Gunpowder Essay

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Advances in weaponry and the more effective use of gunpowder continued. The invention of the harquebus was a watershed invent in weaponry. The harquebus is also known as the arquebus or the hackbut. This is a very primitive firearm used between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. The musket is a successor of the harquebus. It was a smooth bore long firearm. A matchlock is used to fire the harquebus. The matchlock is a device used to “cock” the weapon and have it ready to fire. It had a long barrel with end flared to make it easier to load. The fighter with the harquebus was the harquebusier. The harquebusier would brace the barrel of the gun onto a pole with a forked end when firing. The use of the harquebus during the battle of Pravia in 1525 where the French knights were defeated by heavy fire from harquebusiers provided incentive for others to acquire the harquebus. During the sixteenth century the harquebus began being replaced by the lighter and more accurate musket. With large cannons and the lighter harquebus the old aristocracy castles were no longer sufficient defenses. The role of the medieval cavalry had been fading during the late middle ages and the power of the aristocracies began to fade too. Large armies could be devastated by with the use of the English longbow and the Swiss pike. A long bowman could fire 12 arrows per minute which is much faster than a crossbow. The Swiss pike is a long pole weapon whose primary use was against cavalry assaults. These pikes had the resemblance of a spear and were typically between 10 and 14 feet long. Steel tips were added to the end to increase its effectiveness. These pikes would be used in a large square formation (called a "hedgehog formation) to protect archers and harquebusiers from cavalry assaults. Although both of these weapons were effective it was very difficult to amass large

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