Author Topic: The Role of Infantry (and other Combat Arms)  (Read 49139 times)

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Offline SirTwonish

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The Role of Infantry (and other Combat Arms)
« on: January 09, 2008, 12:55:59 »
I am a new recruit in PRes and while we were running in formation our M cpl was asking us questions as we went along. Length weight of a C7 etc... He also asked us what is the role of the infantry? It goes something like this: To close with and defeat the enemy day or night regardless of weather or terrain something something something. I have just started and I was wondering what the role of the infantry is word for word, I don't want to feel retarded next time he asks! Thanks!

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 13:10:37 »
The role of the infantry is to close with and destroy the enemy, by day or by night, in all weather conditions, and terrain.

 
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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 14:06:16 »
The role of the infantry is to close with and destroy the enemy, by day or by night, in all weather conditions, and terrain. 

+1 to the Infidel!... with particular emphasis on "destroy"
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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 14:34:55 »
Here I go, raining on a parade again:
The role of Infantry
To close with and destroy the enemy.


Just in case it comes up
The role of armour
To defeat the enemy through the aggressive use of firepower and battlefield mobility.
So, there I was....

Offline Future Pensioner

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 14:39:33 »
How about this version:

To close with and destroy the enemy.  To kill or capture him.  To seize and hold ground by day or by night regardless of season weather or terrain.

DUCIMUS

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 14:51:44 »
How about this version:

To close with and destroy the enemy.  To kill or capture him.  To seize and hold ground by day or by night regardless of season weather or terrain.

DUCIMUS

How about "no".
"My" source is B-GL-392-001/FP-001 "The Infantry Battalion in Battle", Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 2 "Role and Tasks", and I quote:

Quote
ROLE

6.     The role of the infantry is to close with and destroy the enemy.

7.     Well armed individuals with fighting spirit and dogged determination constitute the backbone of the infantry battalion.  All the rest - vehicles, stores and equipment - merely exist to assist the infantry soldier to carry out the mission.  It is by determination and the skillful use of weapons and ground that the battalion succeeds in battle.

TASKS

8.     The infantry battalion may be assigned the following tasks:
        a.  to destroy the enemy in close combat;
        b.  to defend a position by the holding of ground;
        c.  to fight as covering force troops;
        d.  to act as all or part of a reserve to counter-attack or block;
        e.  to participate in airmobile, airborne or amphibious operations;
        f.  to establish surveillance and conduct patrols;
        g. to conduct security tasks, including rear area security; and
        h. to exploit the effects of NBC weapons.


NB: Edited for spelling


« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 15:50:22 by Mortarman Rockpainter »
So, there I was....

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 15:46:18 »
Just in case it comes up
The role of armour
To defeat the enemy through the aggressive use of firepower and battlefield mobility.

aka 'Speed & Violence' ;)
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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 15:56:35 »
Or how about that of the Engineers

The Primary Role. To assist friendly troops to fight, move and live, and to denying the same ability to the enemy; and

The Secondary Role. To fight as infantry.

Ref: B-GL-361-001/FP-001 LAND FORCE ENGINEER OPERATIONS – VOLUME 1 (ENGLISH) Ch. 1. Section 1 Role

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 16:29:23 »
How about "no".
"My" source is B-GL-392-001/FP-001 "The Infantry Battalion in Battle", Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 2 "Role and Tasks", and I quote:


NB: Edited for spelling




I stand corrected.  Thank you.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 17:00:53 »
But never forget the foreword to B-GL-372-005/FP-001, paragraph 4:






Quote
Unless otherwise noted, masculine pronouns contained herein refer to both genders.



... this non-sequitur brought to you by CH3CH2OH...
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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 13:21:16 »
Quote
How about "no".
"My" source is B-GL-392-001/FP-001 "The Infantry Battalion in Battle", Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 2 "Role and Tasks", and I quote:

And if you would have wrote that on the TKT at the Infantry School it would have been marked wrong by Standards (I know because I remember bringing this up).  Yet another sign that we don't even know our own doctrine!

Since we're discussing the role of the infantry, here is a reading assignment for everyone:

http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_09/iss_1/CAJ_vol9.1_09_e.pdf
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 14:04:16 »
And if you would have wrote that on the TKT at the Infantry School it would have been marked wrong by Standards (I know because I remember bringing this up).  Yet another sign that we don't even know our own doctrine!
I remember also bringing that up to the former SME for DP 1.1.  Being Australian, he always used that definition that included "to kill or capture him, etc".


That really fried my cheese!
So, there I was....

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 14:11:34 »
To engage with the population and destroy the enemy at close quarters.

That is the role envisioned by the author for the infantry.  I would disagree.  I believe that the role of the infantry should remain as it is: to close with and destroy the enemy.  Remember, "destroy" traditionally implies that the enemy must not be capable of conducting operations without being reconstituted.  That works well in a conventional, peer enemy force situation.  In the COE, however, "destroy" has a new meaning, I believe.  So, instead of only destroying through firepower, I would posit that the infantry can destroy the enemy through engaging the population, undermining the enemy and instilling confidence in your force.  These are necessary (IMHO) for winning in COIN.

Perhaps some of the tasks that can be assigned to the infantry also include "engage the population?"  Still, for me, I don't think defitions need changing.  WHAT we do may need changing, or even how we do it, but the role of the infantry, the first principle, in my professional opinion, should remain "to close with and destroy the enemy."

Thoughts?


(It is a good article: I recommend that everyone read the article on the link posted by Infanteer)
So, there I was....

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 14:25:30 »
Haven't read the article yet, but based on the explanation above, how about

"To close with and destroy the enemy, through direct or indirect fires, or by neutralizing the enemy's popular support"
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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 15:09:36 »
Haven't read the article yet, but based on the explanation above, how about

"To close with and destroy the enemy, through direct or indirect fires, or by neutralizing the enemy's popular support"
I've always liked the simplicity of "to close with and destroy the enemy" says what we do, as "through direct or indirect fires, or by neutralising the enemy's popular support" would tell us how to do it.  In mission command, "how" is left to the commander.  Also, it's easier to learn and memorise for tests ;D
So, there I was....

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 15:13:02 »
Quote
...Now, that infantryman must also have certain attributes of a “beat cop.”
 LCol Eyre's closing line.

Quote
To engage with the population and destroy the enemy at close quarters.

That is the role envisioned by the author for the infantry.  I would disagree.  I believe that the role of the infantry should remain as it is: to close with and destroy the enemy.
The guy with the can of whitewash.

The second position makes everything easier.  There is a training focus.  There is moral clarity.

But, I most humbly suggest, that is not what a government can supply.  

I have argued that the soldier is first and foremost an agent of the Crown (or the sovereign people for those silly types that require democracy in all things).  The Crown needs to control its spaces and places.  Places are where the people are.  Spaces are where people might be.

People don't easily self-identify as targets and non-targets.  Only members of the military tribe seem to have that propensity.

The Government requires people to act as its agents to engage other people.  By choosing to act as agents then the types involved also self-identify as targets - might as well give them uniforms.

The ongoing question of the difference between the Policeman and the Soldier is ultimately a non-question. Both of them are agents of the Crown whose role is to enforce the Crown's wishes.  Fortunately, in Canada, the Crown wishes a peaceful, secure environment..  The Policeman expects to come home most nights after a day on the job.  But he works every day.  The Soldier doesn't work everyday (ducking now).  He trains every day and gets paid for that but he really only works occasionally.  Most importantly, when he does work, he doesn't have the same expectation of coming home that the Copper does.

That difference in expectations is not a function of the role of the Agent so much as it is a function of the environment to which they are assigned.  Soldiers are assigned to target rich environments. Policemen are assigned to target poor environments.  Unfortunately the scale of poor to rich is a sliding scale and sometimes the targets have to be sifted.  And this brings us back to Dragoons raised as mobile infantry to police the spaces.  And to Gendarmerie, and Carabinieri and Marechausse and Mounties and British South African Constabulary.....

It is no accident that the Cold War infantry was an endangered species.  The Cold War was predicated on people in uniforms operating in target rich environments with moral clarity of purpose.  The targets self identified.  The Shock Forces (Cavalry and Artillery - tanks to nukes and everything in between) didn't have to worry about finding something to fight with).

Now that that period of silliness is behind us we are back to where we started.  The Government needs to find people to sift out the wolves from the sheep and to identify the target rich space from the target poor spaces so that they can appropriately assign personnel: police to target poor zones, soldiers (or should it be Shock Forces) to target rich spaces.

The Continentals, accepting of a Standing Army and no concept of Minimum Force, have no trouble maintaining a separate domestic army of gendarmes to control the spaces.  Their police control the places and their armies control their borders and beyond.

Us Anglo types (and our Huguenot friends) rebelled very precisely and exactly against that very type of standing domestic army, whether it be Jimmy the Sixth and First's paid reivers on the borders, Charles II's Highland Host and Dragoons in Ayrshire, Louis XIV's Dragons in the Vendee and the Palatinate, or George II's Black Watch. Consequently the Brits have had to maintain an infantry heavy army to supply the Crown with the capabilities that Louis's Dragoos supplied him.

The Crown needs bodies to operate in the Grey Zone that is neither target rich nor target poor.  They need Policemen that can take Shock Action when the situation warrants rather than waiting for someone else to handle it.  At the same time they need Shock Forces that will find their own targets and not piss off the population in the process.

Apparently our Cold War raised Army doesn't want the job.  Unfortunately the prognosis for Shock Forces is not that great in the absence of self-identified targets.  Given such a shortage the Shock Forces are not likely to get much usage and end up going the way of the Guild of Wagon Wheel Spoke Makers.




« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 15:16:43 by Kirkhill »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2008, 15:49:01 »
Of course there might be another option.

Remove CIMIC from the CF (I think I hear Edward nodding) and have it created as a separate SMALL corps of agents of the Crown with specializaition in the Grey Zone and exposure to both Policing and Shock Action in their training and selection.  Then assign Shock Forces and Police as the situation demands.

Of course that would require subordinating the Military to the Civilian District CIMIC Officer.

It would leave the Military free to concentrate on Shock Action.

Of course it would also require a CIMIC agent with every deployed package.  So if the smallest deployable package were the Company/Combat Team we would only need 50 or so CIMIC Officers (and their staff).  If, on the other hand we were deploying Fire Teams to villages then each Fire Team would need a separate CIMIC Officer to call their shots. 

2 Tms/Sect
6 Tms/Pl
18 Tms/Coy
54 Tms/Bn
162 Tms/Bde
486 Tms/Cdn Army requiring the creation of 486 CIMIC Agents and Staffs to supervise their activities and utilize their capabilities

That is only converting the Infantry
The Cavalry and Artillery (complete with Panzer Grenadiers) would remain as Shock Forces dedicated to destroying targets.

Engineers find themselves swinging both ways.

Service Support likewise.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2008, 17:01:36 »
But that brings us to the concept of an Officer being a Commissioned agent of the Crown and being assigned a competent Corporal's Guard by the local Centurion/RSM.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2008, 19:12:00 »
Here I go, raining on a parade again:
The role of Infantry
To close with and destroy the enemy.

Just in case it comes up
The role of armour
To defeat the enemy through the aggressive use of firepower and battlefield mobility.
Here's a fun quiz.  Who can name the role of armour prior to it becoming what is posted here?

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2008, 19:35:11 »
To defeat the enemy throught the aggressive use of firepower and shock action.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2008, 19:48:51 »
To defeat the enemy throught the aggressive use of firepower and shock action.
Maybe, but lets go earlier to something that does not even resemble that phrase.

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2008, 20:00:51 »
You thinking of the motto?

Through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond.  (General Worthington)
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Offline MCG

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Re: Purpose of Infantry
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2008, 20:02:53 »
No.  I've got something else & a reference to back me up.

Offline MCG

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Re: The Role of Infantry (and other Combat Arms)
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2008, 20:37:09 »
In the spirit of official references, here is what we get from B-GL-301-002/FP-001 THE BATTLE GROUP IN OPERATIONS, Change 2, 1992-02-03

ARTILLERY
  • FIELD ARTILLERY - Role. Field artillery contributes to the defeat of the enemy by indirect fire
  • AIR DEFENCE ARTILLERY - Role. Air defence artillery prevents enemy aircraft from interfering with land operations.

ARMOUR
  • TANKS - Role. The tank defeats the enemy by the aggressive use of firepower and battlefield mobility.
  • ARMOURED RECONNAISSANCE - Role. Armoured reconnaissance obtains and relays timely information about the enemy and the ground, and contributes to battlefield security.
  • TANK DESTROYERS - Role. Tank destroyers (TDs) destroy enemy armour.

INFANTRY
  • INFANTRY - Role. Infantry closes with and destroys the enemy.
  • LONG RANGE ANTI-ARMOUR WEAPONS - Role. The long range anti-armour weapon (LRAAW) destroys enemy armour.

ENGINEERS
  • ENGINEERS - Role. Engineers assist the land force to live, move and fight on the battlefield and work to deny the same to the enemy. Engineers may also be employed as infantry when required.


and as found in B-GL-371-003/FP-001 Field Artillery Operational Procedures, 27 Aug 2000 and in B-GL-371-000/FP-001 Field Artillery Doctrine, 22 Jun 1999:
  • The role of the field artillery is to assist in the defeat of the enemy with indirect fire as part of the all-arms battle.


.... but I'm still waiting to see if anyone can dig out a really old definition of the role of Armoured.



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Re: The Role of Infantry (and other Combat Arms)
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2008, 20:38:08 »
Slightly off topic, but a good one for a new infantryman to have handy as required:

THE INFANTRYMAN  

" Let us be clear about three facts. First of all, all battles and all wars are won in the end by the infantryman. Secondly, the infantryman always bears the brunt. His casualties are heavier, he suffers greater extremes of discomfort and fatigue than the other arms. Thirdly, the art of the infantryman is less stereotyped and far harder to acquire than that of any other arm."

Field Marshall Lord Wavell
 
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