight relative to its power, otherwise it's hardly fair. You are comparing a sidearm to field artillery.

    I'm also glad you mention Bichler's 1270 lb composite crossbow, because he says the powerstroke is nearly 15 inches long. So we know a composite prod of 1270 inches is capable of at least 15 inches powerstroke. So I don't know why you repeatedly speak of the YaoKaiNu as representative of the Han crossbow's powerstroke. The YaoKaiNu don't even have a composite prod, and its draw weight is magnitudes different than that of a Han crossbow.

    By the time of the Jue Zhang Nu and every other Ming crossbow you can have information over, the primary Ming field artillery were cannons, not crossbows. Crossbows make up a minority in the army, if it even makes it at all. Field artillery made up of crossbows couldn't compete.

    As for your attempt to try to reverse what I said, the situations are not the symetrical. European crossbows always had a relatively short powerstroke, and while it is likely their triggers did not allow for a longer powerstroke, tthey have preferred shorter powerstrokes since it allowed their crossbows to be more compact. A longer stock had some benefits, since it allowed one to steady the crossbow against the cheek, or even rest it on the shoulders, as you see some pictures showing.
    Ming crossbows do the same thing (compact and cheek rest) but with a shorter stock.....I agree the Han sacrificed ergonomics for power, what's your point?

    It also better balanced the weight of the prod, which tends to make a crossblw nose heavy with a short prod, although putting the trigger at the back would help the balance. It seems tiring to have to hold the crossbow ompletely up with the hands, and not steady it aginst the cheek, more fatiguing on the muscles. i would not want to try holdint a Chinese crossbow to my face, since my nose would be practically touching the string, not safe.
    That's not true. The further away the prod is, the further away the center of balance is from the body. Having a prod that is further away from you (due to the long powerstroke) is not ergonomic. Case in point-->

    Given the same weight, this position:



    Is harder to maintain than this position:


    That is because the weight is further away from your body.
    Ming pistol crossbows allow the prod to be set closer to the body, due to the short stock, and that the prod isn't even in the front of the stock anymore.



    And no reconsrructors have tried making an European crossbow with a long powerstroke, since that is not how they were made - it is absurd of you to expect reconstructors to make what never was. But according to you, Chinese crossbows did have long powerstrokes, and high draw weights (300 lbs and up ), so the failure of reconstructors to duplicate these long draw, high weight crossbows is significant.
    You just showed the 1270 lb reconstruction of Andreas Bichler who has a 15 inch powerstroke, nearly 3 times longer than normal Medieval European crossbow powerstrokes. 1270 lbs > 300 lbs. So what are you talking about? You're speaking of information that is contrary to the information you are bringing in. So by your logic, high draw weight Han crossbows would have well over 15 inches powerstroke, as their draw weight is still lower than 1270 lbs.

    Instead of sarcasm, why don't work on better proposals as to why the Ming chose to build their Yao Kai Nu with a much shorter powerstroke than what you said Han crossbows had. So far, all you seem to want to do is to desperately show the superiority of the Chinese crossbows, rather show why the Ming changed the design on the Yao Kai Nu from what you said the Han design was. Contrary to whar you said, Ming crossbowss did not function as pistols, only some Ming crossbows functioned as pistols, the Yao Kai Nu, and I would say the Shen Bi NNu, did not. (You said Ming crossbows, and didn't qualify your statement that only some/most Ming crossbows acted as pistols:
    Where did you get the information on the ShenBiNu? Please quote it. To know whether they functioned as a sidearm or not, you need to know its size. Where is your translation on the size of the Ming ShenBiNu?
    Where did you get the information on the YaoKaiNu? Please quote the translation, considering you think it's from a book which doesn't even mention it. Please quote from the book. I haven't seen a Ming crossbow bigger than the YaoKaiNu. The YaoKaiNu's powerstroke is also greater than that of European Medieval crossbows, even though the YaoKaiNu's prod is just a very stiff longbow.
    'So far, all you did was desperately show the superiority of European crossbows.' Right back at you. I can admit that Medieval crossbows were more compact and weather resistant than Han crossbows. I don't think you can admit Han crossbows can fire with more penetration power or reloading speed though. The entire thread shows you denying it. Hell, you were bragging about how Medieval crossbow replica the size of field artillery were more powerful than late Ming crossbow sidearms. Late Ming field artillery would be cannons.... I don't think I ever took it that far.

