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slings-msg - 1/15/08

 

Slings as weapons. combat and hunting.

 

NOTE: See also the files: wounds-msg, warfare-msg, weapons-msg, quarterstaff-msg, axes-msg, p-armor-msg, firearms-msg, archery-msg, leather-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New weapon

Date: 16 Nov 1994 02:35:51 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

 

[Hal posting from Dorothy's account...]

Mike Campbell <mike at aloysius.equinox.gen.nz> wrote:

> jhusvar at Nimitz.mcs.kent.edu writes:

>

>  > (Proposed introduction of slingers into SCA combat deleted because of

>  > brain-dead posting program)

>  >

>  > I seem to recall slinger were quite effective in pre-period combat.

>

>I have read opinions that slingers were VERY effective against

>armoured men.  Any shot used could concuss through armour without

>needing to penetrate - lead shot beign the most effective.  

 

There was an article a few years ago in _Scientific American_ a

few years ago.  There is evidence for the sling being lethal

against hardened leather at ranges to about 200 meters (if I

recall correctly).

 

Most of the Roman military slingers were recruited from the

Balearic Isles.  They seem to have been common in dry, sheep

raising country.  Not to surprising....  Using a sling well takes

*lots* of practice.

 

>The Portuguese and Spanish used large numbers of peasant slingers well

>into [eriod (eg 13-1400 -ish), and also a lot of staff slings - 4-5 ft

>poles with a sling on the end capable of throwing much lager

>projectiles than hand slings, and to longer ranges, tho' at a slower

>rate of fire.

 

The last use of the staff-sling in organized combat that I know

of was during the Spansih Civil War (ca. 1936-39).  They found it

quite effecitve for throwing grenades.  By comparison, there was

an incident involving the English Long Bow early in World War II.

Would have been some time in mid-May 1940.

 

      --Hal Ravn

       (Hal Heydt)

 

 

From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Sling Info?

Date: 1 Feb 1995 11:54:42 -0600

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway

 

<From: psepich at nmsu.edu (Peter M. Sepich)>

>Where can I find construction and usage information on slings?

>Pete Sepich

 

Assuming you are referring to the weapon, I can tell you with a great

deal of confidence that there's not a heck of a lot of information out

there :)

 

(I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you.  I'm trying to dig up

the citations I've got, but my files have recently been, er, organized...)

 

In any case, my apologies if this is a bit vague, but this is from memory.

 

I do recall that there was a Scientific American article about them

some years ago.

 

The Basic Information falls into a few simple catagories (The Literary

Evidence, the Archaeological Evidence, Ballistic Physics, and

Experimentation)

      The Literary Evidence:

            Xenophon describes his slingers as being able to "Out

            distance the best Persian Archers" (who were reputed to

            be the best in the world).

            The Balaeric Slingers were reputed to be able to (as I

            recall) lob multi-pound stones hundreds of yards.

            There is anecdotal evidence that Slingers have been able

            to penetrate armor, shatter swords, and let's not forget

            The Roman General Vegetius indicated that the standard

            for a slinger was the ability to hit a man sized target

            regularly at 600'

            the whole David and Goliath story.

            Any uneducated shepherd can learn to use one in an afternoon.

      The Archaeological Evidence:

            Sling bullets can be found at a huge number of battle

                sites across the Ancient World (in numbers large enough

            you'd think they were depleated uranium :) ), and it

            appears that while sling projectiles do come in all shapes

            and sizes, there is a serious preference for lead bullets,

            football shaped, about an inch and a half long.

            No examples of slings have survived.

      Ballistic Physics.

            I don't have the formulas with me, but essentially there

            are four variables in Slinging.  The length of the sling,

            how fast you can move the sling, the mass of the bullet,

            and the diameter of the bullet.

            The first two really govern the velocity of the weapon,

            The center two govern the momentum of the bullet.

            The third governs the impact.

      Experimentation.

            When I made my first sling, I made it with 2 1-meter long

            bits of thong and an elkhide pouch.  I tied a know in one

            thong and stitched a loop in the other (basing it on an

            Elizabethan design).  The reason for this was that if I

            could determine the number of revolutions, I could measure

            my "launch velocity" and compare it to my actual range

            (Since a 1 meter radius for the circle meant that the

            circumference for the circle was then 3.14 meters, and the

            number of revolutions per second * Circumference = vel

            in meters/second (Clever, eh?  Not my Idea.))

