Siege Weapon

Trabuco: Ancient War Machine

A Trabuco is a weapon used in the Middle Ages to crush masonry walls by throwing projectiles over them, much like a catapult. In Brazil, a Trabuco is also a shotgun of large caliber. Diseased bodies were also sent via Trabuco in the Middle Ages as a form of biological warfare. Trabucos transform potential energy based on gravity into kinetic energy. The Trabuco is derived from a sling, which was used with a piece of wood that provided a better lever. A small type of Trabuco is more portable and transported with more facility and large trabucos require 15 to 45 men to launch.

Trabucos throw destructive balls into the enemy establishment which would take 12 days to be made ready. Trabucos were used in China by 1268, during the Jurchen Dynasty according to In 1421, the future Charles IV of France wanted a Trabuco made that would throw 800 kilos. Trabucos are essentially a sling which has the ability to throw rocks or larger than that , a platform with a big device that launches bodies, arrows, or other weapons. Making a Trabuco requires certain types of materials to have on hand such as wood. Size also varies depending on how big or small you want your Trabuco to be.


The Trabuco reached the Middle East through the Persians and the Byzantine Empire. The Vikings used Trabucos early on in medieval times. A Trabuco is also called a blunderbuss or a catapult which managed to reach England in 1216 according to Hernan Cortes used a Trabuco to attack the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Spanish attackers were driven off by use of the Trabuco even as in 1779 British forces had to defend the Strait of Gibraltar. The original Trabuco however had its origins in China, at the time of the Crusades.

Trabucos do not need a complicated mechanism to work. Gravitational potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy while something gets thrown via Trabuco. A tensile Trabuco is a Trabuco whose short beam was made to be used by people pulling attached to it. Trabuco use was documented by Wu Jing Yao de Zong in his military treatise, with an ability to throw a 140 pound stone at 80 meters. The hybrid Trabuco was built in the 13th century with the ability to add a weight to the short end, which gave more reach to the mechanism. The Crusades gave Europeans ample excuses to use Trabucos.

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