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slings being fazed out (Read 1606 times)
magic beetle
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I like sling staffs and
slings as well

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slings being fazed out
Apr 24th, 2019 at 11:20pm
 
ok we all can agree that slings are way harder to aim compared to any else , but as a volley weapon it is the best thing ever for medieval battles , they can punch through chain and gambasin and early plate. slings cost nothing to make and are easy to carry. so why were they fazed out? and what about the staff sling? takes an evening to have decent accuracy but there are hardly any documented examples of them being used in mass.
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Jaegoor
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #1 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 12:26am
 
Das ist ein schwieriges Thema. Aber es gibt Antworten.
Erstmal. Eine sling ist zwar eine effektive Waffe, aber es gab bereits effektivere Waffen. Zum Beispiel die Armbrust. Aber auch viele stab Waffen.
Es gibt sehr wohl zahlreiche Abbildungen. Die Fustibal ist häufig bei der Verteidigung von Städten zu sehen. Aber auch bei Kämpfen vom Schiff. Die Fustibal war keine angriffswaffe. Ich kenne nur ein Bild wo sie als Angriffswaffe dient.
Es wird eine Stadt in Brand geschossen. In Schweden wenn ich nicht irre.
Ansonsten tauchen slings immer wieder auf. Auch wenn es nur einzelne slinger sind, so stehen sie für Kontingente. Da sie eine niedere Gattung darstellt werden sie nur vereinzelt dargestellt. Aber es gibt interessanter Weise eine farbliche Zuordnung. Slinger werden in Kombination mit pfeilschützen immer in rot oder grün dargestellt.
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Sarosh
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #2 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 2:12am
 
practice time , urbanization , the demand for an always easier weapon to "fire and forget". The economy needs workers not warriors if you find the weapon to turn workers or technicians to warriors in an instant then you win. you can gather more people to turn to warriors and if they die they can be replaced more easily than highly trained men.
now if you were a slinger next to a crossbowman or musketeer you would receive the same pay for trying harder, at first chance you would take another weapon and put the sling in the pocket, you wouldn't teach your children a "useless" art when they can study or make money instead of practicing throwing rocks.

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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #3 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 9:56am
 
lead glandes would not punch through plate armour, and doubtful they'd get through good chainmail.

They died out for one simple reason.
You can train an effective bowman in days.
You can't train a slinger in anything less than months. And years if you actually want him to hit a specific target.

Bows can be aimed, they use stored energy - crossbows even more so.

In short while bows are more complex to make and arrows likewise. They are - in the hands of the average soldier - much more effective weapons.

Also arrows are easier to recover than sling bullets Smiley 
And the right arrows will punch through plate mail.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #4 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 10:45am
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Apr 25th, 2019 at 9:56am:
the right arrows will punch through plate mail.


Arrows don't go through plate armor (depending on where you hit it of course) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej3qjUzUzQg 
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #5 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 11:31am
 
Arrows can penetrate armour.  But saying an arrow can or cannot penetrate armour is a very generalized statement.  It's very dependent on the armour and the arrow.  Also the range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3997HZuWjk
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #6 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 12:09pm
 
The largest reason for them being phased out, in my opinion, is largely due to recruiting 'standards'.

Serfs might have occasionally been formed up for militia/levy service in the Early medieval period, but into the High-medieval period, it was simply impractical. They'd only end up getting massacred. 'Serf' would almost Wholely classify the class of users who would maintain and use the sling, Shepherds.

In the High medieval period, there are assizes which dictate that, at the very minimum for one to be a 'Freeman', they were required to own a helmet, a sword and a padded textile garment, probably some form of Padded-jack. And only Freemen were allowed to be in a militia, in most cases. One needs only to look at the Finds in Visby, which otherwise is in the 'butt-end-of-Europe' and yet the militia there could be equipped with Coat-of-plates and full hauberks. Fielding serfs just wouldn't make sense in this period, because you would be massacring your labour-base.

However, when it came to sieges, Shepherds were sometimes hired by the attackers. There are many manuscript images which support this, as many are depicted hurling stones into an enemy fortification. Sling-staffs, as Jaegoor mentioned, are often shown on the defense.

Yet, whenever there are events in which 'serfs' are ever brought into a conflict, such as in peasant revolts or in the Hussite rebellion, you will often find mentions of slings and slingers.

The sling never really died out in the Medieval period in my opinion. It was phazed out in a battlefield context, however, but it never died out in a siege context, or in a naval context. It was largely the Renaissance and the periods afterwards which saw a huge decline in the usage of the sling. In the 1300's and 1400's, a sling/staffsling could still be a viable weapon against maile and plate, but into the 1500's, it would simply be useless against even the munitions grade armour of the period, which more and more became increasingly thicker to the point that even pistol-fire and eventually arqubus-fire became increasingly ineffective.

One needs only to look at the Graz tests to realise why muskets became the dominant projectile weapon into the coming centuries.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #7 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 1:37pm
 
@
joe_meadmaker

Probably won't penetrate most of the time,as archers would probably shoot farther than just  20 meters (as mentioned in the video)
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #8 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 3:54pm
 
cram wrote on Apr 25th, 2019 at 1:37pm:
Probably won't penetrate most of the time,as archers would probably shoot farther than just  20 meters (as mentioned in the video)

I don't dispute that armour was effective.  I'm actually a firm backer of the notion that it was very effective.  Including against arrows.  As Hank Reinhardt (and no doubt others) said, if armour wasn't effective, people wouldn't have worn it.  Just pointing out that there are multiple factors in play when determining that effectiveness.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #9 - Apr 25th, 2019 at 9:21pm
 
It's interesting that the Bayeux Tapestry depicts a sling being used to hunt or drive birds away from a field

https://www.google.ca/search?q=bayeux+tapestry+sling&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&v...

but does not depict the sling being used in battle. It seems that the sling was sufficiently common for hunting/farming to warrant inclusion in the tapestry but not sufficiently significant for fighting to be included in the battle scenes. The fact that it's included at all might mean that a fair number of people were somewhat skilled with the sling in the medieval period. But even if that's true, by the 11th century soldiers were just too well protected for it to be an effective weapon in most circumstances.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #10 - Apr 26th, 2019 at 4:51am
 
I have to agree with training time to raise an army.

