Infantry - Equipment and Training

Equipment and Training

The age when the infantrymen were just a mass of hastily trained conscripts is long past in most of the world, and the infantryman has emerged as a highly trained specialist in his (or her) own right. Although the capability of the American military to train and graduate infantrymen is considered sensitive information, the cost, time constraints and emphasis on combat competency ensures that they can not be mass produced without suffering from severely decreased physical/mental fitness, discipline and overall combat effectiveness.

The equipment of infantry forces has evolved along with the development of military technology and tactics in general, but certain constants remain regarding the design and selection of this equipment. Primary types of equipment are weaponry, protective gear, survival gear, and special, mission specific equipment. Infantry tactics have become much more involved, and yet must be learned and rehearsed until they become second nature when the infantry soldier is stumbling with fatigue and in the middle of the "fog" of war. Keeping spacing, making use of cover and concealment, monitoring team-mates and leaders, and watching for the enemy need to become instinctive and simultaneous.

Infantry weapons have included all types of personal weapons, i.e., anything that can be handled by individual soldiers, as well as some small crew-served weapons that can be carried. During operations, especially in modern times, the infantry often scavenge and employ whatever weapons and equipment they can acquire in addition to those given to them by their available supply chain. Infantrymen may be trained to use equipment in addition to their personal rifle such as hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, anti-personnel mines, other incendiary and explosive equipments, bayonets, GPS, map and compass, encrypted communications equipment, booby traps, surveillance equipment, night vision equipment, sensitive intelligence documents, classified weapon systems and other sensitive equipment.

Infantry of ancient times up until just before the modern age have wielded a wide array of weaponry. Infantry formations used all sorts of melee weapons, such as various types of swords, axes, and maces, as well as ranged weapons such as javelins, bows, and slings. Infantry of these premodern periods also employed a variety of personal body armor, including chain mail and cuirasses.

Many of the premodern infantry weapons evolved over time to counter these advances in body armor, such as the falchion, whose heavy blade was designed to break chain mail armor and engage the underlying individual.

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