- Cavalry Tactics
Mechanical systems for igniting the gunpowder in firearms made muskets much more reliable. The resulting Musketeer and Cavalry units are the basic gunpowder attack and defense units until nearly the end of the Industrial Age.
Early firearms were fired by simply touching a lighted match to the gunpowder. The classic firearm of the 16th and 17th century, the matchlock musket, touched the lit match to the priming powder using a trigger mechanism. This weapon was dangerous, since it required carrying lighted match rope at all times while also carrying lots of gunpowder charges wrapped in (flammable) paper. Lit matches also meant that musketeers in a formation could not be too close to each other, or a single clumsy musketeer might turn his neighbors into Roman Candles. In the late 17th century the fusil, or flintlock musket, began to replace the matchlock. The first use of the fusiliers, troops armed with the new weapon, was to guard the artillery train, where the new weapon was much safer around loaded barrels of gunpowder. By the beginning of the 18th century armies in Western Europe had all equipped their infantry with flintlock muskets and their cavalry with flintlock pistols or carbines. Simple, robust and reliable, the flintlock musket with bayonet in the hands of well-trained infantry could deliver two to three rounds a minute and defend against cavalry or charge home against enemy infantry disordered by musketry volleys.