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Old November 30th, 2017, 08:08 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
In comparison, CCTV did make a giant sized multi-prod ballista too, but unfortunately the draw weight was made waaayyyy too low at a measly 390 lbs. This is the draw weight of the average Han handheld crossbow. More authentic draw weight should multiply that number by around 10, not to mention the prod would be composite which makes the energy transfer more efficient than that of the replica. The replica's powerstroke is at an impressive 61 inches though. The quarrel is big enough to be a long, thick spear. This means it's way too big for the draw weight. They didn't say how heavy it is, but it looks to be at least 2 kg in weight. The velocity is a measly 28 m/s but would be way higher if not for the draw weight.

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Retrieving the projectile after it was shot into a cliffside.
Is there any practical reason to make the quarrel that long (other than it looks cool)?
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Old November 30th, 2017, 08:22 AM   #22

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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
... including the drill of crossbowmen alternatively advancing [to shoot] and retiring [to load];[/SIZE][/SIZE][/I]
I wonder, is there a more technical passage or some other type of record that details this with more precision? That details this possible countermarch drill?
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Old November 30th, 2017, 08:45 AM   #23

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I wonder, is there a more technical passage or some other type of record that details this with more precision? That details this possible countermarch drill?
Unfortunately Chinese sources of the ancient era aren't big on technical details as a general rule, I think only by the Tang do treatises get more technical. However, mention of crossbows firing by taking turns occur as far back as the Warring States era.

From the Song dynasty Wujingzingyao showing the firing line, advancing line, and reloading line.

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Old November 30th, 2017, 03:56 PM   #24

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Earliest hints of the countermarch, laager, and deer-barricade formations came from Taigong's Secret Teachings:
King Wu asked Tai Gong:"What about when infantry engage in battle with chariots and cavalry?"
Tai Gong replied:"When infantry engage in battle with chariots and cavalry, they must rely on hills and mounds, ravines and defiles. The long weapons and strong crossbow should occupy the fore; the short weapons and weak crossbow should occupy the rear, firing and resting in turn. Even if large numbers of the enemy’s chariots and cavalry should arrive, they must maintain a solid formation and fight intensely while skilled soldiers and strong crossbowmen prepare against attacks from the rear."
King Wu said:"Suppose there are no hills or mounds, ravines or defiles. The enemy arrives, and it is both numerous and martial. Their chariots and cavalry outflank us on both sides, and they are making sudden thrusts against our front and rear positions. Our army are terrified and fleeing in chaotic defeat. What should we do?"
Tai Gong replied:"Order our officers and troops to set up the chevaux-de-frise and wooden caltrops, arraying the oxen and horses into units, and place in their midst, and have them established a four sided martial assault formation. When you see the enemy’s chariots and cavalry are about to advance, our men should evenly spread out the chevaux-de-frise and caltrops and dig ditches at the back of it. Making them five feet deep and wide. It is called the ‘Cage of Fate’.
Chariots should be arrayed as ramparts and pushed forward and back. Whenever they stop, set them up as fortifications. Our skilled soldiers and strong crossbowmen should defend the left and right flanks. Afterward, order our army to fervently fight without respite."
"Excellent!" said King Wu. -Six Secret Teachings
Wei Liao Tzu: "Standing formations are the means to move, sitting formations the means to stop. Mixed formations-with some soldiers standing, others sitting-respond to each other in accord with the need to move or stop, with the general being in the middle. The weapons of the seated soldiers are the sword and ax; the weapons of the standing soldiers are the spear-tipped halberd and crossbow; the general also occupies the middle."

Wu Tzu: "The basic rule of warfare that should be taught is that men short in stature should carry spears and spear-tipped halberds, while the tall should carry bows and crossbows. The strong should carry the flags and banners; the courageous should carry the bells and drums. The weak should serve in supply work, while the wise should supervise the planning."
By the Tang dynasty military treatises gets more technical. From the Tang dynasty Tongdian:
[Crossbow units] should be divided into teams that can concentrate their arrow shooting.… Those in the center of the formations should load [their bows] while those on the outside of the formations should shoot. They take turns, revolving and returning, so that once they've loaded they exit [i.e., proceed to the outer ranks] and once they've shot they enter [i.e., go within the formations]. In this way, the sound of the crossbow will not cease and the enemy will not harm us.

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^Li Quan showing a shooting row in the front line and two reloading rows. By the Song the middle row is named the advancing row.
From the Song dynasty Wujing Zongyao:
Those in the center of the formation should load while those on the outside of the formation should shoot, and when [the enemy gets] close, then they should shelter themselves with small shields [literally side shields, 旁牌], each taking turns and returning, so that those who are loading are within the formation. In this way the crossbows will not cease sounding.
Here are some quotes from the Song Shih on two battles against the Jin led by Wanyan Wushu. In each battle the Song armies used "Standing-Firm Arrow Teams", ie the countermarch formation:
"[Wu] Jie ordered his commanders to select their most vigorous bowmen and strongest crossbowmen and to divide them up for alternate shooting by turns. They were called the "Standing-Firm Arrow Teams", and they shot continuously without cease, as thick as rain pouring down. The enemy fell back a bit, and then [Wu Jie] attacked with cavalry from the side to cut off the [enemy's] supply routes. [The enemy] crossed the encirclement and retreated, bu [Wu Jie] set up ambushes at Shenben and waited. When the Jin troops arrived, [Wu's] ambushers shot, and many [enemy] were in chaos. The troops were released to attack at night and greatly defeated them. Wuzhu was struck by a flowing arrow and barely escaped with his life."
And a siege a year after, led by Wu Lin:
"used the Standing-Firm Arrow Teams, who shot alternately, and the arrows fell like rain, and the dead piled up in layers, but the enemy climbed over them and kept climbing up."
-pg 154-155, The Gunpowder Age, Tonio Andrade


What the Song Shi said about WuLin's battle:
金生兵踵至,人被重铠,铁钩相连,鱼贯而上,璘以驻队矢迭射,矢下如雨,死者层积,敌践而登
Translation: The Jin soldiers arrived wearing heavy armor, connected by iron hooks (to this day we're still not sure what "connected by iron hooks" mean), and went up like fishes (Chinese idiom here, not sure if it's meant to give a picture of a school of fish or slithering dexterously like fishes, or both). [Wu]Lin used the Standing-Firm Arrow Teams, and the arrows fell like rain.The dead piled up in layers, but the enemy climbed over them and kept climbing up.

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; November 30th, 2017 at 04:12 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2017, 04:16 PM   #25

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Anyway, I would like to get the entire translation for this:

《皇宋中兴两朝圣政》卷53:
步司诸军弓箭手,带甲六十步射,一石二斗力,箭十二,六箭中垛为本等。弩手,带甲百步射,四石 力,箭十二, 五箭中垛为本等


Under context of what was said, it seems to me that the bowmen and crossbowmen are not shooting at people wearing armor, but are wearing armor while shooting at targets. Just my revised interpretation. So far we have that to meet a base standard, bowmen are required to hit a target in the center 6 times out of twelve shots at a range of 60 paces (90 meters), using a bow with draw weight of 1 shih 2 dou (71.04 kg). Crossbowmen are expected to hit a target in the center 5 times out of 12 at a range of 100 paces (150 meters), using a crossbow with draw weight of 4 shih (236.8 kg).

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; November 30th, 2017 at 04:18 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2017, 10:15 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
What the Song Shi said about WuLin's battle:
金生兵踵至,人被重铠,铁钩相连,鱼贯而上,璘以驻队矢迭射,矢下如雨,死者层积,敌践而登
Translation: The Jin soldiers arrived wearing heavy armor, connected by iron hooks (to this day we're still not sure what "connected by iron hooks" mean), and went up like fishes (Chinese idiom here, not sure if it's meant to give a picture of a school of fish or slithering dexterously like fishes, or both). [Wu]Lin used the Standing-Firm Arrow Teams, and the arrows fell like rain.The dead piled up in layers, but the enemy climbed over them and kept climbing up.
I am going to inject my humble opinion:

鱼贯而上 means advancing in an orderly fashion (in a single file) like a school of fish, one after another.

