The Trebuchet


A trebuchet is an engine that hurls large projectiles. They are extremely accurate and were used mainly to breach castle walls and destroy buildings inside.

Type of Weapon: Siege engine
Uses: Hurls projectiles
Weight: 10 tons
Ballast weight: 2 tons
Projectile weight: 15 kg
History: Largest and best-known siege engine of the Middle Ages

A trebuchet is an engine that hurls large projectiles. They are extremely accurate and were used mainly to breach castle walls and destroy buildings inside, or sometimes to project dead animals over the castle walls to spread disease.

Counterweight trebuchets work by counterpoise, powered by the weight of suspended ballast. In operation, the end of the arm is winched down and the missile placed in its sling on the runner beneath; upon release the arm swings back sharply, propelling the missile forward from its sling.

Trebuchet weights and projectile weight can vary greatly. Figures based on Caerphilly Castle hinged counterweight trebuchet fired by host Dan Snow in Battle Castle: Crac des Chevaliers. Siege engine is a replica designed for longevity and educational purposes, so range and projectile weight are lower than medieval siege engines. Statistics provided by Peter Humphries, former interpretation manager for Cadw