Welcome, Guest. Please Login
SLINGING.ORG
 
Home Help Search Login


Pages: 1 2 3 
Send Topic Print
Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow (Read 12766 times)
Eleatic Guest
Guest


Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:21am
 
Which ancient battle weapon had a longer effective range, the sling or bow and arrow? Did the slingers really outrange the archers?

Both Roman and Greek writers say that the sling could out-range the bow. The advantage of range is repeatedly stressed. This could, it seems to me, be because the sling had a greater effective range, arrows losing their power to air-resistance after a while, and falling out of control onto their target, whereas a sling stone might build up a more dangerous speed just from falling. The effective range of slings seems to be in excess of 360 yards. Assyrian reliefs show slingers attacking cities from further away than the archers. Perhaps this is because the archers were used to shoot straight at defenders on the walls, while slingers dropped stones into the city, or perhaps it is just another clue to the greater range of slings.

http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/nikolas.lloyd/weapons/sling.html



Personally, I find a range of 360 yards a bit inflated. Perhaps 150-200 yards, at most 250 yards, would be a more typical effective range used in battle. What is your opinion? Do we have people in this forum who can sling with an euipment similar to the ancients that far?
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
slingbadger
Interfector Viris Spurii
*****
Offline


Don't Badger a Badger

Posts: 3079
Akron NY
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #1 - Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:34pm
 
Most historical accounts praise the sling for being able to outdistance the arrow. I think it largely depends on the type of sling and the technique.
  The standard technique seemed to be an underhand release after one full swing. That would indicate a shorter sling. I've never been able to go 200 yards with that, but, A. I can't everyday like they could, and B. My life doesn't depend on me being able to do it.
Anyone else?
Back to top
 

The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance  The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein   I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
IP Logged
 
Zwiebeltuete
Descens
***
Offline


Fly! Angel, fly!

Posts: 143
Germany, near Nuremberg
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #2 - Apr 24th, 2006 at 1:45pm
 
This is very difficult to answer as it depends on many things, like:

  • slinging projectile
  • slings (length, material)
  • skill of the slingers
  • maybe arrow
  • bow (quality, power)


Most of this is not known. There are some ancient reports that the range of slingers was superior to that of the archers. So probably at least in some situations the range of the slinger was superior.

My slinging range is (at the moment) 50 meters. Yureks is about 350 meters. Your's is probably somewhere in the middle. And the modern world record with a stone is 440 meters. We do not know what the range of the Archaeans, Balears, Cretes, etc. was. If they had intensive training their whole live they might have had ranges of the current world record or more. Others might have had little training so they can use the sling as backup weapon. These might have had a range of 100 meters.

And regarding "effective range"... that depends on what you want achieve. At least some current tests of bow arrows against chain mail and plate armor show that the arrows barely can penetrate a bit.  (We do not know the power of the ancient bows, so such tests are a bit tricky.) This is at shooting ranges of less then 10 meters. Can these then penetrate good armor at 50 or 100 meters? Probably not. But they still can be usefull, e.g. to lower the enemy morale or to get lucky shots on unprotected areas. If a troop of slingers managed to get a load of lead glandes onto an enemy unit 400 meters away I believe it gave them a military advantage. A lead glans which falls down from 50 or 100 meters certainly does hurt.

Zwiebeltuete
Back to top
 

Slinging since 2005-09-24.
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Tint
Interfector Viris Spurii
Past Moderator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2286
Hong Kong
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #3 - Apr 24th, 2006 at 9:44pm
 
I often pratice hitting a cliff 170 yards away, reaching that distance isn't that hard after a couple of years of pratice.  My maximum range is 250 yards. 

I never doubt that the slingers in battle of the past could reach 360 yards.  Even 500 yards is not suprising.  Knollslinger could throw a 1/4 mile easy with his leather boot lace sling.

I weight only 128 lbs. Embarrassed  And I don't even sling everyday.
Back to top
 
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Zwiebeltuete
Descens
***
Offline


Fly! Angel, fly!

