When you picture a war from, say, a thousand years ago, what are the combatants fighting with? Swords, right? Maybe with the odd bow and arrow thrown in?
Well, one thing you should never underestimate is mankind's ability to come up with cool-ass ways to kill each other. Believe it or not, our ancestors were equipped with weaponry as high-tech as...
6The Zhuge Nu Semi-Automatic Crossbow
In short, it was a semi-automatic weapon... from 2,400 years ago.
In fourth century B.C., the Chinese developed a new kind of crossbow that revolutionized the way siege warfare was fought:
That's a feeder on top and the lever near the end is the repeating action. The repeating crossbow was the first semi-automatic weapon ever invented. Trained soldiers could let fly 10 bolts in 15 seconds before the magazine needed to be reloaded. Due to the nature of the action, it needed to be shot from the hip in order to fire that quickly. Oh, and the bolts were often dipped in a fast acting poison so that just a scratch could be fatal. Fighting in small teams reduced the risk of friendly fire.
Siege warfare was all the rage when this baby hit the scene. It proved to be an essential defensive weapon as one could keep backing away from the enemy while shooting wildly into the advancing horde.
Seriously, just look at that shit. It was a damned crossbow assault rifle, and it existed so long ago Jesus could have owned one. An old one.
"Jesus Christ! Cover me!"
The repeating crossbow never goes out of style and in fact was still in widespread use during the early part of the 20th century as an anti-burglar weapon. This makes it the longest continuously used mechanical device in the world.