From about the middle of the thirteenth century, the trebuchet superseded the catapult. The preference
for the trebuchet was due to the fact that it was able to cast stones of 300 or more pounds. In other words,
the trebuchet could launch weights that were five or six times as heavy as those the largest catapults
The stones of 50 to 60 pounds thrown by siege catapults would no doubt destroy towers and battlements, as
the result of the constant and concentrated bombardment of many engines. One huge stone of 300 pounds slung from a trebuchet
would however shake the strongest defensive masonry and easily break through the upper parts of the walls of a fortress.
The trebuchet was essentially an engine for destroying the defences of a fortification, so that it might
be entered by means of scaling ladders or in other ways. The trebuchet made by order of Napoleon
III., and described in his ' Etudes sur l'artillerie,' had an arm 33 ft. in length with a counterpoise of 10,000 pounds weight
to work it. This machine projected a 50 pound cannon-ball 200 yards, but was so lightly constructed that its full power
could not be safely applied.