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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in Age of Mythology, see Throwing Axeman (Age of Mythology).

Frankish unique unit. Infantry with ranged attack.
Age of Empires II description

The Throwing Axeman is the unique unit of the Franks in Age of Empires II. It is an infantry unit with a ranged melee attack.

Throwing Axemen can be upgraded to Elite Throwing Axemen in the Imperial Age.


The Throwing Axeman deal melee damage at range. That can be very useful, especially in dealing with most traditional anti-archer units (most prominently Skirmishers and Huskarls). Also, since Throwing Axemen have an attack bonus against buildings, they can be used in large mobs as a practical alternative to siege machines.

Throwing Axemen can destroy Rams quickly, without having to compromise defenses by opening Gates. They deal high damage for a ranged unit, particularly against buildings, and can take more hits than the average archer. However, their inferior range means that Throwing Axemen are vulnerable against melee units, siege weapons, and hit-and-run tactics employed by archers. They are not as vulnerable to Mangonels and Onagers as archers due to their higher HP (they require 2 shots to be taken down), but Siege Onagers will still kill them in one shot. Throwing Axemen, however, can kill said siege weapons easily due to their melee damage as long as they can avoid being hit and can close the gap. Heavy cavalry units such as Paladins are also quite effective against them, though Hussars are not a suitable choice.

Since the Franks are reliant on their Paladins, using Throwing Axemen against cavalry counters such as Camel Riders and Halberdiers is a promising tactic, since both units have low melee armor. Combined with Paladins, they can cover each other's weaknesses.

It is not advisable to try to kite melee units using Throwing Axemen as they have a long frame delay.

Further statistics[]

As Throwing Axemen are unique to the Franks, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Skirmishers, Halberdiers, Eagle Warriors, Rams, Trebuchets, buildings, Light Cavalry, Huskarls, Camel Riders
Weak vs. Archers, Scorpions, Mangonels, Jaguar Warriors, Hand Cannoneers, Janissaries, Conquistadors, Slingers, Boyars, Cataphracts, Samurai, Teutonic Knights, Paladins
Attack Forging aoe2de.png Forging (+1)
IronCastingDE.png Iron Casting (+1)
BlastFurnaceDE.png Blast Furnace (+2)
ArsonDE.png Arson (+2 attack against standard buildings)
Range CastleAgeUnique.png Bearded Axe (+1)
Armor ScaleMailArmorDE.png Scale Mail Armor (+1/+1)
ChainMailArmorDE.png Chain Mail Armor (+1/+1)
PlateMailArmorDE.png Plate Mail Armor (+1/+2)
Speed SquiresDE.png Squires (+10%)
Sight TrackingDE.png Tracking (+2)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research.jpg Elite Throwing Axeman

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Throwing Axemen have 50 (60 for Elite) HP.
  • Throwing Axemen move at a speed of 0.9.
  • Non-Elite Throwing Axemen have a frame delay of 12.
  • Elite Throwing Axeman upgrade costs 1,000 food, 850 gold.

The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

  • Non-Elite Throwing Axemen have a frame delay of 10.
  • Elite Throwing Axeman upgrade costs 1,000 food, 750 gold.

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Throwing Axemen move at a speed of 1.
  • Arson introduced.
  • With patch 4.8, Throwing Axemen have 60 (70 for Elite) HP.

Definitive Edition[]


  • The throwing axe was no longer used by the Franks by the time of Saladin, Barbarossa, The Grand Dukes of the West, and Joan of Arc.
  • In reality, the francisca was so named because it was used by the Franks (whose name means "spear," cognate with Church Slavonic prǫžь, "pole"), not the other way around.[1]
  • In real-life, the francisca had only one blade and was much smaller and lighter; its average length was 17 inches (~43 cm) and weighed about 1.3 lb (~0.6 kg).


The Franks took their name from the axe that was their preferred weapon in ancient times. They continued to use the axe into the Dark Ages and their warriors were especially noted for their ability to throw this axe in battle. The axe was well balanced and could be hurled a good distance by a strong man. Franks carried several axes into battle, holding on to one for hand-to-hand combat. As they advanced they could pick up axes thrown previously to replenish their supply of missiles. Throwing axemen were especially good against light troops wearing little armor. Carrying axes was also useful for dismantling fortifications.


Video overview[]