Strzelcy (M2TW Unit)
Strzelcy, meaning shooter in Polish, are light horse troops created to counter the fast moving forces from the east used by the Russians and Tatars. Protected by light armor and wielding a smaller crossbow to their infantry comrades, these units use their mobility to stay out of trouble while they reload.
These soldiers are an specifically for the Polish faction. Strzelcy are essentially crossbowmen on horseback who also have an Axe and Shield. Speed is the primary defense as Strzelcy have the ability to fire their crossbows while in motion. However they also have very good defense for early missile cavalry, and can receive 2 armour upgrades.
They are an extremely useful unit. Their armour piercing bolts make them a hard counter to heavier cavalry who cannot keep up with them. They will use half their ammo to destroy a unit of top level knights as long as they stay out of melee; this is much better than most horse archers. Against missile troops they can either unleash a volley and flee before return fire or charge in and cut them down. Against any melee troops they can get up close, fire and inflict a lot of damage. They are also respectable in melee as well. Countering Strzelcy requires effective use of multiple unit types, and are they arguable the most important units in the Polish campaign.
Strzelcy are recruited from a mere Moat-and-Bailey and a basic stables, so they can be fielded quickly in formidable numbers. However despite their low requirements they remain useful even as a significant part of a Polish army at any stage in the campaign. For comparison, most Western European powers get similar, slightly weaker unit called Mounted Crossbowmen at a Citadel with a Marksmans Range.
Although Strzelcy are primarily a missile unit, they can fulfill the same function as some other light cavalry: ride down routing units, charge at an enemy’s flank, or even act in emergency melee with their axes. Their only weakness is that their morale is meagar at only 3, so Strzelcy should be under the Command and supervision of a competent General.