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Incorrect history[edit]

I am pretty sure that the first paragraph of the history section of the article is incorrect; at least, it is directly contradicted by the article on Pavia. -- 05:13, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

The section on the origin of the word is rather confusing: at first it is said to have come from a Dutch word and then later on it seems to have come from a german word. It is one or the other 3 sept 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

The later sentence is based on outdated information (it's cited to Braudel, who was copying the nineteenth-century OED etymology), and I have deleted it. All modern etymologies derive it from Dutch. Languagehat (talk) 15:02, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

"Plate armour was the norm in European combat from about 1400 until the middle of the 1600s." Huh? What? No, it wasn't. Only the elite could afford plate armor. Especially in the 1400s. Mail was much more common. This is grossly inaccurate. And I shudder to think of the accuracy of the rest of this article as a result. RobertM525 09:33, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Do feel free to correct things, that's how Wikipedia works. If the people who know are too shy to correct the article, the people would should have known will not learn and this is a shame :) Rama 10:13, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't have, at the moment, the proper information to make such corrections to the whole article in good conscience. If I had the resoruces (and the time), I'd gladly do it. And probably will... at some point. :) RobertM525 18:53, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the author meant that plate armour was the norm *for knights* from 1400 to 1600. This would be more to the point, as most highly complicated weapons (in this case the arquebus) were favored for their ability to give infantry an edge aqainst increasingly well-armoured knights. The author was correct in his statement about plate armour; he simply forgot to tell us who was wearing it. ASeven

-It was pretty common for pikemen, and even musketeers in some cases to wear a breastplate and metal helmet untill the end of the 1600s/17th century. Curiassers, heavy cavalry, also wore(who would of thunk it) curiasses and also helmets, as did the Polish husaria and Cromwell's Roundheads. On the eastern frontiers of Europe, chain mail was common among European light and medium cavalry who had to deal with Turkish and Tartar arrows, as it was sometimes worn by the Ottoman forces to ward off Eastern European arrows (seeing as the composite horn-bows used by both sides had greater range and firing rate, if not penatration, than any contemporary firearms, they were still widely used untill the flintlock gained widespread use in the east. Pierogipirate

This is not clearly conveyed. It simply says plate armour, which gives the idea of a fully armoured knight. Obolisk0430 —Preceding undated comment added 16:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC).


according to the article haakbus means hook gun. it doesn't. it means literally hook bus. ik would be more logical if it came from haakbuis, which means hook tube. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:58, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Military History WikiProject[edit]

Since this article, though currently of mediocre quality, seems to have the potential to be a very good encyclopedic essay on the arquebus, I've put it into the WPMILHIST worklist. Lay 16:18, 8 May 2006 (UTC)


As a weapon of European origin, the arquebus is not served by an over-emphasis on Japan.


How is the name pronounced? "AR-kwe-bus" or "AR-ke-bus" or "ARK-bus" or what? SpectrumDT (talk) 23:15, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

AR-ke-bus and AR-kwe-bus are both correct, according to Webster's II New College Dictionary. I'll see about adding something to the lead. Pirate Dan (talk) 01:28, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Arquebus vs. archery[edit]

The current comparison exaggerates the disadvantages of the arquebus in wet conditions by failing to mention that wet conditions also could disable archery. I don't have the data to do a good edit, but I do recall that when Drake raided Nombre de Dios, the rain disabled his crossbows, whose strings would not function when wet, as well as his arquebuses. Is anyone able to address this? I will try to if I can find more than anecdotal evidence. Pirate Dan (talk) 01:44, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, the article currently says that arquebus was more sensitive to humid weather. In my opinion that choice of words implies that crossbows and bows were sensitive too, but to a lesser degree. -Sensemaker

One advantage not listed is the more effective man stopping ability of the soft lead bullet used in by an arquebus over the arrow. The soft lead bullets acted as like modern hollow point or dum-dum rounds, with the lead bullet deforming and causing more damage. The size of the wound caused by a squashed bullet would be larger than an arrow, and more likely to incapacitate a person it hits, unless the arrow hit a vital organ. If the bullet of an arquebus is more likely to stop a person it hits than an arrow, that would also promote its adoption. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes I agree with this. Going on from what you said, another point to consider is that an arrow from a bow only has a very gradual drop in speed after covering a long distance, so at 100m an arrow is not much less deadly than it was when it was just shot from the bow. But with a bullet from a arquebus/musket, the power of the bullet decreases at an exponential rate with increased distance. At 100 metres, a lead bullet was probably no more deadly than an war arrow from a powerful bow. But at 30 metres or less, the stopping power of an arquebus bullet was perhaps several times that of an arrow. As a result, these early handguns would have made far better close-range assault weapon than older weapons such as bows.
Inchiquin (talk) 09:29, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Granted but here it becomes tricky. Perhaps an expanding or exploding bullet will cause more damage than an arrow. On the other hand you will definintely not want to move the wounded body part when the arrow is still inside. This slightly worse than moving a body part that still has a bullet in it. On the other hand again an arrow is easier to get out, but a bullet is infintely more likely to completely penetrate a body so it does not have to be removed. On the other hand again, a bullet is not only harder to get out, it is also harder to find inside the body. On the other hand again, the arrow can be barbed. You could also poison or put dung (to cause infection) on an arrow in a way that is not possible with an arquebus bullet. Arquebus bullet wound versus arrow wound is a very tricky comparison. -Sensemaker

