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Da Vinci War Machines

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posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:24 AM

The Great Leonardo Da Vinci designed many weapons, including giant crossbows, machine guns, siege towers, cluster bombs and even a precursor to the modern-day tank.

1. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Terminator

Leonardo Da Vinci’s mechanical knight was not discovered until 1957, when Carlo Pedretti discovered it, hidden amongst Da Vinci’s countless designs. The mechanical knight, first sketched by DaVinci in 1495, was mentioned in 1974, in the Codex Madrid edited by Ladislao Reti, but there was no attempt to reconstruct it until 1996 when Mark Rosheim published an independent study of the robot, followed by a joint enterprise with the Florence Institute and Museum of the History of Science.

In the 2007 Mario Taddei made a new research on Da Vinci’s original documents finding enough data to build a version of the soldier robot, more closely related to the original drawings. This robot was designed just for defensive purposes, not for war or theatre. Its movements are somewhat restricted since the arms only move right and left when pulled with a rope. This particular model is shown in various exhibitions around the world and the Tadei’s research results are published in the book, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Robots.

2. Machine Gun

The multi-barrelled machine gun was a weapon with remarkable firepower. Da Vinci sketched this rolling artillery battery around 1480 while in Florence, perhaps as a calling card to a warrior prince in need of a military architect. A hand crank adjusts elevation, and reloading is a major challenge – especially when under fire .

Though capable of rapid-fire which later model machine guns became noted for, this his housed an ingenious aiming and loading mechanism. By widening the field of fire, the fan-like shape of Da Vinci’s prototype made it a potentially effective weapon against a line of advancing troops. In addition Da Vinci’s design was easy to move around on the battlefield because it was lightweight and mounted on wheels.

3. Cluster Bomb

To make the bombard, or cannon, a weapon already known at the time, even more deadly, Da Vinci also designed large projectiles, comprised of round shells fitted around iron spacers and stitched inside a pliable casing. Once fired, this invention exploded into many fragments with that had greater range and impact than a single cannon-ball.

4. Scythed chariots

This is one of Leonardo’s most beautiful manuscripts. His sketches horse drawn reveal carriages covered with sharp, swirling blades that moved in the thick of battle slashing through everything in their wake. The rotating blades were specifically designed to sever the limbs from its victims. In one of his drawings, Da Vinci illustrated the carnage in such gruesome detail that his notation indicated that his contraption probably would wreak as much havoc on friends as on foes.

5. Barrage Cannon

This drawing is on of the first page of the Codex Atlanticus. The drawing itself is very complete and quite fascinating, illustrating the plan of a bombard with sixteen radial cannons. The most interesting aspect of the project is the centre of the bombard itself, housing a pair of mechanical paddles and gear wheels, providing only a partial glimpse of the possibilities of massive weapon.

6. Tank

This is perhaps one of the most famous of Da Vinci’s projects. His idea of reaping panic and destruction among enemy troops was envisioned in this tortoise-shaped vehicle, reinforced with metal plates, and ringed with cannons. In a job application to the Duke of Milan, Da Vinci boasted "I can make armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the close ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and no company of soldiers is so great that they will not break through them. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed and without any opposition." Da Vinci’s precursor to the modern tank surely could have created "shock and awe" on the 15th-century battlefield, the design contained some serious flaws. Even with several modifications to the original plans he continued to be faced with a number of unresolved problems and eventually abandoned the project.

7. Catapult

The basic design of the catapult had been in use for hundreds of years before Da Vinci embarked upon improving it. He actually came up with several different models. This particular design uses a double leaf spring to produce an enormous amount of energy in order to propel stone projectiles or incendiary materials over great distances. Loading of the two large leaf springs was accomplished using a hand crank on the side of the catapult.

8. Fortress

Leonardo designed this fortress with the idea of rendering it safe from the attack. The elaborate shape is innovative and presumably could have been an effective defence against the impact of deadly artillery projectiles.

The Da Vinci fortress could be considered by many as very modern in its design with its circular towers and the slightly inclined exterior walls designed to absorb attacks from firearms. The lord of the castle lived in the centre of the complex, which, according to original drawings also features a secret underground passage. In addition, the fortress features two levels of concentric walls, the tops of which are rounded, in order to help deflect the impact of cannon fire. Small openings make it possible for those fighting from within to return fire with minimum risk of injury from the outside.

9. Dismountable cannon

Cannons were very heavy and the carriages used to transport them were often unwieldy. Leonardo deigned a structure that could be easily dismantled and transported, thus permitting the cannon to be easily moved about.

