The Trabuco was a siege weapon similar to a catapult. It was originally invented by the Chinese who had upgraded the traditional sling by using a piece of wood as leverage. They also invented the traction bolt which played a big role in the evolution of the Trabuco.
Trabucos came in many different sizes. Some were very portable and only required a few men to operate. However, these could not handle very heavy loads. Some of these portable Trabuco could be operated by a single person using their own body weight to leverage the traction bolt. In contrast, some of the more heavier duty Trabucos had to be operated by dozens of men and could take up to two weeks to deploy on the field of battle.
Some of the more heavy duty Trabucos were capable of launching large stones weighing up to 3300 pounds! More commonly though, stones weighing about 200 pounds were used and were thrown to an average distance of about 900 feet. Whichever projectile was used, the Trabuco was very effective at reducing a cites defenses to rubble in a fairly short amount of time. There was one instance during an attack on Lisbon where two Trabucos were used to launch stones in 15-second intervals based on pt.bab.la.
Stones were not always the only projectiles used. Sometimes diseased bodies and manure were launched over the walls into the siege city to cause disease among the occupants. This was especially common during the outbreak of Bubonic plague when diseased bodies were more common.
The use of Trabucos started to be replaced by cannons once gunpowder became prevalent towards the end of the 15th century, but they would still be used occasionally when gunpowder was scarce. The last known use of a Trabuco during warfare was in 1779 by the British against invading Spanish forces.
Today, Trabucos are admired by history buffs and engineers according to lista.mercadolivre.com.br. School children will also sometimes build model Trabucos as a way to explain physics.
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