What is the earliest time period an armored self-propelled vehicle could be made do you think?

What is the earliest time period an armored self-propelled vehicle could be made do you think? Not in terms of knowledge, in terms of available resources/infrastructure and the presence of, say, a genius who knows precisely how to make it inventing the thing using that, and armies adopting it. What would it look like and how would it be integrated into its contemporary battlefield?

For example, I think IF the Da Vinci tank could have a better propulsion source and uparmored with metal it could probably do well as a sort of mobile pillbox, especially given the artillery science of the time would be less suited to taking out something like it. It might need flat, dry terrain and possibly a revamp to mobility (could they have invented treads?), but assuming all that could be done I think it would be reasonable effective in its niche, but not a wonderweapon.

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >What is the earliest time period an armored self-propelled vehicle could be made do you think? Not in terms of knowledge, in terms of available resources/infrastructure
    The "aeolipile" afaik is the very first recorded example in recorded history of the basic concept of a steam turbine. That was around 30 BC. It's not practical, but in principle in a different world line it could have kickstarted some thinking and experimentation on using steam as a power source. The Roman Empire definitely had the raw natural resource availability, political organization, and likely sufficient population and civilizational complexity that they might have been able to kick off an industrial revolution under different circumstances. They also had the right thinking around logistics such that they'd have immediately recognized the value of something like trains or steam ships, which are sort of the first real possible applications long long before smaller land vehicles. Of course, they were also engaged in regular fighting and military action, against foes where mechanized options would be directly practical.

    However it's still a pretty damn long path from that to sufficiently power dense ICE engines, and fuel remains a question mark. Coal they might have figured out easily, but dunno about oil. In America we started with finding oil literally just pooled, and you could just drill a bit for a gusher. With a train/steam ship logistical backbone for improvements, Rome might have been able to take the middle east, and that's basically the perfect ideal place for tanks, but again how do they connect the dots or get to serious oil there?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Let's assume that some insane da vinci type guy could connect the dots and it's just a matter of actually producing it with contemporary technology. I'm mostly curious about how effective an armored vehicle you COULD make at the absolute earliest time moreso than the odds of it happening. Getting all that out of the way, how does it look to have, in your example, roman legionaries fighting alongside a mobile polybolos or something.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >I'm mostly curious about how effective an armored vehicle you COULD make at the absolute earliest time moreso than the odds of it happening. Getting all that out of the way, how does it look to have, in your example, roman legionaries fighting alongside a mobile polybolos or something.
        The problem is this gets rapidly into the nitty gritty details of what happens during an ultra early industrial revolution that is single area of a single continent like that. There's so much stuff that went into ours IRL, there was already mass global trade and experienced oceans, the concept of the nation-state, lots of nations moving in rough parallel and thus competing, learning from each other, supplementing each other etc. Lots of different powerful social systems, enlightenment thinking, modern democracy as well as autocracy, even details like access to guano islands, which before we had the Haber process was massively critical to bootstrapping industrial farming and thus the population and freeing labor. You have to have efficient enough agriculture to have more workers moving to industry. It's just pretty hard to unthread all this.

        One major thing that I think would be pretty safe is that in this scenario it's very possible engines and such come before gunpowder. In our world we had gunpowder and improving firearms for centuries first, imported from Asia, but there's no inherent path dependency there. And the earliest known recipe wasn't for at least another 1000 years. So in this case we'd have armored vehicles, but no guns. So just running with that makes for some fairly major implications, like what do you arm it with? The most brutally effective and possible might be flame tanks. People developed primitive thermal weapons pretty early, once you discover combustable fuels figuring out how to spray them and light it isn't an enormous leap. And an armored vehicle when nobody has guns could be pretty effective with that, albeit with limited fuel.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Otherwise not really sure. In this scenario we have mechanical power, gearing etc, they'd probably experiment with shit like big powered melee weapons. Maybe ballistae of some kind? Just a big armored vehicle but then a bunch of guys with bow&arrow? Steam driven launchers? Steam can definitely be powerful, though I'd expect significant numbers of "killed all the dudes in it too" particularly in early ones.

          But a world where engines were developed long before gunpowder is feasible and kind of interesting. Eventually advancing chemistry would mean someone would figure it out and then we'd be off to the modern races, and without explosives early mining would be far less effective, but in terms of metallurgy and other components required to bootstrap mechanical power gunpowder definitely isn't on the critical path.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Cannonry was so inaccurate and immobile, and fire so easy to deploy via infantry, that you'd probably not lose anything armoring your medieval "tank" exclusively from the front.
        It doesnt take much to stop the kinds of ranged weapons a medieval/renaissance army would have at it's disposal, especially at range.

        The main problem would be, of course, stopping people from approaching your funny tank and setting it on fire. A couple of small caliber guns is not going to stop a determined press of men.

