Michael Z. Williamson’s letter brings up some great details. I would add that those interested in bow making should consult “The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible” volumes
I-III. However, there is one grievous error: “By the way, the English longbow had better range and penetration than any crossbow.”This is utterly false. The military crossbows had
enormously more power *and* range. With draw weights in the 1200+ lbs range, even with a draw length 1/4 to 1/5 that of a long bow (and less efficiency) the crossbow can not only have significantly more power, but easily a 50 to 100 yard range advantage. Source: “The Crossbow” by Sir Payne-Gallwey, who derived his information through actual testing of surviving [pre-1700] crossbows.
Mind you, I consider the long bow to be a better choice, since it is easier to make and can be fired with greater rapidity (in general, 6 to 1 versus a windlass spanned crossbow). But a true military (let
alone rampart or siege) crossbow is significantly more powerful. – GFL