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Prodd...anyone got any info (Read 6462 times)
horomancer
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Prodd...anyone got any info
Nov 10th, 2009 at 1:16pm
 
I know a Prodd is a crossbow made to shoot stones, but that's about the end of it. Where they as strong as regular crossbows, or more like kids toys? I know they were used for hunting birds and other small game, but were there war versions?
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David Morningstar
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #1 - Nov 10th, 2009 at 2:09pm
 
Hmmm.... The prod is the bow part of any crossbow. There were bullet firing crossbows, but they were never particularly powerful. There was a fad for them in England in Victorian times, for target shooting and for bagging vermin and small game. Belgium/Netherlands was also a place that was into them but they looked a bit different, with a single string and a slotted 'gun barrel' arrangement to control the bullet.

http://www.thebeckoning.com/medieval/stonebow/stonebow.html

http://www.crossbowbook.com/page_220.html

[EDIT] Of course, the biggest stone throwing crossbows were the Greek and Roman Ballista weapons made in various sizes, generally used for bashing down fortified positions. For anti-personnel use these were generally smaller and shot heavy crossbow bolts instead.

http://www.legionxxiv.org/ballista.htm

http://www.legionxxiv.org/catapulta/

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Bikewer
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #2 - Nov 10th, 2009 at 6:56pm
 
You should be able to get a copy of Payne-Gallwey's crossbow history from any decent library: 

http://www.amazon.com/crossbow-mediaeval-military-construction-management/dp/B00...


Another good one with a large section on the "bullet-shooting" crossbows is this one: 

http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Guide-Man-Powered-Bullets-Bullet-Bows/dp/0811701...

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Thomas
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #3 - Nov 10th, 2009 at 8:33pm
 
Prodd (double d) is the name for an early stone or pellet crossbow. Donít know for sure but I suspect the term was borrowed (less one d) as a name for the bow part of modern crossbows due to its functional usage. † † † † † † † †
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horomancer
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #4 - Nov 10th, 2009 at 9:36pm
 
Thanks for the links. I found quiet a bit of material today on this item, but still found your links very informative (saw nothing of the Belgium variety)

Question- Did the bullet-bow not have as much military potential as it's pointing  brother, or did the idea of using a cross bow to shoot rocks simply come to late into the game to match the evolving blackpowder and airgun tech of the time?

Next- Is there a modern bullet-bow on the market? I know pointy sticks make for good game killing, but it would seem like somone would want to hunt large foul and desire a bullet lobber.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #5 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:19am
 
According to a recent book "The Catapult", by T. Rihil, such weapons existed and were used in battle along with those shooting arrows or bolts.

She goes as far as to claim that the lead sling bullet was really ammunition for such weapons rather than for slings, and that they were used for sniping as well as massed fire.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #6 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:47am
 
wanderer wrote on Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:19am:
According to a recent book "The Catapult", by T. Rihil, such weapons existed and were used in battle along with those shooting arrows or bolts.

She goes as far as to claim that the lead sling bullet was really ammunition for such weapons rather than for slings, and that they were used for sniping as well as massed fire.


Do you think her assertions have any merit? What would be the advantage of shooting lead bullets over ordinary crossbow bolts?
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horomancer
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #7 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 8:22am
 
Cheaper to produce i would imagen. Cast up a lot of bullets with just some sand molds and a fire, or fletch bolts and attach their heads each by hand. There is suppose to be some difference in the trauma caused by a slower but heavier blunt object striking you than a faster lighter one, but I don't know if that would actually come into play with these weapons.
I doubt the notion that they had extensive use on the battle field. I find mention of them starting in the 1400 and the nice German model with the built in cocking lever didn't come around till like 1800. It is the only example I've seen with a lever cocking mechanism, while all the rest have been hand cocked (there was a google book showing how a hunter would rest the butt of the Prodd on his knee and draw it.). There are records of much more powerful crossbows being in use hundreds of year prior, which leads me to believe if they saw military use there would be some record predating the examples from the 16th to 19th century.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #8 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 9:01am
 
Aussie wrote on Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:47am:
wanderer wrote on Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:19am:
According to a recent book "The Catapult", by T. Rihil, such weapons existed and were used in battle along with those shooting arrows or bolts.

She goes as far as to claim that the lead sling bullet was really ammunition for such weapons rather than for slings, and that they were used for sniping as well as massed fire.


Do you think her assertions have any merit? What would be the advantage of shooting lead bullets over ordinary crossbow bolts?


I think Rihil is full of it. Why shoot something soft and blunt when you can shoot something hard and sharp? Arrows and bolts are more expensive than lead bullets but the big cost is time rather than material. The arrowhead is quick and easy to bash out of any old iron with basic forge equipment, its the smoothing down of the arrow shaft and the faffing around with feathers that takes the longest.

Time is something that professional armies have lots of and they need to fill it to stop their troops getting bored. Making arrows and bolts would be a good thing for them to be doing.

Roman legeions contained many skilled men who would build bridges, siege towers, fortifications and all sorts of other things as the situation required. Keeping up with the ammo consumption of the bolt-throwers would be a trivial job.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #9 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:19am
 
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #10 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:23am
 
Aussie wrote on Nov 11th, 2009 at 12:47am:
Do you think her assertions have any merit? What would be the advantage of shooting lead bullets over ordinary crossbow bolts?


The book is somewhat rambling IMHO and I don't have my copy around at the moment, but there was an amount of interesting content.

BTW this is discussing existence of these weapons from several centuries BC!

