The introduction of Trabuco siege engines on the field of battle altered how wars were fought in the Middle Ages. It was far more destructive than any device which had preceded it. They also were easy for engineers to use and maintain which added to their effectiveness. Over times castles became obsolete solely due to these ingenious war engines.
A Trabuco could take down a protective wall in just three to five volleys. The first use of these devices occurred in ancient China. A Chinese Commander had come up with the concept on his own when he was trying to figure out how to eliminate some Mongol invaders that had overtaken a city in that nation. It took centuries for Trabuco’s to make their way to Europe but once they did most European armies incorporated them into their forces. Because each Trabuco could be fired five times a minute they could quickly take down walls and destroy every structure ahead of it.
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The most common thing to fire from a Trabuco was boulders. However, sometimes the goal was to kill the enemy soldiers and not so much to destroy a castle or fortification according to spanishdict.com. In order to do so this war engine could be equipped to fire ceramic balls instead. Inside these giant balls there was a flammable liquid which would be set on fire just prior to being launched at the enemy. When the balls hit something the ceramic would shatter and burning liquid would spray out all over the enemy causing severe burns and death. Another tactic was to fill a Trabuco with farm animals which had died of a disease and shoot those at enemy formations.
Trabuco’s were used for centuries. What eventually made them obsolete were cannons and gunpowder which proved to be even more effective. Nowadays hobbyists continue to build Trabuco’s and use them in contests at fair where they often fire off pumpkins to see who can shoot them the farthest. Science teachers in junior highs and high schools sometimes build them as well so that they can teach their students the principals of physics. The last one to actually be used in battle was in 1779 when the British Army built one in order to defend the Strait of Gibralter according to priberam.pt. Whether it was effective or not wasn’t written down so nobody know if they were able to defeat the Spanish with it or not.
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