For many years, innovations in the art of gunnery have led to the implementation of firearms as a standard weapon in Stormwind's arsenal. From early hand-cannons to sophisticated rifles, the First Regiment of Westridge boasts its own corps of specialists known as 'hand-gunners.' Trained in the use of black powder and gunnery at the Bridgeport Gunnery School in the County of Whitecliffe, the regiment's hand-gunners are crack missile troops capable of providing heavy support to main-line infantry formations. While the rangers of Mirwood skirmish with the enemy using bow and arrow, and the mages of the Sarceline lob and cast spell after spell, the hand-gunners stand side by side with the Royal Infantry. Walls of lead and withering fire wear down the foe before they close with the bulwark of the Crown's noble defenders. It is through these integrated tactics that have lead to the hand-gunners showing their worth as capable fighters at the front, but also secured Stormwind's military supremacy over all.
Note: Those interested in starting gunnery training should privately message in-game, on the website, or on Discord the gunnery leaders: Edrington or Averelie.
Before beginning your training at the Gunnery School or at Westbrook Garrison, candidates must familiarize themselves with the role they'll be taking on as a hand-gunner. For all others seeking a certification in the use of firearms as a supplement to their combat skills, they too are encouraged to read up on the tactics and usage of these fearsome weapons on the battlefield.
Hand-gunners are front-line infantry, holding position directly behind the footmen's shield-wall or the spear-men's phalanx. Through coordinated drill, gaps are allowed for riflemen to march up and present their volleys of fire and smoke towards the enemy before pulling back to reload. In more dire circumstances, once the melee has begun, hand-gunners may circle to the flanks or fire through exposed gaps with great caution at the enemy. When ammunition runs out or the fighting becomes too intense, hand-gunners draw steel and join in the fray with bayonets or broadswords. In some cases, hand-gunners may be certified as explosives specialists, assisting siege-smiths in lobbing grenades or handling volatile charges to be planted on enemy fortifications or structures. In short, hand-gunners must know the ins-and-outs of gunnery and explosives work, including its care and use in every possible scenario.
Helping spearhead the hand-gunners are two of the regiment's marksmen and engineers. Knight-Lieutenant Edrington Grunwald of First 'Honor' Company helped pioneer the concept the gunnery as a key battlefield weapon within the ranks of the First Regiment long ago at the beginning of his tenure. In his time, he has written multiple treatises and manuals regarding the use of firearms in main-line combat, most notably the handbook titled The Musket Methodology. Having reformed the 31st Battalion of Foot, otherwise known as the Bridgeport Fusiliers, Grunwald boasts a great deal of experience in all things black-powder, from practical use to theoretical knowledge. After the 31st was returned to Bridgeport and a great deal of its troops were merged into the Royal Infantry during the reform period of Sir Markus Stonewall, Grunwald now oversees gunnery training and certifications for all soldiers under his command.
Grunwald's successor in the legacy of firearms training and usage in the First Regiment is Sergeant Averelie Talbot, a progressively-minded high-elf with a knack for marksmanship and a desire for innovation. Intelligent and bellicose, Talbot quickly caught on to the use of rifles and explosives, taking over as de-facto gunnery chief for the regiment after Grunwald's appointment to the governorship of Stranglethorn. In her time, she has carried on the teachings and use of black powder well, teaching new generations of hand-gunners in the new style of troop organization introduced first by Stonewall's reforms. She is currently working on The Handgunner's Handbook, the next generation of hand-gunner field manuals featuring updated content, tactics, and information on recent developments in the field of gunnery.
The Bridgeport Gunnery School
Acceptance into the gunnery school will, at times, necessitate that prospective students make the trip to the city of Bridgeport, the seat of power for House Hudson and the whole of Whitecliffe. Located on the West Isles, Bridgeport is host not only to the finest gunnery school this side of the Nazferiti River, but also the Bridgeport Arms Foundry. Black smoke chokes the city's air, as the foundries of war pump out swords, rifles, cannons, ammunition, armor, and more for the Royal Army. At the school proper, lecture halls and firing ranges provide the gunnery student with theoretical and practical knowledge on the use of firearms and their tactics. What's more, students will witness first-hand the exciting new developments made in the field of gunnery at the Arms Foundry and the School, from the deadly rotary muskets and hellfire volley guns of the artillery to the multi-barreled, eccentric rifles crafted for heavy infantry. Most training courses last only a month or so in order to certify and pass the gunnery exams and enter the ranks of the hand-gunners. Shorter certifications are available on a case by case basis.
REQUIREMENTS: Entry-level applicants MUST be rank Private or higher.
In order to pass the school's exams or, in some cases, finish certification courses, every student must go through the same set of basic exams. Hand-gunners proper must finish a final exam, consisting of a specialization. Those seeking only basic certificates in order to be allowed to carry firearms into battle as part of their kit need only worry about the basic coursework. It is as follows:
Part 1: Theory and Maintenance - Students will engage in lessons regarding the basic theories, maintenance, and care of firearms in the Royal Army. This will include classes on how to properly use and aim rifles, when and where to use explosives best, how to best care for and clean firearms, how to properly store black powder while on campaign, and so on.
Part 2: Battlefield Tactics - Delving further into theory and practice, students will study their role as hand-gunners on the battle line and how they may best support their fellow troops in the Royal Infantry. What's more, drill and marching training follows, as student's test their knowledge in larger platoon formations and in simulated confrontations against opposing forces.
Part 3: Range Tests - Whether training to use a rifle or explosives, cannons or snipers, all students must take time to practice their marksmanship on the range, whether at the Gunnery School or at the Westbrook Garrison. Under the watchful eye of their instructors, students will hone in their aim both as independent shooters and in-line with larger group formations.
Note: Basic certifications traditionally end here. Should a soldier in the Royal Infantry want to gain the privilege of carrying firearms into battle as part of their standard issue kit, the above curriculum would be their only requirements to complete.
Part 4: Specialization Exam - After completing their final exams under the basic curriculum, hand-gunner students must pick a specialization to pursue: Marksmanship, Demolition, or Dragoon. Marksmanship and Demolition are available to all students, while the Dragoon Specialization is reserved for members of the staff corps at Sergeant or above. Marksmanship exams will focus on the long-range use of rifles, while explosives training will teach the hand-gunner more about the use of grenades, demolition charges, and mines. Dragoons will be certified to ride into battle on light horses, learning how to fire from horse-back and best use the maneuverability of mounted combat to their advantage.
Note: At the end of the specialization exams, the student will be able to graduate as a member of the hand-gunners and take on the role in battle. ALL hand-gunners will fight in the main line, regardless of their specialization. Taking on a specialization means that a hand-gunner may potentially be called upon to conduct special missions, such as sniper duty or demolitions work.