The L’Arbalète la Sauterelle Type A D’Imphy, often shortened to Arbalète sauterelle type A and commonly known as the Sauterelle, is a French grenade-throwing crossbow.
The crossbow was designed in 1915 by inventor Elie André Broca who later patented the design, and later set up a company to produce the crossbows. Initially dismissed by the French army, General Henri Mathias Berthelot thought that the Sauterelle had practical value. The Sauterelle helped to fill the technological gap of the time, before more modern trench mortars were developed, and were fairly well-liked by troops of the time period. The crossbow was used by France and the United Kingdom, in which it replaced the Leach Trench Catapult in the latter.
Design DetailsEditThe Sauterelle was designed to be mounted at a 45° angle against a trench wall and was usually operated by a crew of two. The range of the crossbow was adjustable through the use of a sliding stop in the track which the grenade cup travelled on; the track had markings and a plaque mounted on the left side of the weapon told its users the recommendations as to where the slide stop should be placed at for various ranges and grenade sizes and weights. After loading and setting of the slide stop, the firer used the hand cranks on the weapon to draw the string back, load the grenade in the cup, ignite the grenade and push the firing trigger to propel the grenade.
The Sauterelle could use various types of grenades, including the French F1 grenades and British Mills bomb among other things.