In 三朝北盟会编 卷202, 汪若海札子,顺昌之战时,金军 "三人为伍,以皮索相连"

I am not good with names, so I leave it to other experts, but in this description, Jin troops marched in a three-men formation, connected by leather belts.

In another account also gave the same description:

金佗稡编 卷8, 王行实编年,“贯以韦索,凡三人为联

Jin troops march in threes, connected by leather belts.

Also according to General Yue Fei's grandson, he notes in 鄂王行实编年:

"兀术有劲军,皆重销,贯以韦索,凡三人为联"

Jin troop vanguard wore heavy armor, connected by belts, in a squad of three.

- - - - -

In my humble opinion, I think these were describing the advancement of Jin troops, in heavy armor, connected by iron hooks (at each end of a leather belt), advanced in an orderly fashion (in a single file) akin to a school of fish, one squad after another.

Last edited by Tak; December 1st, 2017 at 10:19 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2017, 08:42 PM   #27

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As far as my knowledge goes, there are two tests against lamellar armor with crossbows.

Lamellar testing begins at 8:30 minutes. Note that 20 gauge scales means that the replica have 0.8 mm thick scales, not 1 mm thick as said in the video. In comparison, 1-1.5 mm would be the thickness of most excavated Han lamellar armor scales, but they could go sometimes go up to 3.5 mm in thickness (it depends on which part of the armor the scales are at). By the early Medieval period Chinese lamellar thickness seem to have gotten thicker, commonly around 1.5-3 mm thick including armor for horses. Scales found in Dura Europos were significantly thinner at 0.25 mm, while Roman squamata scales would be around 0.4-0.8 mm thick. The lamellar armor tested was also mentioned to have 'dubious leather strings', the tester being able to snap them in half by simply pulling them.



The lamellar resisted the 350 lbs Medieval crossbow and the 976 lbs Medieval crossbow respectively. The last shot managed to penetrate the scale, but not the jack underneath. The 976 lb crossbow did, however, manage to knock scales off the armor despite not being able to penetrate it. This might be different if the lacings were made less dubiously, instead of something that you could pull apart by hand with barely any effort. The 976 lb Medieval replica crossbow was made by tod todeschini and before he shipped the crossbow to Skallagrim, he shot it through a chronograph. The 976 lb crossbow sends a 96 gram bolt to a speed of 47.9 m/s, resulting in 110 Joules.

CCTV also used a Song style crossbow to fire against lamellar armor. The difference is that whereas Song crossbows had a composite prod, this reconstruction used bamboo laths bound together. The draw weight of the reconstruction is also weaker at only 160 lbs. Unfortunately there were no direct hits, but the two quarrels which made glancing hits did pop off scales and punch a hole through the scales they hit. The quality of the lamellar armor is unknown.

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Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 14th, 2017 at 09:14 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2017, 07:46 PM   #28

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Also, Qin crossbow triggers found in Qin Shi Huang's terracotta army seem to be the same size as the Han six stone (387 lbs draw weight) trigger:

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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 lever 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 levers 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 all the moving parts, the amount of force both triggers were designed to handle seems to be more or less the same.

The three types of Qin trigger lever types Ag1, Ag2, and Ag3 and their lengths(A1): http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1412513/1/ant0880126.pdf

Yang Hong in Weapons in Ancient China states that Qin crossbow stocks found in Qin ShiHuang's terracotta warrior pits are all around 71.6 cm. Later findings after the book was published seem to match this. Same author also states that the most common Han crossbow recorded in the Chu-Yen accounting slips were of the 6 stone type.

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 17th, 2017 at 07:53 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 06:33 PM   #29

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A French guy apparently made a replica of a one stone Han crossbow, the weakest version of Han crossbows: http://www.webarcherie.com/index.php?/topic/22505-arbal%C3%A8te-chinoise-classique-pas-repetition/&page=2


Brace height seems pretty high being ~30% of the full draw length from eyeballing it.
Draw Weight = 61 lbs
Arrow Weight = 30.1 grams
Velocity = 54 m/s
Potential Energy = 61 lbs * ~19 inches /2 = 579.5 inch lbs = 65.5 Joules
Energy = 54*54*.0301/2 = 43.9 Joules
Dynamic Efficiency = 43.9 Joules / 65.5 Joules = 67%

