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    Will infantry become obsolete?

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    Walther von Oldenburg
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    Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:27 pm

    Will it? Or maybe increased protection (better armor, force fields, crysis-like camouflage) will allow it to survive on modern battlefield?
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    NationalRus
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  NationalRus on Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:46 pm

    obsolete? never

    (better armor, force fields, crysis-like camouflage)

    totaly possible even highly likely (force fields not included...) but that will be starting to go to the agend about in year 2060 and further in full force
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  GarryB on Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:20 am

    the tactics of infantry have changed over the years but the need for them will never go away.

    A long time ago you lined your forces up to intimidate the enemy... if you had a huge numbers advantage your enemy might simply disperse and leave the battlefield without even putting up a fight.

    If you did that in a modern war the enemy would simply shatter your army with artillery while it was lined up out in the open.

    So lining up in combat does not happen now and the bright uniforms have been replaced by camouflage and body armour.

    The real point is that most motor vehicles can travel cross country but there are plenty of areas where motor vehicles can go... including natural and man made obstacles like minefields and tank ditches.

    vehicles can deliver troops to the battlefield and can support troops in combat but when it gets down to it it is man vs man... when the enemy is better trained and better equipped then drawing them in to close combat in forests or jungles or urban areas often results in a great leveler where advantages in fire power can't be exploited because you don't know exactly where your troops and their troops are.

    Vehicles give you mobility and fire power, but troops hold territory and can hold out better than any vehicle or aircraft.

    technology has improved things for aircraft and vehicles but also for troops.

    An example could be a sniper in wooded hills using a standard rifle for self defence... and an electronic sight with a laser rangefinder and laser target marker... he can sneak around behind enemy lines lasing various fixed targets and transmitting coordinates to HQ for bombing and cruise missile attack... UAVs dropping food and water and ammo to him when needed.

    As fire power increases and support power improves the requirement for large ground forces diminishes, but as shown in Afghanistan the enemy can remain hidden and invulnerable to enemy air power if it wants but if you have a ground force like the northern alliance led by western special forces the enemy has three choices... remain scattered and hidden and have the enemy ground forces mop them up piece by piece... or they can group up and fight the enemy ground force which leaves them vulnerable to enemy air power, or they can scatter and leave... or they can do a bit of all three... either way they were screwed.


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    Walther von Oldenburg
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:08 pm

    For clarification - my definition of infantry includes not only human but also hypothetical future robotic infantry.

    Garru - what do you think, would a large scale land Kursk-like battles have a chacne of ever occuring in the future? From what i see, size of armies ahs been decreasing since ww2 and frontages increasing - a ww1 German division attacked on a frontage of about 2km, a ww2 German division on a frontage of 7-8 km and a modern NATO mechanized division has a frontage of ca. 25km. I guess in 50-60 years a single division would be able to cover an area of hundreds of kilometers. So developed countries would have almost no need for land forces.

    Or maybe increasing protection would somewhat coutner that trend?
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  GarryB on Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:20 pm

    I agree the west and now Russia would love any alternative to the blood baths that is urban warfare, but currently I can't see any alternative.

    I am sure if you cut off power and water to a modern western society within weeks they might capitulate... while a more basic society used to hardship might just knuckle down and fight it out... but then many societies will surprise you... a country like france will give in to soft power threats of sanctions while other countries like Russia or Cuba or Vietnam will be stubborn and react badly to threats of poverty via economic isolation

    You either escalate or back down and escalation eventually means a shooting war and bombing alone simply does not work... look at Kosovo, Air campaigns and blockades and sanctions just dont work... look at the 12 odd year sanctions of iraq before the invasion.


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    Walther von Oldenburg
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:33 pm

    In iraq sanctions did work... kinda. It prevented Saddam from rebuilding his army and by 2003 Iraqi army was outdated and short on spare parts. The only yhing they managed to do is buying some night equipment for T-72s.

