Musketeers - known to most people as the brave heroes shrouded in an aura of romance novels of Dumas.
In fact musketeers in XVI-XVII centuries it called the genus infantry soldiers who were armed with handguns - a musket.
Also, in addition, they had in their arsenal of cold steel sword, a sword more often.
In the sixteenth century musketeers intensified in Francelight infantry company of spearmen, one per company. Later, with the increase of the role of firearms in hostilities the number of soldiers armed with muskets increased significantly. During the religious Thirty Years War in Europe, the number of musketeers was up to two-thirds of the entire Corps.
One of the first military units in Russia, who were armed with firearms, steel archers - semi-regular troops of the territorial type.
The appearance of the king's Musketeers company
In 1622, at the court of French King LouisXIII of the parts Guards cavalry first company of the king's Musketeers was organized. This branch was an elite unit, which consisted of men only noble blood. Armed musketeers were exactly the same as regular infantry. These musketeers and later became prototypes of the main characters of literary works and films.
At its core, the royal musketeers performedthe role of the personal bodyguards of the king. Originally a part of the king's Musketeers company included 107 men: 100 and 7 ordinary officers. Their number is constantly growing, and under Louis XIV's mouth was already two, the total number of soldiers and officers was 500 people.
It is worth noting that it was a real militarythe elite of the French army, the king's musketeers have repeatedly manifested themselves heroically on the battlefield and performed real feats. They were rightfully strengthened the title of most desperate units. Also fiercely bold and dangerous to ordinary people they behaved and peaceful life, in between battles.
In Paris XVII even an expression"Musketeer manner", which was used to denote the boastful, rough and very dangerous people. In addition to the feats of the war and "lawlessness" in civilian life, the royal musketeers known even punitive expeditions aimed at suppressing various popular uprisings and planting Catholicism. Here they also fearlessly shot of peaceful peasants and bourgeois, who have taken up arms.
Initially under the musket understood the hardest kind of hand-held weapons, designed primarily to defeat the armor-protected targets.
Sunset Musketeers era
By the middle of the XVIII century, the glory of the king's Musketeersalmost extinguished. Seven Years' War 1756-1763 gg., Which ended unsuccessfully for France, was the last large-scale military conflict, which involved a division. Rota royal musketeers was dissolved in 1775 because of financial problems. Subsequently undertaken several unsuccessful attempts to revive this branch. Last time it was trying to make Napoleon in 1814, but after only 2 years a company has been dissolved, this time once and for all.