The name Grenadier was a general term given to a specific type of soldier that then morphed into something different. They are a very important part of European colonial history as you’ll see.
The Grenadier first originated in armies with the advent of the grenade in the 17th century. These men had to be tall and strong to be able to throw the grenade a safe distance. By the 18th century armies realized that throwing grenades was not worth the danger and the Grenadier simply became crack troops, feared and respected for their size and power. Interestingly enough Frederick the Great of Germany made a division entirely composed of men over 6 feet tall. In fact he collected nearly every tall man in Europe. Monarchs like the Czar would send him 7 foot tall men as presents.
Uniforms varied widely from army to army but a distinguishing feature was their tall hat. Cone shaped to prevent the throwing arm from snagging, this hat was the signature of the grenadier.
Weapons were pretty standard. A musket with bayonet was typical especially after the grenade took the backseat. The grenade however was a cast iron ball filled with gunpowder that had a fuse attached. The cast iron ball would explode into deadly fragments but the unreliability of the grenade caused it’s retirement until WWI.
The Grenadier is a important figure in British history and world history as a whole. They took part in many battles during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 especially. These fearsome soldiers have definitely made a place for themselves in history.