Recently, the youtuber JoergSprave released a new video, where he built a bow capable of firing an arrow unpracticed at full power every second, as opposed to his initial 1 every 4 seconds. He does this by building the quiver into the bow itself so as you pull back the string, an arrow in pushed into its launch.

I want to know, is this weapon feasible for medieval combat? That is, it is realistic for a army to built, train and use this design in an actual battle? If not, how close can we get?

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    $\begingroup$ If the opponent fires arrows, raise your shields. They will run out of arrows in a short while unless they get resupplied. Not many armies did that. There actually were little casualties from arrow fire during battles since they were so easily blocked. If you fire faster, you run out of arrows faster. I think this even might be a disadvantage - but not in all cases. Could you maybe explain the tactics you would employ? Or are you asking how one would utilize such a bow in battle? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Aug 6 '17 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ It reminded me of the Cho ko nu, the Chinese repeating crossbow. $\endgroup$ – Alberto Yagos Aug 6 '17 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ Shields are often only wood enhanced by some steel, and therefore easily pierceable by bolts, which you would shoot with such a bow. I'd also say the bow show in the video was rather a crossbow than a normal one :) $\endgroup$ – LMD Aug 22 '18 at 18:43

It's impractical.

The technologies to make the device work didn't exist in the middle ages, and it doesn't add value over a traditional bow withing the context of the medieval battlefield.

The purpose of archery during medieval battles was massed fire into infantry formations. The auto loader contains only four arrows. Archers were expected to fire more than four arrows before reloading. The reload time seems to seriously reduce the effective rate of fire.

Medieval English longbows had draw weights upward of 150 lbs. A compound bow greatly reduce the strength draw a but the bow in the video had a much lower draw weight.

Compound bows are a modern invention first created in 1966. They are are built to take advantage of many modern innovations like precision machining, carbon fiber, complex pulley arrangements, and aluminum. Furthermore the construction of the mechanism relies on multiple elastic bands. Elastic bands didn't exist as a medieval technology.


That's an "engineer approach to archery"... utterly useless.

Have a look to this and/or this.

The two nice videos essentially try to show the real feat with "professional" archery has nothing to do with how fast you manage to nock the arrow, because this can be done quite fast, given a certain amount of training.

Real problems are:

  1. You have to provide the energy to shoot the arrow with your arm muscles and this is an heavy job even for trained archers. Increasing the "fire rate" is very demanding if you want to give your arrow enough power to be really damaging. The time needed to nock the arrow is negligible compared with the recovery time of your muscles with a powerful (e.g.: 105lb ~= 50kg ~= 450N) longbow. (note: compound have a drop, so it is much easier to keep the stance while aiming, but you have to provide the energy all the same).
  2. Aim fast and true. "Fast" is needed to avoid tiring arms uselessly by keeping bow bent.
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    $\begingroup$ You're second video proves your point wrong, while very interesting, The shooters admits it took years of practice, while the bow we are questions takes little to no practice $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Aug 6 '17 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @TrEs-2b The bows used in the second video are extremely low draw weight. They're being used to shoot at targets at point blank range. While that is an impressive feat, it is also not practical for hunting or war. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Aug 6 '17 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @TrEs-2b: NO way you can use a bow without proper training. Even if your "instant Legolas" manages to help you nocking the arrow it remains the large part of archery: use your muscles to bend the bow and send the arrow where you want it. English "long bow" is considered the only true "secret weapon" that was used over end over for several centuries because the real "secret" was the training the longbowmen were subjected to. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 6 '17 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, and they were paid according to the draw weight of the bow, some bored had draw weights around 150 pounds. No way you can draw that workout some serious muscle development. $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Aug 29 '17 at 3:34

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