Posts: 143
Germany, near Nuremberg
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #4 - Apr 25th, 2006 at 2:06pm
 
On http://www.grozerarchery.com is written that you can shot light arrows with their 90-120 lb bows over 300 meters. Their bows have traditional recurve form with old or modern materials. This is probably what we can assume as upper limit for possible shooting range for the ancient bow. (For using a 120 lb bow with a suitable shooting frequency and number your name has probably to be Arnold.)

Zwiebeltuete
Back to top
 

Slinging since 2005-09-24.
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Tint
Interfector Viris Spurii
Past Moderator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2286
Hong Kong
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #5 - Apr 25th, 2006 at 11:12pm
 
Does that mean an archer would get tired more quickly than a slinger? Undecided

I have read that the training time of slingers out last that of the archers in an ancient army.
Back to top
 
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Zwiebeltuete
Descens
***
Offline


Fly! Angel, fly!

Posts: 143
Germany, near Nuremberg
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #6 - Apr 26th, 2006 at 4:01am
 
The farer you want to get with the bow the more muscles you must have. That is simple physics. 120 lb bow means that you have to hold 54 kg with one arm and pull 54 kg with the other arm and shoulder. You have also to be able to hold 54 kg with your fingertips. That is a lot of stuff. For me it is not so easy to hold a fourth of that. I have read somewhere that the archers might not have used full power to tire less and therefore be able to shoot more arrows in short time.

I asume with the sling to get far a small part of it is muscles and a big part dexterity, but people who can actually sling far can probably tell better what is required.

Zwiebeltuete
Back to top
 

Slinging since 2005-09-24.
WWW  
IP Logged
 
siguy
Interfector Viris Spurii
*****
Offline


si vis pacem para bellum

Posts: 1714
connecticut
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #7 - Apr 26th, 2006 at 4:09pm
 
also, for extremely high powered bows, another method of shooting was used.

i have read accounts of mongol double recurve bows(probly the wrong term) of which each rider used two bows:
1. approx 120 lb draw, which you layed on your back and braced the bow with your feet, pulling with both hands.  used for range and power(mostly range)
2. and a lower powered bow, maybe 60 lb draw, which was shot using the more traditional method.  used for hunting and war.

both kinds of bow had different arrows to suit the bow.  from what i have read, there were longer arrows for the more powerful bow, and shorter ones for the smaller bow.  they had different kinds of tips, based on what they were shooting at.
Back to top
 

if you want peace prepare for war&&&&my site
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Eleatic Guest
Guest


Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #8 - Apr 26th, 2006 at 8:17pm
 
Quote:
also, for extremely high powered bows, another method of shooting was used.

i have read accounts of mongol double recurve bows(probly the wrong term) of which each rider used two bows:
1. approx 120 lb draw, which you layed on your back and braced the bow with your feet, pulling with both hands.  used for range and power(mostly range)


Sounds supiciously like the spanning procedure of a crossbow. The Mongols didnt use crossbow, but the Chinese.
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
siguy
Interfector Viris Spurii
*****
Offline


si vis pacem para bellum

Posts: 1714
connecticut
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #9 - Apr 26th, 2006 at 8:27pm
 
i'm sorry, i re-read that and realized what it looks like it says.

let me re-phrase.

the archer lays on his back on the ground, putting his feet up in the air, and bracing the handle of the bow accross his feet, pulling back on the string and arrow with his hands, firing by letting go with both hands. 

effectively making a half human crossbow, using the archer as the stock.

sorry for the bad use of words. Embarrassed
Back to top
 

if you want peace prepare for war&&&&my site
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Taiki
Interfector Viris Spurii
*****
Offline


Don't tell my mom i'm
here will you...

Posts: 1255
belgium
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #10 - Apr 27th, 2006 at 11:27am
 
thats ok  Grin it was clear you where talking about a footbow Wink

there is a very nice scene in hero btw that shows these bows in their fullest glory
Back to top
 
Taiki  
IP Logged
 
funda_iucunda
Senior Member
****
Offline


Watt den een sin Uhl is
den annern sin Nachtigal.

