Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trebuchets. Technology for the Last Millenium.

The Great Northern Medieval Faire is coming up soon. (well, June 3rd). There will be trebuchets throwing cabbages. Yours truly will be there. We're looking for targets. Just kidding! But if you're willing ... Still kidding! "Students seeking volunteer hours for a credit are welcome." Normally, I don't like required volunteerism, but this is a pretty cool way to work off that indentured servitude, if you ask me. More below the jump. and pictures.

Medieval News also announced the event. If you can make it, we'd love to see you. Naturally, I'll be there but not as the Curmudgeon. Even if you ask, I'll still deny it!

For those unclear on the exact meaning of "trebuchet", it is not a catapult. A catapult has a straight boom with a bucket on the end, as seen to the left. The arm throws the payload. The throwing forces are generated by a twisted skein of rope at the axle. 

A trebuchet is a later invention (French) that augments the straight arm with a sling, and replaces the rope skein with a hanging basket of stone.

The trebuchet's sling cannot carry the huge loads that the catapult could handle but it increases the range by a factor of three or four and made repeatability, aim and accuracy easily achievable. With a small change to the slide, the "landing point" can be adjusted by fractions of a degree. With changes to the hook, the range can be adjusted, too. All in all, a shot from 400 yards can be repeated at will, pounding the same section of wall again and again. Tolerance is +- 2 feet at 300 yards with a 100 pound stone.

Below is a scale model of "Warwolf", King Edward's coup de grace at Sterling Castle. One shot took out the gatehouse (or a section of the wall, depending on who you ask). The castle defenders decided that was a good enough demonstration of its capabilities and surrendered.
Warwolf, ca 1304
Writing across the curriculum, my foot. Give me FIREPOWER!

1 comment:

  1. We're doing it again, this year May 26th to 29th, 2011. We've posted the rules for the Trebuchet Contest early enough to actually get some competitors this year!!!!! Hoping to see the Curmudgeon come out.