Trabuco’s Historical Relevance In War

Trabuco is a siege weapon from the middle ages with the earliest recorded use from around 600 AD, these weapons did not loose their desirability in battle until the use of gun powder became more accessible and streamline around 1779.

A Trabuco is like a catapult, designed to transfer gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy to cause damage to an opponent from an extreme distance. In simpler terms, Trabucos used the weight and position of (A) object to transfer momentum into (B) object so as to ‘throw’ (B) object to a location at a specific distance. Trabuco has a rectangular base with multiple triangular support systems on the sides that support a middle lever that is long on one end and short on the other, to accommodate and offset the weight of the projectile situated on the long end of the lever according to The short end of the lever is weighted to build momentum for the projectile when the lever is released. This is how the Trabuco can throw it’s projectile such distances. However the weight of the short end must be proportionate to the weight of the projectile in order for it to function properly.

The use of Trabuco weapons were primarily designed to be larger, sometimes taking up to twelve days to be built, with the use of 15-45 men to operate the strings which controlled the lever that would throw the objects. With the invention of the traction bolt they were able to design a smaller and more portable Trabuco which in turn required less men to operate and less supplies to build. According to, the potential distance and weight of projectiles varied depending on the size of the Trabuco. Able to throw projectiles at high speeds, Trabuco were able to hit their targets anywhere from 300-800 meters away with relative accuracy and were predominantly designed to crush masonry walls. On occasion Trabuco were also used for biological warfare, like in the siege of Karlštejn in 1422, by throwing diseased bodies or manure into enemy territory with the hope of severely weakening an enemies numbers with disease and infection.

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