Slinging.org Forum
https://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl
General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Staff Slings?
https://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1243982896

Message started by Aussie on Jun 2nd, 2009 at 6:48pm

Title: Staff Slings?
Post by Aussie on 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?

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Et Cetera on 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!

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on 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.  

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Aussie 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?

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on 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?  ;)

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on Jun 3rd, 2009 at 11:21am
Fund, sorry, they were Carolingians, not Saxons. I corrected my entry.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 3rd, 2009 at 4:33pm
Franks? Or allies?

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on Jun 4th, 2009 at 7:28am
Carolingians, which would be the Franks. Next time I post I can give you the source.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on 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.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 5th, 2009 at 1:43pm
Thanks a lot, and sorry for the inconvenience. Wish there were any librarians near, crazy or not ;)

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slinger87 on 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

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Aussie 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?


Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on 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 ;)) 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.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by kcrandal on 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.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Lycurgus on Jun 22nd, 2009 at 9:12am
Is anyone out there able to quote a description of staff slings being used by Greek forces?

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 22nd, 2009 at 10:27am
I am not aware of any staff slings that predate the Romans.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 5:53am
The Anabasis of Xenophon, where he is fighting the ancient Persians has the slingstaff being used in warfare.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Lycurgus on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:47am

slingbadger wrote on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 5:53am:
The Anabasis of Xenophon, where he is fighting the ancient Persians has the slingstaff being used in warfare.


Excellent Mr Badger, any idea what year that was? I think I am going to have to buy a copy of his writings to save asking questions on here to better read folks.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 7:03am
I have had a good search through the Anabasis and not found any staff slings....

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 9:49am
No, there are no staff slings in the Anabasis (only Rhodian slingers, Persian slingers, etc).


Y. Garlan  has proposed, cautiously, to see a representation of a staff sling in a cup dating ca. 550 BC:

Garlan Y. - Études d'histoire militaire et diplomatique, VII & VIII. BCH 1970 XCIV : 625-635. • VII : La coupe à lèvres du Musée de Florence attribuée au peintre des Centaures ne figure pas comme l'a supposé F. Villard (cf. APh XXIV 345, 2 titre) un éphèbe courant, une besace et une massue à la main, mais un frondeur portant une fronde à bâton et un sac à projectiles. Nous aurions là le témoignage le plus ancien de cet instrument.

http://cefael.efa.gr/detail.php?site_id=1&actionID=page&serie_id=BCH&volume_number=94&issue_number=2&ce=gisfafeg7m654b595523b59kp1b8dd6r&sp=330


The link gives you a picture (if you click through the whole article)-- also some nice pictures of slings by Leonardo da Vinci

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:40am

Thearos wrote on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 9:49am:
No, there are no staff slings in the Anabasis (only Rhodian slingers, Persian slingers, etc).


Y. Garlan  has proposed, cautiously, to see a representation of a staff sling in a cup dating ca. 550 BC:

Garlan Y. - Études d'histoire militaire et diplomatique, VII & VIII. BCH 1970 XCIV : 625-635. • VII : La coupe à lèvres du Musée de Florence attribuée au peintre des Centaures ne figure pas comme l'a supposé F. Villard (cf. APh XXIV 345, 2 titre) un éphèbe courant, une besace et une massue à la main, mais un frondeur portant une fronde à bâton et un sac à projectiles. Nous aurions là le témoignage le plus ancien de cet instrument.

http://cefael.efa.gr/detail.php?site_id=1&actionID=page&serie_id=BCH&volume_number=94&issue_number=2&ce=gisfafeg7m654b595523b59kp1b8dd6r&sp=330


The link gives you a picture (if you click through the whole article)-- also some nice pictures of slings by Leonardo da Vinci



Thanks for the find. Surely worth a discussion of its own.

