The Trabuco is a medieval siege weapon that was used to crush stone walls or throw projectiles over the walls. The device uses a mechanism similar to that of a catapult. The weapon is sometimes called a balancing Trabuco to differentiate it from other weapons that are similar. In some countries such as France, Brazil and Portugal the word refers to large caliber revolvers and shotguns.
The Chinese were the first to use the Trabuco in wars amongst themselves in 400 AD. The weapon then gained popularity in medieval Europe between 500 and 600 AD. It was the dominant weapon of war before gunpowder led to its demise. The Mongols, a tribal group in China, used it extensively in their war campaigns between the 11th to 13th centuries. The Mongols preferred method of attack was to use the Trabuco to hurl hot and heavy stones at their neighbors, the Xiangyang and Fancheng. Several Persian engineers and the Byzantine Empire introduced the weapon to Europe and the Middle East based on dicionarioinformal.com.br. The North Germans were the first European nation to use the Trabuco.
The Trabuco works in a manner similar to a sling. The potential energy of the counterweight due to gravity is converted to kinetic energy in the projectile. However, some of the energy is lost due to energy loss caused by friction, heat and sound. The machine is quite large requiring a team of 15 to 45 men to put it in place and operate it. The men are divided into two groups that control the ropes used to maneuver the counter weight. There were some small Trabuco’s that were designed to be operated by one person. According to youtube.com the mass of the counter weight was directly proportional the velocity and distance travelled by the projectile. Medieval engineers recommended that the counterweight have a mass 120 times that of the projectile. Many modern physics instructors use the device to demonstrate the physical principals of kinetic energy and potential gravity.
Many modern day enthusiasts have built their own Trabucos for recreational purposes on zomato.com. They then have mock battles using foam balls, paper balls or grapes. People make either small ones for indoor use or large ones for outdoor use.
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