        Think about how vulnerable tanks would be without the existence of machine guns.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The aeoliphile was dead-end tech, a toy with no room to improve or economic application.
      Rome had no idea what thermodynamics were. It had no concept of gas equations. The very existence of vacuums was doubted, and the arguments for or against it were made through theology, not experiments.
      The steam engine as we know it was the result of two centuries worth of proto-scientific research into heat and gasses. After the newcomen steam engine hit, development stalled for over a century because nobody has the slightest idea on how to improve it, because the theoretical basis wasn't understood.
      Watt, working at the world's premier institution for thermodynamic research and closely cooperating with the world's premier authority on thermodynamics (Joseph Black) finally had an idea... and couldn't make it work because he couldn't produce a cylinder to the required toleranced. He was stalled with no progress for over a decade until Wilkinson's boring machine (to produce cannons) appeared, which FINALLY allowed the production to the required, low tolerances.
      Rome had nothing. It didn't have the science - it had philosophers that argued against that very science. It had no gunpowder, therefore no cannons, therefore no boring machines. It had no coal mining beyond collecting it on the surface. It destroyed its own fiscal institutions where the European states before the industrial revolution built them up, and therefore little in the way of investment.
      The industrial revolution didn't necessarily have to happen in Britain (although it was the most convenient spot by some margain).
      But Rome was no closer to the industrial revolution than the Achaemenids, Babylon or the Frankish realm.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        This. If you study history of science and technology you see how it is all interconnected and scientists and inventors standed on the shoulders of previous generations achievements.

        Can you bring all modern knowledge to Rome and kickstart industrial revolution within one human life span? Probably you can but Rome themselves couldn't come up this knowledge themselves. No way.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        This. If you study history of science and technology you see how it is all interconnected and scientists and inventors standed on the shoulders of previous generations achievements.

        Can you bring all modern knowledge to Rome and kickstart industrial revolution within one human life span? Probably you can but Rome themselves couldn't come up this knowledge themselves. No way.

        >The aeoliphile was dead-end tech, a toy with no room to improve or economic application.
        Yeah I said that and told OP that. But if we're talking imagining looking through an infinite number of parallel worlds, then I think in some of them there's probably a path where the right people got inspired and started thinking along the right paths earlier and things diverged. You talk of centuries, but the greek and roman civilizations did indeed last many many centuries. Philosophers arguing against science? Yeah we had that too.

        I think it's a super long shot and it's pretty much impossible to understate the complexity and amount of buildup, civilizational, historical and other factors and so on that went into when we kicked off. But OP flat out said he didn't really care how improbable it was but just bare minimums.

        And it's easy to find serious junction points in our own modern documented history where tiny changes would have resulted in enormous changes in history. I see no reason to doubt there were such things in the past to a lesser extent as well, though we'll never know them because we don't have any real rich details of back then. Humans weren't fundamentally more stupid in terms of brain size or something though, they weren't a different species.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >The very existence of vacuums was doubted, and the arguments for or against it were made through theology, not experiments.
        Hey, it's just like quantum mechanics

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Uh, no? You're using quantum mechanics right now. It's hard science.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      ships have been uparmored since they put to sea, so approximately 20,000 years ago

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    IDK shit about da Vinci but I'm looking at your pic and I'm struggling to picture a practical way of reloading any of this vehicle's guns.
    If he had a modern machine gun in there then it would make a lot more sense to me.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      This is a breech-loading gun used in the 1400s. That particular Da Vinci tank design is not exactly what the OG envisioned but something like this might work.

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Here is your armored self-propelled vehicle bro

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    An armored steamship built by the romans. It wouldnt be that useful since it could be boarded, but it could be good for trading

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      idk, if they could build something like Monitor with hatches that could be buttoned down and a big ass ram I don't see those Carthaginian shits being able to do much about it

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >What is the earliest time period an armored self-propelled vehicle could be made do you think?
    Its called a charriot. Made in 3000bc by some frickers that strapped a cart to a horse.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I don't think you're appreciating the definition of "self propelled"

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It has a two horsepower engine that runs on grass and water.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The maximum output of a single modern horse is 15 hp, but I'm not sure if they can sustain that for an entire race.
          additionally, ancient horses were smaller and weaker than modern horses (hence why they had to use chariots), so the entire "engine" probably had about 20 horsepower.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            They literally can't. The average sustainable horsepower for a horse is... a horsepower.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              from what I read that's distributed over a whole day's labor, not a single race in which you can push them to the limit.

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Metal casting is pretty much a requirement, it wouldn't be impossible to make an engine out of stone but it would be much more difficult and ten times more difficult again since you wouldn't have metal tools. For fuel, olive oil or rendered fat would probably be the most expedient source. Somewhere around 2000-3000 BC is probably the earliest it could feasibly be done.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    1810-1840

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Assuming "powered by the dudes inside it" doesn't count, you'd need some sort of engine. If we disregard the knowledge requirement you could make a super simplified steam engine as early as the bronze age and utilize that, with crossbows mounted internally, firing through slits. Wouldn't be efficient, but would probably work.

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Cameltank

  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    French revolution
    Had the contemporary material science to do steam locomotive power even if the practical knowledge wasn't there for another decade or two

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    the second that cannon fired it would shoot itself out the back of the vehicle
    If you tried to bolt it down, it would simply rip the whole thing apart

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