This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the similar unit in Age of Empires II, see Skirmisher (Age of Empires II).
"Skirmisher with low hitpoints, but a long-ranged attack. Good against infantry."
In-game description

The Skirmisher is a ranged gunpowder infantry in Age of Empires III that can be trained at Barracks, Fort, and Galleon/Fluyt once the Fortress Age is reached.

Skirmishers are available to European civilizations except British, Knights of St. John (Act I: Blood campaign), Ottomans, Portuguese (who have Cassadores instead), and Russians (who have Strelets instead).

Overview Edit

Skirmishers are strong at countering and defeating heavy infantry and light cavalry with their long-ranged attack, but highly vulnerable to cavalry and artillery due to their low hit points and a weak melee attack.

Spanish Unction-boosted Skirmishers will inflict 54.675 damage before multipliers with all attack upgrades that do not require an ally, or minor native upgrade.

Strategy Edit

On maps featuring the Cherokee or Klamath, it is possible for civilizations lacking Skirmisher-type units to gain them in the Colonial Age. The Cherokee Rifleman and Klamath Rifleman are comparable to Fortress Age skirmishers but with much higher hitpoints. Cherokee Riflemen get a +20% speed upgrade (applies to native warriors), Klamath Riflemen have +25% damage (applies only to their rifles).

Upgrades Edit

The Skirmisher is automatically upgraded to Veteran (+20% hit points and attack) at the Fortress Age.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect Civ.
Ages industrial
Guard infantry Guard Skirmishers 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrades Skirmishers to Guard (+30% hit points and attack) Dutch
Guard infantry Voltigeurs 1,000 wood,
1,000 coin
Upgrades Skirmishers to Voltigeurs (Guard Skirmishers with +10% hit points and attack) French
Guard infantry Prussian Needle Gun Upgrades Skirmishers to Needle Gunners (Guard Skirmishers with +10% hit points and attack) Germans
Ages imperial
Imperial infantry Imperial Skirmishers 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Skirmishers to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack); requires Guard Skirmisher Dutch
Imperial infantry Imperial Voltigeurs Upgrades Voltigeurs to Imperial (+50% hit points and attack); requires Voltigeurs French
Imperial infantry Imperial Needle Guns Upgrades Needle Gunners to Imperial Needlers (+50% hit points and attack); requires Prussian Needle Gun Germans

Civilization differences Edit

Further statistics Edit

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy infantry, light cavalry, Eagle Runner Knights
Weak vs. Heavy cavalry, Coyote Runners, artillery
Hit points Flint lock Flint Lock (+10%)
Thin Red Line Thin Red Line (+20%, British only)
Grand Encampment Grand Encampment (+25%, United States only)
Cree Tanning Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Counter Infantry Rifling Counter Infantry Rifling (+1.0x multiplier vs. heavy infantry)
Paper cartridge Paper Cartridge (+15%)
Iroquois lacrosse Iroquois Lacrosse (+10%, vanilla Age of Empires III only)
Yoga Yoga (+5%)
Smokeless Powder Smokeless Powder (+30% siege attack)
Clenched Fist Clenched Fist (+30% melee attack)
Speed Military Drummers Military Drummers (+10%)
Tillys Discipline Tilly's Discipline (+20%, Germans only)
Inca Road-building Incan Road-building (+20%)
Apache Endurance Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers Incan Chasquis Messengers (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Rogers Rangers Roger's Rangers (ships 26 Guard Skirmishers, British only)
Merritocracy Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Penalties Coffee Trade Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)
Tillys Discipline Tilly's Discipline (+10% cost, Germans only)
Grand Encampment Grand Encampment (-25% speed, United States only)

Home City Cards Edit

Trivia Edit

  • French Royal Guard Skirmishers are named after the Voltigeurs.
  • German Royal Guard and Consulate Skirmishers are named after the Dreyse needle gun they use.

History Edit

"Skirmishers were lightly armed and armored riflemen who used their speed to move quickly about the battlefield and perform a number of military roles. They defended flanks, helped artillerymen with cannon, dragged wounded soldiers off of the battlefield, and performed hit-and-run attacks on advancing enemy armies. Napoleonic-era skirmishers were effective against rigid ranks of musketeers because the fire of musketeers was less effective on the loose, informal skirmisher lines.

Many skirmishers in the nineteenth century were armed with rifles; the range and accuracy of these weapons made skirmishers dangerous enemies. Early rifles could only be fired once every minute or two, though later breechloading and repeating models could fire much more rapidly. One model fired so fast, a commander ordered his men to focus their fire on a single enemy skirmisher so that they could recover his rifle to examine it.

Gallery Edit

See alsoEdit

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