Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs) or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for transport and combat (see also mechanized force).
Mechanized infantry is distinguished from motorized infantry in that their vehicles provide a degree of protection from hostile fire, as opposed to "soft-skinned" wheeled vehicles (trucks or jeeps) for motorized infantry. Most APCs and IFVs are fully tracked, or are all-wheel drive vehicles (6×6 or 8×8), for mobility across rough ground. Some nations distinguish between mechanized and armored infantry, designating troops carried by APCs as mechanized and those in IFVs as armored.
The support weapons for mechanized infantry are also provided with motorized transport, or are built directly into combat vehicles, in order to keep pace with the mechanized infantry in combat. For units equipped with most types of APC or any type of IFV, fire support weapons such as machine guns, autocannons, small-bore direct-fire howitzers, and even anti-tank guided missiles are often mounted directly on the infantry's own transport vehicles.
Compared with "light" truck-mobile infantry, mechanized infantry can maintain rapid tactical movement and (if mounted in IFVs) possess more integral firepower. They require more combat supplies (ammunition and especially fuel) and ordnance supplies (spare vehicle components), and a comparatively larger proportion of their manpower is required to crew and maintain the vehicles. For example, most APCs mount a section of seven or eight infantrymen but have a crew of two. Most IFVs carry only six or seven infantry but require a crew of three. To be effective in the field, mechanized units also require large numbers of mechanics with specialized maintenance and recovery vehicles and equipment. Light infantry are more effective when fighting from prepared defence positions, but are more vulnerable than mechanized infantry on the attack.
Famous quotes containing the word mechanized:
“War is the supreme drama of a completely mechanized society.”
—Lewis Mumford (18951990)