    Would would happen if Iraq started a massive campaign of rearment after 1991? How would the invasion proceed if coalition forces were met with T-90s, RPG=29s, Kornets, S-300s and several dozen newest MiG-29s?
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Regular on Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:48 pm

    Would end up with same result. Not because of equipment.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Werewolf on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:52 pm

    Regular wrote:Would end up with same result. Not because of equipment.
    Yup.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:23 pm

    Absolutely no way to turn Iraqi army into an effective fighting force? Rolling Eyes

    I realize the phrase "Arab army" is not exactly synonymous with combat excellence but there must be some way to make them good. Jihadists somehow manage to do that.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Werewolf on Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:33 pm

    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Absolutely no way to turn Iraqi army into an effective fighting force? Rolling Eyes

    I realize the phrase "Arab army" is not exactly synonymous with combat excellence but there must be some way to make them good. Jihadists somehow manage to do that.

    You asked if you could make Iraqi Army better with expectations of different results with the war against US and only starting rearmament after 1991. There is no way to optimize your army against an invader in that short time frame by just buying new more modern stuff. They lacked training, they did not have any virtual defence of their country, so the US could deploy and assure air superiority. If they wanted to defend themselfs they could not done it, period. Not in history as we know it.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Vladimir79 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:38 pm

    The only way you could get rid of infantry is if Air Forces could identify and eliminate every target infantry would be tasked to engage, and do so in large actions and at very lowered cost. Of course you would still need some kind of boots on the ground but they could be much smaller special forces.


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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  victor1985 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:11 pm

    [quote="Werewolf"][quote="Walther von Oldenburg"]Absolutely no way to turn Iraqi army into an effective fighting force? :roll:

    I realize the phrase "Arab army" is not exactly synonymous with combat excellence but there must be some way to make them good. Jihadists somehow manage to do that.[/quote]

    You asked if you could make Iraqi Army better with expectations of different results with the war against US and only starting rearmament after 1991. There is no way to optimize your army against an invader in that short time frame by just buying new more modern stuff. They lacked training, they did not have any virtual defence of their country, so the US could deploy and assure air superiority. If they wanted to defend themselfs they could not done it, period. Not in history as we know it.[/quote]



    what russia did in this situation? they wanted to give weapons to iraqi? or they tried to avoid a conflict with the US and simply just watched iraqi being beaten by US? russia at least tried to impose some conditions in the involvement of US into the area? this equilibrium between Russia and USA is strong or Russia could deliver weapons to anyone with not restrictions but they dont want that?

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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  victor1985 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:16 pm

    [quote="Vladimir79"]The only way you could get rid of infantry is if Air Forces could identify and eliminate every target infantry would be tasked to engage, and do so in large actions and at very lowered cost.  Of course you would still need some kind of boots on the ground but they could be much smaller special forces.  [/quote]
    yea and see who task those infatry to atack. but you cannot know all things. then better is to risk a bit and shoot as much as you can hoping that some of the target forces will simply say who they are. you can do that by one condition. that that you go closer to one or another force in the events and risk to be taken in their area
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  Werewolf on Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:16 pm

    Before infantry becomes obsolete we will arrive back at sticks and stones where infantry will become golden again.

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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  victor1985 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:21 pm

    [quote="Werewolf"]Before infantry becomes obsolete we will arrive back at sticks and stones where infantry will become golden again.[/quote]
    now would be needed few special conditions to reach such a thing what are those conditions because myself i dont intend to go back to sticks and stones ?
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  nomadski on Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:08 pm

    @werewolf


    Agree about sticks and stones . What will become obsolete in the long run , difficult to say . But over reliance on electronics and radar may be bad idea . EMP devices and ECM together with low RCS vehicles may in practice render most modern weapon systems ineffective . Therefore every weapon system must have reliable non electronic systems . This means lessons learnt during WW2 , a pre- electronic age must be preserved and revisited . Navigating by the stars anyone ? Optical gun sites ? The slide rule ? These are hardened systems . All must know !

