sling and staff sling where both effective artillery
weaponry, firing lead or clay glands, or even plain
stones. This was a efficient weapon for killing soldiers,
a shot to the head with a lead gland would kill a man
easily. If you were on a ship you could kill most of
the crew by firing lots of stones at the ship. You could
then board and take out the crew cowering below deck
with minimal damage to the ship itself. But what if
you wanted to sink the whole ship, destroy a whole village
with out using lots of solders then you would use something
that could catch the whole thing on fire.
have made and tested a few primitive incendiaries and
fired them out of my staff sling. These incendiaries
were made from clay that I dug up out of my own back
yard, (I live in Ohio lots of clay here, but you may
have to buy the stuff). I used pitch, which is this
foul smelling substance made from pine trees that burns
with a lot of smoke, and a lot of heat. But you could
use some kind of oil if you want. Pitch has the advantage
of being free and it goes up like napalm. But before
you even think of making the incendiary you'll need
something to put it in. If you plan on using a pre made
jar then skip this part. A baby food jar would make
a nice pre made jar.
A POT FOR YOUR PITCH
The first step involves you getting some clay. You can
go dig it up if the area you live that has a lot of
clay, or you could just go out and buy some. You'll
first need to make a base; take a chunk of clay and
roll it into a ball, smash it into something. Wax paper
works well because the clay won't stick to the wax paper.
Turn the clay on its side and roll it to make a round
wheel. This will be your base. Don't make it too big
or it wont fit in your sling or staff sling.
take a big hunk of clay and roll it into a "snake"
shape, just a long rope of clay. If the clay is too
wet it will break while your rolling it. To dry and
it will wont stay together. Once you have your rope,
or snake of clay, coil it around the out side of the
base. Keep on coiling up, overlapping the coils one
on top of the other.
Try to make a ball shape or if your good a foot ball
shape. These shapes will fly the best. At the very biggest
the pot should be the size of a tennis ball. You can
make a nice ball shape by coiling out then once you
get to the middle of you pot start coiling back in.
Add a neck by coiling straight up from the top of the
bottle. You can make a lid the same way you made the
jar wont look very good with all the coils and even
though your going to break the thing it needs to look
cool. So get a bucket of water and wet our fingers then
with your wet finger smooth out the coil shapes. Don't
get so much water on your clay jar that it collapses
on you. You can now take and tooth pick or small stick
and write in some runes or a cross. The sig rune (victory)
looks pretty cool.
Now just let your jar dry in the sun for a few days.
You can fire it in a kiln or you can leave it bake on
hot coals for 2 or 3 hours. The pot does not need to
be fired unless your going to keep something like oil
or grease in the jar. Congratulations, you have just
made your own jar!
PITCH FOR YOUR POT
Go find yourself a nice old pine tree. Preferably an
old tree that someone has cut some limbs off. The pine
tree should be bleeding lots of sap if you want to make
a large amount of pitch. There is a way that involves
taking pieces of fresh cut pine wood and baking the
sap out. I have never tried this. Get yourself a metal
coffee can and a old cheap knife and scrape the dried
sap off of the tree and into the coffee can.
you have a good amount of sap in the can, (it doesn't
take too much to fill a jar the size we are using).
Place the coffee can near a good source of heat. I have
a log that has a depression dug into it, I fill the
depression with hot coals and put the can on top this
works well for me.
the pitch will turn a yellowish color, (it reminds me
of frying butter) and starts to bubble. It will emit
a very strong and very bad smell. Let the pitch cool
down for a little while, before its cools completely
pick out the little chunks of wood or any thing else
in there. Re-heat the pitch (if you heat the pitch too
much it will turn into turpentine and will be more or
less useless). pour it into your clay jar. Pitch also
makes a very good glue. So you could turn back now,
use the pitch as a natural glue, or you can precede
to making a primitive incendiary and risk setting your
surroundings, and/or yourself alight .
A PLACE TO THROW
is the most important thing: DON'T THROW NEAR ANY THING
THAT WILL BURN! When the pitch pot smacks into the ground
it will burst spraying flaming pitch every where. A
good place to throw is a large parking lot without any
cars in it. Have some sand handy in case you do catch
something on fire. Water once it hit's the hot burning
pitch will fly every in the surrounding area and is
not fun to get hit by. It's safer to throw the pitch
pot by hand, throwing it like a grenade. That way you
wont screw up and hit yourself with the jar or have
it fall out of the sling pouch and land near you catching
you on fire.
suggest to me that it would be safer to wear pieces
of wet leather that can be torn off quickly and easily.
That way if you do get some pitch on you, just tear
off the wet leather and dump sand on it.
YOUR PITCH POT
Despite the dangers you still persist?
throw the pitch pot just load it into your sling or
staff sling. I like to use the staff sling because it
can take bigger ammunition. If you are using smaller
jars like baby food jars you could use the sling, But
I suggest you use a staff sling for the bigger home
made pot. You then need to catch the pitch on fire,
this is the hard part. It's much easer to light up the
pitch if it's in its liquid state. Just drop a match
in the pot and it will catch. It's easier if you let
the pitch harden and dry. So I'll assume you let it
dry out and turn into its solid state. To actually get
the pitch to catch on fire you need to melt just a little
bit of it, and then light that up. This will rapidly
light the whole thing up.
is harder to do then it sounds. The best way is to have
a hot coal or burning stick right there with you but
that is hard to do while your out in a large parking
lot. I would cheat and put a drop or two of oil or gas
on top of the pitch and light that, it should light
up the pitch, although some times it takes even more
then that. If you still don't have any luck, you could
build a small fire and set your pitch pot close to it.
Wait until it heats and returns to its liquid state,
and then load it into your sling pouch and duck tape
the lid on. This will make it so it wont spill on you
when you try to throw it. The centripetal force should
keep the pitch in, but its better safe then sorry. Duck
tape is not period and I don't think that they would
tie on a lid but your more then welcome to keep it period.
You'll just have period burns.
you don't have a large parking lot at your disposal
then just throw the pitch pot. It's safer then using
a sling or staff sling any way.
are lots of other fuels that you could use instead of
pitch. You could use grease, grease fires are next to
impossible to put out. I believe cooking oils would
work, as would lamp oil, but you would need to fire
your pot (i.e. in a kiln) to use oil. We don't know
the exact ingredients to Greek fire, but there are lots
of substitutes. You could add charcoal (finely ground),
sulfur (also finely ground), and saltpeter (also finely
ground). This will make a primitive gun powder. Added
to pitch, it is supposed to make it burn better and
- Douglas Meek
- Revised by James Vousden