Trabuco: Siege Engine Of The Middle Ages

Of all of the siege engines used in the Middle Ages, nothing compared to the power and destructive capabilities of the Trabuco. Similar to its cousin the catapult, the Trabuco (also known as the counterbalance blunderbuss) was designed to fling heavier objects further distances. However, unlike its cousin, its design was less complex making it easier to operate and maintain.

One of the earlier models of the Trabuco was the tensile Trabuco according to It was designed with a short lever that was pulled to activate its throwing power and took around 80 people to operate. It was recorded by the Wu Jing military to be capable of hurling a 140 pound rock a distance of 80 meters. This model of Trabuco on had the ability to fire five shots a minute, which was an incredibly impressive display of power at the time. The tensile Trabuco was commonly used until it was retired in the eleventh century in exchange for a more refined model.

The hybrid Trabuco was developed from the tensile model. Extra weight was added onto the short end arm for the purpose of quickly reaching the weapon. This model was discovered by the Europeans during the crusades who were so impressed by its operability that they decided to return home with one. In the thirteenth century, the Europeans further modified the design by adding greater weight which much improved the accuracy of the scale. The hybrid Trabuco had previously been recorded to be able to throw a 400 pound stone, but the modifications enabled the primitive machine to throw stones that weighed over one ton at an even farther distance than previously before. This modification led to the creation of the counterweight blunderbuss.

The introduction of the Trabuco to the European theater gave a great advantage to the armies who were able to field it based on The use of this weapon in Europe forever changed the way siege warfare was conducted. Cities were designed and upgraded to counter the use of the Trabuco which resulted in the design of walls that were thicker and higher. This change proved costly and time consuming. As a result at, most nations were unable to adapt to the onslaught brought on by these war machines.

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