In Part 4 of his ancestors of the tank series, David Fletcher describes a wind powered tank designed by Valturio. But how successful was it?
Roberto Valturio, born in Rimini, was the author of de re militari which described a range of weapons then available to would-be warriors. Whether the device described here was one of Valturio’s own designs, or something he got from someone else, is not clear but either way it is completely useless.
The idea seems to have been to apply a power source stronger than the horse with which to propel a four-wheeled vehicle. It was achieved by attaching a windmill to each side of the vehicle, connected to the wheels by a series of cogs.
Whether it would ever have worked or not is open to debate. The wind would have to be very strong to power it, and blowing in the right direction. Once again, no means of steering is shown and the machine would be restricted to firm and level ground. Also it seems so much effort has gone into the means of propulsion that no thought appears to have been given to crew or armament.
His other designs include a submarine and a tension springald.