Helepolis: The Iron Age Ogre

Every once in awhile your disbelief kicks in, and you start to think that no one will ever build an Ogre. Sure, this century's wars have seen some monsters - the B-17 and B-29, the Iowa-class battleships, the King Tiger, but somehow technology seems to have abandoned this fad of ever-bigger fighting vehicles.

But the giant armored vehicle, bristling with weapons, goes back a little further than the internal combustion engine.

The Helepolis at Rhodes
"Helepolis"="City Taker"

Size:
130-140 feet high
72 feet square at the base
150 tons

Armament:
2 - 180lb ballistas
1 - 60lb ballistas
3 - 60lb ballistas
10 - 30lb ballistas
4 - dart throwers

Construction:
Pine and oak reinforced with iron plates
8 iron clad wheels 15 feet in diameter
driven by 200 men with capstan and drive belt

Built 304 BC by Epimachus of Athens for Demetriu "Poliorcetes" ("The Besieger").

Picture and information from Warfare in the Classical World by John Warry, copyright 1980 Salamander Books. If you have any interest in ancient warfare, buy this book.

Unfortunately, some of the iron plates were knocked loose and there was a real danger of fire. The Helepolis was withdrawn, and the seige later given up. The citizens of Rhodes dismantled it, and melted down its metal parts with other engines and booty to build the Colossus of Rhodes.

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