            In any case, we have, as yet been unable to achieve sufficient

            revolutions to come anywhere close to Vegetius's standards

            let alone Xenephon's.  Moreover there seems to be a lot

            of trouble with actually HITTING anything :)

 

      We have tried a number of casting methods: along the side spinning

      and releasing one string (the one with the Knot), over the head

      spinning and releasing one string, and my personal favorite, the

      Baseball cast.  That is, to go through the motions as though throwing

      a baseball, and releasing the string where I'd normally let go

      of the ball. This one definately improved my accuracy.

 

Ipse mera Eruditissimus,    Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

                        University of Northkeep

                        Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)

 

 

From: dnb105 at psu.edu (Ferret)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: re: Sling Info?

Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 18:48:20 GMT

Organization: Penn State University

 

IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson) writes:

There are also many Roman instruments for removong the projectiles from

slings. These indicate that there was indeed a deep penetration from the

slung projectiles. As far as accuracy, it would probably be preferable to be

accurate in elevation (don't whiz them over your enemies head) rather than

picking out a target from massed formations, similar to a modern machine gun'

s usage.

 

Ferret

 

 

From: hwt at bnr.ca (Henry Troup)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Sling Info?

Date: 1 Feb 1995 19:00:31 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd., Ottawa, Canada

 

I. Marc Carlson <IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu> wrote:

><From: psepich at nmsu.edu (Peter M. Sepich)>

>>Where can I find construction and usage information on slings?

>>Thanks.

>>Pete Sepich

 

Peter Collingwood's "coffee-table book" The Maker's Hand shows

one or two modern braided slings. Try the library or a weaver

or two.

--

Henry Troup - hwt at bnr.ca (Canada) - BNR owns but does not share my opinions

 

 

From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re Sling Info?

Date: 2 Feb 1995 14:07:05 -0600

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway

 

>There are also many Roman instruments for removong the projectiles from

>slings. These indicate that there was indeed a deep penetration from the

>slung projectiles. As far as accuracy, it would probably be preferable to be

>accurate in elevation (don't whiz them over your enemies head) rather than

>picking out a target from massed formations, similar to a modern machine gun'

>s usage.

 

For an interesting discussion of this and related topics, I would like

to suggest that anyone who's never read _From Sumer to Rome, the military

capabilities of ancient armies" by Richard Gabriel and Karen Metz consider

placing it on their reading list.  I do not always agree with their

conclusions, but they do contain much to think about.

 

They suggest that it takes 90 ft-lbs (over an area of an inch) to fracture

the front of the human skull; 18 ft-lbs to fracture the zygomatic region of

the skull, and less than 2 ft-lbs to penetrate the unprotected viscera.  This

is in contrast to US Army studies that estimate that it requires 58 ft-lbs

(over an undefined area) to do minimal damage.

 

They suggest that a person with a 2.5' sling can toss the stone no faster

than 120 feet per second yielding 13.5 ft-lbs of energy (with a 500 grain shot).

A bit of simple math tells me that's 15.2 rotations per second, which is more

than the 12 revolutions that comprised by best attempt. If I remember the

formula correctly, and I doubt I did, that's 1440 yards MAXIMUM range.

 

However, they also suggest that it requires 66-137 ft-lbs to penetrate 2 mm of

bronze plating, and 110 228 ft-lbs to penetrate iron plating of an equivalent

thickness.

 

In any case, that's insufficent to do much damage, unless the bullets hit

in a few specific locatations (fleshy bits, unprotected by too many bones,

and NO armor).

 

Ipse mera Eruditissimus,    Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

                        University of Northkeep

                        Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)

 

 

From: LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.EDU (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: REQ: info on slings

Date: 3 Oct 1996 11:49:51 -0400

 

<Rob<brainjunky at aol.com (BrainJunky)>>

>Not a member of SCA, but figured I could get info here.

 

Lots, and Lots.  Some of it might even pertain to your question.

 

>I'm looking for data regarding the construction and use of the sling,

>namely for hunting small game.

 

I've made some slings, but have never used them for hunting.

Since I was experimenting with speeds and velocities, I constructed

my sling to generate a 1 meter arc.  The actual length of your sling

will depend on your preference.  The longer they are, the more energy

they will take to move (although *if* you can get a decent speed up

in rotations per second, you can start coming up with some serious

speed).

 

The Basic Sling, as far as I can tell, requires two lengths of

lacing (I use leather, but there is no material here that is absolutely

mandatory.  It should just be strong enough to take the strain on it,

and flexible enough to move about without a lot ofuncontrolled stretching).

