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The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity (Read 5521 times)
David Morningstar
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The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Nov 25th, 2008 at 2:28pm
 
http://journalofasianmartialarts.com/cms2/images/stories/sample_articles/Academi...

I have seen several references to this article but this is the first time I have seen it published online.

There are some dubious calculations of 'lethality' here but a lot of sensible stuff as well. Not much we dont know already, but still worth a read.
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slingbadger
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #1 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 5:57pm
 
Is this the Korfmann article??
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David Morningstar
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #2 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 6:02pm
 
No, that is 'The sling as a weapon' in Scientific American in 1973
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Rockman
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #3 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 6:48pm
 
I've been wanting to get a hold on that article. Thanks for finding it David Morningstar.
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #4 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 8:05pm
 
Thanks David.  Interesting read and analysis.  The Bibliography is worth checking out too.
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Rockman
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #5 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 10:38pm
 
David Morningstar wrote on Nov 25th, 2008 at 2:28pm:
There are some dubious calculations of 'lethality' here but a lot of sensible stuff as well. Not much we dont know already, but still worth a read.


I was wondering about that too, especially on the comparison to modern bullets. Can a rock really have more stopping power than a .44 magnum? It sounds... I'm not saying imposible, but extremly unlikley.

The only way I see a sling shot being superior to a modern bullet is this: Exit wounds are wasted energy, but sling shots deliver all of its much heavier mass to a single point.

Also, I was wondering about the distances clamed by the ancient people. Pherhaps their standards of measurments are different from ours. People at the time were very short compared to modern man, so their meters would also be shorter. Maybe.
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Preserving the sling, mankindīs original Magnum. Rookie slingers are modern superheroes: Never far away from trouble. Rockman sling tutorial: http://slinging.org/index.php?page=how-to-make-a-rockman-sling---bruno-tosso
 
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #6 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 10:39pm
 
Nah it's the Dorenwend Article. IMHO probably one of the better articles on Sling balistics. And yeah it was discussed a while back on the main forum I Belive.

Marc Adkins

slingbadger wrote on Nov 25th, 2008 at 5:57pm:
Is this the Korfmann article??

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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #7 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 10:48pm
 
I belive that a rock coming out of a sling has as much energy as a modern bullet. Just doesn't have the speed. I thank you are correct When yoe say that it delivers all of it's mass at a ingle point. Also have to remember most of the cultures that used a sling didn't have modern medicine. A broken limb could kill ( And Still does occasionally).

Professional Historians are still hashing out the range issue. In most cases I think it is the product of tranlation and interpetation, That plus a longer distance helps make the story.But, keep in mid the last couple of Guiness World Recods have been for casts over 400+ Meters.

Another factor is he Authors in many cases were describing slingers who had almost been born with the sling. Ya spend a large chuck of your childhood with a weapon constantly practicing with it and you are more than likely going to get pretty good with it. Especially if ya miss you and yoru family are goingto go hungry or ya get turned into predeatr chow.

Marc Adkins


Rockman wrote on Nov 25th, 2008 at 10:38pm:
David Morningstar wrote on Nov 25th, 2008 at 2:28pm:
There are some dubious calculations of 'lethality' here but a lot of sensible stuff as well. Not much we dont know already, but still worth a read.


I was wondering about that too, especially on the comparison to modern bullets. Can a rock really have more stopping power than a .44 magnum? It sounds... I'm not saying imposible, but extremly unlikley.

The only way I see a sling shot being superior to a modern bullet is this: Exit wounds are wasted energy, but sling shots deliver all of its much heavier mass to a single point.

Also, I was wondering about the distances clamed by the ancient people. Pherhaps their standards of measurments are different from ours. People at the time were very short compared to modern man, so their meters would also be shorter. Maybe.  

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Rockman
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #8 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 11:17pm
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd-8MlpfONQ

This video shows impacts of all types. The rocks hits soft wood, a steel plate and the corners. This last one is very nasty (00:48").
If you were using armour and a sling shot hit you in betwen the plates and flesh, it would bend the metal of your armour into your body.

Even the shots that hit the steel got through, that is, there are marks on the wood even without actual penetration. How much of the energy transfers to the wood? The ancients said that the armour didn't need to be pierced for a wound, and it looks that it just might.
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Preserving the sling, mankindīs original Magnum. Rookie slingers are modern superheroes: Never far away from trouble. Rockman sling tutorial: http://slinging.org/index.php?page=how-to-make-a-rockman-sling---bruno-tosso
 
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #9 - Nov 26th, 2008 at 9:10am
 
David, the article has turned up on line before, but as the old link is dead your new one is very welcome Wink.

As far as distance measures, there may have been some room for exaggeration - but - much of the world operates still on a measure of a 'mile' established in Roman times as 1000 paces (meaning one left-right per pace) and I think that pretty much holds now. Given that it appears a significant sumber of us amateurs can throw approaching or over 200yds, I believe more in the historical claims of distance than I once did.

