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Man At Arms: Art Of War - Epiosde 4 Weapons of the Mongol Horde

Last night on the El Rey network, Danny Trejo looked at the ′Weapons of the Mongol Horde′ on this week′s episode of ″Men At Arms: Art Of War″. The compound bow and the triple-bow ballista were the two weapons recreated and tested by his team of experts. Gene Ching, a historian, tells us about how bloody the Mongols were. They killed millions in their conquests across Asia and beyond. Possibly as many as 30 million or more, a signficant portion of the Earth′s population at the time. The Mongolian compound bow was extremely sophisticated in its design and complex to build. It consisted of about 20 parts, laminated together with animal glue, delivering over 100 pounds of power in its pull. The triple-bow ballista was a powerful siege weapon, capable of flinging spears, bolts and rocks great distances with deadly results.




An expert carpenter, Nicodemys Carvell begins working on the ballista. He uses traditional materials and methods in its construction. Meanwhile, an expert bow maker, Attila Kerestes, starts work on the compound bow with Rick Janney, a weapons expert. One of the advantages of the compound bow is its use of several layers of wood, laminated together. Should one layer fail, the bow is still usable. Attila also uses traditional materials, including three kinds of animal glue. He cuts and shapes some buffalo horn for making springy joints at the top and bottom of the bow. Next, he hammers deer muscle into fiber-like sheets, then glues them to the horn material to add to the springy nature of the joints.


The bows for the ballista take days to glue together and set properly. Kerry Stagmer helps Nicodemys with construction, sanding the bows to take off the excess glue and material. Shop foreman John Mitchell machines the metal parts for the ballista′s firing mechanism. Ilya Alekseyev forges the tanged arrowheads for the compound bow arrows, as well as the socketed spear tips for the ballista′s bolts. Rick and Attila boil up some birch bark, then wrap the strips around the compound bow. Normally, a completed Mongol bow would take months to set before strung and used. Rick finishes making the bow′s arrows, adding feathers to the bamboo shafts, then attaching the tanged arrowheads.


With the compound bow ready, the team brings in Chris Yung, a stuntman and martial artist who is an expert at mounted archery. Chris mounts a horse and gallops across a course laid out with plenty of targets to shoot at. He hits everyone with exceptional accuracy! With that accomplished, work is completed on the ballista. Ilya tells the team that this may be the only working model in The West and that it is very dangerous. Many users were killed when components failed and gave way during operation. An old automobile is the target as the first bolt is fired at low power. It strikes and penetrates the low end of the back-driver-side door at a speed of 85MPH. A second bolt fired with more power strikes the same door higher, right at the roof. It penetrates deeply and shatters that door′s window. The third bolt is fired at full power. It wobbles in mid-flight and hits the driver door sideways, busting the window and leaving a deep dent in the door. Next week, Weapons of the Aztecs!


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