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Staff Slings? (Read 8231 times)
Aussie
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Staff Slings?
Jun 2nd, 2009 at 6:48pm
 
There have been a few new YouTube clips of staff slinging, especially some very nice slow motion shots, which I thought were very interesting. I was especially impressed by the simple, neat, straight forward sweeping motion which would have allowed a company of staff slingers to stand quite close together and shoot volleys like musketmen. I imagine they would be as least as effective.

Does anyone know if staff slings were used this way in open warfare or were they limited to siege and naval applications?
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #1 - Jun 2nd, 2009 at 10:56pm
 
Aussie wrote on Jun 2nd, 2009 at 6:48pm:
simple, neat, straight forward sweeping motion which would have allowed a company of staff slingers to stand quite close together

I ever thought of that!
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slingbadger
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #2 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 5:32am
 
They were used in open warfare too. Carolingian armies used to have specialty staff slingers,  that were used to help guard baggage trains, and general  combat.with cartloads of stones.  In combat, they used packhorses loaded with stones for greater mobility. Also, they were used for chemical/incendiary attacks on the battlefields.  
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« Last Edit: Jun 3rd, 2009 at 11:19am by slingbadger »  

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Aussie
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #3 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 5:46am
 
Thanks for the information. In light of the "how long does it take to train a slinger v same for archer" debate that surfaces from time to time it would seem that companies of staff slingers would be the way to go. Training them looks like it would be a relatively quick and easy task. Thoughts, comments and contras all welcome.


PS. Just read Nick Lloyd and Alan Wong's offerings. Also noticed that the primitive style drawings show a very short sling, virtually a self releasing pouch only. Wonder what the optimum stick to sling length ratio is?
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 9:54am
 
Aussie wrote on Jun 2nd, 2009 at 6:48pm:
Does anyone know if staff slings were used this way in open warfare or were they limited to siege and naval applications?


I don't know of any source explicitly mentioning staff slingers in open field battle (if we talk about war before modern times and skip the grenade launching staff slings in the First World War or the Spanish Civil War). But, as you said, it would have been very effective to use them like mortars against masses of enemy soldiers .

Also the contemporary pictures I remember show fustibalists (fustibalians, fustibalers?) only during sieges or aboard ships, not in the field. Maybe they were often thrown together with normal slingers and referred to as such in the sources.

@slingbadger, do you remember where the Saxon staff slingers were mentioned? Sounds very interesting. The decisive weapon against King Arthur?  Wink
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #5 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 11:21am
 
Fund, sorry, they were Carolingians, not Saxons. I corrected my entry.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #6 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 4:33pm
 
Franks? Or allies?
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #7 - Jun 4th, 2009 at 7:28am
 
Carolingians, which would be the Franks. Next time I post I can give you the source.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #8 - Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:54am
 
OK, the original source for this came from De Procenti Romancae Milicae, by Rhabanaus Maurus, ( 780-850 AD)
  He said the range for a Carolingian slinger was 600 ft.
  I got this from Early Carolingian Warfare by Bernard Bachrach
  Time to drive the librarians crazy.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #9 - Jun 5th, 2009 at 1:43pm
 
Thanks a lot, and sorry for the inconvenience. Wish there were any librarians near, crazy or not Wink
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #10 - Jun 5th, 2009 at 9:24pm
 
Aussie wrote on Jun 3rd, 2009 at 5:46am:
Thanks for the information. In light of the "how long does it take to train a slinger v same for archer" debate that surfaces from time to time it would seem that companies of staff slingers would be the way to go. Training them looks like it would be a relatively quick and easy task. Thoughts, comments and contras all welcome.


PS. Just read Nick Lloyd and Alan Wong's offerings. Also noticed that the primitive style drawings show a very short sling, virtually a self releasing pouch only. Wonder what the optimum stick to sling length ratio is?

depends, for pin-point accuracy, definately archers, at a long range into a group of people, probobly slingers
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #11 - Jun 6th, 2009 at 1:16am
 
I suppose the question remains, at what range did medieval archers stop shooting at specific targets and merely shoot at a massed body of men? I imagine that at ranges of over 100m, even good archers would not be able to reliably hit a man and be shooting volleys, not individually aimed shots.

At relatively short ranges, 50m or less, the archers would almost certainly be able to hit specific targets more readily than ordinary slingers or staff slingers. Is that a realistic assessment? Any longbowmen out there?

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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #12 - Jun 8th, 2009 at 5:44am
 
Aussie wrote on Jun 6th, 2009 at 1:16am:
I suppose the question remains, at what range did medieval archers stop shooting at specific targets and merely shoot at a massed body of men? I imagine that at ranges of over 100m, even good archers would not be able to reliably hit a man and be shooting volleys, not individually aimed shots.

At relatively short ranges, 50m or less, the archers would almost certainly be able to hit specific targets more readily than ordinary slingers or staff slingers. Is that a realistic assessment? Any longbowmen out there?



I (occasional longbowman, though far from the top 1.000.000 ranks Wink) agree.

There may (have) be(en) superbowmen and superslingers with superaccuracy and superranges, but generally your suggestion sounds convincing to me. Even a very good bowman with the ability to hit a (static) target at > 100 m would behave differently in a battle situation than when hunting or shooting at straw targets.

In battle, it is surely more effective to shower the enemy with volleys at greater distances than to search for an individual aim. Searching and aiming takes more time than letting off quickly arrow after arrow in the general direction of the adversary. Accuracy becomes important when the bowman sees somebody (let's say a horseman) coming up towards him with the specific intention to take him (or his comrades) out, and that intention would be only obvious at a distance <100 or even <70 m. And as we are talking about moving (no static) targets here, an "individual kill distance" of 50 m or less sounds reasonable for me.

There may be exceptions, for example when the archers can identify a special person crucial to the enemy's army (king, general). It would then of course be only reasonable to try to hit him even at greater distances and perhaps end the battle quickly.
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Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
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do badet er in dem blvote  des ist der helt gemeit
von also vester hvte  daz in nie wafen sit versneit.
 
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #13 - Jun 19th, 2009 at 10:21pm
 
Quote:
OK, the original source for this came from De Procenti Romancae Milicae, by Rhabanaus Maurus, ( 780-850 AD)
  He said the range for a Carolingian slinger was 600 ft.
  I got this from Early Carolingian Warfare by Bernard Bachrach
  Time to drive the librarians crazy.


Interestingly, Vegetius states that Roman staff slingers practiced at the same distance and at the same targets as the Roman archers:  bundles of straw at 600 (Roman) feet, equating to 177 yards.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #14 - Jun 22nd, 2009 at 9:12am
 
Is anyone out there able to quote a description of staff slings being used by Greek forces?
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