Long Range: Flintlock Musket
The gun that replaced the arquebus, the musket was one of the weapons that revolutionized Russian warfare. The combined range and power of the weapon made it a major threat on the battlefield. A Streslty would carry his musket at almost all times, as it would dignify his rank amongst peasant. What also should be pointed out is any one who owned a musket, ether military or peasant, could in fact be called a Streslty, which simply means 'shooter', as in gun shooter.
The Pre-Napoleonic Russian musket was not to different from the Ottoman Tufenk. Both had a the same type of firing system, ammunition type, and reload time. The Russian musket how ever had less design, was larger and heavier to carry, had a slightly shorter barrel (quicker reload, decreased ranged) and a larger breech, meaning more gun powder could be used, increasing the guns power
In the cold, wet lands of Russia, it was hell trying to maintain a musket and other black powder weapons. Any water or snow that got into the black powder would ruin it and stop it from igniting. This would decrease the Streslty effectiveness in the dead of winter, meaning they had to store their guns in safe, dry areas, along with using their gun powder quickly before it got old and spoil.
The Streslty had a very unique way of firing their muskets, which will be shown later. The overall quality of a Strelsty is actually very good considering their time and region. Most Russian Muskets came from Central to Western Europe, with only a handful of truly skilled armorers in Moscow being able to make war muskets. The Strelsty had a special way of shooting their muskets, which I will explain later in Special Melee.
Medium Range: Matchlock Arquebus:
The predecessor to the musket, the arquebus was the weapon of choice for the Strelsty from their formation to their disbandment. The arquebus is around one foot shorter than the musket, and of a slimmer design. The matchlock firing system required the user (or arqurebuser) to light a fuse, pull the trigger and wait until the fuse ignited the gun powder.
The Arquebus was widely open for misfires or mechanic breakdowns. Though it was smaller then the musket, it took sometimes even longer to reload it and prepare the firing system.
Strelstys used the arquebus as more of intimidation weapon, as a single shot from even a small arquebus would make a great amount of noise and so much smoke that the shooter would be siting in a cloud so thick that he could barely see. The arquebus was fairly light and could be carried on a long march for a great deal of time. The Arquebus was also cheap to produce and supply to even untrained soilders.
The Strestlys used some of the guns disadvantage to their advantage. Oppose to using the arquebus to sharp shoot like a musket, they would fired their guns in formation at a large host of enemies at a close range. The volley of flying lead would hit enemies at full force, the the loud bangs and bright flashes of the guns being more than to break their will to push forward.
Specialized Melee: Bardiche:
Rarely longer than five feet, the axe was very effective at hacking, along with thrusting using its specialized head. If a Stresly had to abounded their guns, they rarely ever left ed behind their bardhice, which could be very effective in close range combat. Even against armoured infantry and calvary, the bardiche was very useful in melee combat, along with the fact it could be easily used and made.
Longer Bardiches would weight around 10 to 15 pounds, but could still be carried for long distances, normally rested against the shoulder. The Strestlys also found a handy way to use their axes in combat; placing the axe right side up on the ground, the Strestly would hold the axe in place with one hands, while placing his musket or arquebus on the top of the axe and firing with the other hand.
Some Sabre vs. Bardhice fighting.
Close Range: Shashka:
The Strelsty used them (or a type of sabre like them) as their primary side arm. The sword, along with the baridhice, was a simple for the sternly, displaying their higher power and class.
Extreme Close Range: Kindijal Dagger:
The Kindijal was a weapon common through out Eastern Europe. Oringanally from Georgia and the Ukraine, the dagger and many variations of it spread across Russia, where they found their way into the hands of the Strestly. It should be noted that the Strestlys used a varied of knifes and daggers, with no official knife for them.
Head, Neck: Schlem-shishak (Rare)
The helmet was very rare through out the Strestly, where the only ones using it having had it pass down to them in their families. Most Strestly wore simple hats and caps to keep their heads worm.
Torso, Arms, Legs (scored individually, but added together): Caftan, Boots, Leather Strap:
A leather strap for holding ammunition was worn arose the chest.
The Strestlys wore thick leather boots that went up to the back of the knees. The boots could defend against low slashes and hacks.
Specialized Formations: "Gulyay-Gorod" (Walking Fort):
The Gulyay-Gorod Formation was used by various branches of the Russian Army from the 15 to 17 century. The formation made up of large wall sized wooden shields placed on wheels, making a mobile fort quite literally. This made them much cheaper to make and use then war wagons, but offered the same amount of protection and mobility. The Strestly made small hole and slots where they fire from without being in risk of being shot.
This formation, like the Pandur's, will only help the Russian's at close to medium range, as it is easy to break the formation at close range to engage in melee combat.
Training: Good Training From A Family, Bad Training If Recruitment:
The quality of training depended on the status of the solider. If he was in a family of wealthy Strestly, he would have advance fencing and marksmen training along with military strategy and basic hand to hand combat. A recruit of a poorer back ground would only be given basic instructions and training, with very little discipline involved. The average Strestly of middle class background (family or recruit) would learn how to fight with sword, bardhicie, musket, and hand to hand. This training gave them a decent amount of martial skill while fighting one on one or in a group.
Motivation/ Loyalty: Poor Pay, Bad Tsar:
Rules of Combat : Fight As One, Massacre The Enemy:
The Strestlys had a very simple strategy going into combat: destroy the enemy. The Russians would always drive forward, frequently driving their enemies back using brute force and their eagerness to fight. While this may sound like a very dumb strategy, the attitude and ideals behind this would gave the Strestlys all the hope they needed to fight. Combat was like a game to them sometimes, as they would jest and jeer at their enemies, making them look like mad men in the eyes of their enemy.
How this will do against the Pandurs, I don't know.
Overall / Primary Strategy: Shoot From Mobile Fortress, Move In, Break Away And Shoot Small Arms, Charge In and Use Melee:
The title is pretty explanatory. The Russians approach (or are approached by) an enemy in their walking fort formation. The walls would defend them from all side from enemy fire, and they would then return fire. The fortress would slowly move forward, waiting until the right time to break formation and fire with their medium range weapons. This would break down the enemies flanks so the majority of the Strestlys could engage in melee combat. By this time, the enemy would ether retreat, or face a bunch of wild axe men dead on.
This wasn't always the way Strestly would approach combat. They had different formations going up against skirmishers, pike men, cavalry, etc.