The arbalest (also arblast) was a late variation of the crossbow coming into use in Europe during the 12th century.
A large weapon, the arbalest had a steel prod (“bow”). Since the arbalest was much larger than earlier crossbows, and because of the greater tensile strength of steel, it had a greater force. The strongest windlass-pulled arbalests could have up to 22 kN (5000 lbf) of force and be accurate up to 100 m.
A skilled arbalestier (arbalester) could loose two bolts per minute.
The repeating crossbow , also known as the Zhuge crossbow due to the design upgrade contributed by Three Kingdoms-era strategist Zhuge Liang (181—234 AD), is an ancient Chinese crossbow.
The separate actions of stringing the bow, placing the bolt and shooting it can be accomplished with a simple one-handed movement while keeping the crossbow stationary. This allows a higher rate of fire than a normal crossbow: there is a top-mounted magazine containing a reservoir of bolts that are fed by gravity, and the mechanism is worked by simply moving a rectangular lever forward and backward.
Longbows were very difficult to master because the force required to deliver an arrow through the improving armour of medieval Europe was very high by modern standards. Considerable practice was required to produce the swift and effective combat shooting required. Skeletons of longbow archers are recognisably adapted, with enlarged left arms and often osteophytes on left wrists, left shoulders and right fingers. The importance of the longbow in English culture can be seen in the legends of Robin Hood, which increasingly depicted him as a master archer, and also in the “Song of the Bow”, a poem from The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Modern tests and contemporary accounts agree therefore that well-made plate armor could protect against longbows. However this did not necessarily make the longbow ineffective; thousands of long-bowmen were deployed in the English victory at Agincourt against plate armored French knights in 1415. Clifford Rogers has argued that while longbows might not have been able to penetrate steel breastplates at Agincourt they could still penetrate the thinner armour on the limbs. Most of the French knights advanced on foot but, exhausted by walking across wet muddy terrain in heavy armor enduring a “terrifying hail of arrow shot”, they were overwhelmed in the melee.