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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.


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.


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.

Mercenaries are an effective counter as well, particularly Ronin (which cost the same with the "Mercenary Loyalty" Home City 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.


The Cuirassier starts at the Veteran level, giving them +20% hitpoints and attack.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Guard cavalry.png Gendarmes 1,000 wood,
1,000 coin
Upgrade Cuirassiers to Gendarme Cuirassiers (+40% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Imperial cavalry.png Imperial Gendarmes 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrade Gendarme Cuirassiers to Imperial Gendarmes (50% hit points and attack); requires Gendarmes

Civilization differences[]

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ranged infantry, light infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry
Hit points Cavalry Cuirass.png Cavalry Cuirass (+10%)
Comanche Horse Breeding.png Comanche Horse Breeding (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Pillage.png Pillage (+25% siege attack)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Armor Sudanese quilted armor.png Sudanese Quilted Armor (+10% melee resistance)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Mass Cavalry.png Mass Cavalry (-35%)
Cheyenne Horse Trading.png Cheyenne Horse Trading (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]


Age of Empires III[]

  • Imperial Gendarmes increase Cuirassier attack and hit points by 50%.
  • The Thoroughbreds card decreases Cuirassier train time by 15%.
  • Cuirassiers have 500 hit points and 30 melee attack as Fortress Age statistics.

Definitive Edition[]

  • Imperial Gendarmes increase Cuirassier attack and hit points by 40%. With update 20322, it has been reverted to 50%.
  • The Thoroughbreds card no longer decreases Cuirassier train time.
  • With Update 20322, Cuirassier upgrades are now calculated using the Commerce Age base statistics rather than the Fortress Age.
  • With update 20322, Cuirassiers have 425 hit points and 25 melee attack as Commerce Age statistics.


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


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.