The Trabuco: The War Machine That Inspired Revolutions

How the Trabuco works
The Trabuco converts the projectile’s potential energy into kinetic energy. The system loses some energy through friction and heat affecting its accuracy. Proper calculations have to be done to determine the weight and distance needed to hit the target with a projectile.

The velocity of the projectile depends on its weight. Heavier projectiles have a stronger launch than lighter ones according to The five parts that make up the machine are the beam, the frame, sling, counterweight and the guide chute.

Today, Physics teachers use the Trabuco to teach concepts such as mechanics. Toys and fun games, like the annual World Pumpkin Throwing Championships held in America, use smaller or modified versions of the Trabuco.


Types of Trabuco

The tensile Trabuco
About two hundred and fifty soldiers operated it to fling a hundred and forty kilograms weight for eighty meters. Although it could impressively shoot four times a minute, it was difficult to make the soldiers pull at the machine the same way, repeatedly. This affected the results and made Trabuco unpopular by the eleventh century.

The hybrid Trabuco
It was first used by the Arab merchants who redesigned the tensile Trabuco by adding a weight to the shorter end of the beam. This made it easier to operate than the tensile Trabuco. Records show that this weapon was used to destroy the walls of Damietta, a city in Egypt, by hauling a 400-kilogram weight at it.

The Europeans widely used it in the crusades, and they continued to improve on its design to throw heavier weights a longer distance away according to The newer designs were more efficient and accurate.

Soldiers started using it to throw other objects other than stones using this weapon. Human skulls, infected dead animals, hot stones and sand barrels were used, especially in the European crusades.

Find more about Trabuco: