Covered war carriage

Covered war carriage

Inv. 6663
Interpretation by Giovenale Argan, 1952 - 1953

"I shall make covered chariots, that are safe and cannot be assaulted; cars which fear no great numbers when breaking through the ranks of the enemy and its artillery. Behind them, the infantrymen shall follow, without fearing injury or other impediments"

Leonardo's idea of sowing panic and destruction among the enemy troops are embodied in his design of a tortoise-shaped car, reinforced with metal plates, with an inner turret and armed with guns. The car is operated from inside by 8 men, who turn the cranks to move the wheels. The firing direction is decided by the men in the upper part of the car, from where they can see the battlefield through slits or portholes.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Popham 1030 f. 1030 (1487-1490)
    London, British Museum