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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Gdansk Sling
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Message started by winkleried on Nov 23rd, 2008 at 8:43pm

Title: Gdansk Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 23rd, 2008 at 8:43pm
As some of ya may know in a couple of weeks I am teaching a class at my branch of the SCA Arts and Science event. Class is titled The Medieval Sling an overview.

I am going to be showing my class the following historical sling replicas.

Randers
Hedeby/Southampton
York/Dublin/Glouchester

Not so sure about the Vindolandia design but i do have one just in case I decide to do it as well.

Plus a couple of replica slings from the Iberian Penisula. Both the "Standard" balearic design and the Manchega design.

I have been extremely intrested in the Gdnask Sling but couldn't up until lately find any information on it.
Yurek finaly came through for me and provided a short article on creating the replica ( Unfortuneatley it was in Polish). I then contacted Aussieslinger who gave me some details that I had been needed. I now have a woking model for it. By the end of the American Thanksgiving holiday I hope to have an active working model in leather that has launched rocks.
I will say this it is a wierd little beast that should/could actually work.

I don't have a digital camera but someone I do know does and hopefully I will be seeing them over the holiday. I plan on convincing them to take a shot of the model and the working replica and then sharing them with this forum and get the forumites opinions on this design.

If the design actually works I will be adding it to the above list for the class.



Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 29th, 2008 at 5:06pm
Gdnask Slink Observations.

Been extremely intrested in this sling eversince Jurek posted it to the forum. However like the Cortaillod sling there has been almost no information found on it.
Jurek found a couple of other articles that described this sling, unfortunately they were in Polish. I sent one that appeared to have dimensions to Aussieslinger to get a rough translation done. I was most intrested in what the dimensions were. In addition I was intrested in whow the ring was constructed and what it was made from.

I will be posting the original articles and Aussiesligers translation in a later post in this thread.

Using that information I constructed a "Prototype" model out of Sisal to test the ability of the sling to launch rocks. The sisal model worked on the few rocks that I cast.

I then moved to a hard leather sling. (Which was the material the article said was used in the original) I personally thank they were meaning rawhide but I don't have any. I used hard leather bootlaces instead.

In the next couple of postings on this thread I will try and post the photos of the prototype and the working model.

The working model was a dissappointment. Using both the underhand and the Byzatine style casts the ring didn't hold the rocks and they all went backwards. This was during the initial accelaration of the first windup. Now I didn't seem to have this problem using the sisal prototype.

I was using small rocks in the 80-100 gram range. I am begining to wonder if theis sling wasn't designed to use round rocks but shaped ammunition instead. If one could put a biconal or an elipisodial projectile with the small end point down in the ring I think the results would be a lot more satisfactory. It may be a way of ensuring a point first projectile delivary.

There is a lot of uncertainity about this sling. Some of the uncertainity may be in the Polish to English translation. There may be additional uncertanity due to the unorthodox singular design of the sling. It could also be concvable tha tthe original archeologists may have got this one one wrong. We have an example of a misidentified artifact being a sling pouch instead of a shoe thounge. This may be a case of a artifiact being mislabeled as a sling pouch when it is actually something else. But I don't know.

Possibly next week I am going to be running to the semi-local Bass Pro Shop  ( Major hunting and Fishing Supply chain for the non americans) and pick up some 85-100g lead egg fishing sinkers and see how they perform.

I will let the forum know how this sling works out.

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 29th, 2008 at 10:30pm
Grumble, Was hoping to attach the PDF of the article but I can't.
Anywya here is Aussieslingers intial translation, then I'll post the full translation.

Marc Adkins

"Greetings Marc,

Read the article. Pretty standard stuff I'm afraid ie. nothing that someone even moderaely aquainted with the subject wouldn't know already. However I'll do a thorough translation for my own satisfaction as much as anything else.

Details you were particularly interested in:

The ring (they use the word "bowl") is hard plaited leather. (No other details of construction given.)
ID = 2.0 cm  OD = 4.5 cm
Length overall they quote as 38 + 12 = 50 cm (Not quite sure how that works, will read again more carefully to see if they mean end to end or folded length)
The thongs have a width that varies from 1.5 to 0.4 cm

They say the effective range of the sling is 100 m and come down on the side of its being a definite weapon rather than a toy. (Not so convinced myself) No opinions given as to why it uses a ring instead of a conventional pouch.

Regards,

Aussie
"

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 29th, 2008 at 10:32pm
This is not a word for word translation, this is Aussie Slinger cleaning it up a bit for those of us that speak only english. For you Polish slingers out there send me a PM with your E-mail Address and I will send ya the original Polish article

Marc Adkins

"IS THE “GDANSK SLING” MERELY A TOY?

Amongst the finds discovered during archaeological excavations in Gdansk is a unique sling. This item was found in strata dated to the end of the 10th Century. The sling consists of a hard plaited leather ring (Pol. “bowl”) which holds the projectile, as well as two leather thongs. The dimensions of the item (as reconstructed by H. Wiklak)  are: overall length 38 +12 cm. giving a total of 50 cm, the width of the thongs: from 0.4 to 1.5 cm, the external diameter of the ring is 4.5 cm and the internal diameter is 2.0 cm. It must be pointed out that it does not vary significantly from similar items, as depicted in literature, other than in its method of construction and its dimensions. Such a sling would have been effective to 100 m and a skilled slinger is able to hit his mark at such a distance. It seems, therefore, from the following, that categorizing the Gdansk sling as a toy is incorrect. It must be recognised that it falls firmly within the normal parameters for this kind of weapon; the only disputable point being its use - whether for military application or for hunting. M Gradowski, in his article, describes an interesting contemporary incident relating to the use of slings. He stresses their merits as weapons for hunting, both effective and silent in use, which is of inestimable value when hunting wary animals. A skilled slinger may be able to hunt an animal without approaching too closely or making excessive noise. On the other hand, he wonders about the effectiveness of slings for military use.

It is known that slings were used by special units within infantry forces in ancient times. There is however a lack of evidence for their use in European armies during the Middle Ages. The closest to the item in question being a depiction on the Bayeux tapestry which shows a similar weapon being used to hunt birds. However the same principles as those which function in slings were employed in the construction of medieval siege engines. From experiments conducted by M.Gradowski, and based on the opinions of persons skilled in the use of slings it is evident that these simple and effective weapons have two main “downers”. Firstly, proficiency with one requires constant practise. An out of practise slinger is not only ineffective but may be a hazard to those in his immediate vicinity. Secondly is the availability of ammunition. In rocky terrain, for example, hills or arid steppes, acquiring it poses no problem. However the situation is very different when there is a lack of suitable stones in the area. In this case a slinger would have to transport sufficient quantities with him, which over long distances would prove impracticable.

Therefore we should lean towards M. Gradowski’s opinion and accept that the sling was used primarily as a hunting weapon in Europe from as early as the Middle Ages, which of course doesn’t counter the possibility of its occasional effective use in military applications. It is also from this vantage point that we should consider the Gdansk sling.

Translated from the original article by Krystyna Nadolska, University of Lodz, Faculty of Archaeology  1998
"

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by slingbadger on Nov 30th, 2008 at 8:12am
To me it always looked like something that was perfect for launching ceramic jars, either incendiaries or corrosive/irritants.  

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:17am
As much trouble as I had in launching rocks with There is no way that I am going to try something that is burning.

Marc


slingbadger wrote on Nov 30th, 2008 at 8:12am:
To me it always looked like something that was perfect for launching ceramic jars, either incendiaries or corrosive/irritants.  


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by curious_aardvark on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:25am

Quote:
To me it always looked like something that was perfect for launching ceramic jars, either incendiaries or corrosive/irritants.


there's a picture ?

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by David Morningstar on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:51am
I have seen a pic here but I cant find it now  :-[

It was a ring instead of a pouch connected with two cords each side  in an inverted 'Y' to the release and retention cords. It would hold spherical ammo very well.

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 12:12pm
Here is the original photo that we have
Marc



Curious Aardvark wrote on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:25am:

Quote:
To me it always looked like something that was perfect for launching ceramic jars, either incendiaries or corrosive/irritants.


there's a picture ?


10th_Century_Polish_Sling_001.jpg (555 KB | )

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 12:15pm
Thats the one and any pics would have been posted by Jurek or myself.

Yep you would think. Except it would have to be have to be exactly the size for the ring. tried all sizes of rocks, even ones that looked liked they would fit. I'm going to scratch my head and see if I can come up with something :-/

Marc Adkins


David Morningstar wrote on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:51am:
I have seen a pic here but I cant find it now  :-[

It would hold spherical ammo very well.


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 6:29pm
Addendum:

Ok Based on a couple of comments from the list. I decided to try some shaped ammunition. Broke out some small egg shaped fishing sinkers and some small alumina balls I picked up on a job site( That shall remain unnamed to the list). Yeppers I think (with the help of this group) we just figured out the secrect to this design.

I can tell ya that .58 caliber lead bullets and glass marbles are too small for this pouch. The lead sinkers weighed about 22 grams and were almost too small for the pouch.

Can't tell ya the range of the lightweight alumina ball. ( I lost track of it in flight) the lead sinker went about 75m before it thudded into the upper reaches of a elm tree on the far edges of my property.

We be providing pics later on of the slings and the ammunition used.

Marc Adkins
How would one say Marc the Gdnask Slinger in Polish ????????


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:11pm
Going to be a rough week for me, figure 16+ hours a day until I get home. Which is who knows when. anyway here are the pics I took of the prototype and the replica sling.

Prototype Sling
Gdnask_Prototype.JPG (1454 KB | )

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:13pm
Replica Sling


Gdnask_Replica.JPG (1468 KB | )

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Dec 9th, 2008 at 6:00pm
Oh boy do I feel sheepish............... :o
Jurek contacted me and alerted me to the fact that I had misspelled the name. The proper spelling is Gdansk.
My apoligies to the forum.

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Jan 27th, 2009 at 11:10pm
I am starting my write up on this very unique sling for a SCA Arts and Science competition.Anybody have anything they would like to add?

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by StaffSlinger on Jan 28th, 2009 at 9:30pm
It's all right Marc - we just thought you had a stutter; not a broken spellchecker ;D

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by funda_iucunda on Feb 2nd, 2009 at 4:42pm
Staffslinger,

does the Latin saying in the bottom line of your maikls mean "If slings will be forbidden then only the outlaws will have a sling"?

funda iucunda

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by David Morningstar on Feb 2nd, 2009 at 5:05pm
"If slings are outlawed, then only outlaws will have slings"

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by StaffSlinger on Feb 2nd, 2009 at 9:26pm
What he said.  David that is.  I thought it was apropo...  I'm going to translate it into other "appropriate" languages - Philistine ;D, Greek, Persian...

Another one that would be fun to translate would be "You can have my sling when you pry it from my cold dead fingers."

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by slingbadger on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 5:41am
Slings don't kill people, stones do.

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by curious_aardvark on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 11:36am

Quote:
The proper spelling is Gdansk.

well yeah, I suspect you're the only one who didn't realise this -  lol we all have bad keyboard days.

Interesting looking sling though.
So with the shaped glandes does it help in any way ?
I'm guessing it might also be good for golf balls - cut down on the spin maybe ?
Like slinging a knuckle ball ?

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 6:41pm
I was thinking about golf balls when I was up on the stack today. anybody know th eweight in grams of a golf ball. I was supposed to be in the office this week but I'm back in the field so I haven't had a chance to get out and try this sling with some egg shaped lead sinkers I picked up. Golf ball might be a bit big, but I'll try it and see what happens.

Marc Adkins


Curious Aardvark wrote on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 11:36am:

Quote:
The proper spelling is Gdansk.

well yeah, I suspect you're the only one who didn't realise this -  lol we all have bad keyboard days.

Interesting looking sling though.
So with the shaped glandes does it help in any way ?
I'm guessing it might also be good for golf balls - cut down on the spin maybe ?
Like slinging a knuckle ball ?


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by aussieslinger on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 7:49pm
Approx. 45 grams

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 9:03pm
Thanks Aussie

Marc Adkins

Aussie wrote on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 7:49pm:
Approx. 45 grams


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by curious_aardvark on Feb 4th, 2009 at 11:31am

Quote:
Golf ball might be a bit big,

but you could make the ring a bit bigger

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 4th, 2009 at 6:06pm
Could, but the point is to try and stay as close to the original as possible, until we learn what it can and cannot do. Once we have that baseline then we can start experimenting.

We have a very unique sling design here, lets see what it can do.
as I mentioned in previous posts, this design may have something to do with delivary of shaped ammunition, but we won't know until we put it to the test. Or another possibility is maybe the experts got it wrong and it's not a sling, but a bit off of something else that rotted away.

Marc Adkins


Curious Aardvark wrote on Feb 4th, 2009 at 11:31am:

Quote:
Golf ball might be a bit big,

but you could make the ring a bit bigger


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 7th, 2009 at 8:02pm
Tried using golf balls in the Gdansk Sling. Didn't work, they kept rolling out in the windup stage. My guess is that they were too big. From my notes the diameter of a golf ball in SI units is 9 cm.

I also tried some egg shaped lead sinkers. I had two sizes available. The first weighed 13 grams, the second set weighed 57 grams. Probably need to get the length and width in SI units.

I had the opposite problem with the 13 gram (3/4 oz) sinkers. They were too small. stayed put during intial windup but during the release stage they were real erratic during the release. By this I mean they would either release early or late. They definately wouldn't release when I wanted them too. I think thier s

I tried the 57 (2 Oz.) gram sinkers next. First set of casts I tried orienting them point first through the pouch. Lets just say this wasn't real optimum and I have another slinging horror story that involved a close call.

The next set of casts involved laying the sinker so that the short axis was directly across from the thongs that attach to the pouch and the long axis facing the direction of the cast. Yep that definately worked. Sinker flew like a champ point first and impacted on the ground that way. I even managed to recover it a few minutes later.

I didn't measure the range. The main reson is my back porch is on a hill and my back yard slopes down then starts climbing back up. Net weekend if I can get to the river when it is way down I will try slinging th elenght of it and see what kind of range I can get with the sinkers.

Casting style was Byzantine, might also try underhand with it as well.


Ok here is where things start getting intresting. so far preliminary testing shows that this sling will work, just need to fine tune the ammunition source. Based on archelogical evidence we know that early europens, Say Neolithic to Bronze agish seemed to prefer ammuntion in a wide weight range. The Red Crag Artifact weighed in at 0.5 ounce (9 grams).In the Journal of the British Archelogical Association (1864 Pg 75) Two excavated sling stones are mentioned. The first weighs 7 ounces (150 grams) the second weighs in at 12  ounces (300 grams). And this is just in the British Isles

 We do know as well that the Greeks and early Romans used lead glandes. However no known reliable reference has mentioned the use of lead bullets in the medieval period . In the case of this sling near the end of the 10th century. Are we missing a valuable piece to this puzzle? Is this sling design optimised to actually use lead ammuntion?

More study is definately needed.

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by Aussie on Feb 8th, 2009 at 12:48am
Hi Marc,

I also have a feeling that the experts got it wrong and the item is not in fact a sling at all. I found the original Polish article fairly unconvincing and "bitty". It had the feel of an assignment knocked together the night before it was due and by someone who was not at all comfortable with the subject, casting about for quotes to give it a bit of credibility.

Regards,

Aussie

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 8th, 2009 at 1:39am
Yeah and the article by Michal Gradowski not even touching on it's unique nature definately is odd.
I fully agree about the Krystyna Nadolska article. I thank any of us on this forum could have done a better job than that in half the time ;( But welcome to academics.
But the kick is the thing does sling albeit some ultra specilised and tuned ammunition..............
Anyway lets see what happens, and who knows get enough experienced slingers looking at it and maybe we can figure this bleeping thing out :)

Yea I'm trying to be optimistic. Now ifI can just get the Gradowski article to cut and paste into my research paper :( ( yep I'm trying to work on it before I hit the hay)
Anyway hope you are staying cool Aussie

Marc Adkisn


Aussie wrote on Feb 8th, 2009 at 12:48am:
Hi Marc,

I also have a feeling that the experts got it wrong and the item is not in fact a sling at all. I found the original Polish article fairly unconvincing and "bitty". It had the feel of an assignment knocked together the night before it was due and by someone who was not at all comfortable with the subject, casting about for quotes to give it a bit of credibility.

Regards,

Aussie


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by funda_iucunda on Feb 11th, 2009 at 4:47pm
suggestion: CUM FUNDAE PROSCRIPTAE ERUNT TUM SOLI PROSCRIPTI FUNDAS HABEBUNT

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 16th, 2009 at 12:10am
I think I have this thing figured out.

Ok based on the calculations on paper.
I need ammunition around the 43 to 35 gram range. The reason that golfballs didn't work is due to thier size and shape.
Instead of a spheroidal shape this sling needs ammunition that is Prolate ellipsodial in Shape ( Egg shaped in non geek)
and in the 13-16 cubic centimeter size range.