One lave should be a few inches longer than the other. Take the longer lace,

and loop one end back a few inches and attach it (I sew mine in place, but

all that matters is that it not come apart).  Take the other lace and tie a

small knot in one end.  The two untouched ends of the laces are now the

"Middle", and you will attach the "pocket" to them.

 

The pocket is made from some slightly stretchy but strong material.  I use

a small 2"x3" rectangle of deerskin.  How you attach your pocket to your

laces is up to you.  I will describe what *I* do, but please don't think

for a second, I'm suggesting it's The Only Way.

 

              ------------------------------------

              |                                  |

              |                                  |

===============*********               *********=============================

              |                                  |

              |                                  |

              ------------------------------------

 

Sew the laces along the long axis of the deerskin (on the back) about

an inch or so in.

Fold the corners of the rectangle in, so that the short ends are next to

the laces.  Sew them down. (actually, if you fold them before you sew down

the lace, you can do it all at once and limit the number of holes you make

in your leather.  I've done it both ways, neither is "better").  Run a seam

along the folded corners to flatten the folds and strengthen them. You may

want to run a stitch along the outside edges to further minimize overall

stretching.  It's your choice, although if you forsee actually using

this sling for a long time, it becomes a bit more advisable.

 

That's it.

 

Slingstones in antiquity (at least in WARs) averaged about 1.5cm x 3 cm,

and were of almond shaped lead.  I'd look for rocks that match this

general configuration, although I've found golf balls are just dandy for

basic target practice, particularly since they are easier to find when you

go to pick up after yourself.

 

To use it, you place your index finger through the loop (or thumb, or

whatever finger works best for you), and hold the knot between your thumb

and index finger.

 

There are three basic styles of casting the bullet.  One involves a spinning

(centered about waist level), one spinning over your head, and the one I

prefer, a modified baseball pitch (for some reason, when I spin them, I get

the laces tangled, although other people who use these same basic techniques

don't).  What that means is that I "throw" the bullet as though I were

throwing a baseball, releasing the knot I'm holding between my thumb and

index finger at the same place I would if I were throwing a fastball.  The

speed of my bullet is based on the speed of my pitch, and I have the added

benefit of being able to aim.

 

It doesn't really matter what style of cast you use, since once the "bullet"

leaves the sling, physics takes over.

 

Now we get to the exciting part of recreating historical weapons.  Because

the amount of damage is based on the energy of the bullet, you have some

variables to play with, i.e., the mass of the bullet, the diameter of the

bullet, and the speed of the bullet.  Since you want a high mass, low

diameter, and high speed, lead has been a traditional material for

maximizing the first two of these variables.  The speed is controlled

by the diameter of the arc the sling creates, and the speed of rotation

(it's hard to estimate the speed of rotation with the pitching cast,

however; although my arc is increased by the added length of my arm).

Using a one meter long sling (just as an example, mind you) if I manage

6 rotations per second (which isn't too bad for a beginner), the bullet

is traveling 6.28+ meters (2piR) six times a second, for a "muzzle velocity"

of 37.68 meters per second.  Depending on the mass and diameter of your

bullet, you will get an impact energy ranging from "Pathetic" to "Pitiful".

With practice this may improve, but my advice is not to go hunting bear

with a sling, and actually sticking to birds and small rodents until you

are pretty good.

 

The reports from history of people who can shatter steel, throw at ranges

longer than Persian Elite Archers, are, if not exaggerations, clearly based

on trained professional athletes.  This may be why the Romans hired slingers,

rather than waste time teaching their basic troops.

 

The best source (in fact, the last time I checked, the only REAL source)

to discuss the sling is:

 

Korfmann, Manfred. "The sling as a weapon." _Scientific American_ 229, no.4

     (October 1973), pp34-42.

 

There is a further description, and discussion of some experiments done with

them (and other ancient weapons) in:

 

Gabriel, Richard A, and Karen Metz. From Sumer to Rome, the Military

     Capabilities of Ancient Armies.  New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.

 

Although they start their work in Korfmann's article.

 

Good luck.

 

I. Marc Carlson, Reference Librarian    |LIB_IMC at CENTUM.UTULSA.EDU

Tulsa Community College, West Campus LRC|Sometimes known as:

Reference Tech. McFarlin Library        | Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

University of Tulsa, 2933 E. 6th St.    | University of Northkeep

Tulsa, OK  74104-3123 (918) 631-3794    | Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

 

 

From: brainjunky at aol.com (BrainJunky)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Slings- a follow up

Date: 26 Oct 1996 00:28:03 -0400

 

A few weeks ago I posted a request on slings.

