The Trabuco, the Trebuchet, the huihui; the Trabuco, the middle age’s most devastating, and most popular siege engine, goes by many names thanks to it’s spreading from China into the Mediterranean and then to Europe. A siege engine is a weapon designed to collapse castle and fortress walls, making it easier for conquering armies to invade the inner most caverns of fortifications, which were often less protected than outer walls.
The Trabuco could shatter most fortifications within only a few hits of the massive boulders which it used for ammunition, and as a result became one of the most feared weapons on the battlefield during medieval times. In essence, the Trabuco existed in two separate variants over it’s years of development.
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The traction Trabuco is most commonly thought of being developed and constructed independently by Chinese commander Qiang Shen during the Mongol invasions. The weapon was developed to pin down the invaders in a conquered Chinese city in a unique battle strategy by the commander. However, this assessment of being independently built by the Chinese has come under fire in recent years, as it was found that two Persian engineers were enlisted to aid the Chinese army in developing further Trabuco’s for use, indicating knowledge of the weapon’s design and functions before the time of the Chinese development. In fact, the Chinese name for the weapon, the Huihui is a direct translation for the Chinese word from Muslim according to youtube.com. From China, the Trabuco spread to the Mediterranean by way of a nomadic group of Russian decedents known as The Avars.
When the traction Trabuco reach the Mediterranean, the design was improved upon to create the counterweight Trabuco, which removed the sling from which the traction based weapon functioned and replaced it with a counterweight that was operated from a lever. Not only did this make the weapon launch it’s contents further, but made the Trabuco easier to operate, ensuring it’s further development on the battlefield. When the counterweight Trabuco reached Europe, where it was used extensively in Kingdom rivalry conflicts, and the Crusades, the weapon took on the moniker of the Trebuchet.