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a type of soldier, originally armed with a flintlock weapon known as fusil, in various European armies from the 17th to 20th centuries. Fusiliers made up a large part of the infantry of the French Army from the mid-17th to the late 19th century and of the Russian Army in the first half of the 18th century. In the Prussian Army of the 19th and early 20th centuries fusiliers made up one-third of an infantry battalion.
In the Russian Army of 1704 each infantry regiment comprised eight companies of fusiliers and one company of grenadiers. Besides fusils, the fusiliers were armed with baïonnettes, which were long knives equipped with handles that fit into the muzzle of the gun. Between 1706 and 1708 the baïonnette was replaced by the modern bayonet. In the mid-18th century the fusiliers were renamed musketeers.