Flying Ship

Few people know that in 1812, during the war with Napoleon in Russia was an attempt to create the world's first military controlled "flying ship." Supposed to use it to make French forces bombed and destroyed the headquarters and artillery. The creation of the "ship" has closely Alexander I, and perhaps even Kutuzov during the battle of Borodino occasionally glancing up at the sky, waiting for reinforcements from the air.

Rejected by the inventor

— I'm sick of these charlatans inventors! They want to put their delusions by the army, which only need a good gun so brave of heart! — Perhaps it is because Napoleon responded to the proposal to build Franz Leppiha controlled "flying ship", to use it to drop bombs on the enemy and wreak havoc in their ranks.

The emperor believed that his army is strong and able to defeat any enemy, but an attempt to use on the battlefield, some crazy inventions will only give rise to ridicule by the enemy. That is why he once rejected the "diving boat" Robert Fulton, airships for reconnaissance Major Kutelia and many other proposals to equip his army of "wonder weapons." Lepp with his "Flying Ship" caused him so severe irritation that he had ordered to evict an inventor outside France.

Lepp harbored evil to Napoleon, it was too rude and inconsiderate to his treatment. The path for revenge was one — to offer a formidable weapon of the enemy of France. Inventor turns to the Russian envoy in Stuttgart. Numerous laudatory references from German scientists give the impression of the proposal itself Leppiha report to Alexander I. From St. Petersburg to deliver command the inventor in Russia.

In the spring of 1812 Lepp arrives in Moscow, the city governor instructed him to create the conditions and provide the people and materials needed for the job. In an atmosphere of increased secrecy in the village of Vorontsovo Lepp starts creating "flying ship" …

Franz Lepp was not a charlatan, he was a self-taught inventor. What he lacked was an engineering education, but by and large of education in general, as a child, he was expelled from school because of abject underachievement. Watching in France for the first balloons, he immediately realized the importance and potential of this invention. However, while the balloon was flying by the will of winds, the good of it was small, it was suitable only for entertainment thirsty thrill the audience.

How to make ball manageable, make it fly against the wind? Lepp intently watched the flight of birds. Wings not only raised them to the sky, they helped them to fly against the wind in the air and do all sorts of maneuvers. So, if we equip the balloon something like wings, a sort of "air rowing", then it will become manageable and can fly in any direction you want to send him on board was "flying ship" command.

This ship can lift into the air explosives, and deliver it to the enemy positions and drop bombs on the headquarters, cavalry, artillery and infantry of the enemy, causing fear and terror. But lift "flying ship" will depend on its size. But with such uncomplicated inferences set about the construction of Lepp formidable weapon, which was to dispel and routed the French hordes.

72,000 rubles, which would not fly

According to the plan Leppiha, his "flying ship" was a little elongated balloon-like bulb located in a horizontal position. The balloon throw huge grid, which was attached to a wooden beam, which rounded the bag, like a hoop, to the same Broosa suspended long narrow cot. In the cradle had to accommodate 40 people, manually driving the two strange wing-like outstretched human hand with webbed fingers. These wings, he considered the inventor could make the "flying ship" move even against the wind. In the rear part of the "ship" was a wheel, like a fish's tail.

Than armed team was supposed to lift into the air and over 4 tons of cargo, which consisted of explosives to be dropping them at the enemy. Lepp was going to build for the three months dozens of these "ships". This aerial armada was intended to attack Napoleon's troops.

However, before you go to the "mass production", it was necessary to construct and lift into the air at least one "flying ship" and successfully tested. To help Leppihu provided about 100 workers, his studio guarded by soldiers. Captain Shabelnikov watched over guard duty and secrecy of the operations.

German inventor was able to inspire confidence in people, especially those who were not well versed in the technical sciences. Count Rostopchin wrote of him, Alexander I: «I saw Leppihom. This is a man well versed in the mechanics and very agile. He dispelled all my doubts about the wings of his car, really hell, which later could cause the human race even more evil than Napoleon. "

Lepp sparing neither himself nor the workers — all working 17 hours a day, and it quickly progressed. Alexander I was interested in the progress of work on a regular basis and, without doubt, the most expected outcome. Whole factory merchant Kupriyanov two weeks Leppiha served orders by making it to 5000 yards of heavy taffeta, this fabric has cost the treasury 20 thousand rubles. Chemicals for the gas to be filling, have cost even more. Many claims the inventor was to supply him with steel, had to repeat purchases and buy more expensive metal.

