In general, the infantry's
role is to close with and destroy enemy ground
forces. It does so by taking and holding favourable
ground where it can use its organic and supporting
weaponry to greatest effect, thus compelling
the enemy to do battle at a disadvantage.
A fundamental condition of the infantry's
ability to execute its tasks is the maintenance
and maximization of its own mobility up to
and on the battlefield, as well as the limitation
of the enemy's mobility. Other combat arms,
be they artillery, armour, engineers, exist
largely to facilitate the achievement by the
infantry of its basic aim in battle: the destruction
of the enemy.
Although technological progress has tended
to diminish its prestige, the continuing importance
of well-trained infantry was proven during
the Second World War. Campaigns like that
of First Canadian Army on the Scheldt in the
autumn of 1944 showed that despite the importance
of tanks and aircraft, only the foot soldier
was versatile enough to fight on all types
of terrain and in any weather conditions,
from urban street-fighting to winter, desert,
jungle, mountain, or amphibious warfare.
troops of the 3rd Infantry Division
entering Caen, Normandy, after
heavy bombing by Allied aircrafts
and artillery, 10 July 1944.
by Harold G. Aikman. Department
of National Defence / National
Archives of Canada, PA-116510.
Training Part I: The Infantry Battalion,
1944", War Office training manual,
15 January 1944 (National Defence, Directorate
of History and Heritage, 83/388).
Mike Chappell, British Infantry
Equipments 1908-80 (London: Osprey,
I.C.B. Dear, ed., The Oxford
Companion to the Second World War
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
Michael A. Dorosh, Canuck:
Clothing and Equipping the Canadian
Soldier 1939-1945 (Missoula, Montana:
Pictorial Histories, 1995).
L.F. Ellis, Victory in the
West Volume I, The Battle of Normandy
(London: HMSO, 1962), Appendix
IV, "Notes on the Organization
and Equipment of the Allied Armed Forces",
John A. English, On Infantry
(New York: Praeger, 1984).
Ian V Hogg, The Encyclopedia
of Infantry Weapons of World War II
(London: Arms and Armour, 1977).