Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaic
Actually that isn't true. It's amazing to me the myths that persist about the Middle Ages. They were mass producing all kinds of weapons and armor by the 14th Century. The Arsenal at Venice was producing thousands of guns per year by the 15th C with basically all the technology of a modern factory, interchangable parts, an assembly-line, automation etc. Automated production (based on hydro power) was widespread throughout Europe by that time.
Point taken. My previous statement also carried a strong North-Western European bias where I would expect the situation to be different than in the Mediterranean trade cities, though I might well be wrong there as well.

On that note: I was under the impression that one of the limitations of early gunpowder weapons was the availability of gunpowder -the ability to make it in quantity, to store it and to transport it, and the availability of salpeter.
Can anyone enlighten me as to whether or not I am embarrasingly mistaken?