Infantry doctrine is the concise expression of how infantry forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules.
Doctrine provides a very common frame of reference across the military forces allowing the infantry to function cooperatively in what is now called combined arms operations. Doctrine helps standardize operations, facilitating readiness by establishing common ways of accomplishing infantry tasks. Doctrine links theory, history, experimentation, and practice. Its objective is to foster initiative and creative thinking in the infantry's tactical combat environment.
Doctrine provides the infantry with an authoritative body of statements on how infantry forces conduct operations and provides a common lexicon for use by infantry planners and leaders.
Until development of effective artillery doctrines, and more recently precision guided air delivered ordnance, the most recent important role of the infantry has been as the primary force of inflicting casualties on the enemy through aimed fire. The infantry is also the only combat Arm which can ultimately decide whether any given tactical position is occupied, and it is the presence of infantry that assures control of terrain. While the tactics of employment in battle have changed, the basic missions of the infantry have not.
Retractions to the Infantry Concept: Although it has been argued that infantrymen and infantry tactics are an antiquated and careless use of military manpower and resources, the infantryman has proven quite capable against many units, some much more technological and modern. For instance, light infantry has proven to be extremely effective against tank units by being able to take advantage of a tank's limited field of fire and sight by swarming enemy armor units and utilizing anti-armor rockets at long range or grenades in close quarters. Furthermore, air bombardment that can flatten entire cities has been shown to be completely useless against a dug in infantry force. (see Battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943) Even an occupying enemy police force has been shown to be a poor match against a clandestine infantry that has secreted itself away in a civilian population. (see French Resistance WWII, Iraqi Insurgency, American Revolution)
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