Line Infantry are a unit type in Empire: Total War.
These musket-armed troops use massed volleys to break an enemy, relying on discipline to withstand any counter fire.
"Marching regiments" or "line battalions" make up the majority of units in European-style armies. They are so called because they form the line of battle, not because they always deplot in lines. Indeed, over time the capabilities of line infantry should improve as new tactics, drill and weaponry are developed.
These soldiers carry muzzle-loading, smoothbore muskets firing lead balls as wide as a man's thumb. These are innacurate weapons, effective only over 200 paces or so and when fired in volleys. The ability to fire and reload with machine-like regularity with shot and bullet flying and comrades falling all around is what wins battles.
Historically, in many armies colonels received a fee to raise regiments, which remained their personal property and commands. They jealously guarded their rights to appoint friends, relatives and hangers-on as regimental officers. This contractor system, however, allowed unscrupulous officers to make handsome profits by pocketing the pay of non-existent soldiers. The better colonels did take a pride in their regiments, spending their own fortunes on good uniforms and weapons. The capabilities of a "standard" line infantry unit therefore varied between nations and over time. It wasn't until the 1760s that anything approaching uniformity of drill, equipment and regulations became the norm.
Line infantry regiments remained unchanged throughout the period, and their organisational patters still forms the basis of modern military units.
Numerous, reliable, and durable, line infantry are the mainstay of most armies in Empire: Total War. Thanks to their large numbers, high morale, excellent defense, and resistance to morale shocks, line infantry are very resilient. In addition, they are very proficient in shooting and reloading, and have deadly melee capabilities. Short of specialized melee infantry, other line infantry, and well-placed cavalry, few units can expect to fight against line infantry regiments head on and expect to emerge victorious. Line infantry gain the ability to deploy wooden barricades or dig trenches, further enhancing their defensive abilities against cavalry and fire, respectively.
Every major faction in the game has slightly different line infantry. The British, for example, have some of the finest line infantry in the game, with slightly higher morale and reloading capabilities, and excellent defensive melee capabilties. Prussian line infantry are unmatched in terms of reloading skill, and have slightly higher morale and charging bonuses. On the other hand of the spectrum, Russia and Austria have notoriously poor line infantry in terms of shooting capabilities, although Russian line infantry are excellent in offensive melees coupled with unmatched charging bonuses, while Austrian line infantry have poor morale, shooting capabilites, and melee capabilities, but have 25% more men per regiment.
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