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Message started by GurtTractor on Sep 14th, 2019 at 7:46am

Title: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by GurtTractor on Sep 14th, 2019 at 7:46am
After watching Tod of Tod's Workshop's excellent recent video testing the effectiveness of armour against medieval longbows - https://youtu.be/DBxdTkddHaE  It made me think of all the unanswered questions regarding the use of slings in warfare, and how cool it would be to one day see experts from various areas brought together to try and actually put to test theories about slings, in the same way as Tod brought together an expert in armour, arrows, etc.

I've read and researched a little about various bits of history and things we know or think we know about how slings were used, and it does seem like so much more could be better understood with good quality experimentation. So here's a list of things in no particular order and off the top of my head that might be interesting to see tested:

The effect of sling ammunition on armour; plate, fabric, helms etc. Armour from different periods, Roman, medieval, Incan slings vs conquistador armour (the tale of how the obsidian arrows were ineffective but sling stones were feared). Fired close and straight, and landing from above.

Distance vs bows, from different times and parts of the world. Simple, compound, etc. Rate of fire and use in siege comparisons also. 

Sling stones vs boats, like how the Balearic peoples were supposed to have done to deter Roman invaders.

Ammunition; all the above but with stone/lead/clay shot where appropriate, and things like whistling shot. And the lethality of these in various sizes.

The time it would take to train and arm a unit of slingers to be effective in warfare. The upkeep and equipment costs.

How slingers would actually work in formation, and in context of a large army.



Just a very rough list, those are just what that I can think of for now, no doubt I will remember more things I've pondered previously, and I'll add them.

If you come across any interesting accounts or apocryphal tales regarding slings that might be interesting to test one day then post them here and I'll add them to the list.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Jauke on Sep 14th, 2019 at 8:43am
We often hear slingers can out distance bows of the time, while probably true, they would have had to use lead ammo. I've never managed to throw a stone past 250 meters.  Even for 200 meters I need a long sling and perfect stones. If the stones aren't perfect I am lucky if it goes 150 meters.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Sarosh on Sep 14th, 2019 at 10:36am
@ Jauke
I have near zero experience on archery but from the TBB books if I was an archer: 70# 28" draw, 67"bow medium set, straight stave, 500grain arrow, reaches 210yds . As a slinger I reach 218-240yds w/ stones of different sizes and shapes. max ranges are similar. I don't train regularly with either the pulling of a stronger bow or slinging @ long range .
to make the bow shoot further you'll lower the mass of the arrow lowering its effectiveness, to make the slinger throw further you'll give him lead which will go further without really lowering the effectiveness of the projectile.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by GurtTractor on Sep 14th, 2019 at 10:37am

Jauke wrote on Sep 14th, 2019 at 8:43am:
We often hear slingers can out distance bows of the time, while probably true, they would have had to use lead ammo. I've never managed to throw a stone past 250 meters.  Even for 200 meters I need a long sling and perfect stones. If the stones aren't perfect I am lucky if it goes 150 meters.


Yes, and it must depend heavily on the time period, and bow and arrow techologies. Arrow design was subtly altered over the years to improve range and accuracy.

According to Wikipedia a Mary Rose replica could shoot 250 metres, though it also said this -

"The effective combat range of longbowmen was generally lower than what could be achieved on the practice range as sustained shooting was tiring and the rigors of campaigning would sap soldiers' strength. Writing 30 years after the Mary Rose sank, Barnabe Rich estimated that if 1,000 English archers were mustered then after one week only 100 of them would be able to shoot farther than 200 paces, while 200 would not be able to shoot farther than 180 paces."

Quite interesting, this would be an good thing to try and put to the test, range and stamina testing. Also in terms of training and average ranges.

It certainly can get a bit tiring slinging at maximum power one shot after the other, but probably not as tiring as trying to work against the spring tension of a bow, as it's more about controlling the acceleration with a short burst of power in the final stage. Big heavy shot can be pretty tiring, I haven't had the chance to try lead yet so I can't quite imagine how that compares. It would be interesting to compare the efficiency of a bow vs a sling for sustained shooting at range.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Morphy on Sep 14th, 2019 at 12:50pm
I have no doubt the slingers could outdistance the archers. That is one of the big benefits to the sling. English Longbows and the good composites were all high technology from a bow making/mass production point of view and even those would have struggled against a good slinger using actual war arrows.

Early bows were often not that great. The Egyptian composites design to my eyes is garbage. There are many other cultures bows that likely didn't even shoot close to what a good slinger could do.


@GurtTractor Some of the things that interested me were things like "how important was it to ancient commanders for their slingers to be strong enough to sling large stones far with as short a sling as possible or how much emphasis was put on getting a shot off in one or two rotations.

These are real world logistical concepts that would effect fire rate and density. Did they train these things? It would only make sense to do so. 

