Used by castle commanders during times of peace to hurl roses to ladies during tournaments, trebuchets proved a deadly weapon in the field of ancient warfare. Flinging a wide variety of objects hundreds of yards, the trebuchet became the weapon of choice for laying siege to a castle. Its incredible range could often place it beyond the effectual defense range of the castle archers, thereby permitting the besiegers to destroy the defender's walls with little interference. During extended sieges, trebuchets were often used to hurl large quantities of dung, dead animals, and other such items to encourage disease throughout the besieged city.
Trebuchets earned a reputation for being much more accurate and precise than their onager and catapult counterparts. Not only was this accuracy a benefit, but being based on rotational motion and leverage rather than torsion (spring power) and lacking in a throwing arm stop, the trebuchet proved a much safer alternative for the personnel operating it. Onagers and Mangonels would literally explode on occasion when the torsion proved too great or a crack developed in the throwing arm due to the rapid stops it experienced.
All in all, the Trebuchet was a fearsome weapon of mass destruction during the Middle Ages, a force to be reckoned with. Trebuchets only lost favor when cannons emerged, and the primary benefit of the cannon that the trebuchet lacked was not in fact power, but rather mobility. Smaller, more maneuverable cannons rapidly overran the position of the trebuchet in most armies across the world.
Warwolf, the legendary trebuchet built by the English Army to destroy Castle Urquhart, which was located in the Highlands of Scotland, on the shores of the also infamous Loch Ness. Part of King Edward I's Scottish campaign, Warwolf stood some 60 feet high and had a throwing arm over 50 feet long.
According to Ron's research, the original Warwolf was capable of launching a 250 pound rock a stunning 600 feet. If this particular model were to be increased to its full size, it would be capable of hurling 1000 pound boulders, significantly greater strength than its medieval counterpart.
While the invention of the trebuchet has been accredited to the Chinese sometime around 200 AD, it may well have been in use several hundred years before Christ. It is not clear how the technology made its way to the middle east, but suffice to say it was...