The core argument is that a design formula was known to the early military engineers for manufacturing stone and 'sharp' throwers (Rihil's term) of various sizes. This formula gives the size of the critical component of these devices, which is the set of metal rings which form the pivots for the two arms of the 'bow' - we are talking 'torsion' catapults here.

Since these are metal, they survive where the wooden parts do not, and rings of small size have been found, predicting their use with much lighter weights than the large scale engines we know about. The suggestion of the existence of miniature catapults does not come from Rihil but from from Baatz, if I remember correctly.

Rihil suggests that since large scale stone and 'sharp' throwers were operated together (generally accepted I think) there is no reason to suppose that the two kinds of catapult would not also coexist at the smaller scales.

The weakest part of her argument, I believe, is in her discussion of the hand sling. She asserts that such slings cannot cause the wounds documented by early historians. She quotes quite extensively from this website amongst other sources, but rather selectively and to point out the weaknesses of the hand sling. She is (of course) keen on Thom Richardson's paper with the ludicrously low velocity measurements. Unfortunately, her references refer to links here which are now dead following one of the early reorganizations here. The examples from the forensic literature which she makes are also, I feel, a bit questionable.

Having dismissed the possibility that hand slings could have done the reported damage, the only thing left is to claim of the use of small lead throwing catapults.

There's a few extra bits of evidence she puts forward:

Finding of heads for catapult 'sharps' along with lead slingshot, and the sociological argument that slingers (being scumbags Wink) would not have been supplied with such nicely made items, whereas the technocrat catapult users would require them.

Also, the linguistic argument that usage of 'sling' does not necessarily imply 'hand sling'. I can certainly live with that argument, since a somewhat similar confusion persists to this day (doesn't †steinschleuder mean pretty much anything from a hand sling to a seige engine?)

What she does not do, as far as I recall, is suggest any significant detail of how such devices were designed to throw lead shot of the shape we see, rather than perhaps round balls of lead.

I may well have missed out aspects of her argument. These are the parts that I recall at the moment Wink

I know that her suggestions have had 'mixed' reviews in academia (she is an academic specializing in the history of science I think, at one of the Welsh universities)

And.... don't shoot the messenger - blame Thearos instead. It's his fault for bringing up the book in the first place. Grin
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #11 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:26am
 
Thomas wrote on Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:19am:

Thomas,

Thanks for that. An interesting site I hadn't seen before.
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horomancer
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #12 - Nov 11th, 2009 at 1:26pm
 
I read some exceprts from 'The Man Powered Bullet' and it was very educational. Seems the bullet bows of the 14th to 19th cenuray suffered from needing very large and heavy bowstrings to contain the power, which resulted in poor performance when compared to the traditional crossbow. Seems all of Bow making is a balancing act between having enough mass and strength in the bow to wistand the shock of firing, but be light and thin as possible so more of the energy goes into the projectile.

Here is where Rihil's notion may have some merit.
Old time prods had to tilt the bow so the fat double string could clear the stock, or used a curved body that limited the strength of the total draw force. Richard Middleton says in his book that he believes the best design is to make two compound limbs and firmly affix them to a centre brace that would allow the bullet to pass between them. This would need to be very stoutly built and the text I read did not make it clear whether he did this or not.
However, back in the times of the greeks and romans, There where tiny hand held balistas that where literally scaled down versions of their siege brothers. The torrsion frame by nature allowed you to fire any projectile in a flat plane of the draw meaning the problems with shoot large ammo like stones doesn't exist.

Here's a notion- Maybe archers of the day had the complex torsion crossbows and carried both dart and sling stone. The dart would be better at actually hurting targets upclose, but those stones would be great for lobbing at distance enemies when in formation. This torrsion bow style, while more complicated to make, may have been better if there was not an easily harvest-able material to make into flexon bows. I'm thinking if you are in an area with mainly rocks, grass, and shrubs, a good flexon bow would be harder to come by than just getting alot of hemp twine and bundling it up.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #13 - Nov 17th, 2009 at 12:02pm
 
a crossbow/prodd would not impart sufficient spin to a lead glande. logic would suggest that for such a weapon you would need spherical bullets.
as most found are ellipsoidal - they were meant for slings and the spin a sling can impart.

Plus a cross bow bolt has a lot of straight mass driving the point on. it'll penetrate armour easily a soft lead bullet would not.

Also illustrations tend to show either slingers, archers or crossbowmen with bolts.

I can't think of a single argument that would suggest wide spread use of bullet bows in battle.
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Re: Prodd...anyone got any info
Reply #14 - Nov 23rd, 2009 at 7:53am
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Nov 17th, 2009 at 12:02pm:
a crossbow/prodd would not impart sufficient spin to a lead glande. logic would suggest that for such a weapon you would need spherical bullets.
as most found are ellipsoidal - they were meant for slings and the spin a sling can impart.

Plus a cross bow bolt has a lot of straight mass driving the point on. it'll penetrate armour easily a soft lead bullet would not.

Also illustrations tend to show either slingers, archers or crossbowmen with bolts.

I agree. Rihil appears not to have any interest or expectation that the bullets might have been spun. I find the book somewhat incomplete. It does not IMHO make anything like a conclusive case for their widespread use, but once ideas get printed.... Angry

Quote:
I can't think of a single argument that would suggest wide spread use of bullet bows in battle.

Well, the main arguments were those I put in my last post... †Wink Coexistence of stone and sharp throwers. But, it does seem to me rather weak.

At least one review is quite critical (Thearos pointed out this one, but worth pointing to it again)

www.ajaonline.org/pdfs/book_reviews/112.1/04_Campbell.pdf

I suggest that you organize a trip to Swansea and demonstrate the errors in some of her premises Grin . I'd come too but I hate confrontations Smiley
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