Trabuco, The Mighty War Machine

The Trabuco was a fearsome siege machine that has been used throughout human history, specifically in the Middle Ages. The weapon was simple, especially compared to modern day artillery, yet they were extremely effective. Based off the same concept of the simple sling, the Trabuco evolved from that basic idea by adding a lever and a counterweight.

These additions made the Trabuco easier to use and greatly increased the force of it’s thrown projectile. A ordinary sling could throw a small pebble hard enough to bruise or maybe even draw blood. The projectiles of one of these large machines could bring down the massive stone walls that protected cities from attack or reliably attack targets that those walls protected. Some of them could throw a boulder, or a variety of different types and sizes of projectiles, at high speed at a target up to eight hundred meters away. This was a stark improvement over similar war machines, like the catapult.


These siege machines first entered the historical record in the Middle East, but they spread throughout Europe and Asia according to It changed how war was fought, and what was achievable through military conflict. There are plenty of historical stories about how, when a civilization first encountered them, such as the Chinese, they were shocked by the damage these weapons were able to inflict upon their once strong defenses.

However, the Trabuco had it’s problems. These war machines required a lot of resources to build, along with needing a lot of time to actually build. Only the wealthiest of armies could reliably use these siege machines in battle. Compared to earlier siege machines, they also required a large crew. Finally, another common problem was a lack of mobility. The Trabuco could not easily be moved, and often had to be dismantled and rebuilt at a new location.

These problems, though, did not stop the Trabuco from having a long military history and they were used throughout the Middle Ages according to They were used until the spread of gunpowder made them obsolete. Cannons and other artillery pieces were more simple and more effective.

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