A “trabuco” or “trebuchet” was a siege weapon which was utilized during the Medieval Period, in some cases to damage stone fortifications or to catapult projectiles over walls. A trebuchet is also sometimes referred to as a “counterweight trebuchet” to differentiate it from an earlier weapon called a “traction trebuchet”, a primitive version of the machine where the propulsive force was provided by men and not by a counterweight. These machines have a low rate of fire, of one to two shots per hour.

It is the same as an ancient rocket, which was used as a long-range weapon in the Middle Ages. The projectile it carried also has a radius of effectiveness that compensates for the relative inaccuracy of the shot. Details on the leather of the sling pocket, the ropes, on the various pieces of the frame and their length allows historians, by cross-checking with other documents, to faithfully reconstitute these machines.

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A rod mounted on a wooden frame supports a counterweight, which allows a trebuchet to launch a projectile attached to the other end of the arm, in a kind of slingshot. Improvements in the ammunition made it possible for a trebuchet to achieve the mass destruction that is still sought after in the use of artillery according to pt.bab.la. Therefore, a trebuchet was a weapon of deep, powerful and permanent destruction.

The trabuco is undoubtedly the most famous siege weapon of the Middle Ages. This type of gear was used by the besiegers as well as by the besieged. Conversely, if the ball does not fire, it returns to smash the frame. The men had to bring the trebuchet into a horizontal position with the aid of ropes and a winch to allow the loaders to place the projectile in the pocket.

The history of artillery, since the weapons of the Ancients and of the Middle Ages, traces an effort aimed towards improving the power of the projectiles joined with a search for precision. The trabuco undoubtedly provided an improvement of the range and the mobility of the siege weapons of the Middle Ages. However, the trebuchet also provided an improvement of the means of supply, as it required tons of ammunition.

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