This three-part series looks at some of the key instruments of war, their history, the milestones of modern weaponry and the technological leaps performed by innovative engineers and inventors that saved the day but ultimately changed the face of warfare forever.
From the cruise missile and the tank to the machine gun the series unpacks the technological shifts that created these machines. From propulsion mechanisms to guidance systems the series reveals how the tank got its track how a submarine fires a missile and how to build a fully automatic gun.
Status: In Development
Runtime: 60 minutes
Machines of War - Fighting machine (The War of the Worlds) - Netflix
The Fighting Machine (also known as “Tripod”) is one of the fictional machines used by the Martians in H.G. Wells' 1898 classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. It is a fast-moving, three-legged walker, reported to be 100 feet tall, with multiple whip-like tentacles used for grasping, and two lethal weapons: the heat-ray and a gun-like tube used for discharging canisters of a poisonous chemical black smoke that kills humans and animals. It is the primary machine the Martians use when they invade Earth, along with the handling machine, the flying machine, and the embankment machine.
Machines of War - Novel - Netflix
And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder. A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression those instant flashes gave. But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand... Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me.
I recall particularly the illustration of one of the first pamphlets to give a consecutive account of the war. The artist had evidently made a hasty study of one of the fighting machines, and it was there that his knowledge ended. He presented them as tilted, stiff tripods without either flexibility or subtlety, and with an altogether misleading monotony of effect. The pamphlet containing these renderings had a considerable vogue, and I mention them here to warn the reader against the impression they may have created. They were no more like the Martians I saw in action than a Dutch doll is like a human being. To my mind, the pamphlet would have been much better without them.
The metallic tentacles, which hang below the main fighting machine body, are used as probes and to grasp objects. These machines sometimes also carry a metal cage or basket which is used to hold human captives so the Martians can later revitalize themselves by fatally transfusing their captives' blood supplies by using pipettes. The height of the fighting machines is unclear; a newspaper article describes them to be more than 100 feet (30 m) tall. But they are also observed wading through relatively deep sea water. HMS Thunder Child, a Royal Navy torpedo ram, engages a trio of tripods that are pursuing a refugee flotilla heading to France from the southeast English coast; the Thunder Child is eventually destroyed by the Martian heat-ray, but not before taking out two fighting machines. In the novel the fighting machines crash-land to Earth in massive cylinders, shot from a sort of gun from Mars (in the PC game adaptation as well as the live musical version, the Martians refer to this device as a “large-scale hydrogen accelerator”). Once they arrive on Earth, the fighting machines are quickly assembled. A London newspaper article cites unnamed authorities who believed, based on the outside dimensions of the cylinders, they carried no more than five tripods per cylinder.
Machines of War - References - Netflix