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  • Whistling Roman bullets

    Report on the Beeb this AM large numbers of a "new" type of lead bullets used in slingshots have been excavated. They are smaller than the usual lemon shaped bullets and every one has a small hole drilled through them. The hole is exactly the same diameter in all cases and in the same position. Tests have shown that they cause the bullet to make a sharp whistling noise in flight. Currently two theories have been advanced 1] It is a piece of psychological warfare akin to the 'trumpets of doom' fitted to some Ju 87s 2] It is intended to keep the enemy's heads down when an attack is going in to a fortified position under cover of a sling shot barrage.
    Any other theories?
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    Interesting - and the whistling sound is the only effect of the hole in the bullet ?
    Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

    Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
      Interesting - and the whistling sound is the only effect of the hole in the bullet ?
      Apparently so. An original thought was that it might have been a means of holding poison - but this has been rejected as the hole is too small
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

      Comment


      • #4
        The idea of the hole having been filled with some material that did *not* make it through the ages is one to be considered of course, but I suspect that would leave traces.

        A way to carry them around is another possibility - on a stick or a string of sorts..
        Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

        Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

        Comment


        • #5
          IIRC didn't the samurai in Japan use hollow arrow tips that gave a whistling/shrieking effect when flying towards the enemy?
          BoRG

          You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Major Sennef View Post
            IIRC didn't the samurai in Japan use hollow arrow tips that gave a whistling/shrieking effect when flying towards the enemy?
            Yes in the period when warfare was very ritualised both sides would use them before actual fighting started. They had a large round head with holes in it and were not lethal. Also used when sending in challenge or parley messages into a fortified town or position when a note would be wrapped around the shaft,
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #7
              The Romans were not daft.they might not have had a word for psychological warfare but they understood the concept. My money is on freaking out the natives.
              "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
                The Romans were not daft.they might not have had a word for psychological warfare but they understood the concept. My money is on freaking out the natives.
                They were certainly victims of it on at least one occasion given the use of drums in the Teutonberger Wald by the German tribes.
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Romans also had whistling arrows (I've shot a replica) - the prevailing theory is that they were used for signalling, but nobody really knows.

                  Shooting off a few slingshots or arrows at irregular intervals is certainly less taxing than getting large groups of men to chant the local equivalent of, "We're gonna cut yer zarkin' nagers off !" repeatedly.
                  Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by the ace View Post
                    The Romans also had whistling arrows (I've shot a replica) - the prevailing theory is that they were used for signalling, but nobody really knows.

                    Shooting off a few slingshots or arrows at irregular intervals is certainly less taxing than getting large groups of men to chant the local equivalent of, "We're gonna cut yer zarkin' nagers off !" repeatedly.
                    According to the archaeologist interviewed there was evidence that the Romans were using slingers to lay down a sustained barrage on a front of about 250 - 300 yards
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Didn't the Roman Dragon cavalry standards also make a whistling noise designed to scare the enemy? Think they may have copied it from one of the barbarian tribes, Dacians maybe?
                      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                      • #12
                        Here is an earlier account of the sling shots
                        http://www.archaeology.co.uk/article.../burnswark.htm
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                          Report on the Beeb this AM large numbers of a "new" type of lead bullets used in slingshots have been excavated. They are smaller than the usual lemon shaped bullets and every one has a small hole drilled through them. The hole is exactly the same diameter in all cases and in the same position. Tests have shown that they cause the bullet to make a sharp whistling noise in flight. Currently two theories have been advanced 1] It is a piece of psychological warfare akin to the 'trumpets of doom' fitted to some Ju 87s 2] It is intended to keep the enemy's heads down when an attack is going in to a fortified position under cover of a sling shot barrage.
                          Any other theories?
                          Hmmm........

                          One or a group of the bullets can be strung together to use as a flail in hand to hand melee.

                          Or strung together and launched from a catapult.
                          Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                          Prayers.

                          BoRG

                          http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Salinator View Post
                            Or strung together and launched from a catapult.
                            Like chainshot ??
                            Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

                            Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
                              Like chainshot ??
                              Sure. Grapeshot.
                              Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                              Prayers.

                              BoRG

                              http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

                              Comment

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