The Trabuco & The Innovation Of Medieval Assault Weapons

     Prior to the emergence of gunpowder, the ancient medieval weapon called the Trabuco remained a staple in military conflicts around the world. They first came into play around 400 BC, crafted in China. It wasn’t until 600 AD that Trabucos appeared in the European theater, where they were utilized to great effect.

The Trabuco is known as a siege weapon. It’s combat function is to do destroy fortifications, walls, and other structures at the event of a siege. It belongs to the same family of weaponry as the catapult and battering ram. Additionally, the trabuco can be used to hurl any number of projectiles over protective masonry. The weapon could be operated from a great distance. Some could throw over a hundred kilos of weaponized weight and maintain accuracy. Warring parties used them to pelt their enemies with everything from weighted balls to disease infected corpses over massive barriers.

The overall function of the Trabucho revolves around shifting gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. It utilized what is effectively a large sling. The speed of the projectile is directly related to the counterweight. The bigger the counterweight, the faster the projectile is hurled. To understand the Trabucho, it is important to know the sling, one of the first weapons crafted by men. Greeks and Hebrews provided the earliest evidence of their use. Quite simply, a sling is elastic leather or rope bent at the center where whatever projectile one intends to eject is placed. There are a multitude of unique, modified slings’. One of the said modified slings was bolstered by a piece of wood that served as a more sound lever to help lengthen the weapon through tension, thus generating a more powerful shot. From there, the Trabucho evolved. A large weapon, it often required at least fifteen, sometimes fifty people to operate. It demands the strength of many men to create tension via strength and tension. The Trabucho required people to pull the lever’s shorter arm by a collection of attached strings, all while the long arm of the lever is connected to the smaller one, creating velocity.

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