Using both flint and limestone we would need ammuntion  3.5 cm long with a width of .9 to 1 cm. Golf balls have a  diameter of 9 cm and a volume of 381.70 cubic centimeters.

a very rough approximation would to be to use the width of wide lined paper. Basicly the distance between to two lines would be approximate to the width of the required ammunition. this is close to the width of the 57 gram lead egg sinkers I was using. The egg sinkers were not as long but close to the width!

Badger expect an e-mail

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Feb 19th, 2009 at 10:53pm
I have a rough draft paper on this, Only thing it is missing is the Ballistics for the shaped ammunition I am thinking about and the original Polish articles. ( for some reason i can't figure how to cut and paste them).
I am writing this for an SCA specific audience but in the spirit of Peer review anyone that wants a copy of the rough paper for comments and review get in touch with me offlist and I will send it to ya.

As soon as I get comments coming in I will send out the updated paper

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by xxkid123 on Mar 9th, 2009 at 4:57pm
hey, can you post a how to please, sounds interesting

Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Mar 9th, 2009 at 8:26pm
Once I get his paper done, I will be submitting it to Chris for inclusions in the Articles section. This is a competition paper, last thing I currently need is members of my organization haveing open access to my research before it is ready.

Yes it is a unique design, however we are still not sure that it is a sling, I am leaning heavily in the direction that it is but I am going to need to see the ballistics of the shaped ammunition before I give it my stamp. Just because one expert clled it a sling and one possble graduate student wrote a extremely short article on it doesn't make it a sling. We would need the original article ( If it could be found) and then it would have to be translted in english, an photograph of the original would be a big help as well...........

In short be patient and it will eventually happen

Marc Adkins


xxkid123 wrote on Mar 9th, 2009 at 4:57pm:
hey, can you post a how to please, sounds interesting


Title: Re: Gdnask Sling
Post by winkleried on Mar 9th, 2009 at 8:31pm
Ok further developments on this project of mine.

Using bolt cutters I cut steel round stock, the length of the pouch. I cut two diffrent diameters of stock 5/16ths and 3/8ths of an inch. These should stand in as shaped ammuntion for preliminary ballistics testing. one that is done I may play around using shaped clay pellets and see how they do.............

Marc Adkins




winkleried wrote on Feb 16th, 2009 at 12:10am:
I think I have this thing figured out.

Ok based on the calculations on paper.
I need ammunition around the 43 to 35 gram range. The reason that golfballs didn't work is due to thier size and shape.
Instead of a spheroidal shape this sling needs ammunition that is Prolate ellipsodial in Shape ( Egg shaped in non geek)
and in the 13-16 cubic centimeter size range.

Using both flint and limestone we would need ammuntion  3.5 cm long with a width of .9 to 1 cm. Golf balls have a  diameter of 9 cm and a volume of 381.70 cubic centimeters.

a very rough approximation would to be to use the width of wide lined paper. Basicly the distance between to two lines would be approximate to the width of the required ammunition. this is close to the width of the 57 gram lead egg sinkers I was using. The egg sinkers were not as long but close to the width!

Badger expect an e-mail

Marc Adkins


Title: Re: Gdansk Sling
Post by xxkid123 on Mar 10th, 2009 at 4:59pm
o, i see what you mean good luck

Title: Re: Gdansk Sling
Post by winkleried on May 15th, 2009 at 1:13am
further developments of this Project. The cut round stock did perform well in prelimanary testing. (Read: It flew at a good velocity for a decent range) Just haven't had the time to get some good balistic data on it. Would love to be able to provide data that this particular sized bar stock flew this particular distance this many times. Once I have that then I will move on to doing baked clay projectiles and do the same thing with them and this particular paper will be done.
Jurek can you contact me via PM or e-mail?

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdansk Sling
Post by winkleried on Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:23pm
Still trying to get some ballistics data going for this.
Taking the paper and the sling to an SCA A&S (Arts and Science) competition tomorrow. If it goes well I'll post what I have to chris.

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Gdansk Sling
Post by winkleried on Dec 31st, 2018 at 3:02am
Yep, another Winkleried resurrected thread..... I am going to see where my notes and paper that I presented all those years ago are and either post them here or send them to the moderators so we can stick a fork in this one.

Marc Adkins

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