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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 8:02 am    Post subject: Trebuchet sling material?         Reply with quote

Hey everyone,

I've been a subscriber to Renaissance Magazine for the past few years now. A while back, someone wrote a letter to the magazine posing an interesting question; I've been wondering the same thing. He writes:

"In perusing the pages of issue 43, I came across the two-page spread of the seige of Jerusalem from the film Kingdom of Heaven. It occured to me that the slings of the trebuchets had to be non-combustible but flexible material ..... I figure that chainmail would have been the only thing that would meet both requirements, but would love to know for sure."

Any thoughts?

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, Ted!

I think another question that would need to be answered first would be this:

How prevalent were flaming projectiles?

I don't have data or resources to answer this... but I seem to recall a discussion somewhere (again, whether there were facts backing it up or not, I'm not sure) that said this was not common - but it's a lot cooler on film, so Hollywood does it.

With the CGI engines that are around now, given a little time, you could put almost anything almost anywhere in a film and make it look great...

Hopefully someone has a better handle on this than I do, and can better enlighten both of us.

-Aaron Schnatterly
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(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Chris Last




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When we went about building out treb, we searched for period materials to create the sling with. We didn't come up with a whole lot of actual documentation unfortunately. Through trial and error, we ended up using canvas, and then after some wear and tear leather. The leather worked the best as we found.

Now as to flaming projectiles, we never tried flaming ones as such. We did use charged honeydews, that did have a burning wick on them. The leather was not damaged at all from that little exposure.

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well if you wetted the leather and the flaming projectile was ignited just before letting loose there should be little firedamage to the sling I think ! In any case the flames and heat would tend to go up and away from the sling ! ? A few replacement slings as a reserve maybe ?
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Jean is on the right track. I don't know of any historical source for this, but wet hides were certainly used to defend siege towers against fire attack, so a wet leather sling should have been able to survive having a flaming projectile in it for a few seconds.
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Mike Pospichal





Joined: 20 May 2005

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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have any experience with really thick/large pieces of leather, but wouldn't wetting it also make it weaker? I could see that being a problem with repeated volleys.
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, it goes without saying that Hollywood loves fire! Now that some of you mention it, I'd be quite hesitant to shoot a flaming projectile from a wooden apparatus. See the potential danger with that? Razz Besides, excessive heat might put even more strain on the arm.

It was strange to learn that trebs were also used to throw dead people and animals into a beseiged castle or town as a way of spreading disease; call it an ancient form of biological warfare.

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not the " Hollywood " way because it wouldn't look as cool as a giant fireball, but if I were designing an incendiary missile I would enclose it in a clay vessel with only a lighted wick attached to the outside: This wouldn't be much heat or flame but when the clay pot shattered on impact " WOOOOOOOSH "

HMMMMMMM: Seems like a giant Molotov cocktail, historical ???? no idea. Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Not the " Hollywood " way because it wouldn't look as cool as a giant fireball, but if I were designing an incendiary missile I would enclose it in a clay vessel with only a lighted wick attached to the outside: This wouldn't be much heat or flame but when the clay pot shattered on impact " WOOOOOOOSH "

HMMMMMMM: Seems like a giant Molotov cocktail, historical ???? no idea. Razz Laughing Out Loud


..... or Napalm? Eek!

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Or, Greek fire !
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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