The Arbalète sauterelle type A, or simply Sauterelle (French for grasshopper), was a bomb-throwing crossbow used by French and British forces on the Western Front during World War I. It was designed to throw a hand grenade in a high trajectory into enemy trenches. It was initially dismissed by the French Army but General Henri Berthelot thought it had practical value.[1]

French soldiers with a Sauterelle c1915.
Place of originFrance
Service history
In service1915–1916
Used byFrance
United Kingdom
WarsWorld War I
Production history
Mass24 kg (53 lb)

Effective firing range110–140 m (120–150 yd)

It was lighter and more portable than the Leach Trench Catapult, but less powerful. It weighed 24 kg (53 lb) and could throw an F1 grenade or Mills bomb 110–140 m (120–150 yd).[2]

The Sauterelle replaced the Leach Catapult in British service until they were replaced in 1916 by the 2 inch Medium Trench Mortar and Stokes mortar.[3]


  1. Glenn E. Torrey (2001). Henri Mathias Berthelot: soldier of France, defender of Romania. Center for Romanian Studies. p. 119. ISBN 978-9739432153.
  2. The Royal Engineers Journal. 39: 79. 1925. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. 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.
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