Osprey Publishing has released my latest book, Medieval Handgonnes: The First Black Powder Infantry Weapons.
This was a fascinating and difficult book to write. I've always been interested in the early origins of the firearm and was frustrated by the total lack of any book on the subject. I had to sift through a mountain of archaeological and historical journals and crisscross Europe visiting museums to complete this project. While I'm proud of all my books, I'm especially proud of this one because it's the first book in English on the subject. As far as I can tell, it's the first book on medieval firearms in any language!
Here's a bit of background.
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 breaching 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 color 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. The firing sequences were provided by The Company of the Wolf Argent and really let you see how the weapons were used in the field.
[Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons. I'd have to pay twice to reuse the museum photos I ordered for the book!]