It is also worth noting that a gunpowder weapon is just as effective when fired by a sick or exhausted man (at least as far as killing power). A man suffering from some common army epidemic is a lousy archer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 12 June 2010 (UTC)


After examining the article, the previous authors have done some things very well, but left a lot to be desired. The section where the arquebus was compared to the bows at that time was quite concise. There was a lot of information pertaining to the effectiveness of of the arquebus when compared to loading speed versus the crossbow, as well as a low learning curve when compared to the longbowmen. It also addresses a few of the negatives of the arquebus with respect to its inability to travel stealthily at night, the dangers of backfiring on the user, the ineffectiveness of gunpowder in humid weather, and the problem with smoke from the explosion causing low visibility for the user after a few volleys. While the information mirrors what I have been taught in my military history classes, the lack of citiations in that section pulls a little credibility away from the information available. There is a section about History which is very well referenced and has a lot of information about the arquebus in its history. It, however, discusses the Swiss' use of the weapon without detailing how the Swiss' history with its impact on the Swiss fighting style that swept Europe during that time period. There is a strong starting point in a few sections which could use a fair amount more information.

This article has a number of short falls on its page, especially relating to the citations. The citations in itself are relatively strong, yet there are so few that most sections only have 1 or 2 citations. The pictures in the article do a good job addressing the development of the arquebus over time, as well as its firing mechanism which was one of its distinguishing features from later muzzle loading rifles. There is a lack of example of really early 13th to 14th century arquebuses as well. There is a section titled "Effectiveness" with no citations and "Mechanisms" has no citations either. There is a good core to work with in this page, but the large lack of citations, especially when referencing the most useful information, leaves a lot to be desired with respect to the validity. The accuracy looks fine, but the lack of information with regards to certain topics also needs some work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HIST406-10bbelsing (talkcontribs) 14:54, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes I agree with you on the citations...if I get time I will see if I can help with this in future.
Just one other thing on my mind: the Arquebus vs Archery section should perhaps be made into a new article?. The debate has been going on for 400 years or more, so an article solely focused on this debate would surely be appropriate?.Inchiquin (talk) 12:21, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Arquebus vs Musket[edit]

There does not seem to be any conclusive comparison between the arquebus and the musket, nor why the latter replaced the former. A decent explanation of the differences between the arquebus and the musket is necessary to fully understand the weapon, as is a history of use for the arquebus, especially a time frame for its replacement. Unfortunately, I am unqualified for the task of creating this section, so I would ask that someone else see too it. Thanks. HeroicXiphos15 (talk) 00:25, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree, you make a good point here. The question of the difference between the arquebus and the musket is in fact a complex question. Originally, in the 16th and early 17th centuries, the term musket referred to a weapon that was longer, heavier and of larger bore than an arquebus. Most armies in the late Renaissance employed soldiers armed with both weapons. In the 1620s and 30s, however, Gustavus Adolphus, the militant Swedish King, attempted to standardise the firearms in the Swedish army, and so only equiped the soldiers with muskets. Most other European armies took note and soon followed suit.
However, it was soon found that the large bore musket was too cumbersome for most soldiers to easily manage. As such, the musket was gradually shortened: eventually, by the late 18th century, a typical musket was no longer or heavier than a 16th century arquebus (although by this stage, the matchlock had given way to a weapon with a flintlock mechanism).
The above account has a bias towards the English speaking world: in early 17th century France, for example, an early flintlock firearm called a fusil appeared, employed in armies alongside the matchlock musket: for a few decades both weapons competed for dominance, but eventually the fusil won out.
I was hoping to add some more sources and refs to this article, but I ended up getting distracted by other stuff. However you are correct that the article needs to look at the difference between the musket and arquebus. Inchiquin (talk) 09:09, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Why would Aelian deal with firearms?[edit]

I think the article confuses Aelian's instructions for countermarching with a new use modern tacticians found for countermarching. I am just trying to make sense of this, so it would be improper synthesis, but maybe someone can find a reliable source addressing Aelian's contribution and modern innovations built on it. (talk) 17:40, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


There is the word "stippelckens" in the section on effectiveness:

After that, the third and following ranks will do the same. Thus before the last ranks have fired, the first will have reloaded, as the following diagram shows: these little dots [stippelckens] : : show the route of the ranks as they leave after firing.' Once volley firing had been developed, rate of fire and efficiency had increased and the arquebus became the most effective tool available to the late 16th century armies that carried them. Once volley fire was established, the arquebus went from being a support weapon to the primary focus of early modern armies.[5]

What does it mean? I did a quick google search and every single result points back to that same text. Anyone have any idea?

--2602:306:CEC4:9610:8A7:8D78:C36A:71B3 (talk) 05:43, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

It means "little dots". In modern Dutch it would be "stippeltjes". (talk) 20:38, 13 July 2013 (UTC)