- I am the Iron Biter,
known far and wide as a fighter.
Land and people I have overcome,
- and did most of it with my tongue.
Unique German heavy infantry that sacrifices the reach of a pike for a devastating splash attack. Is stronger and trains faster than Pikemen.
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As hired swords (sic), Landsknecht Pikemen train faster than normal pike infantry of the Imperial Era, and thus with sufficient resources a German player can easily create many of these units to overwhelm an enemy. Like all pike units, however, they are highly weak if facing guns and arrows notwithstanding their enhanced stats, so accompany them with Landsknecht Gunners or your Reichsritter were possible. The cost of recruiting these hardened mercenaries are exorbitant enough as to ensure participation only on the side of the most prosperous and warlike players, but they perform well at what they do — combining the stopping power of pikemen with the quick training speed of most mercenary units. Just remember to keep them away from missile units and the odd HRE player with hordes of Doppelsöldner and you should be fine.
- Early Supremacy — As billmen can be obtained in the pre-Centralisation late game, they are a great boost for those capable of recruiting them, although they will soon be outranged by the costlier but more efficient Pikemen.
- Planning for Obsolescence — Once Centralisation is achieved, Billmen become weaker as a defensive force. This means you should use offensive tactics accompanied by cavalry — cut your enemy down before he can stab you!
Known for their characteristic appearance, which ranged from completely shabby to outright flamboyant, the Landsknechte were founded by Maximilian I of Bavaria, and were meant to serve as an elite group of mercenaries in the same manner as the Swiss, and the first group of Landsknechte even had Swiss mercenaries for their instructors. 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. Although they often adapted other weapons, especially early firearms, the main weapon of the Landsknecht was the pike, which could be used defensively to protect crossbowmen and gunners, or aggressively to steamroll opponents. This however, was not the origin of their name (as similar as "Lands" may be to "lance") but actually referred to where they were originally recruited, that being the German lowlands as opposed to their nemeses from the Swiss Alps.