1. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Terminator
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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]