This post is in category ENGINEERING
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The handheld crossbow that was cocked by using a crank was invented not by Muslims, but by the Chinese or by the Greeks.
The counterweight-powered trebuchet was invented by “Dark Ages” Catholic armies of the First Crusade.
The Chinese invented cannons and could shoot a cannonball across a river.
The rocket was invented by the Chinese, and spread westward. In 1270, Hasan al-Rammah precipitated out an impurity in saltpeter.
During the 1270’s Hassan al-Rammah designed a napalm-like “torpedo” that propelled itself across the surface of the water.
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Chinese began using cannons and cannonballs 100 years before Muslims did.
In the 11th century, Ali Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi, in Muslim Spain designed a battering ram on a platform whose height could be adjusted. It combined a 1st century Roman scissor lift with a pre-Roman battering ram. Diagrams survived in a book, but it is not known whether it was ever used in warfare.
The handheld crossbow (a bow that is cocked by using a crank) was not a Muslim invention. It was invented in ancient China and also used by the ancient Greeks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbow
Chinese bows were made of bamboo with leg sinew reinforcement on one side and horn reinforcement on the other side, glued with fish glue. In the 4th century BC, the Huns of central Asia invented the tactic of firing bows from horseback.
The traction trebuchet (powered by men pulling on ropes) was not invented by Muslims. The first traction trebuchets were used in 5th century BC China. The Byzantine Empire used them in the late 6th century AD, and they were later used by Muslims.
The counterweight-powered trebuchet was not invented by Muslims. When it was first used by the Catholic armies of the First Crusade in 1097, in the siege of Nicaea, the Moslems were shocked because they had never heard of a machine that could throw such large rocks. Later, Saladin referred to it as an infidel invention, and his engineers made a trivial change to it so its recoil would cock a crossbow.
It was not until almost 2 centuries later that Hasan al-Rammah in the 13th century made a drawing of a primitive counterweight trebuchet.
Chinese technology was
more advanced than the Muslim technology. The Chinese invented gunpowder. In the year 904, the Chinese shot fire arrows from hand cannons.
Chinese switched over to a more explosive higher-saltpeter gunpowder recipe when they switched from bamboo barrels to barrels made of iron and bronze able to withstand the higher pressure. Muslim websites falsely claim the Chinese used only low-saltpeter gunpowder.
By the year 1221, the Chinese were firing exploding grenades filled with black powder.
The Chinese cannons could shoot a cannonball across a river.
Chinese cannon technology did not reach the Muslim world until the 13th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cannon
A (Christian) European named Orban wanted to cast the world’s largest cannons for the defense of the Christian city of Constantinople, but the Byzantines refused to hire his services. So in 1453 he cast several of these 8 meter long cannons for the Ottoman Turks, who used them to destroy the walls of Constantinople.
The rocket and its military uses were invented by the Chinese, and its use was spread westward by the Mongols. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket
The earliest use of Chinese-invented explosive hand cannons by Muslim Arabs was the Mamluk Egyptians using them in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.
In 1270, Hasan al-Rammah (1230? – 1295) of Syria invented a method of increasing the percentage of potassium nitrate in saltpeter by adding wood ashes containing potassium carbonate to a boiling solution of saltpeter. This converted the calcium nitrate impurity into potassium nitrate, and precipitated out calcium carbonate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate
He would not have known the chemistry to explain how the process worked. This was used to create gunpowder that was more explosive than gunpowder made with impure potassium nitrate.
Some Muslim websites garble this into a claim that he invented potassium nitrate or that he discovered potassium.
During the 1270’s Hassan al-Rammah designed an anti-ship weapon consisting of an egg-shaped container of a flammable liquid or napalm-like substance, metal filings and gunpowder for dispersing it.
It propelled itself across the surface of the water by the burning of an attached tube of slow-burning low-saltpeter gunpowder, and used fins that could keep it moving in a straight line path if the body of water had no waves. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Mi9PvMk0F8M
Waves could either destroy it or change its path, so it would only work at short range in a harbor.
Some claim this was the world’s first torpedo, although modern torpedoes travel below the water.
Firearms (smaller than cannons) were invented in the 14th century in China.
SAPPERS TUNNELING UNDER WALLS
The Ottoman Turk conquest of Rhodes In 1522 was the first extensive use of digging tunnels under an enemy wall and filling the tunnels with gunpowder. Rather than risking Muslim lives for this dangerous work, the sappers were conquered European Christians drafted into the Ottoman Turk army.
Image by Ytrottier, via Wikimedia Commons.