Pao (礟)

Ming Chinese Trebuchet
Side view of a Pao, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Ming Chinese Traction Trebuchet
Top view of a Pao, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Pao (礟, trebuchet) is the Chinese name for traction trebuchet. Also known as Pao (砲) during the previous dynasties, the latter term gradually became associated with guns and cannons. Traction trebuchet originated in China, its use reached the zenith during Song period. It became less important after the invention of cannons, but remained a useful weapon in Ming arsenal.

Ming Chinese inherited many Song period traction trebuchet designs, but did not seem to make use of any of them. Ming version of traction trebuchet was devised by general Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光). He greatly simplified the design and reduced the many variants of Song Dynasty traction trebuchet into one single type.

Although usually regarded as a siege weapon, traction trebuchet is more often used in siege defence.

Song Dynasty Light Trebuchet
He Pao (合砲, lit. 'Combined tribuchet'), the simplest of Song Dynasty tribuchets, is identical to Qi Ji Guang's design. Image taken from 'Wu Jing Zong Yao (《武經總要》)'.

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