Rocket Cats - A 16th Century Answer To Everything

Thursday, 06 March 2014 - 2:45PM
Thursday, 06 March 2014 - 2:45PM
Rocket Cats - A 16th Century Answer To Everything

Cats are so hot right now. Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and Chairman Meow (RIP), are (were) all superstars of the feline world, but none of them can come close to besting the cats of 16th century Germany. Why you say? Because the cats of 16th Century Germany had rockets on them! Or at least that's what one battlefield genius intended for them. In what sounds like one of the earliest forms of science fiction technology, these recently digitized images from the University of Pennsylvania show how a German military expert in the 1530's was planning to strap rockets to cats and birds for use during siege warfare.

 

Imagine the fear such a weapon could strike into the hearts of those cowering behind castle walls. I mean, a pissed off cat is scary enough, but a pissed off cat with a jetpack is quite another proposition. Fortunately for the feline population of Northern Europe, these jet-powered creatures never quite made it onto the battleground, despite offering a seemingly foolproof solution to the age old problem of siege warfare.

 

The amazing images were discovered in a manual written by German artillery expert Franz Helm, and was later translated by Mitch Fraas of the University of Pennsylvania. According to Fraas, the rocket cats were just one entry in a long list of hairbrained battlefield solutions highlighted in Helm's book. But Fraas's translation of the rocket cat methodology shows why this particular method is the clear standout item in Helm's work.

 

"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."

 

Ok, on second thoughts we're actually not totally in love with this idea....

 

More Rocket Cat Images over at AP

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