Thursday, August 13, 2009

4 Da Vinci War Machines (PART 1)

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

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.

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.

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.

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