Trebuchets Vs. Catapults


courtesy of David Demaret from Art Station

Joel Woodcook, Staff Writer

Of all the ages of the world, the Medieval Ages are some of the most iconic. During this time period, many advancements were made in technology and warfare, making it an interesting topic in both history and fictional writing. One great feat of engineering from this time was the siege weaponry: specifically, the invention of the catapult and of the trebuchet.

Such siege weapons were used to fling large stones at castles, allowing the attacking army to enter through holes created in the walls. While the purpose is the same for all siege weaponry, the execution of them is quite different. Catapults were made primarily by using a rope to bend back a wooden beam, the release of which would throw a stone into the air.

Trebuchets, on the other hand, used a massive counterweight on a long wooden arm, allowing gravity to apply force to the stone. While both were effective, they each had benefits and drawbacks. Catapults were not nearly as large, making their creation less expensive and their transportation much easier. Trebuchets, being much larger, were more difficult to build and transport.

Catapults are much easier to use that trebuchets are,” stated Leonardo Rivera, a student at ALHS.

Trebuchets do have their advantages though. Catapults are limited greatly by the strength of their parts, and as such have a limited range. This is not nearly as great a problem for trebuchets, which used gravity to work. Because of this, trebuchets threw rocks with much more force at a much greater range. As such, they were the superior choice for those preparing to lay siege.

“Trebuchets are far more powerful than catapults, making them more effective,” stated Rivera.