    If you want to argue that Medieval crossbows are more compact than Han crossbows, I certainly won't deny it. BUT if you argue that Han crossbows had powerstrokes as short as Medieval crossbows, then why do you think Han crossbows wouldn't be compact? The whole reason for a long prod is that it allows a long powerstroke. If you think Han crossbows had low powerstrokes, then it would have a short prod.

    You said, and I quote:
    while it is likely their triggers did not allow for a longer powerstroke, tthey have preferred shorter powerstrokes since it allowed their crossbows to be more compact
    If you think Han crossbows have short powerstrokes, then it would be compact. If you think they have long prods, then they should have long powerstrokes. This conclusion is made by logic YOU stated. You can't have it both ways, which one is it? You also bring up Bichler's 1270 lb composite crossbow of 15 inches powerstroke, while at the same time use the YaoKaiNu to argue that high draw weight crossbows couldn't reach 10 inches powerstroke. Everything is argued in favor of the superiority of the European crossbow, even when some of these things are mutually contradictory.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 19, 2017 at 04:11 AM.

  17. #57

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by hborrgg View Post
    This isn't really the case. 15th century military crossbows in europe tended to have a pretty consistent distance between the lathe and the latch of about 7-8 in. There is a bit more variation among surviving steel crossbows than composite ones but it doesn't seem to have any clear correlation with draw weight. The 1200 lb. crossbow described by Payne-Galloway had a power stroke of 7 in., which would have been somewhat above average.
    Crossbow reconstructionist Andrea Bilcher had 616 lbs and 1000 lbs examples based on actual museum medieval examples, with a powerstroke length of 9" for 616 lbs, and 8" for a 1000 I think, and his 1200 lbs one seemed to have a shorter powerstroke yet, and the higher dras weight steel crossbows I saw all seem to have shorter powerstrokes. But reading further, I be in error, even lower weight 400 lbs steel crossbows had a powerstroke of only 5 to 6.5 inches. However these are all steel with 5 to 6.5, composite might have a tad longer powerstroke, but still short.



    The reason crossbows were often made with short powerstrokes like this isn't clear but it doesn't seem to be because Europeans couldn't come up with a different trigger design or didn't know how to make more efficient bows. They understood, for example, that you could mount a longbow on a tiller like a crossbow and the result performed more or less equal to a longbow held in the hand, but more accurate. In Anna Komnena's description of the foot-drawn crossbow used by the crusaders she states that groove between where the string latches and the bow was about as long as a regular-sized arrow and that the weapon was very powerful, capable of piercing shields, armor, and bronze statues.

    I've come across a couple of possible reasons that crossbows started to be built with very short draws, Although I still don't know why exactly:

    With a short draw a crossbow could be made more compact/easier to handle.

    A short draw was perhaps considered safer/made the bow less likely to fail catastrophically

    Crossbows made this way perhaps lasted longer or endured weather more effectively. (People make this mistake with longbows a lot. As explained by Barnabe Rich: on the practice range many men using well made sporting bows and carefully selected flight arrows could easily shoot 320-360 yards, but when given sturdy military bows, built to last and withstand weather, and given mass-produced arrows with ruffled or uneven feathers very few could actually shoot more than 200 yards in combat)

    One last thing to keep in mind is that piercing armor isn't everything. Even example crossbows like Todd's which seem to have a very inefficient energy transfer would have no problem punching through shields and armor if loaded with a solid iron bolt weighted with lead, but the resulting shot would travel slowly with a very pronounced arc, making it extremely difficult to aim. A high initial velocity on the other hand greatly improves accuracy since a shooter doesn't have estimate range as accurately and doesn't have to lead a moving target by very much. At the other end of the spectrum "stone crossbows", which were popular sport and hunting weapons and shot a round stone or clay bullet, didn't have a great maxim range due to air resistance and weren't considered very lethal against humans but allowed a good shot to easily hit even a small target at a distance or kill a bird mid-flight. 
    For steel crossbows, a number of people I have read felt that is was concerns over the quality of the steel that limited powerstroke. But that wouldn't apply to composite crossbows. I have read that you couldn't move the trigger back to the end of the stock on a European style trigger, because you needed a long trigger to provide the leverage to operate tne trigger, so you could not get the powerstroke seen on a Qin crossbow for example with the European trigger. Still, even with the European design the stroke could have been longer than what it was.

