Musketmen & Flintlocks


In Terra Fantasia
Nov 5, 2001
The lone and level sands
I just posted this at Apolyton & thought it worth repeating here with thoughts of (a) better dividing the early gunpowder warfare period and (b) providing some interesting ideas for units --

Early musketmen (matchlock muskets; arquebusiers; etc.) were ONLY employed in formation with pikes, as extremely long reload time made these troops incredibly vulnerable to cavalry charges etc. To have a separate Musketman unit is (speaking as a purist) non-sensical.

The 30 Years War probably offers the most accessible literature on the topic; lines of combined musket and pike combinations facing off against one another -- So I would suggest the "Musketman" unit be considered a combination of musket and pile. They should be considered BOTH defensive and offensive units.

The elite unit would be the Spanish "tercio".

Concurrent weapons systems would include heavy cavalry (Gustavus Adolphus' preferred batlefield arm of decision), early dragoons and "caracole" cavalry: pistol-armed cavalry trained to charge within pistol range, discharge their pistols, and then retreat to reload.

As muskets improved AND the bayonet was invented, we have the "classical" linear formations we probably all associate with redcoats and whatnot. I would suggest the proper name for this unit be "Flintlock" after the improved firing mechanism.

"Grenadiers" were one form of elite troop during this period, these units typically being comprised of the tallest soldiers, armed with fused grenades (hence their name) as well as muskets.

Muskets should certainly upgrade to Flintlocks which should then upgrade to Riflemen and would correspond to the mid-19th century.

Hoping this is all helpful --

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