How Trabuco Came To Rule The Field Of Battle

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How Trabuco Came To Rule The Field Of Battle



While many people believe the medieval age was one of technological design and learning that really actually wasn’t the case. Culture still advanced and new things were discovered or improved upon. One example of this is the Trabuco. It was a siege engine of awesome power that was steadily improved upon making it a weapon of awesome power.

The Trabuco came to Europe from China, where it was invented. Byzantine was the first culture to incorporate these into their military operations. The advantages were readily apparent. It could fling massive rocks a long distance which could be used to kill swathes of enemy soldiers, take down structures, destroy defensive walls, and reduce a castle to rubble.

A Trabuco os basically a device that uses a counterweight and lever to throw a projectile. The first of these devices were powered by men. Originally a team of men would pull on a rope and once they released it the arm it would attached to would come crashing down sending the payload in a sling at the other side of the arm shooting forward. Later this was upgraded to using a staff sling. The final version of this weapon made use of a counterweight which delivered far more power than any team of men could deliver.


While stones were the usual thing a Trabuco would toss at an enemy fortress or army they were also loaded with other projectiles. Early versions of a Trabuco could cast at stone weighing up to 800 kg while later versions with a counterweight could cast stones weighing up to 1500 kg. Sometimes they would be loaded with either human or animal corpses on rare occasion. This occurred in 1422, for example, when Prince Korybut of the Hussite army sieged Karlstejn Castle according to He ordered that dead people and manure were to flung among the defenders of the castle.

Eventually, the Trabuco was replaced by gunpowder. Today they are still used but just for recreational or educational reasons. Sometimes new ones are built or older ones restored by people who used them in historical re-enactments of long ago battles, for example. How to build them had become a lost art near the end of the 16th century. It was in 1984 that a French engineer by the name of Renaud Beffeyte was able to design a modern-day one. He had found plans for them in a document he found that had been printed in 1324.

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