Here’s a scenario for you about how and why Ahab & O think this plan can work and how they expect to pull it off.
You know how the 300 held off Xeres’ army at Thermopylae for over a day? They fought in a valley that negated those 230,000 troops, so that only a few at a time could come at them between a steep ravine and the sea. What if, knowing their ground better than the Syrians, A & O have preselected the site where the Syrians are down in such a valley?
Here’s how I think it would play out.
* Of the 232, a couple of dozen who are known for their prowess with slings are sent to the sides of the valleys ahead of the main troop.
(How much damage can the slingers do to horses? Wouldn’t have to do a lot, just startle them. I can imagine that a well placed stone on an suspecting horse’s rump, or on the head, would have at least the same affect as being spurred by stirrups or lashed with a crop, wouldn’t you?
I think Benjamin had lefty slingers. Was little David lucky or were slings really a dangerous weapon in the right hands?
* A & O lead the main troop headed by the remaining 200 odd commandos up the valley, appearing to the Syrians as just another regular undermanned Israelite formation. No big deal.
* A & O, probably on their horses are leading a large squad each of the commandos who have compound bows that are 30 yards more effective than what the Syrians think they are.
In use Mostly by Assyrian cavalry. They were more efficient for their weight and length than a standard bow. So they could be used more easily by a horse-mounted soldier. A very sophisticated weapon.
Surprise technology to the Syrians?
Not necessarily from a novelty standpoint. Being closer to the Assyrians, the Syrians have probably already run into them and might be very familiar with them themselves. But the Syrians might not yet know that the Israelites have also learned about them and have adopted them. And that their young warrior class has been experimenting with them and testing them for a long time and now know how to use them effectively.
And they might not know that the Israelites, clever arms dealers that they are, have been tweaking that bow and have found an extra 30 yards in it by some secret only they know about its construction.
* At a predetermined point in A & O’s march, the archers fan out, each with a preselected target. At the moment they’re in position the slingers hiding up the slopes let go. Each has targeted a Syrian commander or the commander’s horse. Just as the archers let go their first torrent from “too far” the stones start striking those commanders and their horses. And at exactly the same time, the first volley of arrows that aren’t supposed to be able to carry that far start striking down the Sargents and platoon leaders. Confusion and panic immediately set in. And at that point, A & O lead their regulars up the valley against the fleeing Syrians.
* For bonus points, you could station one group of commandos near the tents of BH and his drunken generals and have them steal the horses or something spectacular like that if you like the effect.
Also, Sun Tzu said when Surrounding an enemy to leave them an escape route so they don’t fight as desperately. Ahab needs desperation. [yes! he does. and Ahab is no slouch as a military strategist.]
There’s a lot of terrain on the approach to Samaria City. How can Ahab maneuver the Syrians into his favorite valley? The Syrians know about the danger of getting caught down in there.
Won’t the Syrians anticipate some kind of ambush and, ahead of their advance, send scouts up into those edges killing or disturbing the slingers so they’re not much use?