|Appears in||Empire: Total War|
|Soldiers in each unit||30/60/90/120|
|Tech requirement||Light Infantry Doctrine|
|Cost||1230 (880 MP)|
|Turns to Train||1|
These light infantry are used to harass the enemy and screen the main body of the army.
On the battlefield, they are skirmishers used to counter enemy light troops that cause problems to the highly regimented Prussian regulars. Those recruited into the Frei-korps include foreign mercenaries, ex-prisoners and deserters from other armies. Their less-than-reputable nature makes the Frei-Korps perfect for raids and independent operations where the ability to live off the land (by stealing) is more important than parade ground drill. They travel light and their uniforms are deliberate plain to avoid drawing unwelcome attention.
Historically, Fredrick the Great (1740–86) had little respect for the Frei-korps. He was a believer in discipline and drill in soldiers, and the independence of light troops held little appeal. The men were basically sneaky and professional rascals and this was simply un-gentlemanly and dishonourable to the 18th Century mind. Frederick’s army was supremely disciplined, but even he had to accept that sometimes a certain “flexibility” was required, hence the Frei-korps.
Despite the name, the Freikorps formed in Germany after the Great War had little in common with these 18th Century troops, as they were “free” brigades of anti-communist ex-soldiers, returning from the front with no prospects and little loyalty to the Weimar Republic.
Frei-korps serve as oversize Light Infantry regiments, with marginally worse ranged capabilities and better melee characteristics. In practice, Frei-korps are superior to light infantry as their slightly poorer shooting performance is more than compensated for by the extra number of men and muskets per regiment. Their better melee capabilities and larger amount of men per regiment means that they fare much better in a melee than their light infantry counterparts, although they are still no match for most Line Infantry or heavier cavalry.
Frei-korps' only substantial disadvantages when compared to light infantry are their inability to deploy stakes or to use Fougasse as a pre-deployment option.
Frei-korps compare most similarly to the Legions of the United States, boasting slightly better morale at the cost of much worse melee characteristics (their initial benefit of having better melee characteristics cancelled by the fact that they cannot use bayonets while the Legions can).