The Couillard

The couillard was used between the 14th and 16th centuries. This counterweight machine has two articulated troughs, which make the device easier to handle by effectively dividing the load in two. The counterweights on the first couillards were large leather sacks filled with earth. Later, they were replaced by troughs made from wood and riveted iron and filled with metal. For a long time, this machine’s performance allowed it to compete with gunpowder artillery, thanks to its rate of fire and the small crew required to operate it (4 to 8 people). This siege engine could fire boulders 35 to 180 metres at a rate of 10 per hour.