The Rise, Fall, And Resurrection Of The Trabuco; The Ancient And Devastating War Machine

The Trabuco was one of the most destructive siege engines in the middle ages. Designed to fling incredibly large boulders into castle walls and fortifications, the Trabuco was supremely effective at it’s work; collapsing protective fortress constructs within three to five hits from the weapon.

The Trabuco was used thoroughly in combat throughout the middle ages, including in kingdom rivalries in Europe, where it went by the name the Trebuchet, as well as the crusades. The Trabuco’s origins are thought to be in ancient China where it is said a Chinese Commander independently designed the traction Trabuco to pin down Mongol invaders in a captured Chinese city. This record has been disputed in recent years as it has been discovered two Persian engineers were employed to develop further Trabucos for the Chinese army, indicating a previous knowledge of the weapon’s construction and function.


By the time gunpowder fully spread to the world, the Trabuco had ended it’s reign of the battlefield as cannons were extremely successful in collapsing fortress walls. The last known historical use of the Trabuco is by Herman Cortez during the conquest of Tenochtitl├ín, an Aztec capital city. Cortez’s use of the weapon was due to the lack of gunpowder and it is rumored that Cortez’s Trabuco collapsed upon itself before the first shot could be fired. One later use of the Trabuco is recorded in history according to In 1779 while British troops defended the Strait of Gibraltar against the Spanish they worried their firearms wouldn’t be enough and constructed a Trabuco, it’s success or failure is unknown.

In present day, Trabuco’s are often built by hobbyists, or medieval connoisseurs for backyard presentation and use, and are rarely seen in combat. However, a few instances of Trabuco’s rearing their ancient and destructive head have appeared in the news as of late. During the Syrian Civil War, in 2013, rebel troops were filmed using a counterweight Trabuco against police and government troops according to The rebel’s Trabuco was used to launch several types of explosives. In a similar manner during the Hrushevskoho Street riots, in the Ukraine, in protest of anti-protest laws, Trabuco’s were used to launch Molotov cocktails and bricks.

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