Trebuchets Today!


[treb-yoo-shet, treb-yoo-shet]–noun

A medieval engine of war with a sling for hurling missiles.

The trebuchet also was used in an early form of biological warfare. It was common practice to throw whole – preferably – rotten cow carcasses over the castle walls in the hope of spreading disease amongst the inhabitants.

Today we ventured over to The Citadel Military College in Charleston where thirteen area high schools, four teams from The Citadel and two businesses took part in a competition that pitted their re-creations of trebuchets against each other.

The Citadel

No dead cows  were flung,  but the challenge  was hotly contested and a lot of fun to watch.  Each team had four tries to hurl an orange at a target downrange and was awarded points  depending on what part of it they hit.  All of the trebuchets were different designs  and took obvious skill along with a large dose of luck to get them to work properly.  At least twice during the competition oranges flew backwards instead of towards their intended target.

Making final adjustments before launching an orange at the target.


A short video of a trebuchet being fired.

The teams were as varied as their machines.

The Navy’s entry was as complex as a battleship, complete with signal flags.

Civil Engineering Cadets from the Citadel hustle their trebuchet to the firing-line. They were the overall winners of the competition.

The Porter Gaud  School team won the  high school division and took second place in the overall competition.

Not sure who this team was but they sure dressed well.

The Siege Team, complete with swords.

The Citadel’s Trebuchet Competition was such a success that it will be an annual event.  I think a Tom’s Page team just might have to enter!

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