    From what i read, people went to steel crossbows not because they were more powerful, but because they were less maintainenc. Steel would be less effected by wet weather than a composite. And steel may have been cheaper than composite.

    I suspect making the crossbow compact was the primary reason. To compensate, war crossbows had to go to much higher torques, hunting crossbows could use lower torques, just as your typical hunting bow draw weight was less than those of the more powerful war bows.


    Regarding firearms, the small cannons or fast lances used by the Ming could shoot much farther and with more force than any bow or crossbow but probably weren't as accurate. The ming did consider them very effective against horse archers and nomad armies on the norther frontier though.

    By the 16th century long barreled arquebuses and muskets were becoming far more accurate than any archer or crossbowman was.
    I still don't think the arquebuses or muskets could outange a crossbow at a distance for accuracy. Because the musket ball is slightly smaller in diameter than the barrel, the ball wobbles a little as it goes through the barrel, and with distance this makes the path of the ball erratic, so it because inaccurate at a long distance. But I guess that with long barrels, that wobble could be dampened out giving improved accuracy t longer ranges. So maybe I was wrong. and you didn't need crossbows anymore even for longer distances. Which explained why crossbows stopped beong used in battle in ths 16th century.

  18. #58

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    I still don't think the arquebuses or muskets could outange a crossbow at a distance for accuracy. Because the musket ball is slightly smaller in diameter than the barrel, the ball wobbles a little as it goes through the barrel, and with distance this makes the path of the ball erratic, so it because inaccurate at a long distance. But I guess that with long barrels, that wobble could be dampened out giving improved accuracy t longer ranges. So maybe I was wrong. and you didn't need crossbows anymore even for longer distances. Which explained why crossbows stopped beong used in battle in ths 16th century.
    During the 15th century handguns and arquebuses began competing alongside crossbows in local Schutzenfest competitions throughout central europe and eventually they caught up and began gaining the upper hand. By the early 16th century rifling had been invented but it started to get banned in some festivals because it made things to easy.

    In 1579 Thomas Digges though that a well-trained soldier shooting a close-fitting bullet from a smoothbore musket should be able to put his round between the head and feet of a man at 200 yards.

    The issue is that mechanical accuracy didn't really make that much of a difference in actual combat. It can be really hard to grasp the sheer amount of stress and terror a soldier experienced on an early modern battlefield between the explosions, whistling, shouting, screaming, death, smoke, etc. In the excitement most soldiers struggled to keep their guns level, never mind actually aiming. Even among trained men accuracy typically dropped to as low as 1/50th or 1/100th of what it could be on the practice range when the soldier was calm and safe. Whether he was armed with a high-quality rifle or a smoothbore and an ill-fitting bullet didn't really make a difference.

    A crossbowman has to deal with the same thing when being shot at by muskets, only in addition he has to somehow adjust for windage and estimate his target's range (almost impossible on uneven terrain). What's more, even if an archer or crossbowman was accurate enough to snipe a man at 100 yards, an arrow moves slowly enough that there is a very good chance that the target has time to see it and then step out of the way, duck behind cover, or raise his shield.

    Lastly, if necessary a smoothbore musket can always be loaded with multiple bullets or hailshot, while a crossbow can't.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by hborrgg View Post
    During the 15th century handguns and arquebuses began competing alongside crossbows in local Schutzenfest competitions throughout central europe and eventually they caught up and began gaining the upper hand. By the early 16th century rifling had been invented but it started to get banned in some festivals because it made things to easy.

