Projectile Weapons

Bow And Arrow

The bow and arrow was the most common form of projectile weapon during the Middle Ages. Those who used them were known as archers. The development of archery changed warfare forever. Since its emergence, combat has focused more on long distance attack than close quarters fighting.

During medieval battles archers played a key role. They would bombard enemy forces with a flurry of arrows. This would decrease their numbers before the forces had even charged at each other.


The crossbow is a mechanical equivalent of the bow and arrow. It was favoured by armies due to the fact that it required less time and skill to use. Instead of an arrow, bolts are loaded and fired. Crossbows were often able to be shot at greater distances than their outdated counterparts.

However, when they began to be used in Europe some countries disagreed with their status as a legitimate weapon. Britain in particular had a culture of disrespect towards crossbows. This is likely due to the fact that England had a proud history of skilled archers. These soldiers would be dispatched quickly by lesser trained crossbowmen. This fostered resentment for the weapon.

Eventually black powder guns took over as the dominant projectile weapon for warfare. Despite this, crossbows are still being used in modern times. This is because they are silent compared to firearms, making them more appropriate for covert forms of conflict.


Blowguns are a ranged weapon that consists of a hollow tube. A dart is placed inside of this and is fired by oral blowing. The distance and power of these blowguns is limited to the human’s ability to exhale. Because of this they are only appropriate for close quarters, hidden attacks. The user would have to sneak up on an enemy and retreat before they can fight back.

Several tribes in the Amazon rain forest have been reported to use blowguns. The darts they fire are often tipped with poison from tree frogs. This creates a rudimentary form of biological warfare. Blowguns are less widely used than other projectile weapons such as bows and crossbows.