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.