 

Got about 5 responses.

 

Went and made a sling out of denim from an old pair of jeans (dungarees as

my mom used to say!) Just cut it out to shape.

 

Have been using old cassette tapes from my dictaphone as the projectile.

They fit nicely into the cradle and make a big noise. Not bad aerodynamics

also.

 

I start with an underhand swing to get speed then I go over hand in a loop

above my head. Then release.

 

And you know what, Those buggers can really fly.

 

Also, accuracy is not that bad. I have a tendency to go high. But, other

than that I'm consistently hitting a 1 and 1/2 ft square at 30 paces. I

suspect that slings don't require the years of practice that is often

stated.

 

Anyway, saw that riot in Fla. on TV. Those peasants could really have used

some slings. That would have kicked those cops butts!

 

Give it a try. It's lots of fun. Quite satisfying also. let me know your

results.

 

In the meanwhile I'm going to get to work on a real leather sling as well

as a slingstaff.

 

Rob

 

 

From: mjbr at tdk.dk (Michael Bradford)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Slings- a follow up

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 07:40:27 GMT

Organization: Tele Denmark

 

If you want a sling with a greater range and a larger projectile, try

a staff sling. Using one will take even less training as it can only

fly in one direction (I've stood behind folk who were trying their

first few casts with a sling :)  ).

 

To make one, take a staff about 1m long (remember the greater the

length, the longer the possible range, but you have to move your hands

between the two ends in use) and cut a short slot in the end. Make a

pouch similar to the "normal" sling, but with shorter cords. Fix

firmly one of the cords to the staff just below the slot and fix some

sort of button (short rod) across the end of the other cord. This must

allow the cord to be easily released from the slot when used, but not

to fall out after loading.

 

To use, place the projectile (a half brick?) into the pouch and place

the free cord in the slot. Grasp the end of the staff with the

handsabove the head and the staff running down the middle of the back.

Swing the staff forward and up, as you bring your hands forward and

down. If everything is set up right, the projectile will fly off in

front of you. If not,  then check the resistance between the free cord

and the slot (which may need enlarging).

 

The last time that I know for certain that this weapon was used in war

was in the Spanish Civil War (circa 1936) and was used to throw hand

grenades further than normal. There is a news photograph of one in

use.

 

Enjoy. :)

Michael

 

 

From: Russ Holmes <Haldan at datasync.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Slings-  follow up #2

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 14:17:02 -0600

 

Michael Bradford wrote:

> If you want a sling with a greater range and a larger projectile, try

> a staff sling. <SNNIP>

 

Try out the following URL for detailed drawings and instructions for

a Staff sling.

 

http://www.datasync.com/~haldan/athanor

==========================================================

Haldan Shieldwrecker,Barony of Osprey,Kingdom of Meridies

 

 

From: "Ballard, Lynn" <Lynn.Ballard at UNISYS.com>

To: "'lindahl at pbm.com'" <lindahl at pbm.com>

Subject: The venerable handsling

Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 15:25:04 -0600

 

I was just cruising through the list of coment on the sling as weapon.

I have hobbied with slings since childhood.  I even published an article

on making and using the handsling in Mother Earth News in 1984 or so

(sorry, I have the copy at home but not here at work). Korfmann's

article was published in Scientific American about December 1972 (sorry

again, my copy is at home).

 

The baseball throw is superior to the "whirl around the head"  and

underhand method of throwing. The throwing hand is held to the chest

with the pouch in the extended "aiming" arm. The projectile takes one

helical orbit back, over the head and behind the back of the thrower.

The throwing hand falls behind the head like a quarterback's.  At the

same time the thrower steps forward and throws overhand, releasing like

a baseball.  The trajectory is low and fast but can be adjusted for

distance.  No twirling is involved.  I can throw a good rock 500 feet on

a good day.

 

 

Subject: slings

Date: Tue, 02 Feb 99 12:01:25 MST

From: "cbaedit" <cbaedit at gtii.com>

To: "Mark.S Harris (rsve60)" <rsve60 at email.sps.mot.com>

 

I've been reading some of the archived material on the velocity of a

missile launched by a sling. There seems to be a tendency to estimate the

velocity of the missile by the number of revolutions per minute of the

sling. What is not taken into consideration is the snap of the wrist

used by some slingers to launch the missile. The effect is much like that

of the tip of a whip when you snap it, the tip is going fast enough to

break the sound barrier, hence the "cracking" sound.

