User Login    
 + Register
News : 16th-Century Manual Shows "Rocket Cat" Weaponry
Posted by Randy on 2014/3/6 4:20:30 (465 reads) News by the same author

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- You're a 16th-century German prince plotting to crush a peasant rebellion, or perhaps you're leading an army against the Ottoman Empire or looking to settle the score with a rival nobleman. What's a guy looking for a tactical edge to do?
Click to see original Image in a new window

Bring on the rocket cats!

Fanciful illustrations from a circa-1530 manual on artillery and siege warfare seem to show jetpacks strapped to the backs of cats and doves, with the German-language text helpfully advising military commanders to use them to "set fire to a castle or city which you can't get at otherwise."

Digitized by the University of Pennsylvania, the unusual, full-color illustrations recently caught the attention of an Australian book blog and then found their way to Penn researcher Mitch Fraas, who set out to unravel the mystery.

Click to see original Image in a new window

"I really didn't know what to make of it," said Fraas, a historian and digital humanities expert at the Penn library. "It clearly looks like there's some sort of jet of fire coming out of a device strapped to these animals."

So were these unfortunate animals from the 1500s really wearing 20th-century technology?

Fraas' conclusion: No. Obviously.

The treatise in question was written by artillery master Franz Helm of Cologne, who was believed to have fought in several skirmishes against the Turks in south-central Europe at a time when gunpowder was changing warfare.

Circulated widely and illustrated by multiple artists, Helm's manual is filled with all sorts of strange and terrible imagery, from bombs packed with shrapnel to missile-like explosive devices studded with spikes - and those weaponized cats and birds.

According to Fraas' translation, Helm explained how animals could be used to deliver incendiary devices: "Create a small sack like a fire-arrow . if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw it will be ignited."

In other words, capture a cat from enemy territory, attach a bomb to its back, light the fuse and then hope it runs back home and starts a raging fire.

Fraas said he could find no evidence that cats and birds were used in early modern warfare in the way prescribed by Helm.

A good thing, too.

"Sort of a harebrained scheme," Fraas said. "It seems like a really terrible idea, and very unlikely the animals would run back to where they came from. More likely they'd set your own camp on fire."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/4/22 10:41:35 - Young Family Trusts To Benefit NCMC Students
2015/4/22 10:01:35 - Herrera Suspended, Ventura Fined For Throwing At Lawrie
2015/4/22 9:50:00 - Plattsburg Girls, Trenton Boys Win Team Titles At TMS Relays
2015/4/22 8:34:10 - Hog Farm Dispute Brings Large Audience To Grundy County Courthouse
2015/4/22 8:30:00 - Chillicothe Boys Win Cameron Relays, Trenton Girls Finish Third
2015/4/22 8:28:38 - Hornets Sweep Bulldogs In Varsity Tennis
2015/4/22 8:20:18 - Trenton Golfers Beat Chillicothe In Tuesday Duel
2015/4/22 8:12:56 - Applications Being Sought For Livestock-Related Honor
2015/4/22 8:02:57 - Route A, In Southwest Mercer County, To Close On Thursday
2015/4/22 7:54:05 - Highway Patrol Sergeant Recognized For Life-Saving Efforts During September Flooding
2015/4/22 7:44:27 - Oklahoma Rape Suspect Arrested Along I-35 In Northwest Missouri
2015/4/22 7:38:43 - University Of Missouri Receives Bomb Threat, "All Clear" Issued
2015/4/22 7:33:15 - Maryville Teen Passes Away After Monday Night Wreck
2015/4/22 7:30:00 - Maysville Woman Dies In Gentry County Accident
2015/4/21 18:08:10 - Mizzou Adds Illinois JUCO Duo To 2015-2016 Hoops Roster
2015/4/21 18:03:06 - NCMC Swept In Baseball Double-Dip At Crowder
2015/4/21 17:55:16 - Trenton's Croy Challenges Strong Helias Squad At Macon Tournament
2015/4/21 17:50:06 - LeBlond Dominates Tennis Duel At Trenton
2015/4/21 17:50:00 - NCMC Softball Seeded #4 In Region 16 Tournament
2015/4/21 9:50:00 - TMS Boys Win Brookfield Relays
2015/4/21 9:40:00 - Trenton's "City-Wide Garage Sales" Coming Saturday
2015/4/21 9:30:00 - Animal Feeding Operation Proposed In Rural Grundy County
2015/4/21 9:29:09 - New Date Set For Grundy County Murder Trial
2015/4/21 9:20:00 - Putnam County Accident Injures Lucerne Man
2015/4/21 9:13:30 - Gallatin Native Ties Masters Champion In PGA Event
2015/4/21 9:10:00 - Linn County Accident Sends Two To Columbia Hospital
2015/4/21 9:07:09 - Webb City Offensive Lineman Verbals To Mizzou
2015/4/21 8:15:57 - Royals Recall Calixte From Omaha, Demote Fuentes
2015/4/20 14:00:57 - Chillicothe Police Arrest Man On Marijuana Possession Charges
2015/4/20 11:29:17 - Speed Limit For U.S. 65 In Trenton Drops To 45 MPH



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM