The trebuchet was a wooden siege engine designed to destroy castle walls by throwing large rocks at them. The engine was constructed using a sturdy base, a long throwing arm and a bucket to hold weights. The projectile was connected by a rope to the end of the throwing arm while the bucket at the other end of the arm was filled with a heavy material. The arm was winched down lifting the bucket into the air and secured in place while the projectile was attached. The projectile rested on a flat piece of wood. The projectile was connected to the arm and the firing mechanism released. The weight of the bucket brought the other end of the arm down and sent the projectile flying into the air. At the top of the arc the projectile was released and sent speeding to hit the castle wall. The direction of the projectile could be controlled by moving it left and right on the board. The distance could be controlled by altering the shape of the release pin on the end of the arm, the amount of weight in the bucket or the weight of the projectile itself.
Trebuchets came in many shapes and sizes, some having wheels so they could be moved around the siege landscape. Trebuchets were built as kits that could be assembled and disassembled and transported in sections to where they were needed. All the pieces slotted together and were fixed with wooden or metal pegs.
Rocks were not the only things that were thrown by trebuchets. It was common to throw urns filled with flammable material into the castle where many of the buildings were made of wood. The urn had a lit fuse that would have ignited the material when the urn broke. Dead animals were another type of projectile thrown into castles. Animals that were diseased were preferred as they could spread disease if they landed in the castle's water source.
Being constructed of wood made trebuchets vunerable to attack by fire and had to be protected from this danger.
Explore a landscape showing different kinds of siege engine, including the trebuchet, siege tower and battering ram.
Take control of a medieval trebuchet to destroy the enemy castle and capture their flag.