Obviously modern firearms are superior to crossbows/bows but when guns were first invented why did armies start using them as opposed to sticking with traditional firearms of crossbows/bows? Were they longer range, more accurate, more portable, cheaper to make, better at armor piercing, etc?
I think it had something to do with the length of time it took to train an individual to be proficient in it’s use. To achieve the skill needed to drop a fool from range with a bow and arrow could take years of hardcore practice, but much less time when it came to muskets.
Someone said something along those lines in an old manual, but I forget who. 🙁
But an secure did not need to do that. He just needed to point his bow in the General direction of the enemy together with the rest of his buddies and unleash a rain of arrows. It only takes a few hours max to learn how to judge distance properlly
Ease of use. Becoming proficient with a bow could take years and requires a certain amount of strength.
You could teach someone to use a musket in a fraction of the time.
Point & click interface!
The biggest advantage firearms provide is a much greater velocity, rate of fire and energy delivery compared to other methods of sending projectiles.
The development of firearms is a big one, spanning technologies developed over the last 500 years. There\’s no easy way to summarize this history or how the original development of firearms became modern firearms over time. The general idea is that a number of advantages over stringed weapons – increased range, accuracy, and power, with reduced effort and time – allowed these tools to go from expensive and heavily engraved luxury items owned by aristocrats, to ubiquitously present tools that shaped the lives and tactics of both military operations and private individuals.
even their v1 without the barrel rifling?
Bear in mind that military adoption of the technology didn’t become widespread until manufacturing improvements and proof of advantage came about. Before then, guns were single-purpose and highly decorative collectables for the wealthy, and too expensive to produce at version 1 to produce and use militarily.
reduced effort and time
There’s the big reason.
Training a passable archer might take a year or more. Many practiced their whole lives.
You can train 100 passable musketeers in about 2 weeks.
I fully don’t agree with your statement.
Militarily-effective musket operations of the past took a much greater degree of effort and discipline to master than modern firearms, because of the sheer effort and complexity in operation, the newness of the technology, and the common tactics of war at that time.
The maximum effective range of unrifled muskets was around 200 yards at the peak of the technology, which means there wasn’t much time to reload and fire before personal close combat became inevitable. Compare the musket infantry doctrine to the archer’s doctrine at the time where both technologies were present, and archery had an element of advantage when it came to range and volume of fire. I concede that a well-trained musket infantryman has an overall advantage, but that advantage isn’t attained through only two weeks of training.
Even now, with self-contained cartridges and these fancy auto-loading systems we enjoy, it still takes years to develop the same discipline and skill to master the fundamentals of marksmanship to the ranges the weapons are capable of. The equalizer of modern arms and extended ranges were big changes to military doctrine – sometimes in ways which aren’t immediately intuitive.
You need to consider line/formation infantry separate from skirmisher infantry.
Mass infantry formations meant that you didn’t need to train line infantry for mastery, only to keep calm under enemy fire, stay in formation, fire on command, and reload. Not much different than training someone how to stay in a shield wall or pike wall. That is why they became dominant in European armies.
Skirmishers do need more advanced marksmanship training to accurately hit their targets, but they did not make up the bulk of European militaries.
Early muskets were inferior to longbows in just about every way except for one…easy of use.
A longbow require years of training to develop the skill and musculature to be effective. A musket required a few weeks, making it far easier to raise and replace soldiers.
“Early muskets were inferior to longbows in just about every way except for one…easy of use”
Well that’s wrong…
Muskets were far more powerful than what we use today (i.e. rifles). They would expel a mass with easily 10x the force of a longbow arrow. The mass was less efficient than an arrow, but it still traveled further (300+ meters for ball vs ~200 meters for arrow) and carried more force at the maximum arrow distance.
This is part of why armor disappeared. With bows and arrows, armies could face off for hours at ~500m and move in sporadically to trade ineffective arrow shots. With muskets, every time the armies exchanged volleys people were injured. It isn’t like in movies where armies rush each other in apocalyptic super-high-casualty close combat.
Not only that, but a musketeer could fight for 10 hours. Constantly reloading and firing. They could fight injured, too. A bowman, on the other hand, could tire after 2 minutes of intense fighting. Even the strongest, best trained longbowman, firing at medium distance with a medium draw would not be able to sustain fire for more than 10 minutes. Think about barbell curling 200 pounds. How many times can you do it before your arms are burning?
The only reason bows are so popular in modern culture is because they are romantic and depicted as powerful weapons in film. In reality, when armies faced off bow vs. musket, the muskets would win.
This is objectively wrong.
The musket was much easier to learn than the bow. You could arm a militia with muskets and they would be a far more formidable force than a militia with bows. The musket also was very loud, and when used in large numbers could create a smoke screen across the battlefield – this was very disorientating to the enemy.
However the musket was very inaccurate and took a long time to reload.I’d argue that it’s main strength was the psychological effect it would have on enemies. Every time they heard a bang someone would die.
A musket could reach distances of 200-300 yards with lethality. Bow and arrow can only do maybe 100yards with a really strong archer that has been training since adolescence.
Early muskets didn’t even come close to 200 yards effective range, let alone 300 yards. Muskets that shot that distance were at the end of the musket days, when already magazines were being utilized, and rifling was common.
I know it’s just a simple typo, but it’s an interesting one, second-amendment style.