 

I have never been able to cast a stone, the size of a small hen's egg, much

beyond a 100 yards, but up to sixty yards, the impact of the stone is

impressive; I believe that within the sixty yard range, the stone would

shatter an arm bone.

 

Ron Fortier

 

 

Subject: Re: slings

Date: Thu, 04 Feb 99 12:01:02 MST

From: "cbaedit" <cbaedit at gtii.com>

To: "Mark.S Harris (rsve60)" <rsve60 at email.sps.mot.com>

 

I made my first sling about four years ago to throw tennis balls for my

bird dog. I had thrown my arm out pitching them for her and figured a sling

would eliminate any additional aches and pain. At first the balls went

every which way, mostly straight up. The dog enjoyed it and got so she

would start running after the ball as soon as the sling came in to motion.

Eventually I reached the point where, when she started to run, I could put

the tennis ball just over her head so it would land about twenty feet in

front of her. Distance was not great, only about fifty feet but we both

enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much I started carrying the sling on our daily

walk which takes us pass a site used by the country road commission to

store gravel. I started slinging stones for distance and ended up trying to

improve my accuracy.

 

I've tried  twirling the sling to see if accuracy improved over using a

single rotation and a snap release, but it didn't. I use a throw that can

best be described as a combination of a side arm/under hand throw ---

similar  to throwing  a baseball. The sling (thongs about 25 inches long)

hangs vertically, allowed to rock slightly to the rear, then brought

forward in a complete circle, coming up and across the body diagonally for

the release. Accuracy in the horizontal plane (left and right of point of

aim) is good; my accuracy in the vertical plane needs work. I could hit a

man at forty yards, but it probably be somewhere between the head and the

groin. Multiple twirls and a simple release have never given the distance

or force achieved with a single rotation and a snap release.

 

I recently watched a History Channel special on the sling. The

demonstration of its use, shown during a battle recreation, can best be

described as pathetic, not worth further discussion.

 

I have seen a number of TV news cuts from the Middle East showing young

Palestinians using slings to harass Israeli troops. They use an overhand

throw, putting everything they have behind it on the release; much like a

pitcher snapping his wrist when he releases a baseball. I don't know

accurate the Palestinians are, but the force and distance they get must be

very impressive. This summer I tried the overhand throw but had little

success with it. Unfortunately further practice won't be practical until

the spring thaw which in Northern Michigan won't be until the end of March.

 

Ron Fortier

 

 

Subject: RE: ANST - Combat slings at Gulf Wars?

Date: Thu, 04 Feb 99 15:44:37 MST

From: "Christopher D. Baran" <rrhms at texoma.net>

To: "'ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG'" <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>

 

Last year I was allowed to sling during Gulf Wars.  I have been

using a sling in the SCA for about 6 years now and have found that using a

regular split tennis ball I can get as great a range as an archer, though

not as great as accuracy.  I am able to hit a man sized target at about 35

yards (when I am in practice).  Meridies has a set of rules for the creation

of slings.  They may only be of a certain length due to the amount of power

the weapon generates.  As for them being accepted in this Kingdom, I believe

they are able to be used on a case by case basis.  (Keef, please tell me if

I am wrong on this)  Besides myself I do not know of any other slingers in

the Kingdom.  I would be happy to show you my sling at Gulf Wars since I

will be going and slinging there.

 

        Centurion Romanius

 

 

Subject: Re: slings

Date: Fri, 05 Feb 99 19:23:21 MST

From: "cbaedit" <cbaedit at gtii.com>

To: "Mark.S Harris (rsve60)" <rsve60 at email.sps.mot.com>

 

Just a comment on the maximum effective range of a sling. It takes

considerable effort to sling a golf ball size stone a measured 100 yards. I

would consider a throw of 150 yards an outstanding achievement and one of

200 yards almost impossible. I would like some one to prove me wrong.

 

The more I use the sling the more I believe some of the stories concerning

the skill of ancient slingers to be romantic nonsense; the same applies to

the long bow. I don't doubt that certain bowmen and slingers excelled over

others, but I believe that, at long distances, both the sling and the bow

were effective primarily as barrage weapons, with massive flights of

missiles and arrows doing indiscriminate damage to the enemy.

