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The Sling in War (Read 1208 times)
Alex.Ost
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The Sling in War
Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:54pm
 
Hey folks

Ever since i started to sling myself (and after playing Rome 2) i wondered how Slings were used in Battles. I can easily imagine how they were used in small skirmishes sure, but in a big Battle?
For example:
Im not very comfortable if someone is standing in a distance of 3 meters from my right Arm when im slinging in fear of me screwing up completely and somehow hurling the Stone purely sideways into the Person or even just whacking them with my Sling because they might just stand too close Roll Eyes
(This of course hasnt happened yet - im not that bad at slinging)

Where they used in files like depicted in Rome 2 and how you would deploy Archers? its the first obvious Thought, but i cant imagine that. Slinging above or between a line of guys before you? Hell no. Heads would be hit. Also you need much more space to operate your Sling than a Bow.
Single file is possible but not exactly sensible. Stretching your Slingers over the whole front is probably not what they did.
But how were they deployed? Maybe in smaller groups who just loosely form a blob?

Do you have any idea or maybe even a source wich tells us about it?

If you havent played Rome 2 you can check out how the Slingers deploy there and why i dont think thats very accurate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ek8VRcKLTQ
At 1.49 you can see them slinging in close up. They are standing so thight they would punch each other! I like that they are using smallish Shield however. Thats something i want to try out too.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #1 - Jan 20th, 2017 at 12:21pm
 
Slings were used in large battles, usually on the flanks of the large bodies or out in front as a screening/scouting force.

They would normally move out in front of the infantry formation and attack the other sides infantry if they could but usually ended up engaging the other side's light troops out in front of their troops.  As the main bodies closed, the slingers would move out of the way and off to the flanks and continue to bombard the other side's forces.
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kicktheotter
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #2 - Jan 20th, 2017 at 12:53pm
 
Well I think it would depend on the particular army. Roman, Greek, Celtic, Israelite, Aztec... I would imagine they all had their own tactics.
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slingbadger
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #3 - Jan 21st, 2017 at 6:35am
 
They could also be deployed in front with archers to help break up front lines. Think about waves of stones/glandes and arrows coming down on you.
  They were used from high places, showering ammo down on the enemy.
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WojtekimbieR
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #4 - Jan 22nd, 2017 at 6:04am
 
I can relate to your discomfort. I'd been shooting a bow for two years by myself before joining an archery club. It felt extremely awkward to have other people standing right next to you when shooting. It took a few weeks to get used to but the discomfort did go away.
It makes me think experienced sling 'units' could form up quite tightly if they had to, instead of being stretched very wide, without hitting one another.
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slingbadger
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #5 - Jan 22nd, 2017 at 6:50am
 
In the case of the Romans at least, they drilled using the same throwing style. This way they acted as a unit, and everyone knew what the person next to them was doing. Very effective.
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Thearos
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #6 - Jan 22nd, 2017 at 1:24pm
 
Might I mention an earlier discussion here

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1239494170

and also a discussion of "point-blank" slinging
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1271543402/4#4

and a discussion by Fundibularius
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1237763355/4#4
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Parmenion
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #7 - Feb 12th, 2017 at 3:55pm
 
Bill Skinner wrote on Jan 20th, 2017 at 12:21pm:
They would normally move out in front of the infantry formation and attack

probably something like this or similar

the way i imagine it is:
a mingled mob of peltasts(slingers,archers,javelineers) and anyone who is ready and finds a chance does a little run up towards the enemy throwing or releasing and then returns in the mob to reload and makes space for the other one who's ready to throw.
of course archer needn't to get out of the mob...

from the book i ve read about Alexander the great ,
they didnt seem to distinguish slingers from archers or javelineers

also a question i want to add:
where did they kept the stones?
i have a sling bag which can hold 40-60 stones but it is a big burden to sling with it hanging, can't run or sling with a stride and it messes the sychronisation.
walking with it requires the occupation of one hand otherwise it swings around and hits my knees and hips
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Thearos
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #8 - Feb 19th, 2017 at 1:24pm
 
I know of two painted images in vases (one C6th, one C5th) that show slingers with bags held on the left arm. It's doable.

Here's the cup ca. 480-460 BCE (the Makron cup, which I discussed elsewhere on the forum).
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Makron2_003.jpg (70 KB | 42 )
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Thearos
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #9 - Feb 19th, 2017 at 1:30pm
 
This is a black figure cup ca. 550 BCE
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Parmenion
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #10 - Feb 19th, 2017 at 4:20pm
 
i hang the bag on my waist so i can collect stones without loading the spine and having to bend with the weight on the shoulders.
the bag is around 7-9 kg
i empty it on the ground beside me before slinging.

a 7 kg bag on the bicep while slinging to kill will be a good workout Tongue
in the pictures they probably used less stones or lighter.
but in battle i believe 60 stones is a must.... so what i'm saying is that they probably had people carrying the stones to the frontline or they laid them on the ground once they where in position to sling.


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Thearos
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #11 - Feb 19th, 2017 at 7:09pm
 
Yes. I think the bag thing is a tactical load, e.g. 20 stones times 120g= for fighting in the line.
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Mark-Harrop
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #12 - Mar 4th, 2017 at 5:31am
 
Assyrian slingers were clearly in rank and file behind the archers using an overhand throw, which is a necessity in a formation.

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yonderstone
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #13 - Mar 5th, 2017 at 2:50pm
 
Why is an overhand throw a necessity? Wouldn't an underhand throw work just as well?
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Mark-Harrop
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Re: The Sling in War
Reply #14 - Mar 6th, 2017 at 11:51am
 
yonderstone wrote on Mar 5th, 2017 at 2:50pm:
Why is an overhand throw a necessity? Wouldn't an underhand throw work just as well?


Not if you have to throw over the heads of the archers.

...
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