Garlan's interpretation does not seem convincing to me. He gets caught by himself in his argumentation:

The weapon cannot be a club (or a whip) because it does not look like one and does not have the proper dimensions. It may be a staff sling. Well, it lacks the pouch that connects the two cords, and it does not have other staff sling characteristics, but that may be due to the fact that the picture was probably not copied from real life but from an "iconographic model" which may not have had any similarity with the real thing (a staff sling) anymore.

Based on an argumentation like this, the item could be anything, from a staff sling to a giant carrot.

To me, it looks like a scourge. Considering the vessel in the left hand of the person, it might also be a ritual object, maybe something like an aspergillum (did the Greeks use something like that?).

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by slingbadger on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 3:18pm
ANABASIS OF XENOPHON  Book III chpr14


   Slingstaffers are those that cast stones from slingstaffs. The staff is a pole, 4 feet long, attached to the middle is a sling of leather, which operated in both hands, almost like a mangonel

    Anabasis of Xenophon  Edward Spelman, trans. 1893.

 The actions of the Anabasis occurred around 401 BC.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 3:40pm
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IhQOAAAAYAAJ&dq=Anabasis+of+Xenophon+Edward+Spelman&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=85zwma3EIW&sig=CNMzF29P_szlIXx8M2ON9sRHvm0&hl=en&ei=Si5BSt-yOtiNjAeXl9ifCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

I cant find the staff slings, or a Book III Chapter 14.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:08pm
That quote cannot be from Xenophon's Anabasis-- for one thing, he would not have said "like a mangonel" (not a Greek word). I've read the Anabasis in Greek several times, and can vouch that there is no mention of a staff sling. (The first known mention of a lead sling bullet does turn up there in Book 3— I copy the passage below)

Also: there is no Book 3, chapter 14: the usual way of quoting Xen. Anabasis is book, chapter, and section.

Finally: this quote reads like someone's commentary on a text.


After this, they breakfasted and crossed the river Zapatas, marching in regular order, with the beasts and mob of the army in the middle. They had not advanced far on their route when Mithridates made his appearance again, with about a couple of hundred horsemen at his back, and bowmen and slingers twice as many, as nimble fellows as a man might hope to see. He approached the Hellenes as if he were friendly; but when they had got fairly to close quarters, all of a sudden some of them, whether mounted or on foot, began shooting with their bows and arrows, and another set with slings, wounding the men. The rearguard of the Hellenes suffered for a while severely without being able to retaliate, for the Cretans had a shorter range than the Persians, and at the same time, being light-armed troops, they lay cooped up within the ranks of the heavy infantry, while the javelin men again did not shoot far enough to reach the enemy's slingers. This being so, Xenophon thought there was nothing for it but to charge, and charge they did; some of the heavy and light infantry, who were guarding the rear, with him; but for all their charging they did not catch a single man.
The dearth of cavalry told against the Hellenes; nor were their infantry able to overhaul the enemy's infantry, with the long start they had, and considering the shortness of the race, for it was out of the question to pursue them far from the main body of the army. On the 10 other hand, the Asiatic cavalry, even while fleeing, poured volleys of arrows behind their backs, and wounded the pursuers; while the Hellenes must fall back fighting every step of the way they had measured in the pursuit; so that by the end of that day they had not gone much more than three miles; but in the late afternoon they reached the villages.
Here there was a return of the old despondency. Cheirisophus and the eldest of the generals blamed Xenophon for leaving the main body to give chase and endangering himself thereby, while he could not damage the enemy one whit the more. Xenophon admitted that they were right in blaming him: no better proof of that was wanted than the result. "The fact is," he added, "I was driven to pursue; it was too trying to look on and see our men suffer so badly, and be unable to retaliate. However, when we did charge, there is no denying the truth of what you say; we were not a whit more able to injure the enemy, while we had considerable difficulty in beating a retreat ourselves. Thank heaven they did not come upon us in any great force, but were only a handful of men; so that the injury they did us was not large, as it might have been; and at least it has served to show us what we need. At present the enemy shoot and sling beyond our range, so that our Cretan archers are no match for them; our hand-throwers cannot reach as far; and when we pursue, it is not possible to push the pursuit to any great distance from the main body, and within the short distance no foot-soldier, however fleet of foot, could overtake another foot-soldier who has a bow-shot the start of him. If, then, we are to exclude them from all possibility of injuring us as we march, we must get slingers as soon as possible and cavalry. I am told there are in the army some Rhodians, most of whom, they say, know how to sling, and their missile will reach even twice as far as the Persian slings (which, on account of their being loaded with stones as big as one's fist, have a comparatively short range; but the Rhodians are skilled in the use of leaden bullets[2]). Suppose, then, we investigate and 18 find out first of all who among them possess slings, and for these slings offer the owner the money value; and to another, who will plait some more, hand over the money price; and for a third, who will volunteer to be enrolled as a slinger, invent some other sort of privilege, I think we shall soon find people to come forward capable of helping us. There are horses in the army I know; some few with myself, others belonging to Clearchus's stud, and a good many others captured from the enemy, used for carrying baggage. Let us take the pick of these, supplying their places by ordinary baggage animals, and equipping the horses for cavalry. I should not wonder if our troopers gave some annoyance to these fugitives."
These proposals were carried, and that night two hundred slingers were enrolled, and next day as many as fifty horse and horsemen passed muster as duly qualified; buff jackets and cuirasses were provided for them, and a commandant of cavalry appointed to command--Lycius, the son of Polystratus, by name, an Athenian.