    In 1579 Thomas Digges though that a well-trained soldier shooting a close-fitting bullet from a smoothbore musket should be able to put his round between the head and feet of a man at 200 yards.

    The issue is that mechanical accuracy didn't really make that much of a difference in actual combat. It can be really hard to grasp the sheer amount of stress and terror a soldier experienced on an early modern battlefield between the explosions, whistling, shouting, screaming, death, smoke, etc. In the excitement most soldiers struggled to keep their guns level, never mind actually aiming. Even among trained men accuracy typically dropped to as low as 1/50th or 1/100th of what it could be on the practice range when the soldier was calm and safe. Whether he was armed with a high-quality rifle or a smoothbore and an ill-fitting bullet didn't really make a difference.

    A crossbowman has to deal with the same thing when being shot at by muskets, only in addition he has to somehow adjust for windage and estimate his target's range (almost impossible on uneven terrain). What's more, even if an archer or crossbowman was accurate enough to snipe a man at 100 yards, an arrow moves slowly enough that there is a very good chance that the target has time to see it and then step out of the way, duck behind cover, or raise his shield.

    Lastly, if necessary a smoothbore musket can always be loaded with multiple bullets or hailshot, while a crossbow can't.
    This fantastic post deserves +1 rep and leaves me wondering why you don't post around these parts more often. You've been around for a little while it seems. Glad to have you on board! About late 15th-century and early 16th-century rifling and it being too easy to hit targets at these archery competitions with rifled barrels, it's amazing to think that a suitable ammunition for such rifles didn't exist until the Minié ball of the mid 19th-century. I guess so long as modern shotguns are still useful for home defense and duck/goose hunting then the smoothbore will live on, but it really makes you appreciate just how slow technology changes and how much we as a species love to cling to outmoded things. If it's not broke, don't fix it! That is, until someone else is killing all of your military-age men at a much faster rate than you are killing theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
    You make it sounds as if anyone else is providing the quotes. I gave the author and title for my sources which is more than the ZERO amount of sources anyone else gave, unless you call unnamed historians as sources.
    From what I can tell, Mamlaz is playing devil's advocate here and offering counterarguments against yours, voicing his suspicion about your claims. However, you are right, CommonSoldier should go ahead and also share with us the academic sources, if any, for his varied claims. That still doesn't mean you should be exempt, especially since CommonSoldier expressed a great amount of skepticism for the reliability of your unannounced sources. To be honest, the angry pushback here against my requests for sources is not a good sign. A normal response would be, you know, to dispel such skepticism by easily providing evidence if it's so readily available and well-known to you.

    Your crossbow picture, for example, came from the Guimet museum (good job finding the museum) with no info on where it's excavated or whether it was a military crossbow or a recreational crossbow for the nobility. That's not good enough for me. If you think it's source worthy then you post it using your own argument, I don't want to use it as a part of my argument.. That's why I didn't use it. It falls below my standard for evidence. If you can give evidence on where the crossbow is excavated, and if it is still relevant to the discussion (such as proving it is a military crossbow rather than the fancy crossbows of the nobility), then I will use it.
    The only "argument" I was making in regards to the Western-Han crossbow pic I shared was to demonstrate in the most basic fashion how you could go about actually proving the things you're saying with credible academic sources, like with the University of Washington webpage I shared right afterwards. There is no other “argument” there, although you’re right that the pages I shared didn’t have enough information about the origins and other details of the artefact. That’s besides the point, though, since CommonSoldier was doubting whether the crossbow pics you have shared above can even be trusted or have even been vetted by a real academic source, or better yet multiple ones. There’s nothing quite like demonstrating scholarly consensus to shut up your critics.