10. Springald

The Springald, a device that throws large bolts or stones resembles a contemporary crossbow with inward swinging arms. Examples of springalds were drawn by Leonardo da Vinci during a period when he was also drawing powder-propelled weapons. Though several reconstructed examples can be found, there are no known archaeological finds of these machines. It is quite probable that this is because materials used to make them were recycled when they were no longer useful.

11. Da Vinci’s Helicopter

Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with having first thought of a machine for vertical flight. His sketch of the airscrew dated 1493, was not discovered until the 19th century. It consisted of a platform mounted by a helical screw driven by a rudimentary system, not unlike that of rubber band-powered model aircraft. Da Vinci’s notes state “if this instrument in the form of a screw were well made of linen, the pores of which had been stopped with starch, it should, upon being turned sharply, rise into the air in a spiral”. His design, however, was never put to any use.



[edit on 16-8-2009 by phi1618]

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 05:42 AM
reply to post by phi1618
What an excellent OP, very impressive. I have a notion (just an idea) that human history is scattered with these very special individuals. They think of the big ideas and sometimes it takes others to make the ideas into reality.

Several of these examples are new to me, they are like small windows into the mind of Da Vinci. His ideas were clearly limited by the practicalities of his times. Remember his 'helicopter?' Many of his ideas are certainly unworkable, his 'robot warrior' would be useless, but they are the seeds of things that eventually came to pass in some different form. The barrage cannons and tanks are wonderful. His place in history as a genius among geniuses is well-deserved.

Slightly off-topic, an argument that frequently annoys me is the one that insists aliens or some 'advanced race' built the world's megaliths. Da Vinci's sketchbooks are again evidence that extraordinary ideas can and do come from extraordinary homo sapiens.

I don't usually say who I S&F, but this OP is worth an exception. I hope you get an applause too.

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Thanks, i have looked into alot of his work and find it very interesting, a true Renaissance man

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:51 PM
reply to post by phi1618
Here's a couple of videos about the great man...just to justify bumping a cool and overlooked thread

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 05:06 PM
Not to take any thunder away from Leonardo da Vinci but, a couple of hundred years earlier, there was this chap called Archimedes................

Archimedes lived on the island of Sicily in the coastal town of Syracuse. When he was in his 46th year, King Hiero asked him to design and build several types of weapons with which the town could be defended should it ever be attacked.

The weapons Archimedes invented included giant catapults that could hurl burning 500 pound stones from the battlements to smash an enemy navy or land army; A system of levers and pullies that raised or lowered a massive claw-like grapnel, with which defenders could 'pluck ships from the sea and smash them against the rocks'.

Archimedes also invented a 'focued mirror' with which soldiers could burn enemy ships or men.

This device is said to have been a system of ten shields which were highly polished and shaped in such a way that the sun's rays would be harnessed and focused on a distant point. (Much like a magnifying glass)

These devices were duely built and positioned around Syracuse and lay dormont until in 212 BC when Marcellus laid siege to the city. By this time, Archimedes was 74 years old but he never saw his weapons being used in anger.

He was killed by an exasperated Roman soldier who demanded that the great mathmetician follow him. Archimedes refused allegedly saying,
'Don't bother me! I am far too busy trying to solve this problem!'

Thus ended the life of a truely great man.

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 05:22 PM
reply to post by fritz

yes ive heard this, they had a special about it on the history channel i believe. Its amazing tat people so long ago where able to build such magnificent things.

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 06:08 PM
leonardo and tesla and a few others are the best geniouses are world has,just look at those inventions,to even think how his mind works

posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 08:11 PM
Coincidental to this, if you get a chance go see this exhibition.

Da Vinci Machines in Motion

I got to see it and it has several hands-on type exhibits, from weaponry to farm machinery, they have a half-scale model of the barrage cannon that is really cool.

[edit on 16-8-2009 by hotrodturbo7]

posted on Aug, 17 2009 @ 12:23 AM
reply to post by hotrodturbo7

i would love to go see that, thanks i will look into it.

Always like to pick at the mind of a great thinker.

posted on Aug, 17 2009 @ 07:46 AM
reply to post by phi1618

It was quite awesome, we took my son's gifted class from school. You could practically hear the hamsters in their head spin into high gear. One child said, "Who knew you could make all this cool stuff from sticks and rope!"

posted on Aug, 17 2009 @ 09:17 AM
Such an elegant mind that could have ever concieved the birth of the machine age so many years ahead of the materials required. A true master of the imagination if ever there were *salute*

posted on Aug, 17 2009 @ 07:33 PM
imagination is the key which unlocks the door to innovation

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