 

I just finished reading Robert Hardy's book "Long Bow" which gives some

absurd accounts of the long distance accuracy of the English bowmen. One

comment by Prince Louis Napoleon referenced in the book states: "Prince

Louis Napoleon considered that a first rate English archer who, in a single

minute, was unable to draw and discharge his bow 12 times with a range of

240 yards and who in these 12 shots once missed his man, was very lightly

esteemed." Mr. Hardy did not question the validity of the statement,

lending credence to it; however, Louis Napoleon lived during the 1800's so

he had no first hand knowledge of the capability of an English archer.

Consistently hitting a man size target at 240 yards with an arrow from a

bow is wishful thinking.

 

As you read further into Mr. Hardy's book, he documents the massive number

of arrows fired during the battles of Crecy and Angincourt by the English.

Even with the slaughter that entailed, the arrow count and the body count

indicates that there was a extremely high percentage of misses.

 

I have been an avid rifle shooter for the last 25 years, expending

thousands of rounds of ammo every year. Once thing I have learned, is the

average shooter cannot judge distance; most estimate the range to be double

what it actually is. I imagine those who observed and recorded the feats of

bowmen and slingers suffered from the malady.

 

Ron

 

 

Subject:

Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:16:21 -0700

From: "Ralland J. Fortier" <ronloisf at gtii.com>

To: "Mark Harris" <stefan at texas.net>

 

Mark,

 

Accuracy with the sling continues to improve; at least enough to make some

comments that might be of use to others.

 

Weight of the missile is more critical than I originally believed. Any

throw that incorporates some horizontal motion of the sling will (for a

right handed thrower) send a missile that is too light to the left of the

thrower's aim, and a missile that is to heavy to the right. Smooth missiles

are an absolute necessity. Any rough edges or spots will cause the object

to snag on release and God only knows where it will go. I would give

anything for an unlimited supply of golf balls.

 

Ron

 

 

Subject:

Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 15:25:15 -0700

From: "Ralland J. Fortier" <ronloisf at gtii.com>

To: "Mark Harris" <stefan at texas.net>

 

Mark,

 

Tried a staff sling the other day; it wasn't worth the effort, no

improvement in accuracy and considerably less distance.

 

I had been using a sling with 25" lines and one of the strings finally wore

through so I replaced both of them. I use braided boot laces and instead of

using laces salvaged from old boots, I bought a set of 72" laces and simply

cut one in half. By the  time I attached the lines to the pocket, made a

finger loop in one line and adjusted the other, the strings measured 34

inches. The longer strings improved accuracy considerably, primarily

because I didn't have to whip the sling as hard to get the required

distance.

 

Ron Fortier

 

 

Subject:

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 14:40:54 -0700

From: "Ralland J. Fortier" <ronloisf at gtii.com>

To: "Mark Harris" <stefan at texas.net>

 

Mark,

 

Last Christmas my wife gave me a book, "The Sling" by Cliff Savage

(probably a pseudonym).

The text is a very basic explanation of the sling and its uses. It does,

however, contain a bibliography with one interesting item, an article "The

Sling as a Weapon" which was published in the October 1973 issue of

Scientific American.  So far I have not been able to obtain a copy of the

article. Do you have a source?

 

Ron

 

 

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 12:55:02 MST

From: Marc Carlson <marc-carlson at utulsa.edu>

Subject: ANST - Re: Slings

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

 

Slings and their effectiveness are one of those curious historical mysteries.

There are anecdotal historical reports of sling bullets shattering metal

armor, instantly killing, and so on.  Xenophon reported that his slingers were able  to "Out distance the best Persian Archers" (who were reputed to be the best in the world).  The Balaeric slingers were reputed to be able to lob multi-pound stones hundreds of yards. The Roman General Vegetius declared that the

standard for a slinger was the ability to hit a man sized target regularly at 600'.  Then there's that whole David and Goliath thing, and the assumption that any uneducated shepherd can learn to use one in an afternoon.

 

Archaeologically speaking, sling bullets can be found in massive quantities at

a huge number of battle sites across the Ancient World.  While there is evidence

that sling projectiles were in all shapes and sizes, it's pretty clear that

the preference was for an inch and a half football of lead.  A few slings

have survived.

 

So how dangerous are they really?  From some basic experimentation and simple

physics, there are four variables to how much force the bullet will strike at:

the Sling's length, how fast fast you are spinning the sling, the mass of the

bullet, and the diameter of the bullet.  These determine the velocity, and mass

(i.e. the Force of impact) and the impact area.  There are other, lesser variables, such as drag, but these are the critical ones.

 

The first sling, I made, and still the one I use for experimentation purposes,

was from 2 1-meter long bits of thong and an elkhide pouch.  I tied a knot in

one thong and stitched a loop in the other (basing it on an Elizabethan design).

