Trabuco, The Powerful Ancient Siege Weapon

The Trabuco, which is also called trebuchet, is a medieval weapon used in the middle ages in siege warfare. It worked just like the catapult or stave sling. Soldiers in the medieval period used the Trabuco to hurl massive stones into castle walls and enemy fortifications. Its engineers built it to provide a more devastating impact as compared to the conventional sling. The power of Trabuco could smash enemy buildings and walls into rubble within a few days. This was a big deal in the ancient times.

The medieval war machine consisted of a lever and a string. The lever measured up to 60 feet to give the weapon an extra reach. According to, the engineer placed a pivot on the arm, ensuring that the effort arm was shorter than the load arm. They hanged a counterweight on the shorter side. The weight was basically a ballast box filled with soil, sand, and stones. Consequently, the builders attached the sling to the longer load arm. It had a leather pouch onto which the payload was placed. When the troops dropped the counterweight, it lifted the sling at a high force hurling the ammunition over great distances.

The Trabuco’s origin dates back to China in 300BC. The first design was called the traction Trabuco. Its primary power source was a large group of men pulling down ropes attached to the effort arm. It required several people to generate a throwing force that could inflict considerable damage. This weapon was later adopted by the French in the period referred to as the Dark Ages in 500AD according to

The French used the Trabuco for quite some time but faced different technical challenges. For instance, it was quite difficult to control the troops of men who provided the pulling force. Therefore, they redesigned the Trabuco by introducing the concept of the counterweight. Based on, the weapon became more powerful and could throw a payload of up to 140 pounds.

When the Trabuco reached the Middle East in the thirteenth century, the Arab merchants modified it further by increasing the weight of the counterbalance. It was now able to throw a payload of up to 400pounds. The Trabuco was later used to devastate Europe and other kingdoms until gunpowder cannons replaced it.

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