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Arbalest
Location: Europe
Common Construction: Steel bow with a wooden frame

The arbalest is a large and powerful crossbow capable of piercing plated armor. Skilled crossbowmen or arbalestiers could fire roughly two bolts per minute. The power required to draw the steel bow back is immense, which led to the development of mechanical devices such as the windlass and cranequin to help reload the weapon. The arbalest also had a greater range than previous projectile weapons, being accurate up to 500 yards.

Crossbowmen did not wear heavy armor and were quite vulnerable to return fire. This led to the development of a wall shield called a pavise to protect the crossbowman while he reloaded. In some countries, a crossbowman was accompanied by an assistant called a pavisor whose sole responsibility was to keep the shield in place while the crossbowman reloaded.

Crossbow, History, Medieval Europe, Weapon


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