|Building Needed||Army Encampment|
|Leads To||Ring Bayonet|
A plug bayonet turns a musket into a crude spear or half-pike by plugging the muzzle with a blade handle, like a cork into a bottle.
At one time "marching regiments" were composed of musketeers and pikemen. The pikes provided protection for the musketeers while they slowly reloaded and in the event of a cavalry attack. In a melee the musketeers reversed their guns and used them as clubs, or dropped them and drew swords. Neither solution was ideal, and equipping half a unit with pikes also halved its potential firepower. As muskets became lighter and no longer needed a firing rest, it became practical to attach a blade to the muzzle, giving the user a better-than-makeshift weapon in melee.
Ramming a blade, hilt first, into the muzzle became a practical solution. The soldier then has a short pike to fend off cavalry, and use in hand-to-hand combat. The drawbacks are that it is often difficult to remove the plug bayonet once used in anger and resume firing, the user cannot reload - and only a fool fires a gun when the barrel is blocked!
Historically, muskets with plug bayonets were the equivalent of short pikes, and old-fashioned pike drill applied; men advanced with their muskets held shoulder high, and levelled at the enemy.
Plug bayonets are the first bayonets available to any non-American army. Once attached, they grant +3 to melee attacks of a unit, but also remove any ability to fire their muskets, transforming them into melee troops for the remainder of the battle. Bayonets are unplugged following the conclusion of a battle only. Research of Plug Bayonet is practically required to unlock the rest of the army branch of technology. It is replaced by the Ring Bayonet, which does allows infantry to still fire while enjoying the effect of increased melee capabilities, but slows down firing rate.