3/11 develops long-range weapon system

2 Feb 2001 | Sgt. Ken Griffin

In celebration of Saint Barbara Day, patron saint of artillery, the Marines of the 11th Marine Regiment decided to take part in a rather strange, yet challenging competition, Thursday at Camp Pendleton.Col. Bennett W. Saylor, commanding officer, 11th Marines, has tasked each battalion in the regiment with building a "trebuchet." A trebuchet, also known as a catapult, is defined as an "ancient siege engine."And so began the birth of the 21-foot tall, 20-foot long bowling ball launching machine."Doing this was more of an invitation to compete than a task," said Maj. Bob Armstrong, executive officer, 3rd Bn., 11th Marines.Armstrong designated CWO George S. Michinard, battalion survey officer, as the officer in charge of the project.According to Michinard, plans for building a trebuchet can be found on the Internet. After scrounging some of the parts, purchasing some new and getting some from DRMO, the project ran about $600 and took approximately 10 days to complete. Although the group was having a few minor difficulties during the test run Friday, the crew seems confident they will win after launching a bowling ball somewhere between 100 and 200 meters.The catapult, which appears to have been constructed professionally, boasts a 16-foot throwing arm and a counterweight of about 600 pounds. A crew of no less than eight Marines is needed to cock the beast into firing position.After being fully cocked, the arm is secured by a chain. The chain is then pulled loose by a rope to fire the machine."This very well might become an annual event. We will bring it out any time we think we might need a trebuchet," said Armstrong.A prize had not yet been determined, but according to Armstrong they are competing for something much more important. Bragging rights.
Headquarters Marine Corps