Posts: 315
Germany (north of Hamburg)
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #11 - Apr 27th, 2006 at 3:21pm
 
What has to be taken into account is the difference between the physical power of the weapon and the warrior themself and the use of it in a battle.

Concrning the physical power of bow and sling it is always the power of human muscles. That makes it difficult to compare these weapons. But instead of the mere power that is necessary to hold the bow the sling requieres rather the skill to get a good momentum of the whirling movement. I have the impression that technique is the clue (though a basis muscle power is necessary anyway)
So it seems to me that we perhaps compare different physical skills which are not that easy to compare.

The other comparative aspect is the use of different weapons in different takticle situations. We make our slinging experiences as single shooters. But in ancient times slings where used mostly by light troops who acted as a tactic unit. Alone they would have been lost. As a unit taking massiv enemy troops under "fire" the mere mass of bullets put on a solid corps never failed at least its psychic effects. The advantage of slings referring to its use as mass weappons was their low price in comparison to the very sophisticated bows and the availibility of projectile. Even in hopeless situations you had it nearly everywhere under your feet. Under the  circumstances of a massive use of slings the slingers wheren't able to throw always up to their personal range records like archers,too.

At Marcus Junkelmann (Die Reiter Roms III) I found the following figures:
arrow and sling shot are supposed to start with a speed of about 50 m per second. A 60 gr sling shot then has an energy of 75 joule, a 50 gr arrow of about 62 joule if shot with a composit bow of 27,8 kg tractive power. Junkelmann accepts a sling range upt to 350 m and a bow range up to not more than 200 m. But as far as it appears to me these figures and assumptions are not proved by experiment, so far.

funda iucunda
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Zwiebeltuete
Descens
***
Offline


Fly! Angel, fly!

Posts: 143
Germany, near Nuremberg
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #12 - Apr 27th, 2006 at 8:15pm
 
Why did Junkelmann choose a 27.8 kg bow? The data based on this trength seems to be consistent with other sources.

Zwiebeltuete
Back to top
 

Slinging since 2005-09-24.
WWW  
IP Logged
 
slingbadger
Interfector Viris Spurii
*****
Offline


Don't Badger a Badger

Posts: 3079
Akron NY
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #13 - Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:31am
 
Found this while doing research. It's from the poem King Edward and the Shepherd from the 14th cent.

  " I have slyngs smort and goode
  The best archer of ilk one
  I durst meet him with a stone
  And gif him lefe to shoot
   There is no bow that shall laste
  To draw to my slynges cast"

  That pretty much says it right there.
Back to top
 

The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance  The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein   I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
IP Logged
 
funda_iucunda
Senior Member
****
Offline


Watt den een sin Uhl is
den annern sin Nachtigal.

Posts: 315
Germany (north of Hamburg)
Gender: male
Re: Effective range: Sling vs. Arrow
Reply #14 - Apr 28th, 2006 at 4:45pm
 
@zwiebeltuete

Junkelmann describes the reconstruction of a sassanid bow with a tractive power of 28 kg. Another author had tested bows of about 50 kg. But for acuracy the "lighter" ones where much better (Die Reiter Roms III). May be that a clue to the range question is the acuray at a long range. A given projectile might fly on a long distance but fails its target. Another might not fly that far but hits always within its shorter range. The ancient and medieval authors supposedly where not interested in a athletic "benchmark" of range but in the use as a weapon which means that the user could trust in it that it hits the target. If used against massive troops this was not very essential. It was just necessary to hit somebody among the big crowd that was a target as whole. In a duell acuracy on distance decided.

Concerning Junkelmanns figures for slings I have the impression that these - like at other archeological authors - are not based of own slinging experience. M. Korfmann is the only one of whome I read that he had practice. The situation seems very different to that of the bow.

funda iucunda


Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Pages: 1 2 3 
Send Topic Print
(Moderators: David Morningstar, Chris, Mauro Fiorentini, Masiakasaurus, Curious Aardvark, Rat Man, Bill Skinner) - (Moderator Group: Forum Moderator)