Volley Gun

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"The besieged did great harm among the Christians with iron bullets they shot."

—Juan de Mariana, 16th century Spanish cleric and intellectual

In game[edit]

Volley Gun — Vital statistics
Volley Gun

Weak and slow mercenary unit which can fire a splash attack of either volleys of shot or rockets into the foe, ideal against tight formations and frontal assaults.

  • Strong versus infantry and cavalry
  • Weak versus siege weapons, buildings
Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrades to
  • BombardmentFortification
100 30 24 x 4 3.4s
Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Wealth.jpg: 280;
Timber: 60
Wealth.jpg: 1;
Timber: 1;
Book.png: 1
2 Castelo.jpg None 2–15
  • Brutal area of effect attack versus infantry, cavalry
  • Attack penalty versus buildings.
  • +3 splash attack radius.

Poland England Wales.jpg Papal States China Burgundy Japan Portugal

Overall strategy[edit]

A fearsome machine (and possibly the best mechanical mercenary ever), the Volley Gun is designed to spread death, panic and misery over a large area. Although it is rather weak and slow, it is however armed with several small-calibre guns, capable of firing either shot or rockets into the foe, rendering it ideal for the gruesome task of picking off packed masses of troops. Most notable is the Volley Gun's ability to destroy cavalry at range, which might render it more useful in anti-cavalry defence.

The only problem is that unlike most gunpowder units, this monster takes a long time to load so it is best used as a highly defensive unit, preferably teamed up with Castles or pikemen to protect it while reloading. Additionally, its lack of proper range also means that it is a fairly inferior choice as a siege weapon, and so should be used solely as a medium-range anti-personnel weapon, and although it trains much faster than a normal Culverin, its lack of accuracy, its high cost and its questionable accuracy makes it a rather debatable choice when it comes to units, although it must be said that 2 factions may benefit most from it: England and Japan. With their infantry-heavy armies, a Volley Gun may well be a perfect weapon to be used against cavalry civs, such as Mongolia and/or France. In Japan's case, the Volley Gun is the only non-siege gunpowder weapon available that can be used.

Unit summary[edit]

  • Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Me Away — The Volley Gun's ability to destroy cavalry at range, which might render it useful in anti-cavalry defence.
  • Sitzkrieg — Slow reloading time, poor maximum range and substantial minimum range means that Volley Guns can only be used defensively.
  • Fire Walls — Although the Volley Gun is trainable by quite a number of factions, England and Japan benefit most from it as they can use these weapons to support their slow-moving, archer-dependent armies.


This unit can have two different appearances, namely:


Although fearsome to enemies unaccustomed to face them, firearms in the Mediaeval Era had one problem — despite their tremendous penetrative power, they were notoriously inaccurate, cumbersome and difficult to use — an arquebus was as slow and difficult to use as a crossbow — and sometimes more dangerous. The main tactic behind their use was thus to saturate an area with shots from several hundred individuals, or to create devices which could do the same.

Thus, volley guns and multishot weapon systems were born. The first versions of these were created in China, and were meant to rig and launch several missiles simultaneously. This multi-rocket launcher was a simple wheelbarrow with a wooden frame, and soon spread to Korea and then west. Later, a similar concept was soon discovered in Europe, consisting of a wheel-mounted frame bearing multiple gun barrels, called a ribault or an "organ gun" from the appearance of the gun barrels mounted together on the frame. Although perhaps even harder to load than conventional firearms of the day, the barrage effect of these weapons were so devastating that they were also called "infernal machines", perhaps by knightly adversaries who fell prey to them.