Digression 4 - The Big Cat
Foreman: One of the most terrifying weapons we ever developed was a giant catapult. It was about as terrifying to the user as it was to the potential victims. It consisted of a forked branch from a tree, to which were attached strips of car inner tubes. The operator dug the sharpened end of the fork into the ground and sat behind the weapon, pulling it back with his feet braced on the two forks. It was capable of firing stones the size of quarter bricks quite a distance, especially down hill. Trouble is it was also capable of firing the stone right into your foot if it went awry, so it was a fairly prudent precaution to wear steel capped boots if you wanted to operate it! Definitely the most terrifying piece of weaponry though, was a Lyles Golden Syrup tin filled with a mixture of sodium chlorate weed killer, granulated sugar and gravel. The lid was tied on with stout wire and the fuse was a piece of rag soaked in paraffin. Somebody brave enough or daft enough could chuck it like a grenade and both sides in the battle would scurry away for cover!! It was the equivalent of the H bomb in the small boys' armoury. For some reason air rifles were not part of the Geneva protocol. Anything home made which could kill you was OK but something manufactured which could do minor damage (unless you got a pellet in the eye) was somehow not on. Well I guess these guys in the Hundred Years War were really following their natural instinct to duff people up and profit by it and have a bit of fun with your comrades in arms rather like we did when we were kids.