Age of Empires Series Wiki
Age of Empires Series Wiki

Heavy artillery. Good against infantry or buildings.
—In-game description

The Heavy Cannon is an artillery unit in Age of Empires III that can only be trained at the Factory or shipped from the Home City.

Heavy Cannons are available to European civilizations except British (who have Rockets instead), John Black's Mercenaries (Act II: Ice campaign), Knights of St. John (Act I: Blood campaign), and Ottomans (who have Great Bombards instead).


The Heavy Cannon is the typical heavy artillery piece for the Spanish, Portuguese, Germans, Russians, Dutch, and French. Its power and hit points are similar to the Great Bombard, but the rate of fire is slightly faster and it has no penalties versus Cavalry. The Heavy Cannon is effective against enemy infantry and artillery units, Spanish cannons using Unction are also effective versus Cavalry and other Artillery due to high damage and lack of significant penalties.

Overall, a Heavy Cannon (1 on 1 and lacking Unction) would have a good chance to beat a Great Bombard with full health, though it would rely on the Heavy Cannon getting two shots off (12 seconds) before the Bombard began attacking the Heavy Cannon. This is realistically possible due to the Heavy Cannon's smaller penalty versus other artillery and its greater rate of fire. Other common factors such as battlefield confusion, varying levels of micromanagement skill and line of sight advantages allow this scenario to occur frequently. The population cost of this unit is 7.

The General Imperial Age politician provides one Heavy Cannon for Dutch, French, Germans, and Spanish.

Hidden cost[]

The Heavy Cannon has a base cost of 200 wood and 500 coin, and a train time of 115 seconds (86.25 seconds with Engineering School or TEAM Engineering School Home City Card, 69 seconds with both), while the Factory generates 5.5 (7.15 with the respective improvements) resources every second.

Therefore, a Factory producing a Heavy Cannon uses up 632.5 resources (475.75 with Engineering School or TEAM Engineering School, 379.5 with both); with all three of the respective improvements, the value goes up to 822.5 (618.475 with Engineering School or TEAM Engineering School, 493.35 with both).

This means for the majority of civilizations, especially those lacking significant damage potential with Heavy Cannon, it is very economically damaging to create them. Improvements and Home City Cards that reduces artillery train time will also affect the Factory, whereas no economic cards do the same. With Engineering School and TEAM Engineering School, the bonus for Heavy Cannon is only 15% whereas regular artillery will train 70% faster (30% faster for civilizations lacking their Engineering School), fielding much quicker.


Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Imperial Age
Imperial artillery.png Imperial Cannon 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Heavy Cannons to Imperial Cannons (+50% hit points and attack)

Civilization differences[]

The Chinese can get Heavy Cannons by the following ways:

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Most units, buildings
Weak vs. Artillery especially Culverins, Arrow Knights
Hit points Professional gunners.png Professional Gunners (+10%)
Attack Heated Shot.png Heated Shot (+1.5x multiplier vs. ships)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Gunners Quadrant.png Gunner's Quadrant (+6)
Speed Trunion.png Trunion (+15%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Mass Production.png Mass Production (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Incan Chasquis Messengers (-10%)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Penalties Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)

Home City Cards[]


  • The Heavy Cannon was originally trained at the Artillery Foundry.
  • According to pre-release screenshots, the Heavy Cannon would be available to the British. There are unused voice files for British Heavy Cannon in the game files and in the Scenario Editor, which are the same voice files used by the Rocket.


The logistics of moving, maintaining, positioning, aiming, and firing artillery required a highly drilled and disciplined team with a sharp commander. In addition to the men and artillery pieces in his command, an artillery officer had to see to the horses used to haul the pieces around - sometimes up to six for heavier guns. When one side in a battle could field hundreds of artillery pieces, the logistics of just moving them into position were taxing. "Heavy Cannon" is a relative term, but in general, cannon considered 'heavy' were typically used as permanent gun emplacements to defend Forts and strategic locations.