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Slinger formations in Antiquity (Read 1412 times)
Morphy
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #15 - Jun 10th, 2018 at 10:54am
 
If you look at the lighter lead ammunition used by some armies of ancient times, to me it suggests that the purpose of such light ammunition was to use very short slings.

Just a few of the possible military advantages of such light ammo would be:

1. A denser formation.

2. Carrying more shots

3. Getting more shots off in a short period of time. (Shorter slings are considerably faster to throw. )

4. Focusing more on wounding the enemy rather than instantly killing which drains resources from the enemy to care for them. Such a tactic is also employed by modern militaries with their lower caliber weapons.

Whether or not it would be safer is a matter of debate. With very light ammo ,as was used at times, you could say the slings used were shorter and therefore less chance of hitting their neighbor. But they might have also simply opted for packing the formation closer together to get a denser shot pattern. In which case it might not have been any safer but still offered an advantage.

Distance with a short sling and light lead ammo should be looked into more. Total energy produced by a throw is not always the deciding factor on over all distance. A short sling that can accelerate quickly might throw a lighter ammo just as far or father than a longer sling.

For reference to this concept look into flight shooting with bows where at times a far heavier bow will not shoot an arrow as far as a much lighter one. This effect happens due to the extremely light nature of the ammunition used and the maximum acceleration possible for a given weapons design. This might also give insight into why, at times, very light lead glandes were employed.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #16 - Jun 11th, 2018 at 8:17am
 
the actual weight of the ammo is not an issue.
The density is far more important.

A 50gm lead glande when held feels heavier than it is because of the density and can easily be used in a distance sling.

But obviously it will fly further from a shorther sling than less dense ammunition.

I can get around 250 metres with a 32 inch sling and a stone. So should be able to get more distance with lead.

It's my standard multi-purpose sling ,length.
I have one a little shorter, around 27 inches that i use for target shooting.
Still get a fair distance with that.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #17 - Jun 11th, 2018 at 9:43am
 
i'm asking about mass per projectile because how much weight can a slinger carry while  running and/or slinging?

e.g. if he likes 250g stones/glandes he carries 20x0.250=5 kg
another one who likes 50g can carry 100x0.05kg=5kg
or same amount 20x0.05=1kg==> more ammo or more agile.

so maybe lighter ammo was prefered in order to do more effective skirmishing? Undecided
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Morphy
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #18 - Jun 11th, 2018 at 10:49am
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Jun 11th, 2018 at 8:17am:
the actual weight of the ammo is not an issue.
The density is far more important.

A 50gm lead glande when held feels heavier than it is because of the density and can easily be used in a distance sling.

But obviously it will fly further from a shorther sling than less dense ammunition.

I can get around 250 metres with a 32 inch sling and a stone. So should be able to get more distance with lead.


How heavy is the stone? By the way that's a great distance for any weight/sling length combo. My best to date is closer to 150 meters with concrete and I was thrilled to get that.

I think it's possible the dense lead lends itself to war not only because of the greater distance achieved but I would imagine the smaller profile penetrated into the enemy soldiers much further as well. All in all low mass lead ammo makes a lot of sense.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #19 - Jun 11th, 2018 at 12:16pm
 
The story about smaller, lighter weapons wounding more and thus requiring more people to care for them is a modern day myth.

We and everybody else went to a lighter weapon and lighter ammo simply so the individual could carry more ammo.  It was an attempt to lighten the load carried by the individual.  The smaller stuff is actually more lethal than a lot of the older, more powerful stuff.

I think that the smaller ammo penetrated better and had a much better chance of incapacitating anyone it hit than we give it credit for.  If a guy is going to do something extremely physical like fight with a sword and shield, if he has a hole in him in an arm or leg from one of those smaller glandes, his chances of winning his fight decrease rather dramatically if his opponent is not wounded.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #20 - Jun 12th, 2018 at 8:59am
 
Bill Skinner wrote on Jun 11th, 2018 at 12:16pm:
I think that the smaller ammo penetrated better and had a much better chance of incapacitating anyone it hit than we give it credit for.


Having done a small amount of research on the subject, the smaller intermediate cartridges do seem to perform better in penetration tests compared to rifle cartridges against kevlar vests (Excluding the usage of specifically AP ammunition).

This also bears itself out with PDW's, which often despite having very small cartridges are often capable of penetrating ballistics vests (Something which most pistols will fail against). Surface area/sectional density seems to be one of the important parts alongside having a high velocity in determining how effective firearms will perform versus armour.