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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  GarryB on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:59 am

    A quick look in the robots thread will show the enormous progress being made in unmanned light vehicles and even actual robots intended to operate where it is not safe for human soldiers to operate.

    The front line in direct enemy fire clearing mines is an example, but even just having a half a car sized vehicle able to carry everyones heavy pack and extra ammo and food and water and armed with the sections machine gun and a grenade launcher and a few anti armour rocket tubes with full night vision and optics to allow engaging enemy at extended ranges is an interesting move forward.

    Increases in mobility and firepower could mean sending it out on its own without a human squad of troops to support it... link it in with armed unmanned aircraft and even an unmanned Armata tank and things get rather interesting.

    Of course as the US is currently finding... the Russians have improved in lots of areas to the point where in some areas they have better capabilities than the US itself does and that the US focus of fighting in third world countries has changed its focus from WWIII to more colonial type operations.

    The west had a similar shock in WWI where after using light artillery and the machine gun against natives across the known world all of a sudden instead of getting the local tribal leader out and shooting down a tree with a machine gun and getting him to sign over the land or the oil or the gold or whatever they wanted they suddenly found themselves faced with millions of heavily armed Germans armed with machine guns and artillery every bit as devastating as their own... hence trench warfare and stalemate and enormous loss of life.


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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  starman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:01 pm

    victor1985 wrote:
    what russia did in this situation? they wanted to give weapons to iraqi? or they tried to avoid a conflict with the US and simply just watched iraqi being beaten by US? russia at least tried to impose some conditions in the involvement of US into the area? this equilibrium between Russia and USA is strong or Russia could deliver weapons to anyone with not restrictions but they dont want that?

    Iraq was unlucky from 1991 to 2003, or Saddam's timing in 1990 was awful, because those were the "wimpy" years between the twilight of the USSR and the revived  Russia of Putin.

    But more OT--What if active defense systems like Iron Fist proliferate greatly, and defy countermeasures? Under those circumstances, what use are tanks anymore? Maybe the infantry could predominate.


    Last edited by starman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  starman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:12 pm

    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:
    Would would happen if Iraq started a massive campaign of rearment after 1991? How would the invasion proceed if coalition forces were met with T-90s, RPG=29s, Kornets, S-300s and several dozen newest MiG-29s?

    Iraq was not a superpower and would probably end up getting beaten again. Still, equipment was a big factor in '91. Iraqi T-72s had no ammo capable of penetrating M-1 front armor and their means of target acquisition and ranging were far inferior. If Iraq had plenty of the best available Russian weapons, it might not have won in a conflict. But the prospect of heavier casualties might've deterred the invasion of 2003. Btw if Iraq were able to acquire the best, across the board, by the mid/late '90s, it would've had enough time to train personnel for a crisis in '03.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  starman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:18 pm

    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Absolutely no way to turn Iraqi army into an effective fighting force? Rolling Eyes

    I realize the phrase "Arab army" is not exactly synonymous with combat excellence but there must be some way to make them good. Jihadists somehow manage to do that.

    And so did reformers of the Egyptian army, like Fawzi and Shazli, prior to the '73 war. Iraqi performance against Iran greatly improved by c 1988, and it could've improved against the US, had Saddam been able to rearm massively with the best.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:30 pm

    starman wrote:
    victor1985 wrote:
    what russia did in this situation? they wanted to give weapons to iraqi? or they tried to avoid a conflict with the US and simply just watched iraqi being beaten by US? russia at least tried to impose some conditions in the involvement of US into the area? this equilibrium between Russia and USA is strong or Russia could deliver weapons to anyone with not restrictions but they dont want that?

    Iraq was unlucky from 1991 to 2003, or Saddam's timing in 1990 was awful, because those were the "wimpy" years between the twilight of the USSR and the revived  Russia of Putin.

