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Gdansk Sling (Read 13265 times)
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Gdansk Sling
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
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« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2009 at 12:21am by Aussie »  

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #1 - 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
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #2 - 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
"
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #3 - 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
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #4 - 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.
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #5 - 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.  

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #6 - 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 ?
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #7 - Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:51am
 
I have seen a pic here but I cant find it now  Embarrassed

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.
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #8 - 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 ?

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #9 - 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 Undecided

Marc Adkins

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

It would hold spherical ammo very well.

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #10 - 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 ????????

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #11 - 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
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #12 - Nov 30th, 2008 at 11:13pm
 
Replica Sling

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Gdnask_Replica.JPG (1468 KB | )
Gdnask_Replica.JPG

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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #13 - Dec 9th, 2008 at 6:00pm
 
Oh boy do I feel sheepish............... Shocked
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
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Re: Gdnask Sling
Reply #14 - 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
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