Injury wise, high-velocity low-weight projectiles can be amazingly effective at causing tissue damage. Tests with 5.56 cartridges show that there is a high percentage of yawing or tumbling within several inches of penetration... and that is some scary stuff. This also bears itself with PDW rounds as well. At Fort Hood in 2009 there was a shoot out where the assailant used a five-seven pistol, and the effects caused by the cartridge are quite alarming (Especially when you consider that it was fired from a pistol). One soldier had her femur shattered by a single shot. After killing 13 people and injuring 32 others, the shooter still had 177 rounds left inside magazines held in his pockets.
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Morphy
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #21 - Jun 12th, 2018 at 10:27am
 
That has always sounded a bit "urban legendish" to me. Good to get that cleared up.

I think over all the short sling and low ammo weight does make sense for the other reasons stated and of course probably for others we aren't aware of. The biggest factor being they chose to use it. Winners pass on tactics, losers tactics die with them.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #22 - Jun 12th, 2018 at 11:35am
 
A short sling and light ammo is better for short range and high rate of fire. Even if the light ammo does very little damage, if you mix a few heavy projectiles in too, the enemy will quickly learn to keep their heads down. Even if there isnít a single casualty though, it affects their mobility and ability to respond. This is known as ďcover fireĒ.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #23 - Jun 12th, 2018 at 11:44am
 
Short slings are also better for putting more slingers into less space which also ups the rate of fire per linear meter of battle lines... but this comes at the expense of range and potential damage per shot. If I were building a rank of slingers, I would put many short slings with light ammo up front and mix in a few with long slings and heavy ammo just behind them... but Iíve never commanded an army before so Iím curious if this was actually done historically.
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« Last Edit: Jun 12th, 2018 at 7:45pm by NooneOfConsequence »  

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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #24 - Jun 12th, 2018 at 12:00pm
 
I can certainly see slings being a highly useful psychological weapon. Even if you are so armoured a sling stone will do no penetrating damage the disorientation of being hit multiple times by potentially hundreds of projectiles, of having your shield get bashed about all over the place, of rocks bouncing off your friends helmets and into yours... It's not going to be fun to be under sustained fire whether you are actually injured or not.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #25 - Jun 21st, 2018 at 4:25pm
 
Covering or surpressing fire doesn't work unless you are actually hitting people.

That's true with MG's and rifles, pretty sure it also applied to slings. 

You tend to ignore ineffective fires.  You do pay rather close attention to stuff that is hitting in amongst you.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #26 - Jun 22nd, 2018 at 4:35am
 
Why couldn't a slinger be more of a stealth sniper rather than a pack of easy targets , I think that a high skilled slinger is best on his own not in a group
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #27 - Jun 22nd, 2018 at 8:20am
 
Mersa wrote on Jun 22nd, 2018 at 4:35am:
Why couldn't a slinger be more of a stealth sniper rather than a pack of easy targets , I think that a high skilled slinger is best on his own not in a group


They arenít easy targets if they out range everyone else on the field. Iím not sure why you express it as an either/or anyway, and I donít know how you stealthily whirl your arms around your head, but a sniper serves a very different role on the battlefield from an organized rank of slingers.  If someone sneaks close enough to take a precision shot, they still have to egress. If itís a one-shot kind of thing, then that seems like a waste of a skilled slinger as a battlefield resource.
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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #28 - Jun 22nd, 2018 at 8:42am
 
Bill Skinner wrote on Jun 21st, 2018 at 4:25pm:
Covering or surpressing fire doesn't work unless you are actually hitting people.

That's true with MG's and rifles, pretty sure it also applied to slings.†

You tend to ignore ineffective fires.† You do pay rather close attention to stuff that is hitting in amongst you.


Obviously the suppression effect is secondary to actually doing damage, regardless of the weapon we are talking about. Itís generally a bad policy to deploy ineffective weapons on the battlefield, so Iím not sure what your point is exactly.
If itís not perceived as a legitimate threat, it has no suppressive effect. Itís possible to be an unseen threat or to be seen as a threat when you arenít, but the best way to be perceived as a threat is to actually be one and then psychologically train your enemy to react defensively when they get the right cues. If you abuse that by trying to inflate the threat, they will adapt pretty fast.

Edit: I reread what I said and what you said, and I get it now. I was not suggesting that you use ammo so light that it doesnít do damage. I was only saying that a mix of harassing fire and heavy shots would force the enemy to assume every shot could be deadly, but with a higher sustained rate of fire from mixing in lighter ammo, you could severely limit their mobility and ability to counter. Obviously the light stuff should still be a threat though.†
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« Last Edit: Jun 23rd, 2018 at 10:19pm by NooneOfConsequence »  

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Re: Slinger formations in Antiquity
Reply #29 - Jun 23rd, 2018 at 6:53pm
 
No wind up , Byzantine! Boom dead , move position , boom dead.
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