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A tribute to Infantry on Infantry day 27 Oct 2018

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by NS52, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. NS52

    NS52 MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    INFANTRY

    By

    Col Dr Narendar Singh

    (A tribute to Infantry on Infantry day 27 Oct 2018. No one can take its place on the battlefield)

    Indian’s think of their attitude toward other nations as defensive. That is, they have no ambition to enter upon a career of conquest; they will resort to war only as means of preventing other nations from violating what hey regard as their national sovereignty and their international rights.

    In this respect, however, it is probable that this Nation is not as unique as it is inclined to believe. Since war is but a means to an end, it is probable that no nation will resort to hostilities if its political policies can be attained by peaceful means. The maintenance of status quo is however, merely a question of international policy, and its continuance may conflict with what nations not favoured by it regard as their international rights. It therefore follows that the use of the terms offensive and defensive in describing a national attitude is merely a question of the point of view.

    To regard the observance of defensive attitude, in military sense, as a virtue, is, however, a complete failure to understand the nature and ends of war. The purely defensive can never accomplish anything but negative results; it can at best, if persisted in, only affect the extent to which enemy is able to impose his will and attain his ends.

    To point out the importance of Infantry action in all battles between opposing armies but the viewpoint of the different nations regarding the Infantry, a viewpoint which is practically the same in all armies of the world, few quotations are listed.

    This is from the Japanese Regulations

    ‘We are confident that the responsibility of the infantry has increased according to the practical experience obtained in the latest war….. Infantry is the principal arm which in every case is charges with the main work in the field of battle and decides the final issue of combat. It is therefore a general rule that the cooperation of other arms with the infantry is carried out with a view of allowing the latter to fulfil its work.’

    This is from Russian Army:

    ‘Infantry is the principal and most important arm. It acts jointly with the artillery and with the help of its fire, crushes adversary; it alone breaks the last resistance of the enemy. It is the infantry which bears the principal weight of the fight.’

    Boguslawski[1] in his work, ‘Tactical Deductions from The Boer War:’

    ‘The cooperation of the different arms, whether in large or in small units, is one of the conditions for effect in war. No arm can dispense with another. There are always moments in which one, now another, will make itself more felt. One should, therefore, not be neglected at the expense of another. This applies not only to the organization, training, and armament, but also to the estimation they enjoy from the authorities and in the eyes of the people. But not withstanding this, the principal role in action will always fall to the infantry, as it can be used in any manner and is unhindered by localities.

    For this reason and because the tactics of infantry present the greatest difficulties in its application, the commanders of armies and with them, military literature have occupied themselves continually, since the introduction of the breech-loader and the improvements in weapons following thereon, in trying to discover the best form for that feature of Infantry tactics which has again become the most difficult.

    Boguslawksi[2] in his work ‘Instruction for the Conduct of Infantry Soldier in Action:’

    ‘The Infantry has the advantage of the other arms, since it can fight under all conditions and on every kind of ground, on the level, in mountains, in woods, in villages and towns, and in intersected and open ground, and this as well as in the attack as in the defence.’

    Aleksey Nikolayevich Kuropatkin. Russian Imperial Minister of War (1898-1904), stated:

    ‘There is no doubt that in the future infantry will retain its name as the principal arm, the importance of other arms depending entirely on the extent to which they assist infantry to defeat the enemy, for the latter is the final arbiter of victory or defeat.

    General Stanley McChrystal, who closing with the "centre of gravity" – the Afghan people – in Operation Panther's Claw:

    "We are fighting for the population, that involves protecting them both from the enemy and from unintended consequences of our operation."

    In other words, troops must get stuck in and rely less on "heavy ordnance". There is just no substitute for that most conventional of assets: boots on the ground.”

    No one disputes that U.S. military forces are fighting in combat in Iraq and Syria. The war is not being ended, just because there isn’t enough US Infantry on the ground.

    From all the above, we deduce that the role of infantry is the role of the army. Its action decides the character of the battle.


    [1] Boguslawski, Albertch von. (1996) Tactical Deductions from the War of 1870-71. (Translated Colonel Lumley Graham) (London: Henry S. King & Co))

    [2] Boguslawski, Lieutenant Colonel R.V. ‘Instruction for the Conduct of Infantry Soldier in Action (translated by Captain W Sawyer, Royal Lancaster Regiment) Journal of The Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XXVII (London: W. Mitchell and Co.)

    https://books.google.co.in/books?id...ns for the Infantry Soldier in Action&f=false (accessed on 27 Oct 2018)
     

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