IV] That day they remained inactive, but the next they rose earlier than 1 usual, and set out betimes, for they had a ravine to cross, where they feared the enemy might attack them in the act of crossing. When they were across, Mithridates appeared again with one thousand horse, and archers and slingers to the number of four thousand. This whole body he had got by request from Tissaphernes, and in return he undertook to deliver up the Hellenes to Tissaphernes. He had grown contemptuous since his late attack, when, with so small a detachment, he had done, as he thought, a good deal of mischief, without the slightest loss to himself.
When the Hellenes were not only right across, but had got about a mile from the ravine, Mithridates also crossed with his forces. An order had been passed down the lines, what light infantry and what heavy infantry were to take part in the pursuit; and the cavalry were instructed to follow up the pursuit with confidence, as a considerable 3 support was in their rear. So, when Mithridates had come up with them, and they were well within arrow and sling shot, the bugle sounded the signal to the Hellenes; and immediately the detachment under orders rushed to close quarters, and the cavalry charged. There the enemy preferred not to wait, but fled towards the ravine. In this pursuit the Asiatics lost several of their infantry killed, and of their cavalry as many as eighteen were taken prisoners in the ravine. As to those who were slain the Hellenes, acting upon impulse, mutilated their bodies, by way of impressing their enemy with as frightful an image as possible.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:14pm
Fundibularius-- Actually, I'm not convinced either by Garlan. I think a club with ribbons at the end; and the "handbag" is some kind of basket. It just doesn't look like a staff sling-- though interesting idea.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 24th, 2009 at 5:45am
Yes, it is, and the question remains if the staff sling existed somewhere sometime before the Romans. I tend to believe that it did, and that the Romans incorporated it and integrated it at large scale into their military system (like so many other things), as they generally were masters in adapting technology, not so much in inventing.

Just another wild guess: Staff slings are very practical for naval warfare and sieges, right? Could it be that the Romans adapted the weapon during the First Punic War from their enemy (like a lot of other marine technology)? I'm sure the Carthaginians as a sea power must have known about the advantages of a fustibal in a naval battle.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:34am
What is the advantage of the staff sling over the simple sling ? I think (correct me !) that it's not range, it's size of projectile. So it's not of great use for peaceful uses of the sling (herding, hunting), and specifically needed for warfare. I also assume that it's not so great for accuracy, just good for hurling large smashing stones at 600 ft / 180 m or so.

What is the contex where that is useful ?


Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:14am

Thearos wrote on Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:34am:
What is the advantage of the staff sling over the simple sling ? I think (correct me !) that it's not range, it's size of projectile.


And its nature. It is less dangerous for the user to sling firy, poisonous or acid substances. At least I think so...

I agree. It only makes use in warfare, if we skip the hypothetical possibilities of entertainment (some kind of "fireworks") or a mailing system  ;).

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:51am
Actually, maybe it is quite accurate-- no problem of horizontal dispersal of shot, just a big lunking hurl towards the target, using the whole body to point-- not more difficult than hitting a log with an axe (I assume that it's both hands-- the Garlan vase would also show single handed staff slinging, I suppose possible but haven't seen it)

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 24th, 2009 at 8:20am
Its biggest advantage is that it is very easy to make and use. It is a good weapon for unskilled fighters like civilian siege defenders and sailors.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 24th, 2009 at 9:00am
Good point. That's really a great advantage.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 1:56pm
I'm sure you're right that it's easy to use (though I wouldn't know, never slung with a staff), though I don't see why a sailor should be unskilled, nor a civilian defender (it's easy to forget how militarized pre-industrial / pre-modern cities are, precisely because of uncertainty-- citizen militias, police patrols, etc, are all done by enthusiastic burghers rather than the central state). But I nit-pick.

I hope someone posts a vid on YouTuber of himself slinging a flaming pitchpot.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 24th, 2009 at 2:14pm

Thearos wrote on Jun 24th, 2009 at 1:56pm:
I'm sure you're right that it's easy to use (though I wouldn't know, never slung with a staff), though I don't see why a sailor should be unskilled, nor a civilian defender


Unskilled and unequipped with ranged weapons. Until the siege defenses are breached or the ships grapple together, all combat is ranged combat.

Lots of people can be handy in a scrap but unless they have a powerful bow and a stash of armour-piercing arrows, they dont have a lot of options until it goes hand-to-hand. Hence the use of the easily made and learned staff-sling that lobs big dumb rocks onto the bad guys heads :)


Get yourself a broom handle and a strong 30" sling with a big pouch. I used nylon rope and duct tape. You'll see how easy it is!

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 5:48pm
Hmm. In a lot of Hellenistic cities, there's good evidence for citizen youths receiving intensive training in close combat (armed and unarmed, and also with the celtic-Roman style shield with central boss), javelin throwing, archery, and catapult gunnery (as well as square bashing, skirmishing order, and formation charges)-- all in order to have a militarily literate citizenry, though of course not as proficient as real professionals of war. (all this discussed e.g. by J. E. Lendon, Ghost Soldiers-- v. good book btw).

I don't know much about early or high Mediaeval history, but suspect that e.g. in an Italian city-state or Flemish ccommune or German town or a Swiss castle town, a lot of people (especially the young men) would have known how to fight with ranged weapons-- throwing spears, bows, crossbows, even slings etc-- and owned such implements. Same for Late Antique cities, I suspect. So I remain unconvinced by the "unskilled citizenry" argument, even if I'm sure the fustibal packs a lot of punch for minimal effort and skill.


I think a couple of detailled testcases showing where the staff sling used, and by whom-- with sources quoted and analysed-- would help at this stage.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 5:53pm
While I'm at it: a nice Swiss coin with a sling wielding Eidgenoss from the C14th

http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=21624


Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:09pm
People are generally going off illuminated manuscripts. When you see a staff sling it is generally being used from a fortification wall or a ship.

Remember, when plate becomes de rigeur you need a serious piece of kit to get through it, either a longbow or a heavy crossbow. The crossbow is chuffing expensive and the longbow needs specialist training before you can draw it. Such people are probably already earning their pay in whatever armies are marching about the place. Those that are left in the towns or obeying 'all hands repel boarders' need something a lot more usable.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Thearos on Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:22pm
Oh right, Fundibularius had mentioned the mss. too. I'm sure you're right re. plate. But say in 1250 or even during the Hundred Years' War, it's not plate, but (for the very heavy and very rich) mail, possibly reinforced at the elbows with boiled leather etc. Most "grunts" in any case are wearing gambesons, padded leather jacks, perhaps fighting bejind pavises and siege works.

