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Meet The Musketeers


Meet The Musketeers
Musketeers were an early form of soldier who were armed with muskets. They acted as a bridge unit between traditional infantry – which fought on foot and typically hand-to-hand with swords and other melee weapons – and dragoons, a type of light cavalry armed with long-ranged weapons. This granted them a level of versatility and flexibility most prized on the battlefield, with musketeer units typically reserved for the protection of nobility or, in many Western nations, royalty.

While musketeers as a unit are older (see ‘Musketeer origins’ boxout for details), they didn’t emerge in Europe until the 16th century, with the concept only really taking off on a large scale in the early-17th century.
Meet The Musketeers

While this particular era was dominated by the French musketeers of the Maison du Roi (the Royal Household) – upon which the fictional musketeers of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers are based – countries like Spain, Britain, Russia, Sweden, Poland and even India each developed their own musketeer units in this period and used them on the battlefield frequently.
Musketeers as a common military unit were largely phased out by the middle of the 19th century, with a number of new developments in firearms rendering the musket obsolete. With the introduction of the rifle – which could shoot both farther and much faster than the musket – the rifleman unit would emerge, negating the need for the greater speed afforded by the mounted musketeer.
This, combined with the decline of many dynasties throughout Europe – notably the Ancien RĂ©gime of France during the French Revolution – saw all musketeer units permanently disbanded.

Uniform Of A Musketeer
Check out the essential kit worn by famed musketeer captain, Comte d’Artagnan
Uniform Of A Musketeer