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Leach Trench Catapult
Type Catapult
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1915–1916
Used by  United Kingdom
Wars World War I
Production history
Designer Claude Pemberton Leach
Designed 1915
Manufacturer Gamages
Unit cost £6 17s 6d
Produced March–October 1915
Number built 152[1]
Specifications
Effective range 200 yd (180 m)

The Leach Trench Catapult (sometimes called a Leach-Gamage Catapult) was a bomb-throwing catapult used by the British Army on the Western Front during World War I. It was designed to throw a 2 lb (0.91 kg) projectile in a high trajectory into enemy trenches. Although called a calapault, it was effectively combination crossbow and slingshot.[2] It was invented by Claude Pemberton Leach as an answer to the German Wurfmaschine, a spring-powered device for propelling a hand grenade about 200 m (220 yd).[1]

The design was a Y shaped frame with natural rubber bands pulled taut by a windlass and held in position by a hook release. They were manufactured by the Gamages department store in Central London and cost just £6 17s 6d to make.[1] In tests, the Leach Catapult could propel a golf ball 200 yd (180 m), and a cricket ball or Mills bomb 120–150 yd (110–140 m).[1] However with new rubbers it was reported to be able to propel a Jam Tin Grenade or No. 15 Ball grenade up to 200 yd (180 m).[3]

The first was produced in March 1915 and by October of that year over 150 had been produced. 20 were allocated to each Division.[1] From the end of 1915 they were replaced by the French-made Sauterelle grenade launcher, and in 1916 by the 2 inch Medium Trench Mortar and Stokes mortar.[3]

Copies of the Leach Catapult, made locally by the Royal Engineers, were used in the Gallipoli Campaign.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Gary Sheffield (2007). War on the Western Front: In the Trenches of World War I. Osprey Publishing. p. 201. ISBN 1846032105. 
  2. Arthur G Credland. "The Crossbow and the Bow in Modern Warfare". pp. 53–103. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hugh Chisholm (1922). The Encyclopædia Britannica: The New Volumes, Constituting, in Combination with the Twenty-nine Volumes of the Eleventh Edition, the Twelfth Edition of that Work, and Also Supplying a New, Distinctive, and Independent Library of Reference Dealing with Events and Developments of the Period 1910 to 1921 Inclusive, Volume 1. Encyclopædia Britannica Company Limited. p. 470. 
  4. Stephen J. Chambers (2003). Gully Ravine. Leo Cooper. p. 81. ISBN 0850529239. 


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