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Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 18th, 2017 at 06:37 PM.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 07:52 PM   #30

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Here is a quote from 翠微先生北征錄 (Cui Wei Xain Sheng Bei Zheng Lu) of the early Song dynasty, a big thanks to heavenlykaghan for helping me with the first half. Might be some errors on the second half of the paragraph, but the numbers should be correct (hard to mistranslate numbers):

臣闻番长于马,汉长于弩,制骑以弩。此旧说也。然近日诸军弩手,皆欠指版,人身通以五尺为率。 上顶至项一尺
,则下止四尺;泥泞五寸,则上止有三尺四五寸。弩手进则蹋弩以射,退则肩弩以归。檐长若过六尺 ,桩长若过三 尺,肩弩则檐梢拄地,而下有绾绊之忧,蹋弩则桩头拄胸,而上无牵挽之力。草莱藤蔓之地惧其牵绾 ,必弃弩而空 走;涂潦泥堑之地被其踢绊,必为弩而丧躯。今欲使弩斗力自二硕至三硕,不许太硬,令久疲之兵易 于蹉蹋;使弩 檐自五尺至六尺,不许太长,令矮短之兵易于肩射。夏暑之月,梅雨蒸润,筋角易脱,则用木弩。秋冬之月,风色 严冷,木索重滞,则用角弩。其锹头等桩檐太长者,悉令诸军减,令短捷,则庶无废 器。是谓弩制。

The foreign advantage is in horses, the Han advantage is in crossbows, subduing cavalry with crossbows. This is an old saying. But in recent days the various crossbowmen of the armies all lack 'finger plate' (hand cushions?). All owes their types to the human height ratio of 5 chi (63 inches = 5 feet 3 inches), with the top to the neck being 1 chi, and everything below being 4 chi. NiNing?? is 5 cun, and the upper portion is 3 chi 4-5 cun. When crossbowmen advance, they tread on the crossbow to shoot, and carry the crossbow over the shoulder when withdrawing. If the prod is longer than 6 chi and if the stock is longer than 3 chi(38.8 inches), then at the shoulder the crossbow prod will tip toward the ground, and below there is the problem of tripping, when stepping on such a crossbow the stock head will reach the chest, so above there is no pulling strength. [with such a big crossbow] in regions of grass and vines it will impede pulling, and the crossbow will be abandoned. In muddy regions it will cause tripping, and the [crossbow’s] body will be lost. At present day we want to use crossbows with draw strength of 2 stone to 3 stone (
~264 lbs to ~397 lbs), and [the prod] cannot be too stiff because tired soldiers are prone to mistakes; The crossbow prod should be 5 chi(1.6 meters) to 6 chi(1.9 meters), and cannot be too long, so that short soldiers can easily shoot it at the shoulder. During the hot summer, when it’s raining and there’s steam, the horn [composite prod] should be easily taken off, and use a wooden [simple prod] crossbow. During the spring and winter, where there is wind and bitter cold, the wood (simple prod) is heavy and sluggish, and horn [composite prod] crossbows must be used. For those crossbows in which the prod and stock are too long, they must all be quickly ordered to be shortened, so there is no wastage of weapons. This is the proposition on the way of crossbows.

Right before this paragraph he described the dimensions of Divine Arm crossbows as thus:

桩牙里一尺八寸,葫芦头四寸,镫二尺,桩长二尺三寸,角檐长四尺五寸。
Within the stock's teeth it is 1 chi 8 cun (22.7 inches), the gourd head is 4 cun (5.4 inches). The stirrup is 2 chi (25.2 inches). The stock have length 2 chi 3 cun (29 inches), the horn prod have length 4 chi 5 cun (56.7 inches).

I think the gourd head means the brace height, and "within the stock's teeth" means powerstroke + trigger nut to end of trigger casing. The outline of a gourd just happens to be the outline of a composite prod, and the length of the 'gourd head' + the length "within the stock's teeth", when added up just happen to equal the stock length, short .9 inches which is probably from the back of the stock to the trigger casing.

Gourd:

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Composite bow:

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Last edited by HackneyedScribe; January 5th, 2018 at 09:40 PM.
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