"... the terrible noise of the guns, the rattling of the harness, the clash of the pikes and the cries of both the wounded and the attackers made up, together with the trumpets, drums, and fifes, a horrible music"
— Simplicius Simplicissimus
An upgrade of the Arquebusier, the Landsknecht Gunners are known for being fast to create, and are also somewhat experienced crack shots, with an attack almost guaranteed to hit their mark. This means that as a whole, they are sufficiently deadly enough to stand in for the skirmishing component of a modern Imperial army.
Yet, like many arquebusiers, they are not meant to stand up against a squadron of Noble Knights, so these units must be screened from heavy cavalry - and perhaps, siege machines too - at all costs. Equally, the cost of creating these men, being mercenaries (although not trained from the Outpost) also means that you will have to pay a fair bit in order to recruit these men: Landsknecht Gunners all require more wealth to create than Arquebusiers.
- Quirky Cost Structure — Landsknecht Gunners cost food 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.
- Bowing Out — Arquebuses are slightly outranged by arbalests, so send your Gunners in at the front lines, or screen them with cavalry.
- Knight Mare — Although devastating as an anti-infantry weapon, and also capable of dealing serious damage to any cavalry, the arquebus is near to worthless when facing Imperial Era heavy cavalry, so support from other units is necessary.
Known for their characteristic appearance, which ranged from completely shabby to outright flaboyant, landsknechts were founded by Maximilian I of Bavaria, and were meant to serve as an elite group of mercenaries. Organised under the Swabian knight Georg von Frundsberg, they first saw action in Italy during the Italian Wars, fighting on the side of the Habsburgs and eventually serving with other Western European nations in theatres as far afield as Africa or Scandinavia. As mercenaries did in the early modern period, their performance, however, often varied — if led properly by skilled and capable commanders, Landsknechts were the terror of many European nations — yet in other cases, they could be easily overwhelmed. Equally, being mercenaries they too were prone to defecting if it so proved more profitable for Landsknechte to do so: the original 17,000-man strong Bandes-Noires landsknecht contingent hired by France during the Italian Wars, having suffered substantial casualties, soon deserted their masters and joined the Habsburg armies in 1528.
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.