The Trabuco is an ancient artillery weapon that was capable of launching large objects at any enemy in the time of war. Similar to a catapult, but more powerful, a Trabuco could launch stones, burning iron, and heavy materials at an enemy, mainly to break down walls and buildings and terrorize troops.
Thought to be invented by the Chinese around 400 BC it was one of the most feared of weapons because of the heavy load that it could fling over long distances according to dicio.com.br. The weapon was build of heavy wooden beams and utilized the principle of leverage to throw heavier objects over long distances with greater speed and velocity.
Trabuco used the principle of a counterweight that added to the kinetic energy by using the force of gravity along with a large fulcrum that flung the stones or material out towards the enemy. It was the ideal weapon to break down the masonry of castle walls that protected enemy troops and buildings.
The Trabuco was used quite a bit during the middle ages and during the Crusades when Christian armies from Europe were at war with the Islamic countries according to wordreference.com. Although it took a fairly long time to build the machine, and then operate it, it was a weapon that put fear in the heart of an enemy.
The principal of the machine was to raise a heavy counterweight to a great height within the machine. Then when the lever was tripped while at the same time the counterweight was dropped, the resulting kinetic energy was sufficient to throw a 100-pound weight over 400 meters on youtube.com. If an army had ten or twenty of these horrifying machines, it could make short work of the wall of a fortification or a castle.
When gunpowder was invented and put into general use in cannons and similar weaponry, the Trabuco was abandoned because the gunpowder fired weapons were much more efficient and easier to move and operate. However, when the Trabuco was the main siege weapon, it would be terrifyingly effective against enemy fortifications. Once fortifications were breached with this terrible weapon, an advancing army could engage the enemy on even terms.