So, because I was bored and there was nothing else on I saw an episode of Top Shot on the History Channel. This was the episode with the long bows and crossbows.
Okay, so I'm sure there's a bunch of editing and selection of the photo shoots that drive the story, but really, what a bunch of whiny little girls. Yeah, competitive bullcrap abounds, but the whole "WTF is this with bows, I just, blah blah blah." Really smarty pants, then get your asses out there on the line and practice until the sun goes down instead of sitting in the house and bitchin' about how it's such an unfair requirement.
Really, I'm in a skills competition and I'm not on the line throwing lead (or wood as the case may be) down range until I can barely see? Is there some rule that prevents them from practicing? Eating is something you do when your hands hurt and you need a break (or you start shaking from either protein or glucose deficiency).
And they perpetuated a myth. And that myth is that the crossbow was more advanced on the field. It wasn't. The yew bow (aka English Long Bow) was. Now, they did it right that combat long bows had 150-200lb draw weights. You typical current era long bow has a 40lb draw weight, and hunting compound bows have a 60lb draw weight.
Crossbows are very old weapons, having seen service in the Greek Army and were a way of balancing the power of the composite bow and the ability to aim it. And while the long bow is just as old, the advent of the yew bow was a late arrival on the battlefield and slightly post-dates the arrival of the metal composite crossbow. No matter what, the crossbow was only just a strong short bow. The determining factor was that the yew bow was just as powerful at close range (yes, the yew bow would put a steel-tipped shaft through platemail, knight, and pierce the back of the mail at close range), twice as effective at a medium distance, and had a long range of 300-500 yards, which the crossbow couldn't match. Also, a skilled crossbowman could shoot 5-8 quirils in a minute and required extensive training. This is why in the middle ages most crossbowman were mercenaries. The long bow, on the other hand, could put 15 shafts per minute down range and didn't require the extreme training (although English Law required yeoman to train so many times per year), and were also able to use their short swords and pikes.
The yew bow gained prominence in the 100 Years War (late 14th century) and most importantly gave Henry V his victory at Agincourt. Well, that and the French losing their minds and feeling over confident by outnumbering the English 5 to 1 (in mounted knights). Then French brought 1,500 crossbowman to the field (Italian mercenaries). While most accounts of the battle talk about how the French longbowman and crossbowman were shuffled to the back, what is less well known is the Italian Mercenaries quit the field in the onslaught of the English Yew Bowman in the forest of Tramecourt.
While the crossbow became the template that was used to integrate man-portable firearms into battle, it was the competition of the long bow that caused firearm adoption