    Now, if you promise to be as aggressive to everyone else in providing the quotes, or promise to be less aggressive when asking for my quotes, then I promise to provide the quotes. You have my word on that. At least I gave the author and title and where the artifacts were excavated, which is more information on sourcing than anyone else gave. So I don't know why I am the one you are solely targeting as 'highly doubtful', because you already have the author and title for my claims. For other people's claims, you have absolutely nothing. I think it's wishful thinking to expect quotes will 'silence detractors' or whatever you call it.
    Here's the problem, though: CommonSoldier and Mamlaz have mostly just been criticizing the claims and info you’ve been presenting. Their posts are mainly reactionary ones to yours. It would be odd for me to demand a bunch of scholarly sources for their statements when most of theirs involve simple skepticism about your posts and the items you’ve introduced to the table. You’re the one providing most of the material here. Again, your consistent refusal to provide quotes from the sources you allegedly have access to is a very bad sign indeed. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s a hint that you don’t actually have access to them and that your claims are not a proper reflection of the source materials you’ve cited. Be bold, provide quotes and prove all of us wrong! Otherwise this is a pointless conversation that will hardly help others who stumble into our conversation and may be curious about such source material. Did you ever think about that?

    Also, I've said twice already that I am not using the Mawangdui crossbow as evidence for anything other than that it looks fancy. Maybe I'm not interested in providing it as a source because I'm not using it as a source nor am I using it as evidence. <-- That is my third time saying it. Now, I'm not obligated to give the source on this because I did NOT use it as evidence, I only said it looks 'sleek and fancy'. But since people insist for some reason then here it is: http://61.187.53.122/collection.aspx?id=1295&lang=zh-CN
    Finally! Something! Anything! Thanks for sharing. Wasn’t too hard, was it?

    To be frank about it, this was the part that worried me the most about your posts. When I couldn’t find anything about a crossbow from Mawangdui I started to get a little more suspicious about your posts. With a little bit of effort you have dispelled those suspicions. You have some sort of weird abhorrence for sharing the academic sources you’re using (the sort of thing that would drive a professor nuts if he was reading your thesis on the matter), but at least you pulled through and provided us with a source for the Mawangdui crossbow of the Western Han period. As for the Qin ones…

    The following is from a book published in the 1980s with info of Qin excavations as far back as the 1970s showing an excavation of the Qin crossbow, it's apparent that you can estimate stock length from the excavation:

    Book can be bought here: https://book.douban.com/subject/1585277/

    So any present news which claims pre-2015 excavated Qin crossbows were too deteriorated to tell their dimensions would be utter BS as seen by the picture above. Such news is click bait. Don't fall for the click bait.
    You keep bashing the South China Morning Post article, which admittedly makes a couple silly hyperbolic comparisons to modern assault rifles, and you use this as a convenient excuse to ignore that the article is directly summarizing and quoting Shen Maosheng. You know, the freaking deputy director of the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, leading the archaeological efforts at the site. If anyone knows what they’re talking about, it’s probably that guy. No offense, I think I’ll be taking his word over that of someone I’m arguing with on Total War Center Forums (hence my fruitless attempts to get you to directly share the information you’ve allegedly mined from reliable sources).

    And again, just so we’re crystal clear, it is Shen Maosheng, paraphrased by the SCMP article, who said that “Previous crossbows found buried at the site had been badly damaged, causing researchers difficulty in estimating the effectiveness and power of the weapon. However, the newly uncovered crossbow remained well preserved and had almost all of its parts intact.”

    Edit: You know what? I'll gives the links here to show the quotes (And again, the thread isn't the source, the quotes I shared in the thread is the source.):

    I've already given the quotes on Yang Hong's mention of Qin crossbow stock length here:
    http://historum.com/asian-history/90...y-7-print.html
    Interesting. Not sure who Yang Hong is (i.e. aside from being the editor here), largely because I’m not a Sinologist, but his Weapons in Ancient China (1992) is at least published by Science Press/University of Michigan. And you did provide a quote from it in this link to Historum. The real question now becomes how could there be such an enormous discrepancy between the claims of the Terracotta Warriors museum deputy director Shen Maosheng and those of Yang Hong. Again, Shen specifically said that only one crossbow found at the site in Xi’an had a wooden stock that was intact enough to make judgements about the power of the crossbow, while the wooden parts of all the others had simply deteriorated too much over time, basically leaving only the bronze trigger mechanisms and caps. Contrarily, Yang Hong seems to indicate several wooden stocks still in existence, noting the length and even the paint being used on them. It’s at this point where we should all pause and confirm the scholarly consensus here, because something is incredibly fishy. There should never be a discrepancy this huge, to be honest, not among two different scholarly sources.