    But more OT--What if active defense systems like Iron Fist proliferate greatly, and defy countermeasures? Under those circumstances, what use are tanks anymore?

    Err what?

    Infantry is the measuring stick for any combat asset.

    You want tanks, you have to man them, guide them, support them.
    You want Jets, same.
    You want boats same.

    At the very least infantry capabilities would need to be retained because every crewemember can come back to the lowest cog in a fighting force. Which is a man and his weapons. Individual and portable.

    Iraq made huge procurement mistakes because of the nature of the Persian Gulf war. They were hitting Iran in poorly organized mechanized thrusts supported by large scale bombing runs. The Iranians, they learnt pretty well from the Syrian experience vs Israel and they insisted on ATGM's (Iran-Contra was in good part about TOW parts and missiles) to offset the seemigly endless stream of armour coming out of Iraq.

    So when the US came knocking Iraq was geared to a peer regional contest with very little assets to actually switch to a guerilla warfare. The total stock of found and destroyed ATGM's in Iraq in 1991 was 486 missiles and about 35 launchers. They were deemed, rightfully, as a SOF type of weapon. And the the Kuwaiti debacle didn't allow Iraq to use them. The US avoided getting into that fight. And then Russia simply didn't sell to Iraq enough assets. In 2003 less than 80 ATGM's were found (mostly unused) about 20 attacks were recorded and in total there were about 60 cases of suspected ATGM's use. So in all you have a country like Iraq with 150 ATGM's...WHAT THE F*CK.

    Ironically the disorganization of Iraqi armed forces also hit low on Iraqi resistance. Most of it was straightforward, very localized and very unreliable. You can have good hit&run tactics when you have a whole country to run (like Afghanistan back in the day) but because Iraq was totally shattered all groups were very localized so with time going on, the occupying force would take care of them.

    So back to infantry, the infantryman today isn't going away, but he must be formed to the whole game. Not simply mechanized, COP warfare but pretty much a whole array of special forces technics and trades. It also needs to think on its feet. We have seen that assets are set in stone but their use can be wholly different when tactics require it.

    Infantry needs to get smarter and that doesn't mean more asset input, simply a smarter group of guys motivated and volunteering.
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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  starman on Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:44 pm

    KoTeMoRe wrote:
    You want tanks, you have to man them, guide them, support them.
    You want Jets, same.
    You want boats same.

    Drones, robots and AI will probably play an increasing role.


    Iraq made huge procurement mistakes because of the nature of the Persian Gulf war. They were hitting Iran in poorly organized mechanized thrusts

    Pollack wrote that they had greatly improved in 1988. Effective Iraqi offensives forced Iran to "throw in the towel."

    The Iranians, they learnt pretty well from the Syrian experience vs Israel and they insisted on ATGM's (Iran-Contra was in good part about TOW parts and missiles) to offset the seemigly endless stream of armour coming out of Iraq.

    The Iranians would've procured more armor from 1980-88 if they had good sources. The US and USSR were siding with Iraq. Chinese T-59s weren't optimal...


    The total stock of found and destroyed ATGM's in Iraq in 1991 was 486 missiles and about 35 launchers. They were deemed, rightfully, as a SOF type of weapon. And the the Kuwaiti debacle didn't allow Iraq to use them. The US avoided getting into that fight. And then Russia simply didn't sell to Iraq enough assets. In 2003 less than 80 ATGM's were found (mostly unused) about 20 attacks were recorded and in total there were about 60 cases of suspected ATGM's use. So in all you have a country like Iraq with 150 ATGM's...

    What do you expect? Iran had by 1988 little if any armor left, and Saddam didn't anticipate a war with the US.

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    Re: Will infantry become obsolete?

    Post  franco on Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:54 pm

    I'm not a SciFi fan but didn't even the machines have to build cyborgs to close with and finish off the enemy in the Terminator series Smile

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