BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in August 2006We've left it here for reference.More information

24 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Science & Nature: TV & Radio Follow-up Science & Nature
Science & Nature: TV and Radio Follow-up

BBC Homepage

In TV & Radio
follow-up
:


Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
You are here: BBC Science > Leonardo da Vinci
War machines
Desktop wallpaper to download
Standard Size (800 x 600)
Large Size (1024 x 468)
When Leonardo offered his services to the Duke of Milan, one of his selling points was his ability to build machines of war. This page shows two of his most famous designs.

His armoured car was designed to go into battle ahead of foot soldiers. Its shell was re-enforced with metal plates containing holes that the occupants could fire weapons through. The machine was powered by eight men, who moved cranks to turn the wheels. Leonardo also toyed with the idea of using horses to drive the machine, but decided they would panic in the enclosed space.

One interesting feature of this design is that it contains a flaw. As Leonardo has drawn it, the wheels would have turned in opposite directions, making the tank undrivable. This could have been because Leonardo was a pacifist, and did not want to see his ideas put to use, or it could have been to stop other people stealing his idea. On the other hand, it could simply have been a mistake.

The other sketch on this page shows one of Leonardo's designs for a scythed chariot. The blades were intended to slice the limbs from its victims.
Back to picture gallery
War machines
to enlarge picture

Look For - The dismembered corpses that surround Leonardo's chariot. It was typical of him to include such figures in his drawings of war machines.

Back to picture gallery

More from bbc.co.uk

BBC History
Wars and Conflict

Go further

Leonardo: The Man, His Machines
About Leonardo's Tank

Leonardo: The Man, His Machines
About Leonardo's chariots

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.)




Science Homepage | Nature Homepage
Wildlife Finder | Prehistoric Life | Human Body & Mind | Space
Go to top



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy