Rapid ship for ramming

Rapid ship for ramming

Inv. 10
Interpretation by Luigi Tursini, 1953

“If you want to make a maritime armada, use these craft to break the bottoms of ships. That is, make craft that are 100 feet long and 8 feet wide, but make it so that the left oars are operated from the right side of the craft, and similarly, the right ones, from the left, as appears at M, so that the levers of the oars can be longer. And have this craft be one and one-half foot thick, that is, made of beams, fixed on the outside and on the inside with planks having contrary alignments. And a foot under the water, this craft has an ironclad spike, which has the weight and size of an anvil. And so, through the use of the force of the oars, this will be able to return backward after having given the first blow, and thrust itself forward again, with fury, to give the second blow, and then the third, and as many as are needed to break that craft.”

The model represents a study for a boat that can ram enemy vessels. The hull of the ramming boat is very strong, with no sails and fitted with a metal ram just under the water level. The rowers are protected by a mobile shield. The hidden artillery is used to take the enemy vessel by surprise. The most significant characteristic of the boat is its high speed and its consequent collision strength. High speeds are reached thanks to the shape of the hull, with a 12 to 1 ratio between length and width.

The model is based on the drawings:

  • Codex Ashburnham 2037 f. 3 r. (1487-1492)
    Paris, Institut de France
  • Codex Atlanticus f. 172 r. (1487-1492)
    Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana