|Belongs to||All Western Factions|
|Weapon(s)||Muskets and bombs|
|Soldiers in each unit||60|
|Produced from||Drill School|
|Special abilities||Can hide in woodland; Can hide in light scrub; Resistant to morale shocks|
Grenadiers are grenadier type troops in Empire: Total War.
These invaluable soldiers are armed with muskets and hold carrying bags containing small bombs that can be hurled at the enemy's ranks.
Explosive grenades are one of the oldest types of gunpowder weapon, and one of the most dangerous to use. Grenades are a simple cast iron ball, with a fuse sticking out of the top. Fuses are notoriously unreliable, and grenadiers can die as their own bombs explode prematurely. Yet no matter how terrifying grenades are for the throwers, they are infinitely worse for the targets! Grenadiers see themselves as elite, and occupy the place of honor at the right of the line on parade. They have good reason: only large, brave men become grenadiers, because it takes a big man to throw one properly. Even their uniform makes them look bigger thanks to the pointed grenadier’s cap; a tricorne gets in the way of a good throw.
Historically, grenadier regiments and battalions began as ad-hoc assault forces. All line infantry regiments had grenadier companies; collecting these sub-units gave commanders a useful group of heavily armed, aggressive and skilful soldiers. Grenadier companies remained in line infantry regiments after the creation of grenadier regiments, but they abandoned grenades. Instead, each grenadier company became a “heavy mob” of the biggest and strongest soldiers in a regiment.
Grenadiers are a specialized support troop. Like Line Infantry, Grenadiers are armed with muskets. They have half the manpower of a Line Infantry regiment, and so should not be used to simply substitute Line Infantry; however, they have superior melee statistics than Line Infantry and great to use in breaking up enemy lines. The Grenadiers' signature ability, however, is their ability to throw grenades: short ranged, powerful explosives that have a dramatic effect on enemy morale. Grenades may sometimes be tricky to use, but they can be a great factor in winning Line Infantry engagements.
Grenadiers are some of the only units in the game that differ among factions in more ways than a simple palette swap. Among the playable factions, Great Britain, France and Austria's grenadiers wear bearskin caps, while those of the United Provinces, United States, Poland-Lithuania and Sweden wear black mitre caps, instead.
If they can close the gap and not sustain casualties that are too heavy, grenadiers can be ordered to throw grenades repeatedly. As priming new grenades are much faster than reloading muskets, grenadiers that can get away with not being noticed can inflict very heavy damage in a short amount of time.
In small engagements, grenadiers can be used to fire their muskets once, advance quickly, throw their grenades, then engage in melee for the most damage in the shortest time possible. Unless faced with withering fire, grenadiers will generally outclass Line Infantry with such a tactic.
The grenadiers will throw grenades at each individual grenadier's maximum range when throwing at long distance, meaning that the grenades will land in a line parallel to the grenadier regiment, and so many may be wasted. Therefore moving in closer than the maximum range will allow all the grenades to land in the enemy regiment, claiming far more lives, and reducing the distance for the grenadiers to charge and break the enemy regiment.
Defensively, grenadiers have a more limited role but are still usable. Placing grenadiers very closely behind Line Infantry and setting them to use grenades allow them to toss grenades handily over the heads of Line Infantry and into charging enemies. The impact of grenades right as the enemy is about to hit the Line Infantry with their charge will have a significant effect on their morale. Grenadiers can then be used to aid the Line Infantry in repelling the enemy charge.
Grenadiers tend to be most effective in the early game. In the late game, line infantry become more dangerous to approach with the firing drills, and engagements start taking place at longer distances thanks to the introduction of light infantry. These factors make grenadiers harder to use effectively.