    I've already given the quotes on Yang Hong's mention of Han crossbow draw weights here:
    http://historum.com/war-military-his...4?postcount=81

    I've already given the quotes on Medieval European quarrel weights here:
    http://historum.com/war-military-his...7?postcount=88

    Length of draw of Han crossbows were quoted here:
    http://historum.com/asian-history/65...9?postcount=14
    To be honest I’m less interested in these and more interested in the claims about the Qin crossbows at this point, but since the OP is about comparing Ming crossbows to Song and Han ones, why not.

    The assertions made by ancient Han authors recording (on bamboo slips) the draw weights of their contemporary crossbows is fascinating and must be taken into account, but certainly not at face value. I’m not an expert in the field of archaeology, but I do know we at least have some surviving specimens of crossbow stocks from the Han and even Warring States Period. However, like the Qin, the vast majority of archaeological finds of crossbows include only the bronze trigger mechanisms and other bronze parts left behind. This brings me to the claim made by the Journal of the Society of Archer Antiquities that you cited about Han crossbows and their draw weights. The quote you presented doesn’t explain everything: are they basing their claims about draw weights from both archaeological finds AND the assertions made in the bamboo slip records by ancient authors, or are they only relying on the assertions of the latter? I think that makes an incredibly huge difference, to be honest.

    Yang Hong belongs to the category of modern historian, and so is Dirk H Breiding amongst others. These are historians from the last half of the twentieth century. So when you tell me to 'give it a try' on quoting more modern historians, know that I've already did.
    So, in the threads above, who do you think Bart Dale and Snascimento is, using pseudonyms in this thread? Here's a hint, Bart Dale is someone in this thread and Snascimento is someone in this thread. So your statement that giving quotes will somehow convince them is something I find unlikely, because I already gave them the quotes. Fact is I've argued with these guys before and I already gave them the exact quotes you 'asked' for. So I felt less need to do it again. There is a history that you are not aware of. Now that we have established the fact that what I've stated about my sourcing is NOT dubious, it's only fair you demand quotes from everybody else.
    Without beating a dead horse here and repeating what I’ve said above, I don’t doubt that Yang Hong is a credible scholar and reliable source. I originally doubted that you were using his source material faithfully, but since you’ve provided quotes in the links above this argument is now moot.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Why did the the Ming crossbows become so weak compared to earlier Chinese ones?

    From what I can tell, Mamlaz is playing devil's advocate here and offering counterarguments against yours, voicing his suspicion about your claims. However, you are right, CommonSoldier should go ahead and also share with us the academic sources, if any, for his varied claims. That still doesn't mean you should be exempt, especially since CommonSoldier expressed a great amount of skepticism for the reliability of your unannounced sources. To be honest, the angry pushback here against my requests for sources is not a good sign. A normal response would be, you know, to dispel such skepticism by easily providing evidence if it's so readily available and well-known to you.
    I don't receive it well because you didn't ask (demand angrily) it well. Maybe if you asked everyone for quotes about their claims, then perhaps even your angry demand would be received better.

    A normal response would be, you know, to dispel such skepticism by easily providing evidence if it's so readily available and well-known to you.
    Except I already did that. Let it go.

    This brings me to the claim made by the Journal of the Society of Archer Antiquities that you cited about Han crossbows and their draw weights. The quote you presented doesn’t explain everything: are they basing their claims about draw weights from both archaeological finds AND the assertions made in the bamboo slip records by ancient authors, or are they only relying on the assertions of the latter? I think that makes an incredibly huge difference, to be honest.
    What? I haven't used that source to show Han crossbow draw weight.

    You keep bashing the South China Morning Post article, which admittedly makes a couple silly hyperbolic comparisons to modern assault rifles, and you use this as a convenient excuse to ignore that the article is directly summarizing and quoting Shen Maosheng. You know, the freaking https://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/art...-china/]deputy director of the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum leading archaeologist at the site.[/URL] If anyone knows what they’re talking about, it’s probably that guy. No offense, I think I’ll be taking his word over that of someone I’m arguing with on Total War Center Forums (hence my fruitless attempts to get you to directly share the information you’ve allegedly mined from reliable sources).

