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Slingers versus archers (Read 13672 times)
Hondero
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Slingers versus archers
Feb 12th, 2004 at 1:13pm
 
This it is the passage that I mentioned in the thread "Ammo storage:". It corresponds to a war by the territory in the first times of Greece:


"... but when the Epeians met them with arms, and it was found that the two forces were evenly matched, Pyraechmes the Aetolian and Degmenus the Epeian, in accordance with an ancient custom of the Greeks, advanced to single combat. Degmenus was lightly armed with a bow, thinking that he would easily overcome a heavy-armed opponent at long range, but Pyraechmes armed himself with a sling and a bag of stones, after he had noticed his opponent's ruse (as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians); and since the sling had longer range, Degmenus fell, and the Aetolians drove out the Epeians and took possession of the land."

This story seems to me extremely interesting because it is the first, and I think the one, historical narration of a duel between an archer and a slinger. Do you think that slingers have had advantage on the archers in the antiquity?  I think that until the appearance of the compound bow the range of sling was greater than of the bow, and besides its  projectiles were more heavy and destructive. In regard to the precision, a skillful slinger  had not to envy to an archer, although it was easier  to get accuracy with the bow.

Hondero
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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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english
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #1 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 1:34pm
 
I practise both slinging and archery, but I have to say that it is far easier to get accuracy and train someone quicker with a bow.  Round 1:  Sling:0 Bow:1
  However, slingers can carry far more ammunition, and so can last out longer campaigns.  Sling:1 Bow:1
  Arrows must be constantly tended and maintained.  Stones are easy to find anywhere, whilst glandes need a lot of preparartion; if a slinger is desperate, he can just pick up some nice rocks.  Of course, an archer cannot do this.  Sling:2 Bow:1
   An archer can shoot faster than a slinger; although many will disagree, a highly trained archer can shoot off many more arrows than a slinger can stones in one minute.  Sling:2 Bow:2
   A bow can break easier, and will wear out, whereas a sling will not.  3 - 2
   I think a self bow's range can be very big; think longbows.  A composite bow's range can be enormous (350+ METRES!).  A sling can probably out range a bow, but the slinger needs to be very very strong, and the sling needs to be very good.  3 - 3
   A bow can be used in a more cramped environment than a sling, and can be used better in woodland. 3 - 4
  The bow can also be lethal in more places than a sling, due to barbed heads (although there are many accounts of lead sling bullets, in use by the romans, being shot into flesh and not being able to be pulled out.  This could be lethal, naturally, due to infection.)  3 - 5
A sling can be carried in a  pocket or pouch and does not get in the way.  4 - 5
    A sling is not an extra weight to be carried when fatigue sets in in an army.  5 - 5
  Similarly, enormous carts are not required to transport ordinance, whereas there are tales of ammunition for archers requiring vast amounts of preparation and transport.  Naturally, the same is not true of the sling.  6 - 5
  Anyone else want to add anything?  It looks like the sling might win the contest.  Of course, it depends what you want the weapon for.
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David_T
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Hooked on Sling'n

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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #2 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 2:01pm
 
And Don't Forget:

A bow can not hold your pants up! Grin Grin
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Yurek
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The best thing, is a good
sling.

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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #3 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 2:15pm
 
Quote:
And Don't Forget:

A bow can not hold your pants up! Grin Grin


... and a sling can be made of pants but a bow not Wink 5 - 0
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Hobb
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #4 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 2:26pm
 
But do you really want to fight without your pants? Wink
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Hobb
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #5 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 2:29pm
 
I'm interested in the bit that says "the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians."  I'd always assumed that the sling came before the bow in most cultures.  Could it be that the bow is the "Primitive" weapon and the sling is the "Advanced" technology?
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Johnny
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #6 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 2:42pm
 
Hondero
What is your source for this story? Herodotus?Polybius?Plutarch? Thanks for posting this interesting story!!
Johnny
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I also love sushi..!
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Yurek
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The best thing, is a good
sling.

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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #7 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 3:12pm
 
Quote:
But do you really want to fight without your pants? Wink



No, I don't want. But if I wouldn't have other choice... Anyway, primeval slingers fought without pants Cheesy
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Ulrica
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #8 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 3:30pm
 
wow. What a sight!   Shocked
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May the stones go your way&&&&//Ulrica
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Yurek
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The best thing, is a good
sling.

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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #9 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 3:52pm
 
Ulrica...

You are ashaming me  Embarrassed

Jurek Grin
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Hondero
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #10 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 4:33pm
 
Well, in the worse of the situations, you can even tie the sling to your hips with the pouch on the appropiate place. It is assumed that you are using a sling for big stones  Grin
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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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Hondero
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #11 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 4:45pm
 
Hobb, you are right. There are evidences of sling in Neolithic time, but there are little arrow heads ( from bows) at the end of Paleolithic, about 3,000 years before. But may be the sling appeared when the bow and not drop off evidences (natural stones).
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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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Foner
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #12 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 5:11pm
 
I think that the most important factor is how long does it take you to put the stone or the arrow and throw it. Under equal skill and accuracy, it just depends on how fast you are. It doesn't matter if you hit your enemy with a stone or an arrow. Just like it matters not if your get hit by a bullet from a pistol or a bullet from a sub-machine gun. The important thing is how many bullets can you shot in one second, and in that case you better use the sub-machine gun.

Foner
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JeffH
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Don't stand behind me,
I'm about to sling!

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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #13 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 5:48pm
 
The sling really does have a distinct advantage or two.

I shoot bow and sling.  I have to say that range is not comparable at all.  The sling can easily out range the bow (longbow, selfbow, etc.) And can cause severe damage far away.

In close quarters, I would opt for the bow without hesitation.  I would choose the bow for quick learning.  But it is the sling that would be in my fore ranks at war.  The sling could easily reduce the numbers of your enemy before your archers had to take their first shot.

jeff <><
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So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. (1 Samuel 17:50)
 
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Hobb
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Re: Slingers versus archers
Reply #14 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 7:30pm
 
I didn't realize slings could even outdistance longbows! 

Kidding aside, Yurek's point about the pants is valid -- I would think slings would be cheaper and easier to supply to your troops than bows, once your men were trained.
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