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Thread: Chariot turning circle & axle placement

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    Chariot turning circle & axle placement

    Hi all -

    In the Near Eastern Late Bronze Age the Egyptians employed a two-man chariot with the axle placed at the rear of the vehicle; whereas the Hittites employed a three-man chariot with the axle placed in the center of the vehicle. As a result, the weight of the two-man crew in the Egyptian vehicle was in front of the axle whereas the weight of the three-man crew was directly over the axle. Several scholars assert that the Egyptian chariot with its rear-axle placement had a tighter turning circle than the Hittite chariot with it center-axle placement. My questions are: Is this in fact true? And if it is true, why is it true? Which is to say, what is the scientific explanation as to why a rear-axle configuration with crew weight distributed forward of the axle results in a tighter turning circle than a center-axle configuration with crew weight distributed over the axle? In asking these asking let us assume that wheel track and axle length as well as the total vehicle length (including horses) are equal for both chariots.

    Thanks in advance to anyone providing answers to these questions.

  2. #2
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Bold Springs, GA
    The turning circle is governed by the horses ability to turn and nothing more. If the horses can side step (and you can train them to do so) the chariot could rotate in place..
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  3. #3
    Principle Engineer Cragyon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Newark, NJ
    Think of an airplane with three wheels, one in the front and two in the back. The plane's turning radius depends on the front wheels ability to rotate regardless of the distance between the front and rear wheels.

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