Every man a rifleman...

It's been well-known for ages that every warrior/soldier needs to be a good fighter.
The mere idea that an army could be a powerful with only a small fraction of itself well-trained in combat is ridiculous.

But few forces really appreciate that. They emphasize the specialist competence and the order of battle, how everyone should be at his right spot and not somewhere else. And most important of all; the enemy should only be where he belongs to!

Reality is very different in most if not all wars. Order of Battles are like plans - obsolete on day 2 of combat. NCO's temporarily lead companies, lieutenants temporarily lead battalions and permanently lead companies. American anti-air and other combat support troops of WW2 were used to fill up the ever thinned ranks of infantry, today's American artillerymen are used as quasi-MP during an occupation, Tankers who lost their tanks are mis-used as infantry, entire enemy units suddenly appear where they shouldn't be and overwhelm surprised combat and support units who don't even shoot once at the sight of machine guns in immediate vicinity.
Lack of infantry is a common problem in modern war. The infantry of day 1 is quickly thinned out in a major war against a capable opponent. Expect an average retention period of few weeks to some months in infantry units (till KIA/WIA/POW).
It's a silly idea to concentrate the burden of infantry combat on a small fraction of the army.
An army WILL use other troops as infantry if the latter had high losses. An army WILL use ill-trained fresh troops as infantry - who will fail at times.

The present lack of infantry in our force structures is alarming. The lack of infantry after combat against a capable foe will be a disaster.

Forget the abysmal losses sustained in post-90 wars. That were lucky times. Unessential great power games warfare. War will look different if we really have to fight for our or our close friends' sovereignty!

360° coverage with outposts, weapons ready at all times, proficiency with weapons, adequate weapons even for a repair platoon to fight off medium armored recce elements, a mindset that everyone is a fighter and no-one just depends on others to keep the enemy away, good morale, good cohesion - a battle-ready army looks very differently than most "modern" armies.

Let's avoid the air forces to keep this readable ...

We need more troops who are well-trained to act as infantry, both in support units and in reserve units. Much more.

Sven Ortmann

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