The Routier is the unique unit of England. It is a cavalry archer that is rather inaccurate at range. The routier is trained at the Castle from the 14th Century can be upgraded to the Ecorcheur in the 15th Century.
Type: Cavalry Archer
Available to: England
Trained at: Castle
Cost: 60 food, 70 florins
Armor/Pierce Armor: 2/2
Accuracy Percentage: 50
Reloading Time: 2.2
Special: +4 vs. spearmen
Upgrades To: Ecorcheur
Upgrade century: 15th
Upgrade cost: 1200 food and 600 florins
Attack, Range: Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer, Bow Practise
Armour: Padded Archer Armour. Leather Archer Armour, Ring Archer Armour
Armour, Bonuses: Plackart
Accuracy: Thumb Ring
Hit Points: Bloodlines
The English unique unit combines the ability to strike from afar, just as they were famous for in the parent game, with mobility and some old-style (old cavalry archer) graphics: the Routier. They are heavily armored, durable, and powerful, but they have one very distinct weakness: they can't shoot to save their own lives.
Routiers have an accuracy percentage of 50%. This is as good as the regular mounted crossbowman, but, as the name says, they have crossbows. Sure, the standard ranged cavalryman has the more pathetic shot - it's a crossbow! How can you possibly miss with a crossbow? - but the Routier's faster attack speed and tendency to fire in front of a target, behind it, to its left, to its right, and generally anywhere but where the target is, to put it frankly, is funnier.
But by the time they are in play, they'll have nice, shiny thumb rings on their bows, and at that point they are not to be underestimated. They have a very handy anti-spearman bonus, while lacking minimum range, alllowing them to charge foot archers and even the fastest skirmisher. They move at the speed of a standard cavalryman, making them the slowest horse archers in the game, but they can be used with the regular cavalry and not as part of a seperate force. Routiers are very good units, and their strength/speed combo provides a very nice boost to English armies.
The term "routier" derives from mercenary companies rambling along the routes of the country and pillaging the lands during the Hundred Years War when English forces lay waste to much of France.
The English used the chevauchée (a horse charge for weakening the enemy, focusing mainly on wreaking havoc, burning and pillaging enemy territory) in lieu of a larger standing army, and it was carried out primarily by small groups of mounted soldiers, rarely more than a few thousand men. This was the characteristic English strategy in the 1340s and 1350s after first being used by the forces of Edward III of England in the Second War of Scottish Independence.
The English longbowmen were capable on traveling at high speed, because every man was mounted. On occassion the powerful longbowmen would even fight from horseback, though usually they dismounted.