9 Medieval War Machines

The castle contains an exhibition of siege machines including a trebuchet, a couillard (a form of trebuchet with split counterweights and a rotating beam), a bricole (a rotating-beam stone-throwing device), a ballista and a battering ram. The machines are full-sized replicas and the catapults can fire to distances in excess of 200 metres. War engines such as these were in common use in the Middle Ages, especially in Les Baux-de-Provence.

 

The biggest trebuchet in France (16 metres high)

As powerful as it was accurate, with a range of 200 metres, it could fire a 50 to 100 kg load of boulders using its lever system. Weighing 7 tonnes, 60 soldiers were required to install and man it. The trebuchet at Château des Baux de Provence is unique model, equipped with a wheelsystem in contrast to more basic trebuchets with a winch system.

 

The couillard (14th-16th century)

This counterweight machine consisted of two articulated hutches, which made it easier to operate by dividing the loads to be handled into two. This machine's performance enabled it to compete against powder artillery for a long time due to its rate of fire and the small number of men needed to operate it (4 to 8 men).

 

The bricole (12th century)

The bricole is a medieval piece of artillery. Consisting of a lever with a pocket containing projectiles at the end of it, the bricole was operated by pulling the other end of the lever, with traction facilitated by adding a counterweight. This formidable siege machine could fire a 10 to 30 kg rock by minute. During displays, visitors can fire the bricole themselves.

 

The battering ram

The battering ram, recently restored, visitors can admire this tool of war favoured in assaults! 8 metres in lenght, it was used to break down the gates of towns and forteresses, whilst protecting the assaillants under its heavy wheeled framework from projectiles, even if they were on fire. In fact, its framework was coverde with flame-resistent materials: manure, earth, long grass, etc.