It’s estimated that up to 300,000,000 people have lost their lives through official wars. The bloodiest of which being World War 2, which resulted in over 70,000,000 deaths. These figures are insane and they can be contributed to war machines. These resources are powerful inventions that were created for one thing; destroy the enemy. Responsible for shaping the world of warfare at the time of their introductions, these war machines changed everything. Lets take a look at the top 10 earliest war machines in human history!
10. Battering Ram
The Battering Ram was the first real siege/war weapon. Created by the Carthaginians, the Ram was described as a “tortoise”, moving slowly but having a hard shell. Popularity quickly spread as the Ram’s effectiveness proved too much to not utilise. Holding up in castles, or behind thick walls, was one of the more common methods of warfare in ancient times. The Battering Ram was perfect for situations like this, taking down even the most fortified of walls with ease.
Around 300-400 years after the Battering Ram was invented, Dionysius I of Syracuse invented the Catapult. Many forms, varieties and prototypes would be developed and see warfare. Effective at fighting both fortifications and armies alike, the Catapult would hurl large boulders over long distances. It was such an effective war machine that it saw use until the early 1900s.
8. Siege Tower
Your army has battering rams & catapults, you’re able to take down walls and castles but you need your men in the other side. The Siege Tower was created for this purpose, protecting large groups of soldiers from defenders and delivering them to their objective.
There is no set date on when they were invented, nor who they were invented by. But siege towers were known to civilisations that far pre-date the Romans. It was only until the end of the Roman Empire did they see mass usage.
Man, the Romans loved their war machines. The Ballista was one of them, providing generals with a powerful option at their disposal. A number of types of ammunition could be used by the Ballista, it could take down walls, groups of infantry or be effective with utility ammo, such as hooks.
We have nukes now, but can nuclear weapons launch a 90kg projectile over 300m in distance? Didn’t think so.
In all seriousness, the Trebuchet was a brilliant war machine that changed warfare as it was known. Able to destroy fortifications with ease from a much larger distance than other war machines, it became a valuable and potent siege weapon.
Early types of cannons had been tampered with an invented multiple times but go no further back than the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 16th century that cannons were reliable, effective and accurate. Cannon variants were created and created, aspiring inventors would devise all kinds of forms.
If any war machine defined the warfare for their eras, cannons would be it. Capable of completely devastating thousands of soldiers in mere moments, the events that followed the mainstream usage of cannons were bloody to say the least.
Way before war planes were balloons!
Despite not being used for killing enemies, balloons can still be described as a war machine due to their usage. Deployed to scout out large areas, they became instrumental in providing strategic advances to those that used them.
The Battle of Fleurus saw balloons being used in a military setting, it would be a year until one was used again.
3. Big Bertha
The size of this..Big Bertha was a huge war machine indeed. Created in Germany before World War 1, it was a Howitzer capable of firing 820kg shells. These shells tore through fortifications like a knife through butter, allowing German troops to follow in to clean up.
2. Railway Gun
Rivaling Big Bertha for the hugest war machines at the time, the Railway Gun was a more portable version that could bombard entire countrysides. Featured in World War 1, these Railway Guns did to the Germans what the Big Bertha did to Germany’s enemies. Smashing forts and defenses to mere crumbs, you have to feel sorry for whoever was on the end of one of the railway gun’s shells.
1. Mark 1 Tank
World War 1 was a war like any other, war machines such as those previously mentioned were capable of mass destruction. This meant soldiers were slaughtered in droves, it was a brutal war that resulted in age-old tactics being taken advantage of.
Commanders needed a way for their troops to survive on land, no-mans-land was especially crucial as higher-ups devised a machine that could transport their troops safely. Enter the Mark 1 Tank, the first tank to see combat.
Difficult terrain? Machine gun fire? Barbed wire? Trenches? None of this mattered when the tank entered the war. Troops could now traverse such obstacles. Further improvements would add armaments, speed and utility. Leading to the tanks we know today!