The Heavy Awesomest Guide to Catapults: Let’s Fling Some Dead Horses

Published:7:20 pm EDT, September 27, 2012| Updated:8:12 pm EDT, November 15, 2012|

Who doesn't love a good catapult? Vaulting a projectile through the air, calculating where you think it will land... there's a certain enjoyment that comes from seeing catapults in action and using one yourself. Slingshots are considered one of the earliest forms of catapults but as defenses and castle walls were erected, catapults got bigger and threw nastier s**t. So get ready cause we're diving into the deep end of the Awesomest Guide first!

Catapults Were the First Vehicles of Biological Warfare

During medieval times a castle would inevitably come under siege, and if your defenses were good enough it would take weeks, even months, for the siege to end. Many times an army would simply surround a castle and make the inhabitants' lives a living hell in an attempt to force a surrender. This meant starving out the citizens of the castle but also doing absolutely everything else they could to break their will. As you guessed it, catapults would then be built once an army was settled outside the castle walls and equipped with some pretty disgusting fodder. It was common practice to fill a catapult with an army's feces, dead and rotting horses, captured soldiers, as well as putrid garbage and even bee's nests; these were all loaded up in catapults and vaulted over a castle's defenses.

Thrillseeking Student Dies From Human Catapult

Human catapults were a pretty big thing for crazy adrenaline junkies for a while until the number of fatalities started mounting. One such case was that of Kostadin "Dino" Yankov, a 19-year-old Oxford University student who died from injuries after he was launched from a medieval replica catapult. There was an error in the trajectory and Yankov fell short of the safety net.

Taken at the very same place that Yankov died, comes this video. Sometimes even when you land on the safety net, you're still not out of danger as evidenced above. The woman was rushed off to the hospital immediately.

Kids Love Catapults

While we're on the topic of human catapults, we should talk about kids, specifically boys, and their love of catapults. Most kids receive or make a slingshot at some point in their childhood. This group is overwhelmingly boys and after they accidentally break some windows, their slingshots get taken away. For some kids, that scares them off the stuff forever, for other kids the catapult calls to them...

Suburban Wasteland: Basketball Hoop Catapult Fail
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Is this Kid Catapult a Fail or a Smashing Success?
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Mexican Drug Lords Are Using Catapults to Launch Pot Over The Border

Mexican drug lords are getting medieval. Last year a SUV, bales of pot, and a steel-framed catapult were confiscated near the Arizona border. Mexican soldiers receiving a tip from the U.S. National Guard about a new first in the cartel drug game - a pot catapult. Can't climb a wall, burrow through it, dig under it, or risk someone getting arrested? Launch your drugs over the border! This catapult was trailer mounted, so all you had to do was hitch it to your SUV and take it wherever you needed to launch the drugs. Pretty genius, who knows how many bales of pot this medieval siege weaponry flung before its demise.

Homemade Hillbilly Slingshot Backfires

Ah yes, hillbillies and slingshots. In modern times most catapults that are used are used to throw claypigeons into the air for skeet shooting. Well these backwood boys didn't have one of them fancy doohickeys so they made a tree slingshot and threw them clay pigeons in the air themselves. Well, in the air and into their own chests too. Ouch.

The Mother Of All Slingshot Backfires
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Since we've broached the subject of slingshot fails... This is an instant viral classic when it hit the web a couple years back. If you haven't seen it ever, or just haven't seen it in awhile do yourself a favor and watch it now. The Amazing Race Woman Watermelon Face Smash. Enjoy.

Flaming Trebuchet Catapult Fail
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Something ingrained in human DNA makes us always want to incorporate burning fuels and explosions with just about everything possible. It's no different when it comes to catapults. And like any good video found on Heavy, it's full of sweet, delicious failure. Incendiary ammunition!

MythBusters: The Conifer Catapult
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Team Mythbusters even got in on all the catapulting, testing a myth that back in medieval times, people would use the trees themselves as catapults to fling disease-rotted corpses into their enemies lovely castle. See if this myth gets busted!

Crazy Brit Builds Massive Trebuchet, Launches Cars & Explosives
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What's a man to do with loads of money and an unhealthy obsession with medieval siege weaponry? Why build one himself and use it to launch whole cars and dangerous explosives of course! What a wanker.

Warwick Castle Trebuchet
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Over at Warwick Castle in jolly ol' England (where else?) this massive trebuchet was constructed using medieval techniques. The trebuchet is absolutely massive and really "comes to life" once it's fired.

Punkin Chunkin
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The Punkin Chunkin Festival holds all manner of trebuchet, catapult, and many other forms of projectile weaponry. All in the hopes of chucking a pumpkin the furthest. Check out some of these massive beasts in action.

So there you have it folks, a Heavy Awesomest Guide to Catapults! We hope you've enjoyed it! Let us know your favorite story or video in the comments below!

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