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Medieval Era ranged unit. Upgrades from the Composite Bowman.
- Common abilities:
- May Not Melee Attack
Advances in technology produce a new type of ranged weapon, sufficiently strong to punch through medieval armor. At the same time, the Crossbowmen are equipped with mail shirts for protection, allowing them to withstand quite more damage than earlier ranged units; still, it is advisable to use them with caution, and protect them from enemy cavalry. Again, the best use for a Crossbowman is to put it on high ground in a well-defended position, where it can rain death upon approaching enemies without suffering counterattacks.
The crossbow first appeared in Europe in the 10th century. Although slower than a standard bow, a crossbow requires less training and strength than a regular bow, and over time it came to be the dominant weapon on the battlefield. A crossbow consists of a fairly short but heavy bow mounted to a stock. The firer pulls back the string - often with mechanical assistance - to "cock" the bow, then lays a "bolt" (arrow) on a groove in the stock. The firer aims, then pulls a trigger to release the string, which launches the bolt at the target. Among other advantages, a crossbow can be fired from a kneeling or prone position, something which is impossible with a standard bow.