A mechanism for spanning a crossbow. The string is pulled back by a winding device fastened on a ratchet bar.

This allowed more powerful crossbows, since the strength of the crossbowman no longer was a limiting factor, but greatly reduced the rate of fire. An archer with a longbow can fire up to five times as often as a crossbowman with a cranequin, due to the many steps involved in cocking and loading the crossbow:

  1. Fasten cranequin on crossbow.
  2. Rewind cranequin to starting position.
  3. Fasten string in cranequin.
  4. Wind back the cranequin.
  5. Secure the string.
  6. Remove cranequin.
  7. Load a bolt.
  8. Aim and fire.

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