I want Hungarians to win at Mohi in my alternate timeline. Without damaging too much the technological level, I want to arm Hungarian army with reverse draw crossbows like Scorpyd VTEC

The recurve bow used by the horse archers has about 130 fps with 56 lb ft of kinetic energy, while the reverse draw crossbow has 440 fps & 173 lb ft of kinetic energy. Without 21st century materials it would be made heavier unlike current hunting offer.

Would that be enough to obliterate the Mongolian horse archers?


3 Answers 3


Actual weapon power wasn't what made the mongolians so dangerous, it was mounted archers just running circles while firing back at you.

You can't really out-shoot horse archers, since they'd close range rapidly and have the speed and agility to make firing at them very difficult.

Best you can do is carry nice big shields to cover you while you fire something fast, like a hand crossbow.


There are several ways to deal with horse archers, but most involve strategy and tactics. Hoping a single super weapon will deal with the enemy is a fools game (even super weapons need a proper strategy to be effective).

To provide an illustration, the Battle of Nagashino will serve as a substitute. Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga combined forces against the army of Takeda Katsuyoui, who had inherited a highly effective cavalry force from his father, Takeda Shingen.

The combined force had access to firearms, which can be substituted for the crossbow weapons, since the effect is going to be the same. By placing the ranks of arquebus gunners (crossbow archers) behind wooden palisades and having them fire in volleys, with fresh troops replacing each line of gunners (archers) as they fired, the cavalry charge was repelled and the formation of the combined army was unbroken when the Takeda infantry force arrived behind the cavalry charge.

Of course, the topography also assisted Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga's force, since the flanks were protected by ground the cavalry could not use to manoeuvre around, and had they not chosen this place to make their stand, the use of volley fire might have been far less effective.

Henry V made a similar calculation at Agincourt, securing his flanks with heavy woods, and finding a place where the French had to charge uphill against the ranks of Welsh longbowmen and dismounted men at arms. If caught in the open (as English forces were later in the 100 Years War), the dismounted archers were easily overwhelmed.

So the use of these crossbows will make your soldiers marginally more effective in a battle (they can engage at longer ranges and possibly punch through heavier armour, although this isn't a huge factor against the Huns), but the mobility and firepower of the horse archers is what makes them effective, so the generals need to find ways to negate those factors, or match them with better mobility and firepower of their own.


TL/DR Mongolians will either retreat or be chopped to pieces .

You're giving too much advantage to the Hungarians.

I watched experimental archaeology video about Horse Archers and from what they concluded from their tests and comparing with reliable historical records, horse archers usually shot at about 100 meters at mass of soldiers, the hit rate was quite low about 10%, usually wounds, but it would be very demoralizing if the enemy can't shot back. At 50 meters they could aim at individual soldiers or cracks at shield wall. Further away their arrows don't have energy to do the damage, ignore the Fly Arrows ranges.

If the Hungarians have Scorpyd with 400 FPS, they'll be able to kill the Mongolians from 200m maybe more, the horse is huge unarmored target. They would be able to kill even their heavy cavalry though on lesser range. The rate of fire will be lower but that won't make much difference when nearly every arrow kills either the horse or the rider.

The other advantage is that modern crossbow with rifle grip makes untrained soldiers effective. It takes years maybe a decade to become proficient with a bow from a horse, on the other hand I was able to learn shooting the crossbow within an hour on a usable level, I wish I could say the same about the recurve bow, not to mention the riding part. So in the next battles, if Hungarians need more soldiers they could just grab few peasants, give them a month of training and they'll do great.

If Scorpyd spreads throughout the world the age of the horse archer is over also the knights are useless too when every peasant could kill them easily . My friend had one, and one arrow went through the practice target, wood fence and still had enough energy to get stuck at neighbors' tree. The neighbor wasn't very happy about it to say the least.

If only Hungarians have it you're effectively making them superpower and ending the medieval age, but this time with crossbowmen instead of arquebusiers .

  • $\begingroup$ I have a heard time imagining hitting a moving horse with anything at 200m. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2016 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @intrepidhero You're not hunting wild horses, they are burdened with riders and coming your way. Imagine these goo.gl/YYBAhK galloping your way to launch their arrows at 100 m. Shot in a general direction and you'll hit some. Mounted archers horses are unarmored that monster Scorpyd arrows will go through their flesh like hot knife through butter. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2016 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ I agree the crossbow would be lethal against heavy cavalry. But I would assume horse archers would use a loose formation to avoid enemy archers. I just think you're overestimating it's effectiveness against a highly mobile target. But IHNFTMH (I have never fought the Mongol Hord). $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2016 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @intrepidhero Neither did I but I shot Scorpyd, as a complete beginner I was able to hit human size target at ~60m, trained crossbowmen could snipe small target at 100 bit.ly/2dPswEu, horse and rider are much larger target. They most come to you at ~100 for their recurve bows to be effective, while they attack you'll simply wipe them out. 440 FPS is very fast. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2016 at 18:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .