Heavy cavalry with a trample attack.
In-game description

The Cuirassier is a melee heavy cavalry in Age of Empires III that is unique to the French and can be trained at Stable, Fort, and Galleon. It is one of the strongest cavalry units in the game.

Overview Edit

Cuirassiers can only attack in melee combat, but deal splash damage, which makes them extremely effective against large armies but are still vulnerable to heavy infantry and ranged cavalry in certain situations. If combined with Imperial Voltigeurs, they form a deadly combo which is often used by French players and very hard to counter if properly managed. They are also very efficient at defeating enemy artillery, due to their AoE attack.

Compared to the Hussar, the mainline cavalry of most other civilizations, Cuirassiers have relatively high hit points, nearing that of a Spahi and behind a Mameluke. Their relatively high health allows them to tank heavy infantry, and to a lesser extent, enemy cavalry (excluding Imperial War Wagons, who can kill them in a few hits). However, Cuirassiers' attacks do AoE damage, surpassing Hussars in almost any situation and makes them a good, cheap method to deal with clumped groups of enemies, although Falconets and Heavy Cannons are better suited for this task.

Massing a large amount of Cuirassiers can be extremely expensive, due to their very high upkeep costs. However, this can be easily remedied because of the Coureur des Bois, who have a very fast gathering rate. If this is not enough, players can set one Factory to produce Food and Coin while having Coureurs collecting food and coin from their respective sources. In addition, a large amount of population will be needed when massing them, as they each one covers 3 slots, preventing the player from making any support units if they have a relatively large number of Coureurs gathering resources.

Counterplay Edit

As most French players usually carry a mix of Gendarmes and Voltigeurs as their army composition, they can be very hard to counter as heavy infantry will be disposed of quickly from the Gendarmes' AoE attacks and the Voltigeurs' bonus damage against heavy infantry. However, German armies are the greatest threat because of their powerful anti-cavalry units. Doppelsoldners, while being heavy infantry (and therefore weak to Voltigeurs), can deal a lot of damage and their AoE attacks ensure that nearby enemies will get hurt also, like the Gendarmes' attacks. War Wagons make it worse as they can deal up to 250 damage per hit against melee cavalry and literally punch through groups of Gendarmes with little effort.

Spanish Heavy Cannons being bolstered by Unction are also an effective counter, as three cannons acquired by means of The General and two Heavy Cannon card focus firing (or overlapping the edges of their AoE to better spread it over a large area) can drop clusters of Cuirassiers every six seconds (the time it takes for the cannons to fire again) when protected by blocks of Spanish Pikemen or Musketeers (similarly being augmented by the unction aura). Highlanders are an option, and due to their 40% melee resistance, they ignore almost half of a cuirassiers damage making them a temporary (unless available at the Saloon) but effective meat shield. A pair of Spanish Monitors augmented by unction can drop their long-range shots on an army of Gendarmes and kill them outright every time the ability cools down (1466 damage), or stagger their shots to inflict 733 damage every 30 seconds. With the Admiralty card from the Home City a third Monitor can be constructed to take out any support units, or bombard an area every 20 seconds by staggering the shots.

Mercenaries are an effective counter as well, particularly Ronin (which cost the same with the Mercenary Loyalty card) which can be guaranteed at a Saloon via the Dance Hall card due to posessing high hit points, melee resistance and area of effect damage of their own. The Dutch excel at this strategy due to the significant gold bonus provided by their Banks.

The Japanese may use Ronin as well, paying slightly less export to gain them (Hatamoto Samurai) than other civilizations pay in coin (even with the Mercenary Loyalty card). However, Hatamoto Samurai are not exactly identical to Ronin, and export gathers slower than all other resources.

Upgrades Edit

The Cuirassier starts as Veteran, although it does not get extra hit points and attack.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Ages industrial
Guard cavalry Gendarmes 1,000 wood,
1,000 coin
Upgrades Cuirassiers to Gendarme Cuirassiers (+40% hit points and attack)
Ages industrial
Imperial cavalry Imperial Gendarmes 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Gendarme Cuirassiers to Imperial Gendarmes (+50% hit points and attack); requires Gendarmes

Civilization differences Edit

Further statistics Edit

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ranged infantry, light infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry
Hit points Cavalry Cuirass Cavalry Cuirass (+10%)
Comanche Horse Breeding Comanche Horse Breeding (+10%)
Cree Tanning Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Pillage Pillage (+25% siege attack)
Yoga Yoga (+5%)
Sight Town Watch Town Watch (+2)
Speed Comanche Mustangs Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Mass Cavalry Mass Cavalry (-50%)
Cheyenne Horse Trading Cheyenne Horse Trading (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers Incan Chasquis Messengers (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards Edit

Trivia Edit

  • Royal Guard and Consulate Cuirassiers are named after the medieval term for the Gendarmerie, which translates to "armed people".

History Edit

Several nations fielded these heavy cavalry units in differing numbers and armaments. Early cuirassiers resembled medieval knights, but eventually only wore a breastplate and backplate for armor. In time, cuirassiers evolved into other cavalry such as hussars, dragoons, and lancers. The breastplate, or cuirass, gave these mounted soldiers their name. Napoleon favored cuirassiers and had over dozen regiments of them. They were used to crash into the ranks of enemy soldiers, hacking and stabbing their way through lines of infantry and more poorly armed and armored cavalry.

Horses and men both had to be big to carry the weight of their namesake armor, and these big men and their imposing mounts were given the nickname "big brothers." They carried straight-bladed swords that killed with stabbing thrusts and primitive pistols with a range and rate of fire that was so poor the cuirassiers might have been just as well off without them.

Gallery Edit

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