Trebuchet—Destruction from Afar The first form of trebuchets were used in the early centuries as early as 500 BC in China. The most advanced trebuchets so excelled in range and accuracy that they were still used a century after the introduction of gunpowder cannons.
Trebuchets were used almost exclusively in castle sieges. The time necessary for aiming meant that they could only fire at stationary targets. During a castle siege, trebuchets would be set up outside of the range of archers. From this safe location, they would hurl things such as diseased animal carcasses, beehives, and even baskets of poisonous snakes and to disrupt defenders.
Trebuchets were used predominantly to attack castles, but they could also hit units that had to remain stationary — namely, other trebuchets. Many castles employed trebuchets within their walls that they could fire against attacking siege engines. Because of its high trajectory, the trebuchet could launch from behind the castle walls and out of sight of the attacking forces.
A trebuchet could throw a 300 pound boulder over 300 meters, and, once aimed, could hit the same target, several times, all within 1 square meter!
The physics of the trebuchet led to refined physics theories of vector forces, work (force times distance), levers and fulcrums, and even some of Galileo's discoveries!
Questions: (To be answered in complete sentences with explanations)
1) What are some similarities/ differences among the different kinds of trebuchets you saw in the video? Please explain, citing examples from the videos.
2) What physics laws/theories have you learned this year that applies to the workings of the trebuchet?
3) What laws/theories present in the trebuchet do you encounter in your daily life? Provide examples.
4) What modern weapons replaced the trebuchets?
5) David killed Goliath using a sling, explain how a sling is used in a trebuchet.
6) What did you think of the videos? What did you think of the trebuchet?
7) Please list any questions you have about the trebuchets—you must list at least 3!
Meng, Leong Kit, (2005). A brief history of the catapult, retrieved February 3, 2008 from http://authors.history-forum.com/liang_jieming/chinesesiegewarfare/siegewarfare-briefhistory.html
Williamson, Mitch (2008). Trebuchet catapults, Armor Ship and Aircraft, January 12, 2008m retrieved February 3, 2008 from http://armorshipaircraft.blogspot.com/2008/01/trebuchet-catapults.html