Auxiliary infantry highly capable of obliterating cavalry, but is still susceptible of being defeated by main line infantry or ranged cavalry.
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Ireland: a land steeped with much legend, mystique and tradition — yet broken by centuries of English repression and neglect. For this reason, the Irish have been at the footsoldiers of European colonisation, either serving under the British overlords, or as mercenaries in the pay of this or that other nation, ostensibly to one day foment a rebellion to free the Emerald Island. Indeed, the world of 19th century military adventurism is crowded by hucksters, dreamers, schemers, visionaries .... and men with nothing left to lose.
As such, the Irish Brigade are a force to reckon with as mercenaries go. Fast to train and proficient in arms, they are very much a cavalry civ's worst nightmare come true, especially moreso with the ability to quickly amass them for much gold. Less impressive, however, will they be if faced with massed barrages of artillery....or furious assult by cheaper Musketeers or formidable Grenadier Guards. Even the humble Nomadic Humtsmen can take them out if they approach them from the flanks. As such, wise employers of the Irish Brigades will usually use them in a defensive capacity against enemy melee cavalry, particularly raids by Hussars or to break up a charge by Cuirassiers.
First introduced in the 16th century, the Musket was in effect a longer version of the arquebus. Although this meant that it was somewhat heavier, the longer barrel of the musket meant that it could fire projectiles with higher velocity and range, giving it the ability to penetrate armour in a direct hit, thus making the musket an armour-piercing weapon effectively leading to the disbanding of traditional cavalry units (although some cavalry units would retain heavy armour for defensive counter-cavalry work).
The elongated barrel also meant that the musket also became a sturdier weapon, capable of having a small dagger or bayonet attached to the muzzle, allowing it to function as an effective melee weapon to fend off cavalry attacks. Of course, however, fixing bayonets would still take a long time as would reloading the weapon after fire, so musketeers still had to rely on the use of swords and pikes until the Napoleonic Wars.