Divine Ordnance Division
Train soldiers for a thousand days to use them for a day.
— Chinese saying
Unique Chinese gunpowder infantry unit that replaces Arquebusiers. Cheap, fast-producing gun infantry with a lower fire rate, but easily amassed in numbers.
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The Divine Ordnance Division was the section of Ming China's armies which was specialised in the use of gunpowder-based weapons. These units don't really fire as frequently as the more modern arquebusiers, but they are created cheaper and more speedily than other gunpowder infantry around. As such, it is possible for the Chinese player to create these units rather quickly, making them able to amass an archetypical pike-and-shot army in no time.
Like all gunpowder infantry, these matchlock-armed units have a better attack, but a slightly lower range than arbalest-equipped units. Yet, however, there are some things that shouldn't be done with the Divine Ordnance Division. While they do have a stronger attack than arbalest infantry, the Division can't always hold their own against cavalry, due to their poorer rates of reload. Equally, archer-heavy civilisations are to be avoided at all costs, given that gunpowder units are at a slight disadvantage against archers.
- The Great Firewall of China — The Chinese have two gunpowder infantry units, starting from the Castle Age. Fire lancers constitute gunpowder infantry, but are weaker than the arquebus. Its upgrade, the Divine Ordnance Division, comes into play as the cheapest and fastest-producing gunpowder unit, but suffers from a notedly diminished rate of fire.
- The Divine Ordnance Division are meant to be used in huge numbers, given your ability to produce them almost instantaneously.
- As gunpowder infantry, the Divine Ordnance Division are capable of causing serious damage to enemies caught within the range of their weapons.
- Because of their lower rate of fire, the Divine Ordnance Division however are even more vulnerable to archers than normal gunpowder infantry, as well as siege weapons and cavalry able to get close enough to cause damage.
- Quirky Cost Structure — Arquebusiers cost food, timber and knowledge as opposed to the archer line's timber and wealth, meaning that they are suitable either to factions with a knowledge and research advantage or those intending to do their fighting in the late game.
- Knight Mare — Although devastating as an anti-personnel weapon, and also capable of dealing serious damage to light cavalry, the arquebus is near to worthless when facing Imperial Era heavy cavalry, especially unique ones, which will have an anti-gunpowder bonus.
- Assault and Gunnery — Portugal's Arquebusiers may be harder to obtain, but are very useful against enemy melee units, particularly melee infantry and light cavalry once you receive them.
Gunpowder was first discovered possibly as early as the Tang dynasty in China. Although its explosive qualities were soon seized upon by experts realising its potential military use, modern firearms did not make an appearance worldwide until the Hundred Years' War. The first gunpowder weapons were probably grenades, which were loaded in traction machines such as trebuchets, and while gunpowder weapons firing projectiles were soon invented in China and elsewhere, their reliability as a primary weapon was so low that archers continued to remain the main missile component of any defensive force despite firearms being easier to use than traditional bows and crossbows; this was the one reason why military leaders and authors such as Miyamoto Musashi, Niccolò Machiavelli and Shaka Zulu often eschewed firearms for simpler but harder to operate weaponry such as javelins or bows. In the case of the last, usage of javelins and archery persisted despite the introduction of exponentially improved firearms in the West during the late 19th century, with tragic results.