The business of 'stopping power' I find troublesome. It is an attempt to quantify a very complex process. It makes sense when one is comparing items which cause damage in similar fashion - but I hesitate to compare high velocity bullets with sling stones. From the raw physics point of view one can obviously calculate the kinetic energy and the momentum of the bullet, and then it's down to an argument about what combination of those and other factors 'defines' your stopping power. I havn't reread the Dohrenwend article, but I seem to remember he had a more thoughtful discussion of this than I had seen elsewhere.

As far as the effect on armor. Cortez, Pizarro and others faced slingers in great numbers, and they survived apparently without substantial losses. On the other hand, contemporary accounts describe how many of the conquistadors adopted the padded protection which they saw the indigenous warriors using. Although there are clearly other practical reasons, perhaps they did so at least in part as offering better protection against slingstones?

On a side note, Montezuma died after being hit on the head by a stone thrown from a crowd of unhappy citizens.. no details about whether this was thrown by a sling, but it seems quite possible.
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #10 - Nov 26th, 2008 at 10:03am
 
Also, I was wondering about the distances clamed by the ancient people. Pherhaps their standards of measurments are different from ours. People at the time were very short compared to modern man, so their meters would also be shorter. Maybe.


Roman writings expressing distances in 'paces' would be very reliable, as a left-right step was a pretty standard unit of measure.  Other writers in other cultures may use 'pace' as a single step forward inst3ead of the Roman double step.  Modernists who tried to translate paces into meters and yards are not to be trusted; nor are others unless they used a measuring tape/chain/wheel.  Our own reported distances here are probably more accurate than most, as we're slinging on football pitches, etc with known distances.
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #11 - Nov 29th, 2008 at 11:52am
 
Do not underestimate the size of ancient people. Vegetius wrote that the size of 163 cm was the absolut minimum to be enrolled into the roman army. Archeological findings show considerable sizes, too. The reason is just that size of mankind depends on economical changes throughout history which didn't lead to a linear enlargement of individuals.
A serious problem about measurement in the antiquity in my opinion seem to be the relatively high inacuracy of measurement equipment which was at hand and confusion of different locally defined miles inches etc. (not to mention the possibly mere propaganda by horrifying potential enemies by telling stories of slingers who deliberately shoot out your left eye on long distance). It would have been great if slinging had been admitted to the Olympics and some reliable record would have survived. But that is just a dream....

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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #12 - Nov 30th, 2008 at 9:53am
 
funda_iucunda wrote on Nov 29th, 2008 at 11:52am:
Vegetius wrote that the size of 163 cm was the absolute minimum to be enrolled into the roman army. funda iucunda


See, this is where we get into trouble....  Vegtius did not write "163 cm"  The metric system wasn't invented, let alone adopted until the 1790s.  Some historian/translator converted Vegetius' actual written words into something he/she could understand without any qualifiers (like the original words in parenthesis).  Vegetius may have written that a person had to be "three cubits and a palm" tall or some such (I don't have the original Latin before me just now)... 

There were no internationally recognized units of measure, really, until the 19th century.  And then there were at least two - the English system and the metric system.

Any attempt to quantify distance, size, weight etc. based on ancient writings and local/regional units of measure, has to be taken with a large grain of salt.

We here have so much more quantitative and qualitative information about ranges, impact energy, etc. of slings and sling shots than any of the so called scholarly writers (whose 'experienced slingers' or other expert testimony never seems to come from anyone we've heard of).  We should be seriously questioning those "scholarly" writers when we see blatant falsehoods, improbable numbers, etc.
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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #13 - Dec 21st, 2008 at 2:52pm
 
Staffslinger,

you are entirely right. Vegetius wrote the following in the first volume of epitoma militaria:

V. Proceritatem tironum ad incommam scio semper exactam, ita ut VI pedum uel certe V et X unciarum inter alares equites uel in primis legionum cohortibus probarentur. Sed tunc erat amplior multitudo, et plures militiam sequebantur aramatam; necdum enim ciuilis pars florentiorem abducebat iuuentutem. Si ergo necessitas exigit, non tam staturae rationem conuenit habere quam uirium. (Et ipso Homero teste non fallitur, qui Tydeum minorem quidem corpore sed fortiroem armis fuisse significat.)

163 cm is a minimum if you transfer feet to 29,5 cm and the unciae at least to 13 mm (many sources say 19 or 25 mm). Having in mind that Vegetius mentioned 6 feet as well this source tends rather to more than 163 cm.

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Re: The Sling: Forgotten Firepower Of Antiquity
Reply #14 - Dec 28th, 2008 at 11:05am
 
whose feet ?
Wink
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