    And again, just so we’re crystal clear, it is Shen Maosheng, paraphrased by the SCMP article, who said that “Previous crossbows found buried at the site had been badly damaged, causing researchers difficulty in estimating the effectiveness and power of the weapon. However, the newly uncovered crossbow remained well preserved and had almost all of its parts intact.”
    Seriously, I've shown you the book with the picture of a pre-2015 excavated crossbow. Obviously the dimensions can be estimated. Will you believe what you see right in front of you? The point is, it was already possible to estimate Qin crossbow dimensions before 2015. Your quote doesn't even directly contradict that. Second of all, if a person who's been known to exaggerate, quotes to you from a person who is not known to exaggerate, then that's not the same as the trustworthy person telling it to you himself, is it?

    You really going to say you can't estimate stock length from the pre-2015 picture I've shown you? I don't know what to say about that. Plus, these two pictures are obviously different crossbows:





    Above is excavated in 2014, below is excavated in 2015. Your link shows the above crossbow for some reason. Which one of them is THE find that allows us to estimate crossbow stock dimensions, exactly? They both look like they can. So any claim that only the more recent 2015 excavation can would be wrong.

    Also, the 2015 excavation says that the crossbow excavated have a stock length of around 75 cm: 弩臂,长约75厘米
    http://www.bmy.com.cn/2015new/contents/472/19282.html

    Yang Hong estimates that Qin stock length was about 71.6 cm. If Yang Hong's time did not have stocks intact enough to estimate stock length, then how did Yang Hong's guess be so close to the stock we excavated in 2015? Don't tell me he has a time machine, jumped forward in time, recorded the stock length, and then jumped back in time to record it in his book. If he had the power to do that, then he'd own the world by now.

    The only "argument" I was making in regards to the Western-Han crossbow pic I shared was to demonstrate in the most basic fashion how you could go about actually proving the things you're saying with credible academic sources, like with the University of Washington webpage I shared right afterwards. There is no other “argument” there, although you’re right that the pages I shared didn’t have enough information about the origins and other details of the artefact. That’s besides the point, though, since CommonSoldier was doubting whether the crossbow pics you have shared above can even be trusted or have even been vetted by a real academic source, or better yet multiple ones. There’s nothing quite like demonstrating scholarly consensus to shut up your critics.
    Why don't you look up what Common Soldier is banned for in historum.... and then you tell me if scholarly consensus is enough to "shut up" someone like that.

    Here's the problem, though: CommonSoldier and Mamlaz have mostly just been criticizing the claims and info you’ve been presenting. Their posts are mainly reactionary ones to yours. It would be odd for me to demand a bunch of scholarly sources for their statements when most of theirs involve simple skepticism about your posts and the items you’ve introduced to the table. You’re the one providing most of the material here. Again, your consistent refusal to provide quotes from the sources you allegedly have access to is a very bad sign indeed. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s a hint that you don’t actually have access to them and that your claims are not a proper reflection of the source materials you’ve cited. Be bold, provide quotes and prove all of us wrong! Otherwise this is a pointless conversation that will hardly help others who stumble into our conversation and may be curious about such source material. Did you ever think about that?
    The very first post in this thread: A bunch of unsourced numbers about crossbow dimensions and draw weights. Did you ever question for quotes about that? Again, I've provided all the quotes you asked for and more, yet somehow your demands are still directed at me. There are plenty of claims made by other people now.... If you want to get anything more out of me, then continually providing pushback even after I've provided the quotes isn't a really big incentive for me to play along. I've already provided all the quotes you asked for. If you continually chirrup about how I "constantly refuse" to provide quotes, even after the quotes are provided, then I won't feel like giving you anything anymore.

    Now, if you want more quotes, then ask me "please show the quote from this source you talked about". And don't accuse me of not quoting it when I've already quoted it. It's over, let it go.
    Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 19, 2017 at 09:48 AM.

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