The big one though, the holy grail for me that we will likely never find is just how accurate were they actually. Because they often give accounts which are simply unbelievable even for some one as optimistic about sling potential as myself.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Jaegoor on Sep 14th, 2019 at 5:43pm
Komposit Bögen waren kein Müll. Auch die der ägypter nicht. Es war auch keine Erfindung der ägypter.
Man sieht Bogen 🏹 und sling sehr oft in Kombination. Das bedeutet, daß sie ähnliche genauigkeiten und Distanzen besaßen.
Was aber nicht bedeutet, daß es keine Ausnahmen gab.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Curious Aardvark on Sep 15th, 2019 at 12:54pm
as far as slings versus boats goes - guam is the king. Also fully documented by th spanish.
They held the spanish at bay for 2 years in the 1600s.


Quote:
Because they often give accounts which are simply unbelievable

Hmm, okay. The problem modern man has with our ancestors and their skills, is simply that to us, it's a hobby. To them it was everyday life.

In the era's when slings were in common use, you'd probably have your first one just after you started to walk. And would have used it everyday of your life.

I would also point you at our very own jaegoor. Pretty sure - having watched and slung with him - that he could emulate most historical slinging accounts. Hell with a fair bit more practice than I currently get - so could I.
And compared to our ancestors, even jaegoor is a rank amateur.

Historians have a tendency to dismiss things if they themselves can't do them.
But when you use a tool like a sling, every day, for decades. And for a multiplicity of purposes, yeah, I have no real problem with the vast majority of historical slinging feats.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Jaegoor on Sep 15th, 2019 at 3:05pm
Alex. Ich stimme dir voll und ganz zu.
Auch wenn mich meine sling ernähren könnte, in einer echten Schlacht wäre ich wohl einer der ersten Toten.
Ich habe in reenactor kämpfen mit der Schleuder erfolgreich gekämpft. Sehr oft sogar. Nur einmal starb ich dabei. Viele Gegner kannten die sling nicht. Sie waren überrascht 😲
Goliath war ein dummer Kerl. In seiner Armee gab es viele slinger. Oder David war außergewöhnlich gut.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Morphy on Sep 15th, 2019 at 11:46pm
Maybe CA. But I'm still skeptical. The accounts we have heard  exceed what modern Olympic target archers can do with modern bows and arrows that have millions of dollars of R&D behind them. I am very skeptical that such is possible in the heat of battle with any kind of consistency.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Kick on Sep 16th, 2019 at 2:57am

Morphy wrote on Sep 15th, 2019 at 11:46pm:
Maybe CA. But I'm still skeptical. The accounts we have heard  exceed what modern Olympic target archers can do with modern bows and arrows that have millions of dollars of R&D behind them. I am very skeptical that such is possible in the heat of battle with any kind of consistency.


Agreed. I think a lot of those accounts are historical Hollywood. It's like the Viking sagas, biting through shields and splitting rocks with a single sword swing... hmmm...

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Jaegoor on Sep 16th, 2019 at 5:38am
Um was für Texte geht es? Genauer bitte?

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by funditor on Sep 20th, 2019 at 8:37am
I ll add distance and self stabilizing capacity of the droplet shaped mesopotanian dried clay sling bullets

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 20th, 2019 at 12:35pm
Why do you want absolutely a very, very, very long distance ?
Is it suffisant to win a battle ?
In the past, a battle is a clinch.
This is important.
Just my idea.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Curious Aardvark on Sep 20th, 2019 at 12:42pm
because the further away you can engage the enemy with deadly force.
The FEWER of them there will be to fight when they get a lot closer.

This is why everyone who used slings in battle ended up using small lead glandes.

They fly a very long way, and you can carry a LOT - so you can keep attacking the enemy over a fairly long period of time and start reducing their numbers fram as far away as possible.

The best hand t hand fight - is the one you avoid by taking out the enemy before they get to you.
Reference Agincourt as the absolute classic - engage the enemy at distance warfare. 

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by TheJackinati on Sep 20th, 2019 at 1:02pm
Personally I'd say that long range firepower isn't necessarily about killing people.

It was likely more about forcing the enemy to close the distance in a quick and thus disorganised manner whilst giving your own troops the time to form up into formation (And said sling glandes would probably disrupt enemy archery). Any kills afforded would be a nice bonus.

And having the small, nearly invisible things whizzing over your head like a swarm of wasps... that would definetly demoralize some people, and might make enemy commanders want to 'rush' in to avoid taking further pot-shots.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 20th, 2019 at 2:04pm
Gurtractor,
I have a PDF in french  :'( about the battle of Uxellodunum in Gaul.
The archeologists try to measure the strength, the range, etc.., of a bow, a sling and others if you shoot at the top of the hill to enemies below.
I don't find the website today, I don't know if it exists today but I can send the PDF to your mail.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by funditor on Sep 20th, 2019 at 3:19pm
Oh that sounds great, I would be very interested in the pdf!  :)

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by NooneOfConsequence on Sep 20th, 2019 at 4:19pm
@funditor: That’s a question for the maths section. You should be able to predict aerodynamic properties with modern day simulation software.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by GurtTractor on Sep 21st, 2019 at 6:23am

TOMBELAINE wrote on Sep 20th, 2019 at 2:04pm:
Gurtractor,
I have a PDF in french  :'( about the battle of Uxellodunum in Gaul.
The archeologists try to measure the strength, the range, etc.., of a bow, a sling and others if you shoot at the top of the hill to enemies below.
I don't find the website today, I don't know if it exists today but I can send the PDF to your mail.


