Machines - War


Windsor B.R. n. 12652

Dimension: CM. 120 X 60 X 150

Description: Sea warfare was one of Da Vinci’s main passions. This drawing displays a large mortar, operated by just one sailor and mounted onto a turning platform, capable of spewing vast amount of smoke and incendiary shells on the unfortunate enemy ships.


Codex Arundel f. 54 r.

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 117

Description: Undoubtly innovative, missiles are the confirmation of the laws that Leonardo states regarding the influence of the currents on them. A tapering shape, small wings to give the flight stability and holes in the balls shot from the cannon so as to be filled with gunpowder; the same balls that the English used in the victorious Waterloo battle.


British Museum f. 1030

Dimension: CM. 120 X 120 X 162

Description: Da Vinci developed a heavy tank, in the shape of a testudo, armed with cannons all around. It is set in motion by a train of gears connected to the wheels and controlled by means of cranks by 8 men placed inside it.


Biblioteca Reale Torino f.14 r. (15583)

Dimension: CM. 250 X 180 X 160

Description: This drawing made by Leonardo Da Vinci displays a horse-driven cart with rotating sickles controlled by an ingenious transmission device that is connected, by means of a shaft, to a “pinwheel-lantern pinion” mechanism, directly linked to the motion of the cart wheels


Codex Ashburnham 2037 f. 8 r.

Dimension: CM. 120 X 60 X 150

Description: By means of a covering system, the ship can move and be manoeuvred without danger. The sickle is mounted on a wooden pole moved by a pinwheel and tears the sails of enemy ships with a 360-degree rotation.


Codex Atlanticus f. 139 r.

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 150

Description: The enemy has just surpassed the moat that runs around the surrounding wall and is ready to give the final assault. Going back to the 16th century, you will discover the stratagems used for defense from an attack.


Codex Atlanticus f. 59 v.

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 150

Description: Among the techniques used to attack enemy walls, Da Vinci portrayed, in his usual vivid and evocative way, the use of hooks and belts that enable climbers to achieve their objectives using techniques which are very similar to those so often seen in contemporary action films.


Codex Atlanticus f. 140

Dimension: CM. 200 X 100 X 100

Description: Among the oldest war machines, the elastic shapes fascinated Leonardo who drew many of them in his codes. Even if at first there doesn't seem to be anything new, you will find small innovations applied to this model, such as the self-blocking mechanism that allows to easily load the weapon, avoiding the risk that the boulder could be flung ahead of time.


Codex Atlanticus f. 33 r.

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 110

Description: This model never reproduced by any other museum, is not one of Leonardo's inventions, but the studies and the principles that he applies, are. The never ending screw situated under the mortar allows the regulation of the jet.


Codex Atlanticus f.1084

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60X 150

Description: You may find it incredible, during your visit at the exhibition, that the following model is an improvement or a solution of the preceding one. If the opposing surrounding wall had had a system to reject the enemy's ladders, thanks to this wagon, the problem would be solved.


Manuscript B f.82 r.

Dimension: CM. 120 X 60 X 150

Description: This is one the numerous drawings concerning military architecture sketched by the “genius” while he held the post of “general architect and engineer”, conferred to him by Duke Valentino Borgia. It displays a machine to excavate trenches, which is set in motion by means of weights and counterweights and can operate almost automatically.


Manuscript B, f. 88 v.

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 150

Description: War machine consisting in 16 cannons mounted on a rotating platform. The cannons would have been firing simultaneously, thus preventing the boat from deviating from the desired course.


Codex Forster f.46 v.

Dimension: CM. 120 X 60 X 220

Description: Thil model is used to attack enemy fortifications in a simple way and at the same time it is easy to move. You will be surprised at the sight of this machine, thinking about its up-to-dateness.


Codex Atlanticus f.26 v-b

Dimension: CM. 60 X 60 X 120

Description: The elevating arc allowed the regulation of the bullets trajectory. At the same time, the cannon barrel could be moved horizontally.


Codex Atlanticus f.22 r.

Dimension: CM. 480 X 120 X 100

Description: This is one of the “extra light and strong” bridges Da Vinci had promised in his letters to Ludovico Il Moro. They could be easily assembled and were used chiefly for military purposes. Rivers were no longer an obstacle and troops could be moved quickly and unexpectedly thus allowing for surprise attacks, which were often fundamental to the outcome of a battle.