Trabuco: The Ancient Weapon Of Mass Destruction And Biological Warfare

It is hard imagining a weapon of mass destruction as anything but nuclear. Weapons of Mass Destruction are not just relegated to things that explode, but rather weapons that reek massive amounts of damage. A weapon that can throw large objects weighing up to 2000 lbs, almost 800 meters, with finite accuracy would definitely fit that list. The damage such a falling object could reek would be devastating. The Trabuco is an ancient weapon of mass destruction, it is also carries the distinction of being an ancient biological weapon. Like the bow and arrow that come before it, the breech weapon revolutionized warfare, and commanded the court until firearms showed up in the Sixteenth Century. It is a prime example of the ingenuity, and violence of mankind.


Developed in China around 400 BC the Trabuco was first designed as a breeching device. Its job was to knock down walls. The Tensile Trabuco was a counterweight that used a sling to hurl objects. Its operators had to pull a series of strings at precisely the same time, with precisely the same strength. Later on, the Chinese would stack dead bodies in the sling, and hurl them at the enemy in hopes of spreading disease. Eventually through trade and use, the siege weapon would make its way to the Middle East and Europe according to England would be exposed to it during the Crusades, and like kids at school drooling over a fidget spinner, soon everyone would have one. They would also improve the weapon. The Arabs would add a second weight to enhance distance, and Europeans would add a counterbalance to increase weight. This counterbalance, called a blunderbuss, would allow the counterweight to fire 2000 lbs. projectiles. Thus, the ancient Chinese siege weapon would become a weapon of Mass Destruction according to

Despite its power and popularity the Trabuco would not survive the advent of firearms. The gunpowder laden shooters would prove too useful, especially with the development of canons. Everyone would move to outfit their armies with the latest firepower, and explosives would replace counterbalance hurlers as breech initiatives. Today the Trabuco is relegated to the museum, or the classroom, as its counterbalance design is an excellent teaching aid.

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