Trabucos: A Forgotten But Effective Weapon

The Trabucos is a war machine designed to function like a catapult. It has its origins in China before the technology got adapted in Europe as well as the middle east. The Trabucos may be overtaken by modern technological artillery, but it remains a historic weapon that was highly effective in breaching enemy lines.

The Trabuco resembles a seesaw with one arm longer than the other. The long end is fitted with a sling that will hurl a stone towards enemy lines based on The shorter end is fitted with an overweight that generates kinetic energy required to sling the massive stone several meters and hit the target.

Types of Trabucos

According to, there are two types of Trabucos; the tension Trabuco and hybrid Trabuco. Each was used at a different time in history to fight specific wars.

The earliest form of a Trabuco was the tension Trabuco. Historic records show that it originated from China and was used by the likes of general Wu Jing Yao de Zong according to This Trabuco had to be operated by a manpower of up to 200 people to generate enough tension to sling the stone forward.

Though effective, the tension Trabuco had its limitations. Given it was operated by men, it was difficult to generate the same amount of traction to hit the same target again. This drawback saw the tension Trabuco get phased out after the 11th century.

Arab merchants were the first people to take the Trabuco technology to the middle east. The problem of building traction was solved by attaching an overweight on the short end of the Trabuco. Now the kinetic energy required to hurl the stone depended entirely on how much overweight was applied. This slight tweak led to the birth of the second kind of Trabucos, the Hybrid Trabuco.

The Hybrid Trabuco became an instant success over the tension Trabuco. It was easier to generate the same amount of tension to hit the exact target over and over. A hybrid Trabuco had the potential of hurling over 400 pounds of weight and could fire as many shots as required.

Trabucos in Warfare

A Trabuco was used for two main reasons in war. One, it hurled large stones heavy enough to tear down enemy walls and gates. Secondly, flaming heavy objects could be shot from the Trabuco aimed directly at an advanced enemy.

The Hybrid Trabuco ceased to be a war weapon when gun powder was invented. Nevertheless, it remains to be one of the effective weapons of war to crush enemy forces.

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