|Building Needed||Engineer School|
|Leads To||Percussion Shells|
This explosive projectile inflicts casualties by liberally peppering enemies with shot and iron splinters as it bursts above them.
Canister shells are intended to turn cannons into enormous shotguns or blunderbusses, treating men as so many targets to be shredded with musket balls. They have a limited range and utility.
The shrapnel explosive round, however, is a long range weapon, and has much in common with a mortal shell or hand grenade. Once loaded and the fuse lit, it is fired at the enemy with the intention of bursting like a mortar shell. Unlike a mortar, it does not rely solely on explosive power: there is the added refinement that the shell casing is designed to splinter into killing fragments and there are musket balls within. If a shrapnel shell bursts above an enemy unit, the casualties can be terrible indeed.
This deadly weapon was developed by the eponymous Henry Shrapnel (1761- 1842), an officer in the British Royal Artillery. His "spherical case" shell was such an obvious advance in artillery killing power that he was rapidly promoted, given a generous state pension and immortalised by having his name become a new word for any kind of fragment deliberately built into a bomb or shell.
Shrapnel Shot is the last shot type unlocked for cannons in Empire: Total War. It combines the long-range capabilities of Round Shot with the anti-personnel effectiveness of Canister Shot by firing cases that detonate and spread their payload upon reaching their target. Shrapnel does possess slightly shorter range than Round Shot and the detonation is not always reliable, but it is generally a superior choice to Round Shot for nearly all ranges. However, it is unreliable at short range and does not replace canister shot as the close-range shot type of choice. Finally, it does not damage buildings and walls.
On land, shrapnel shot has a longer range than what its statistics imply. A cannon firing at a unit that has moved out of range can still cause casualties. In fact, firing at units out of range often can cause high casualties, particularly if there are more units behind the target: the scattered shot is more likely to hit the ground at a wide angle.
Shrapnel is best fired at an elevation towards a low, flat area. This allows the maximum amount of pellets to reach the ground and cause damage.