The Trabuco, A Siege Weapon Of Yesteryear

Among the many weapons created by mankind during the Middle Ages for siege warfare none was more powerful than the Trabuco, or Trebuchet as it was more commonly known as.

This war machine was inspired by the sling and would be used to send all sorts of projectiles flying for a variety of purposes with three different designs that showed the progress of technology advancement at their times of creation. The first two designs however were massively overshadowed by the third due to its efficiency. This model is known as the counterweight Trabuco and was the most preferred version of it as it no longer required people to act as the lever or counterweight for the launch. It was so preferred that the other two versions that preceded it were never used again in recorded history.


The first recorded instance of the Counterweight Trabuco dates back to Mardi ibn Ali al-Tarsusi in the 12th Century while he was taking on conquests at the behest of Saladin according to It also appeared in the same century under control of the Byzantine Empire. From there on the Trabuco would appear throughout the wars waged in Europe for several centuries to come. Perhaps the most famous Trabuco in history is the “Warwolf” created by the order of King Edward I of England for the Siege of Stirling Castle. Needing 30 wagons for disassembled transportation, standing at 300-400 feet when fully assembled, and having needed 5 master carpenters and 49 laborers to build within 3 months, this mammoth of a war machine’s appearance alone inspired those against it to surrender. Furthermore, the Warwolf was capable of launching objects up to 300 pounds/136 kg accurately and was able to level a castle wall with a single shot according to

Like with all inventions however, the Trabuco would eventually be replaced. With the emergence of gunpowder, cannons soon became the preferred siege weapon. The last recorded use of a Trabuco was the 1521 siege of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán where the Trabuco fired only one shot that wound up landing upon it and destroying itself.