Chinese repeating crossbow

Click on an image to view larger.

This wooden and bamboo crossbow fires two bamboo arrows at the same time, to a distance of about 80 yards. The crossbow is held with one hand against the chest. The iron lever at the rear is pushed forward which simultaneously moves the box magazine forward. As the lever and magazine are returned, the bow string is engaged and tensioned, and two arrows fall into the two parallel grooved firing channels. As the lever returns to its original position, an automatic trigger releases the arrows.

It is estimated that 20 arrows could be fired in 15 seconds so that one hundred men armed with these repeating bows could fire thousands of arrows in a few minutes. Despite the fact that the arrows have little penetrative power, being tipped with poison would make them equally deadly.

Documentary evidence shows that Chinese troops used this type of crossbow until as late as 1895, in the war against Japan.

Catalogue no: