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A Grenadier was originally a specialized assault trooper for siege operations, first established as a distinct role in the early 17th century. Grenadiers were soldiers who would throw grenades and storm breaches, leading the forefront of such a breakthrough.

The earliest references to these grenade-throwing soldiers are from Austria and Spain. References also appear in England during the English Civil War. However, it was King Louis XIV of France who made the Grenadier an official type of soldier and company during his army reforms late in the 17th century. According to Rene Chartrand[?], Lt. Col. Martinet introduced the idea of having men detailed to throw grenades in the Regiment du Roi in 1667.

Grenade usage declined significantly in the 18th century, a fact that can be attributed to the improved effectiveness of massive infantry line tactics and firelock technology. However, the Grenadier's role as elite assault troop remained.

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