The reason for the length was to give a simple, easy to measurement to help

determine velocity (1 meter radius for a circle, spun 10/second = 31/4 m/s).

 

The velocity needed to match Vegetius's standards, much less Xenophon's are

beyond my skills, although for me the easiest way to actually hit anything is

to use a baseball throw :)

 

Since I'm not planning on going into combat, my question is somewhat academic, but what are they allowing for sling use?  I strongly doubt the golf-balls I

practice with are going to be allowed :)

 

Marc/Diarmaid

 

 

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 12:56:17 MST

From: "Christopher D. Baran" <rrhms at texoma.net>

Subject: RE: ANST - Slings

To: <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>

 

Wow!  A lot of great talk about slings and what they can do.  The only

problem that I see with your argument is that the majority of slingers in a

combat situation didn't use rocks, they used shaped metal shot (either

bronze, brass or lead).  The shot was formed into the shape of a football

and was designed to penetrate armor.  This was so effective that the Romans

had entire groups of auxiliary that were slingers.  A practiced slinger can

consistently hit a 5X5 inch square with 10 shots.  Shot thrown by a sling

was powerful enough to penetrate a bronze breastplate and unhorse the person

it struck.

 

      Unlike the slings used in the SCA which have a maximum length, period

slingers used slings 6' long or so.  The longer the length of the sling the

more power is transferred into the shot.  A small heavy object is much

easier to aim than a large light object.  This is a reason why so many

people are "bad" at slinging in the SCA.  As I have used both real and SCA

slings I would love to be able to chunk ball bearings at my enemy...unfortunately they don't fly as well with duct tape!  (Humor

alert!!)

 

      Lastly, as I said before, slings were very popular with the Roman army who

faced people wearing pretty much what we are supposed to be:  Chain mail,

open faced helm, gambison.  Must have been pretty darn effective to stay in

use virtually unchanged for 1000 years or so.

 

      As for calling the blows, with the above information, I would say if it

didn't penetrate your armor it would incapacitate the person being hit,

especally in the torso or limbs.  Think about being shot and for some reason

the bullet didn't penetrate the skin.  I wouldn't say it would penetrate the

sides or back of a helm everytime, or even the majority of the time, but you

would have one heck of a headache.

 

Centurion Romanius

 

 

Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 10:41:37 MST

From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - Slings

To: Ansteorra <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>

 

I sent a note to Duke Lloyd, one of the finest historical warfare scholars

I know, and asked his opinion of slinging.

 

Here is his answer:

> The problem is what type of slingers are you talking about.

> Rhodian slingers outranged Persian archers and used lead slugs which could

> concuss through heavy hoplite armor. Against our armor I am afraid it would

> work. Why were they not still used? Same answer to the question of why the

> French never had domestic longbowmen. Long training for little gain. Slingers

> are not as effective as crossbows which start becoming the primary missile

> weapon of the middle ages after about 1100 ad

> Only the English were able to train people in the use of a weapon requiring a

> lot of time. One thing people also forget is that the longbowmen were only

> effective in concert with the men at arms. Slingers take a long time to

> train, hence the Rhodian and Balearic slingers being so famous. In the end

> Slingers were about equal to all archers short of the power of the longbow

> are the range of the Turkish composite.

>

> Of course I have all ways held that arrows are considered too powerful in our

> fighting anyway. Roman gladiator archers were not the all time conqueror in

> the coliseums.

>

> Lloyd

 

 

Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 10:58:53 MST

From: "Russell Husted" <husted at hotmail.com>

Subject: ANST - sling sites

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

 

http://usasn.com/~lbt/slings.html

http://www.artrans.com/rmsg/_newsgroups/huntisl1.htm

http://www.crl.com/~mjr/thrower.html

 

no garenties on quality of reading.

mahee

 

 

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 13:47:04 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

Subject: Re: SC - slingshots/slings

 

There's several really cool pictures of slingshots in the Masijewski

(sp?) Bible- a famous 13th century manuscript that you will recognize

when you see it- the iconography is very familiar because it gets

re-drawn alot... I also have a vague memory of a kid with a slingshot

going after a bird in the Luttrell Psalter...

 

'Lainie

 

 

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Slings

Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 23:33:39 -0600

From: "STEVE K ROURKE" <SROURKE at prodigy.net>

To: <ansteorra at ansteorra.org>

 

>    New Question: Can anybody provide me some online source information

>about period or pre-period use of the sling, particularly the historical

>weapon's dimensions in size and effectiveness?  My very limited initial

>attempt did not yield up much information regarding it, and I was

>thinking of using it in a non-SCA presentation of information.