Slings take years to master, bows maybe a fortnight. Crossbow can be taught in about a week, muskets in the same period.

Effectiveness in armor defeating wouldn't be the main factor, just one of many. The ability to raise an army would be primary.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #11 - Apr 26th, 2019 at 5:18am
 
Head on over to Here Be Maths for some further discussion. I'm thinking of getting together some standards for training which would get this all far better quantified, and possibly give a quite good empirical basis for the change in weaponry.

But I need your help in so doing, to get the details right. It'll be up by this afternoon.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #12 - Apr 26th, 2019 at 5:23am
 
Crossbows penetrate armor easily, although they are slow to load. Another consideration is the development of firearms. Although the early ones weren't very accurate, they could easily spread damage among the troops.
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #13 - Apr 26th, 2019 at 5:47am
 
That thread is up in here be maths, thanks in advance for your help!
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Re: slings being fazed out
Reply #14 - Apr 26th, 2019 at 2:48pm
 
Shale wrote on Apr 25th, 2019 at 9:21pm:
It's interesting that the Bayeux Tapestry depicts a sling being used to hunt or drive birds away from a field

https://www.google.ca/search?q=bayeux+tapestry+sling&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&v...

but does not depict the sling being used in battle. It seems that the sling was sufficiently common for hunting/farming to warrant inclusion in the tapestry but not sufficiently significant for fighting to be included in the battle scenes. The fact that it's included at all might mean that a fair number of people were somewhat skilled with the sling in the medieval period. But even if that's true, by the 11th century soldiers were just too well protected for it to be an effective weapon in most circumstances.


I would be careful with using the Bayeux tapestry as a source itself, as there is a good chance that there will be biases involved. It would be a bad showing if the Normans were shown up by slingers, much like it would be a disappointment to show Taillefer, a musician, who likely made the first kill at Hastings and is said to have sang the Chanson de Roland to the English troops and juggled lances from horseback, whereupon he threw one at the first Anglo-Saxon to present himself. In all, the guy had style!

You don't want to be the Norman knight getting shown up by a minstrel.

That said, there are more period sources and evidence to suggest that Slings were primarily being used in sieges and less in battles. I do not think that the 'effectiveness' of arms or armour should be the main consideration, given that Pre-1100's/1200's, The best armour of the period in Europe tended to consist of maile itself worn over a woolen tunic, or maile worn over a aketon. Good maile itself can provide a stunning level of defensive protection, but the sheer momentum of such an impact by a slingstone is likely going to bypass the metal and the tunic to the point that bone-fractures are a likely conclusion to a direct impact, even at somewhat extended distances. Even an aketon likely wouldn't afford much protection, given that Aketons tend to be thin themselves and were probably largely textile in origin with little batting.

If you are considering over-armour defensive garments such as a Gambeson, then this is when things would differ. This however, tended to be a later invention. You would probably be looking at the mid 1100's before such things became known, and into the 1200's before documents such as the Kings Mirror suggest that this was a 'recommendation'.

You can see what this would have likely looked like in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8j1wT81KlI

With a Gambeson + Maile + Aketon configuration likely becoming common in this period (1200's) among knights and men-at-arms, slingstones are presented with a challenge. The firm Gambeson would absorb a lot of the impact and would likely take the brunt, whilst the maile and aketon would probably absorb the rest. The likelihood is that a slingstone would probably be rendered ineffective against this combination, but an impact against the arms or legs would probably still result in an unwanted 'conclusion' to a fighting season.

Into the 1300's, with the arrival of Coat-of-plates and transitional plate armours, You would really be looking into Staff-slings. Slings could still be effective however, even into the 1500's. The Spanish feared them, even in a period in which they had easy access to munitions-grade plate armour. To me, armour developments were probably not the primary motivator which phased the sling out of battles.

One should note, however, that above-mentioned plate armours were not worn in conjunction with an over-armour soft defensive textile, and as a result, the plate armour would likely be heavily dented by sling impacts. This could have a considerable impact on the outright defensive capabilities of the defensive armour in question, given that plate armour often depends on precise shaping to cause most arrows and bolts to glance off, and a dent would be a point in which the armour becomes weakest and would promote a surface by which arrows or crossbow bolts are more likely to find 'purchase' in a given armour and thus a higher risk of penetration. Before the middle of the 1400's, plate armour was often paired with over-armour padded garments such as the Jupon, and as such would probably be more resistant to slings.

Slings were used at the Battle of Falkirk and at the Battle of Najera, so they certainly were used even when they were presented with 'difficult' armours that could resist the power of slingstones with a high probability.

Other issues are probably the most likely reason for slings to be 'fazed' outside of battles, outside of armour development. What these issues are, however, is the biggest problem...

More likely reasons probably include limited access to populations with good slingers, difficulties of training, the general trend for equipping Urban armies consisting of Urban burghers and freemen etcetera (City folk don't often do a lot of slinging). Slingers sometimes take up more space than archers and generally need to be used/utilized in a different way to archers, which might be some reason why they might be fazed out of battles. Skirmishers in general were also gradually fazed out of medieval battlefields as well.
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