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The Longbow-Crossbow Shootout At Crécy (1346): Has The "Rate Of Fire Commonplace" Been Overrated?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter adopts a different approach, one that involves reassessing certain conditions on the ground that faced the men fighting at Crécy. Preston?s observation allows the possibility of significant refinements to the battle narrative. The numbers for the Genoese are more problematic: at best they seem to put the crossbowmen on a relatively even footing; at worst, they suggest an English numerical advantage of perhaps 3 to 1. Each crossbowman would have required roughly a square yard in order to move freely with his weapon and equipment, and to aim in whatever direction was required. The extreme range for longbows used at Crécy would probably have been about 180?200 yards. In fact, the arrival of the pavises and the rest of their equipment would almost certainly have had a significant impact on the opening stages of the battle.

Keywords: battle narrative; Crécy; crossbowman; Genoese; longbows; pavises



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