Both famous and feared, these highly disciplined soldiers bring extra power to any battle.
In the Old Swiss Confederation, a rudimentary system of compulsory military service and the formation of militias in the Late Middle Ages supported the early emergence of a strong military culture. Swiss foot soldiers forged their reputation after impressive victories in Morgarten (1315), Sempach (1386), Grandson, Morat (1476), and the Swabian War (1499), which made them prized mercenaries in foreign countries. The Confederation's mercenaries, also known as Reisläufer, originally fought in infantry squares of pikemen and halberdiers that were capable of destroying medieval cavalry troops in the Early Modern era. Present on every Western European battlefield for more than 300 years, the regiments gradually adopted firearms (arquebuses and muskets) and fought as line infantry in the 18th century. This considerable military strength, deployed beyond the Confederation’s borders, is seen by contemporary historians as one of the main reasons that the country's independence was formally recognized at the time.