>

>    Valstarr

 

While not an on-line source, If you can find a copy of T.I. # 123, it has an

article on the subject.

 

 

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: OT bullet was [Sca-cooks] Numbers, pates, and spreads...

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 15:29:29 -0600

 

> So, what is this "bullet" thing you have? Is it a

> small bull, or a short Papal utterance?

>

> Huette

 

Tsk.  That doesn't work, bullets pre-date firearms. Basically, it is a

round shot originally used in slings.  It derives from "boulette," a

dimuntive of the Old French "boule" or "ball" originally derived from the

Latin "bulla."

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 23:43:09 -0400

From: "Daniel  Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] slings

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> That is the example of sling use which many people think of, but to

> bring this back to medieval times, the sling was also used throughout

> the Middle Ages for both hunting and in combat. I doubt that most of

> [us] would be good enough with it to get supper with one, though. :-)

 

The hand sling was, if I am not mistaken, traditionally a rural

peasant/poacher's weapon used to bag small game, i.e. the occasional

squirrel, rabbit etc.  Sort of a medieval 22.  Yes it would require practice

to use effectively but I would think that a bored sheepherder, pigherder,

cattleherder etc. would have plenty of time to achieve reasonable

proficiency as well as the incentive to do so if only to supplement his

diet.   Of course hand chunking a smooth creek stone might be nearly as

effective given sufficient practice.  Be that as it may I seem to recall

reading that clay sling bullets have been found at battle sites in the

middle east.  Does anyone recall any specific references?

 

There was a short article I read quite a few years back written by a fellow

over in Meridies regarding the staff sling as a instrument of war.

Essentially it was apparently a "hand trebuchet" peasant levy weapon which,

if used in mass fire mode, could presumedly interdict a specified area of

effect with a substantial hail of projectiles. Intuitively it would seem to

have been less effective than massed arrow fire, albeit requiring less

training and expense, yet questions remain in my mind as to maximum

effective range vs. presumed appropriate projectile weights.  Does anyone

recall any specific references?

 

Daniel

 

 

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2005 10:54:48 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] slings

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Am Sonntag, 5. Juni 2005 05:43 schrieb Daniel Phelps:

 

> The hand sling was, if I am not mistaken, traditionally a rural

> peasant/poacher's weapon used to bag small game, i.e. the occasional

> squirrel, rabbit etc.  Sort of a medieval 22.  Yes it would require

> practice to use effectively but I would think that a bored sheepherder,

> pigherder, cattleherder etc. would have plenty of time to achieve reasonable

> proficiency as well as the incentive to do so if only to supplement his

> diet.   Of course hand chunking a smooth creek stone might be nearly as

> effective given sufficient practice.  Be that as it may I seem to recall

> reading that clay sling bullets have been found at battle sites in the

> middle east.  Does anyone recall any specific references?

 

I am still looking for references to clay projectiles, but throughot the

ancient world you find lead ones (the Romans called the 'glandes' - acorns -

because of their shape). Xenophon describes how these were much worse than

arrows because if they hit unarmored flesh they would penetrate and the wound

close after them...

 

> There was a short article I read quite a few years back written by a fellow

> over in Meridies regarding the staff sling as a instrument of war.

> Essentially it was apparently a "hand trebuchet" peasant levy weapon which,

> if used in mass fire mode, could presumedly interdict a specified area of

> effect with a substantial hail of projectiles. Intuitively it would seem

> to have been less effective than massed arrow fire, albeit requiring less

> training and expense, yet questions remain in my mind as to maximum

> effective range vs. presumed appropriate projectile weights.  Does anyone

> recall any specific references?

 

I don't, but these guys might

http://www.slinging.org./

 

Giano

 

 

Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2005 11:31:20 -0400

From: rbbtslyr <rbbtslyr at comporium.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] slings

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I know in the hands of an expert, from hearing old timers tell it, that

a sling could bring down up to deer size game at close range and at a

reasonable range a catamount (mountain lion) and similar size animals.

The slings add quite a bit of force compared to tossing a stone and a

round clay or lead ball would be more accurate and could be

devastating. It works on the same principal as a spear chucker or

Attalia (sp?) and makes the weapon quite effective. Modern slingshots

with surgical rubberbands aren't nearly as effective.

 

Kirk

 

<the end>



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