And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth...
— 1 Samuel 17:49
Although a sling is sometimes seen as a primitive and crude weapon in an age when bows and even crossbows with intricate mechanisms are becoming more commonplace, frequent users of a sling can often develop a terrifyingly lethal proficiency, being capable of launching stones and pebbles the size of a fist into the air to bring down far more heavily armed opponents.
The Fundeiros Levy (Portuguese for "slingers"), although of humble birth as peasants and herdsmen eking out a living on the sparse hills of Lusitania, are nevertheless descendents of the same hardened tribal shepherds who gave the Romans trouble almost a millenium ago, whether on the side of the Carthaginians or on their own. With mountains surrounding the arid Meseta plain, its people for centuries have always had to be hardy and resourceful to survive, creating a pool of eager and toughened warriors to serve in the ranks of the kingdoms of the Moors, the Spanish and the Portuguese.
These units thus have several advantages compared to normal peasant levy units: not only are they highly effective against heavy units such as knights and melee infantry, but they also very accurate as well, although their rate of fire leaves a great deal to be desired. Note that like many peasant levies, Fundeiros are incapable of being individually selected, making them strictly defensive units.
- Fundeiros are highly effective against armoured units and are also very accurate, but suffer from low rates of fire.
- Marching Orders — It is still possible to use Fundeiros Levy as an attack force. Just set the rally point of a Peasant Commune near an enemy, and then spam-build your Fundeiros Levy from the building.
- Trash — The only benefit from using them is the fact that they are cheap and replaceable — but not necessarily dependable, as you are unable to select them.
- Marching Orders — It is still possible to use Peasant Levy as an attack force. Just set the rally point of a Peasant Commune near an enemy, the unit stance of said building to Aggressive and then spam-build your Peasant Levy from the building.
- An Unworthy Foe —Peasant Levy can't be attacked directly, so the best units that you should use against them would be ranged cavalry.
- Poison-Pill strategy — in late Imperial games, Russians, Byzantines and Armenians can train Peasant Levy in towns that they have lost even as they get absorbed, making occupation of their cities a nasty prospect for any potential hostile takeovers.
- Dead On Arrival — Sadly, Peasant Levy are only just militia, and can be easily torn apart by cavalry and archers, and so are best only for low-intensity warfare involving skirmishes and not full-blown battles.
The sling, also called the shepherd's sling, is an ancient weapon consisting of a cup held by two long loops of rope. It is used by putting a stone in the cup, grasping both cords with the dominant hand, swinging it around, and firing it by releasing one of the cords.
The sling can easily be made at home due to its simplicity, and for this reason was a popular weapon in the Iberian Peninsula for centuries until the proliferation of firearms. The best known mention of a sling is the Biblical story in the Book of Samuel, where the future king of Israel, David, a young man armed only with a sling, challenges and defeats the heavily armed Philistine champion Goliath with a single shot to the head.
Being simple to make and reload made it appealing in the hilly and rocky terrain of present-day Spain and Portugal. Of course, it was difficult to use, but in the hands of an experienced veteran, it was a deadly weapon and the relative lawlessness of the highlands meant that there was no shortage of slingers for the budding conqueror. Ranks of slingers were recruited by the ancient Carthaginians and Romans to boost their ranks, and their descendents also continued to serve the nations that were carved out of Iberia in the wake of the Romans, although the emergence of the crossbow and the arquebus curtailed its importance to mediaeval armies.