So why a sling staff in siege contexts ? (to focus on that right now) You say it's to get a long-ranged, easily usable, low-skills threshold and heavy impact weapon into civilian hands. I'm sure that's right, but my rejoinder is that the inhabitants of a city ca. 1350 might be pretty well skilled in ranged warfare (pre-plate, remember) with things that hurt at distance, bows (not long), simple crossbows, slings, hand thrown things. So my question remains: what's really special about the staff sling ?

Some thoughts:

staff sling can throw anything (stones, pots, paving stones, flaming clods). Bow needs arrows, which need making, fletching, checking for straightness.

Staff sling can throw heavy things, that really shake up whatever besiegers are using to protect themselves (wicker siege works, pavises, towers, fortified camp entrances)

Staff sling can throw heavy things, that hurt armoured besiegers (helmeted sappers, etc).

Staff slings can throw burning things, very handy in a siege

Staff slings can throw large projectiles at groups of people

-- thinking aloud, i would say the staff sling acts like a small catapult. I wonder how accurate it is-- and (to pick up m earlier point) if a man with some military or paramilitary training (e.g. skill at throwing stones at targets, or competitive javelin throwing,   hunting experience, eye for deflection shooting, wind, etc) would be quite nifty with it.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 25th, 2009 at 4:48am

Thearos wrote on Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:22pm:
So why a sling staff in siege contexts ? [...] So my question remains: what's really special about the staff sling ?

Some thoughts:

staff sling can throw anything (stones, pots, paving stones, flaming clods). Bow needs arrows, which need making, fletching, checking for straightness.

Staff sling can throw heavy things, that really shake up whatever besiegers are using to protect themselves (wicker siege works, pavises, towers, fortified camp entrances)

Staff sling can throw heavy things, that hurt armoured besiegers (helmeted sappers, etc).

Staff slings can throw burning things, very handy in a siege

Staff slings can throw large projectiles at groups of people

-- thinking aloud, i would say the staff sling acts like a small catapult. I wonder how accurate it is-- and (to pick up m earlier point) if a man with some military or paramilitary training (e.g. skill at throwing stones at targets, or competitive javelin throwing,   hunting experience, eye for deflection shooting, wind, etc) would be quite nifty with it.


Three additional thoughts:

Staff slings act like quickly moving small catapults. It's more difficult for the other side to take them out.

Staff slings are easy to make from anything. A good weapon for a besieged population (or a besieging army) which has to improvise from scratch.

Staff slings are cheap (cost almost nothing). Catapults, crossbows, longbows etc are expensive.

Title: Re: Staff Slings?
Post by winkleried on Jun 28th, 2009 at 2:09pm
Just to give a modern example. There was a gent from the U.K. who was offering the medieval reenactment community a full blow full power Siege Arbalest. Cost of this piece of Kit was in the neighborhood of 3500 L. That link no longer works :(

Here is one that does

http://store.arbalistarmoury.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_4&products_id=5&zenid=ca5cdc8be4afae9beed4536c029581a6

Price starts at 1000 L depending on poundage. Half up front minimum lead time 9 months..........

Marc Adkins


David Morningstar wrote on Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:09pm:
People are generally going off illuminated manuscripts. When you see a staff sling it is generally being used from a fortification wall or a ship.

Remember, when plate becomes de rigeur you need a serious piece of kit to get through it, either a longbow or a heavy crossbow. The crossbow is chuffing expensive and the longbow needs specialist training before you can draw it. Such people are probably already earning their pay in whatever armies are marching about the place. Those that are left in the towns or obeying 'all hands repel boarders' need something a lot more usable.


Slinging.org Forum » Powered by YaBB 2.5.2!
YaBB Forum Software © 2000-2022. All Rights Reserved.