Military history publisher Osprey Publishing has released my latest book, Medieval Handgonnes: The First Black Powder Infantry Weapons.
In the early 14th century, cannons entered the arsenals of European armies. This first generation of black powder weapons put fear into the heart of the enemy and in 1453 Ottoman artillery succeeded in pummelling the once-impregnable walls of Constantinople. But cannons were slow and cumbersome and difficult to use against infantry. The first handgonnes were the answer. Dismissed by later historians as nothing more than crude tubes that shot wildly inaccurate lead balls, more recent research has revealed the true accuracy of the medieval handgonne together with its penetrative power. The handgonne was a viable weapon from its inception.
This volume, complete with detailed illustrations and colour photographs, tells the story of one of the most revolutionary weapons in history. Readers will be treated to a lush collection of rare photographs and artwork from such far-flung locales as Danish National Museum and the Bayerisches Armeemuseum. Original artwork from Gerry and Sam Embleton illustrate how these weapons were used on the battlefield and reenactor photos demonstrate step-by-step how they were loaded and fired. This book will be a must for medieval enthusiasts and re-enactors. It is a landmark publication in that it is the first book in the English language to examine the birth of the firearm.