Governor of Moscow, Rostopchin wrote to Alexander I: «Lepp spent already 72 thousand … Do not be surprised of the Leppiha he first gets up and goes to bed last." Alas, less time for sleep does not solve all the problems. The balloon did not want to fill up with gas. In the rain it became clear that a gas leak is almost throughout its area. Wings, which were tested on a specially made goats, during sweeps broke …

Despite the setbacks, Lepp are optimistic and assured the Russian Tsar and the military, that he was "flying ship" is about to rise into the sky.

Crucial test failed

Leppihu really want to believe, because Napoleon was coming to Moscow, and it seemed only a miracle can stop the French. This miracle has promised to create a German inventor.

Alexander I, on the basis of reports, was confident that the works are nearing completion. This is evidenced by his order. After the surrender of Smolensk, he ordered: "As soon as Lepp ended his cooking, make it to the boat crew of reliable and intelligent people, and send a messenger with the news to General Kutuzov, to warn him. I have informed him of this enterprise. But I ask you to instruct Leppihu careful with descent of the ball for the first time on the ground, so as not to make a mistake and not fall into the hands of the enemy. "

In the village Vorontsovo have brought gunpowder to make bombs that are going to destroy the French army, and the "flying ship" and remained chained to the ground. Governor Rostopchin pleaded Leppiha do something, Earl feared his gallant reports on progress in failure would affect his career and destiny.

Lepp has decided to test a small ball. In his book, during the test team had to work out the management of the ball with the "wings". In Moscow, with the approach of the French already started panicking, so the governor Rostopchin ordered to make the following announcement: "Here I was commissioned to do a large bowl, in which 50 people will fly wherever they want: and the wind, and the wind. If the weather is good, then a day or two for me to be a small ball of the sample. I declare to you, that you saw him, did not think that this is the villain, and he made it to the injury and death. "

Rostopchin knew about the secret papers of the ball for a long time there is a rumor, so decided to reveal a little secret to calm the population. However, the population of Moscow in vain to peer into the sky, the governor promised a ball in it and has not appeared.

The governor was disappointed. On the failure of tests shall be reported to Alexander I. Small bowl filled with gas for three days, but it is not raised in the air, even two people (assumed command of five), the wings were weak and did not fulfill its purpose. At the end of the message Rostopchin Leppiha calls "crazy charlatan" and expresses his doubt in the success of the enterprise.

Without waiting Leppiha infernal machine, Napoleon escaped …

It was a pity spent wasted in this time of enormous resources, so Alexander I, who once personally visited Vorontsov, along with Baron Stein, still ordered to evacuate Leppiha and his workshop. Balloons in Europe still flying! The Emperor saw in the idea Leppiha rational and still hoped that the inventor can get something.

Workshop for 130 carts were taken first to Vladimir, then transported to Nizhny Novgorod. In the end, Lepp was in Oranienbaum, it was expected that this is where he still finished.

Napoleon, to which rumors about the work Leppiha feared that a German invention dotoshlivogo can greatly complicate his war. He gave the order at the first opportunity to take Leppiha. It is not known whether he reproached himself for having refused at the time to the inventor, in any event, he was furious with the intent of this arrogant man to bomb his troops from heaven. Discovered in Moscow gondola from the ball Leppiha was ordered to burn, for participation in the construction of the French balloon shot 10 people in Vorontsovo mansion on fire.

Everyone knows how it ended for Napoleon take Moscow. And without the infernal machine Leppiha French fled from Moscow, Russia's roads leaving footprints collapse of its former power.

Lepp still trying to complete the "flying boat." Military historian wrote about the inventor: "He climbed on the ball on leashes no more than 5 — 6 yards on the ground, but upwind could not produce, and its main facility, expected to achieve its objective of taftyanyh wings was not enough."

The upshot was that the hapless Germans recognized the "perfect charlatan who do not have any idea in the case, which deals with." In August 1814, Leppiha ignominiously expelled from Russia.

On the failed project of the first air combat vehicle of the Russian treasury spent much more of the above 72 thousand rubles, but, in the words of Rostopchin, if "ship" flew, not sorry to be a million.

Control the airship, which he dreamed Lepp, were built only 100 years later, they took part in the fighting in the First World War.

Prepared by Andrey Sidorenko

Category: Unexplained Phenomena

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