German rocket cat (or cat rocket) … .html?vp=1


A 16th century (circa 1530) manual on artillery and related material which may be very well illustrated (only a few pages are shown in the news release) but the actual name of the text and access to the (Univ. of Pennsylvania) digitized copy is not mentioned in the AP story. Does anyone here know the name of this text?

And as is so typical these days, the AP reporter (who wrote the article) and the Penn Researcher (who researched the manual) both insert their 21st century values into the description of a historical 16th century document by implying the tactics presented in the manual (written 470 years ago) were “hairbrained” and unacceptable. Just another small example of historical revisionism.

My recollection is that common animals strapped with incendiary devices is a tactic well practiced and very old. As well, it’s not so “medieval” as some might think; see the “bat bomb” of WWII.

Brian, the original title of this German classic publication is “Feüer Büech” and was written by Franz Helm in the 16th century. There are several editions with different illustrations (different cats and birds!) and also one in English language titled “Treatise on Artillery and Gunpowder”. Years ago I bought a reproduction of the 34 illustrations in color shown in a 1584 edition and these are just great. It would be a nice addition to the library of anyone interested in early artillery and explosives development.