That sounds very interesting, I would love to see that, thanks. I've been collecting a variety of PDF articles all about slings, using google scholar and the very excellent Sci-Hub, it'll be great to keep adding to it. I haven't read through all of them yet, but there's some very interesting stuff that brings up a plenty of questions.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by GurtTractor on Sep 21st, 2019 at 6:27am

TheJackinati wrote on Sep 20th, 2019 at 1:02pm:
Personally I'd say that long range firepower isn't necessarily about killing people.

It was likely more about forcing the enemy to close the distance in a quick and thus disorganised manner whilst giving your own troops the time to form up into formation (And said sling glandes would probably disrupt enemy archery). Any kills afforded would be a nice bonus.

And having the small, nearly invisible things whizzing over your head like a swarm of wasps... that would definetly demoralize some people, and might make enemy commanders want to 'rush' in to avoid taking further pot-shots.


I saw a thing about Total War: Atilla with regards the slingers in that game, how they were 'OP' because they will slow down any units they are firing upon. I haven't checked out that myself yet, still got a Rome II campaign to get through :)  But it's easy to imagine how effective a hail of slingstones could be at disrupting the movement of an enemy group, the sheer force of impact against a shield alone might require you to brace against it.

Sling vs shield tests are something I'd love to see.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Sarosh on Sep 21st, 2019 at 11:25am

GurtTractor wrote on Sep 21st, 2019 at 6:27am:
Sling vs shield tests are something I'd love to see.


under 100m things get really dangerous for the melee units, slingers can throw heavier and heavier projectiles. one or two stones might be deflected by a shield but an opening might be created big enough for arrows/sling stones (light or heavy)/javelins. the different trajectory of the projectiles can create more troubles to the shield bearer, they'll hold it up to protect from the heavy lobs but they expose the lower body to more straight lead shots or create openings for bounced and ricocheted stones. A terrain where bounces and ricochets don't happen is usually a place a phalanx doesn't want to stand on.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Sarosh on Sep 22nd, 2019 at 12:13pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwiDT8Nvj9E
3:22 they added cloth at the bottom of the shield

2 more things to test: 1)loose hanging leather or cloth as a protection against slings (and arrows if possible)
2) did the sarissas of the last ranks(that where over the heads of the front ranks) provide any protection against enemy projectiles?

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 24th, 2019 at 8:38am
I find my site about Uxellodunum. It is in french.
https://www.uxellodunum.com/uploads/1/1/6/9/116911940/essais_de_tir__2006_v3.pdf
Good reading ::)

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by timpa on Sep 24th, 2019 at 3:38pm
Is this the real ancient order?
First a melee fighter.
then the archers.
Then slingers:



Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by funditor on Sep 25th, 2019 at 6:16am

NooneOfConsequence wrote on Sep 20th, 2019 at 4:19pm:
@funditor: That’s a question for the maths section. You should be able to predict aerodynamic properties with modern day simulation software.

I did some maths on it already, but the result of the equation can only be as good as the input. There are three parameters I found contradictory or unavailable information.
The cw of a droplet or ellipsoid shaped bullet
A data based starting velocity for ancient sling bullets
Terms for Impact of factors like rotation or tumbling bullets, which has an aerodynmic impact also for sure.

If you have profound nformation on this topics, this would be great.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by funditor on Sep 25th, 2019 at 6:18am
Also an idea for testing
Penetration effect impact of flat almond shape versus rotation symmetric lead bullets
Penetration effect impact of rptation speed of a sling bullet

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Curious Aardvark on Oct 13th, 2019 at 12:18pm
would be interesting to have both archers and slingers.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Jaegoor on Oct 13th, 2019 at 1:47pm
Es gibt noch einen interessanten Punkt.
Bei einer klassisch griechischen Phalanx hatte die Stellung der dicht gestaffelten Lanzen bereit einen Einfluss darauf wieviele Pfeile eine Wirkung erzielten.
Ich habe auch auf linothorax geschossen. Ein guter Schutz. Pfeile werden effektiv gebremst. Dringen jedoch ein. Ein Blei dringt nicht ein. Aber die Frage ist, was ein Träger der rüstung darunter spürt.
Es geht nicht immer um das reine töten. Verletzen ist oft sinnvoller. Sklaven brachte Geld.

Title: Re: Sling myth busting checklist
Post by Thearos on Nov 7th, 2019 at 10:34am
The Baleares slung against the ships of the Roman invaders, not to sink them, but to injure the crews. The Romans responded by stretching hide screens over their decks

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