If people of the medieval age or 14th century had knowledge over steam engines and decided to make tanks out of it, how would it work and how effective would it be? Since they would be big and heavy, i imagined they'd operate like a train but with armor and guns, this seems possible in a way in my opinion. But could they make them operate without tracks like a modern tank would? Also, how would these tanks look like in terms of appearance?
closed as primarily opinion-based by StephenG, bilbo_pingouin, L.Dutch♦ Dec 2 '18 at 22:13
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That is not possible.
Even with a crude steam engine, a vehicle would require countless improvements in materials science and precision manufacturing to make it move -- so many that one cannot speak of a medieval level of technology any more.
- The steam engine would have to resist shocks and vibration as the vehicle moves.
- One of the first steam cars was supposed to carry four tons cargo. According to reports, it managed four passengers. The power-to-weight ratio of your design should be worse.
- Even if an armored train was possible (which I don't believe), taking it off the rails would require either wire tires or wide tracks, which increases rolling resistance and friction in the gearboxes.