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A musket is a heavy, smoothbore firearm designed for infantry. The predecessor to the modern rifle, the musket saw widespread military service during the 19th century where it became standard for European armies. Most prominently, the Brown Bess model was so favored by the British Empire that it was used in their imperialistic conquests for over a century. In spite of its low rate-of-fire, it also found its way in the hands of select Assassin and Templar agents who excelled at marksmanship. By the latter half of the 19th century, the musket was superseded by more advanced guns such as the rifle.

Description

Like the earlier arquebus and later rifle,[1][2] the musket is a long gun which fires projectiles using force exerted by the combustion of gunpowder. Whereas the interior of a rifle barrel consists of spiral grooves that impart spin to the bullet,[3] muskets are characterized by smoothbore barrels.[4]

Hailing from the age of matchlock and then flintlock mechanisms, muskets historically have been incapable of chambering more than one shot at a time and suffered from a slow rate-of-fire exacerbated by the lengthy reload process. This procedure involves loading the new musket ball directly through the muzzle and down the barrel. As a result, militaries adapted to the weapon's shortcomings by arraying their musketeers in files and firing together on command in volleys before systematically reloading in unison. However, this tactic came with its own downside; in 1775, during the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War, the Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton reached the rear lines of the British formation unscathed by running from cover to cover in between volley fires.[5] The extensive reload time also led to muskets being commonly utilized in close quarters combat as well, and for this reason, muskets were often equipped with bayonets to serve as makeshift spears once their shot had been expended. Aside from this, the stocks of muskets were almost universally carved from wood.[5][6][7][8]

History

The musket was originally a development of the earlier arquebus utilized by Italian armies during the Renaissance. Both were presaged by the hand cannon invented by the Song Chinese as early as the 13th century[9] and which were still being used by the Ming dynasty in the 16th century.[10] By the Seven Years' War in the middle of the 18th century, muskets had become a mainstay of European armies, replacing the pike as the standard weapon of infantrymen and heralding the eventual obsolescence of swords.[11] The United Kingdom was particularly fond of the Brown Bess, a musket model that was in service with the British Army for over a century throughout the era of the British Empire's expansion.[12] Accordingly, it was the primary musket involved in conflicts such as the Seven Years' War, the American Revolutionary War, and the First Anglo-Afghan War[5] though it was also standard issue for the French National Guard during the French Revolution.[8] Meanwhile the Indians and Afghans preferred the cheaper jezails which were often hand-made and more personalized.[12] and the Charlesville musket was popular among Spanish soldiers stationed in New Orleans at the time of the Louisiana Rebellion in 1768.[6]

The Parisian Brotherhood of Assassins employed a variety of long guns in the French Revolution, ranging from the Brown Bess, to jezails, to the Solid Long Rifle, and the Silver-Plated Musket—the last of which is actually a rifle. Their agents were fairly specialized with some serving as marksmen for their fellow squad mates on missions. Although they did not commonly equip their muskets with bayonets, these marksmen were still adept at battling sword-wielding enemies with the gunstock alone.[8] Aside from the Parisian Brotherhood, other agents on both sides of the Assassin-Templar War also made effective use of the musket. The weapon was iconic for Caleb Garret of the Colonial Brotherhood and Emily Burke, an ally of the same Assassin Guild. In the same vein, Gerhard von Stantten, a Hessian Templar speculated by Erudito to have been the Headless Horseman, preferred a musket as his primary weapon on some occasions.[13]

Due to the British's favoritism of the Brown Bess, as late as 1841, muskets were still commonplace among their ranks and with soldiers of the East India Company.[12] Not until the latter half of the century with the development of rifles and semi-automatic firearms were muskets finally phased out.[14]

Weapon statistics

French Revolution

Name Level Damage Parry Speed Range Cost Modifiers Requirements
Flint Musket * * 2 2 1 8 250₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A
National Guard Musket * * 2 2 1 8 250₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A
Rifle * * * 3 3 1 8 1000₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A
Sharpshooter Flintlock * * * 3 3 2 8 1,000₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A
Long Rifle * * * * * 6 6 1 8 25,000₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A
Silver-Plated Musket * * * * * 8 8 2 8 125,000₣ Additional Damage: +25% N/A

Trivia

Terminology
  • In Assassin's Creed: Unity, long guns, a distinct gameplay class of weapons, is erroneously named "Rifles" even though the majority of firearms in the category are actually muskets. The mistake is made more egregious by the Martini-Henry rifle, the most powerful long gun in the game, being named the "Silver-Plated Musket". In Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India, the distinction also fails to be made as the East India Company unit wielding a Brown Bess musket is named the "East India Company Rifleman" in spite of the fact his database entry correctly calls the Brown Bess a musket.
Gameplay
  • Muskets are commonly encountered throughout Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin's Creed: Rogue, and Assassin's Creed: Unity among the hands of standard enemy units. With the exception of Unity, muskets in the earlier games cannot be truly equipped. Although they can be wielded and used in combat, attempting to freerun with one in hand results in the player character automatically dropping it onto the floor, much like the case with long weapons in Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Wielding the musket in any game results in the weapon replacing not just the melee weapon slot but also that of the ranged weapon.
  • The musket is the default weapon of a few multiplayer characters in Assassin's Creed III: the Hessian, the Sharpshooter, and the Pioneer. It is also an optional weapon for a several others.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Unity, long guns serve as a distinct class of weapons which can be equipped as primary weapons by the player first time. They are designated as non-lethal in reference to their use in melee combat because like other blunt and crushing weapons in the game, they can only knock enemies unconscious at the most even if the animation suggests a lethal injury. This status does not apply when the guns are used in their primary capacity as ranged weapons, however, where they are fully lethal.
  • In Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India, enemy units wielding muskets cannot be rolled over due to the guns' length.

Appearances

References

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