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  • Roles of the Infantry

    Originally posted by ldman60119
    All this talk about schools is (except for BT, AIT, Ranger School) relative though. NCO courses are more for the admin aspects of your job. Only the First Sergeants course was worthwhile to me. Combat is really the only true test of a soliders skills. What I learned in Iraq could not be taught in some school.
    Maybe in the US, in the DF NCO courses cover all the aspects of the job including their job in combat.

    You are right about actual combat being the only true test of a soldiers skills, but if the NCO doesn't have the knowledge/skills required to do their job, as taught on Irish courses, they are not meeting their full potential.

  • #2
    Non-combat means support troops like truck drivers, cooks, MPs and the like. Granted 'non-combat' roles don't exist in places like Iraq. And sending Peacekeepers into a place like that is insane. People whose job is in a support role can preform that job in a war zone or at their home stations. But being an infantryman and having to become a truck driver or MP in a place like Bosnia is a waste and degradation of that infantryman's combat skill. And also having less time for training as an infantryman. Not having the ranges, training grounds and those types of training aids.

    Combat is the true test of a soldiers skill. Even a cook has to be a cook in wartime condition. Truck drivers get shot at. Admin people are on the recieving end of rocket attacks. A West Point, Ranger-trainied officer can turn into a coward while an undiscplined private can be the next Audie Murphy.

    But you are right DeV, you need all the training you can get. Audie Murphys are not the rule. Having a well trained, discplilned force is the best. The only problem with militaries like Ireland is that they do not have many troops with combat experience. My understanding is that the Irish Army Rangers have been involved in combat in the past few years. These soliders could help as cadre training. Or have US and British soldiers do more training with Irish troops. The more extreme case would be to commint troops to Iraq. But I would imagine this would not go over very well in Ireland. The thing I have seen with the Irish military is that they take their training serious, and seem to equip their troops well. As far as the Army troops go I am sure their training is as good as any Western European Nato country. I don't know if the Irish Army has a Ranger school that is open to soldiers not becoming Rangers, like they do in the US. If they don't or don't have the capacity, they could send more troops than they do now to the US Army Ranger school. I went in 1996 and it was one hell of an experience. I was never so proud than when I earned my Ranger Tab. And the training was valuable to me as an Infantryman.
    Last edited by ldman60119; 12 December 2005, 21:00.

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    • #3
      Most Irish troops deployed overseas are not in non-combat roles as you have just defined them.
      "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."

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      • #4
        Thats my point. Is that combat troops used for Peacekeeping missions in the long run will degrade their skills as combat troops.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ldman60119
          Non-combat means support troops like truck drivers, cooks, MPs and the like. Granted 'non-combat' roles don't exist in places like Iraq. And sending Peacekeepers into a place like that is insane. People whose job is in a support role can preform that job in a war zone or at their home stations. But being an infantryman and having to become a truck driver or MP in a place like Bosnia is a waste and degradation of that infantryman's combat skill. And also having less time for training as an infantryman. Not having the ranges, training grounds and those types of training aids.

          Combat is the true test of a soldiers skill. Even a cook has to be a cook in wartime condition. Truck drivers get shot at. Admin people are on the recieving end of rocket attacks. A West Point, Ranger-trainied officer can turn into a coward while an undiscplined private can be the next Audie Murphy.

          But you are right DeV, you need all the training you can get. Audie Murphys are not the rule. Having a well trained, discplilned force is the best. The only problem with militaries like Ireland is that they do not have many troops with combat experience. My understanding is that the Irish Army Rangers have been involved in combat in the past few years. These soliders could help as cadre training. Or have US and British soldiers do more training with Irish troops. The more extreme case would be to commint troops to Iraq. But I would imagine this would not go over very well in Ireland. The thing I have seen with the Irish military is that they take their training serious, and seem to equip their troops well. As far as the Army troops go I am sure their training is as good as any Western European Nato country. I don't know if the Irish Army has a Ranger school that is open to soldiers not becoming Rangers, like they do in the US. If they don't or don't have the capacity, they could send more troops than they do now to the US Army Ranger school. I went in 1996 and it was one hell of an experience. I was never so proud than when I earned my Ranger Tab. And the training was valuable to me as an Infantryman.
          Soldier first , tradesman second.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ldman60119
            Thats my point. Is that combat troops used for Peacekeeping missions in the long run will degrade their skills as combat troops.
            But what is the likelihood that the Irish infantry, of such moral high ground as you make out, is going to be needed to fight a conventional war anytime soon?

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            • #7
              What is the purpose of military? Is it to be prepared to fight an enemy?

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              • #8
                You were making out that peace support operations are conducted to the detriment of the ability of the infantry to perform their normal job. In our Defence Forces, peace support is the normal job of the infantry. While it is important to retain a conventional warfare capability, the reality of the situation is that we are mainly concerned with peace support

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                • #9
                  No matter what the role a country uses its infantry, if it in a peacekeeping role the combat skills are degraded. Infantryman have one job, to close in on the enemy and kill them. Being an infantryman, and serving in that role in wartime, that is what we do. In websters it says this:

                  Main Entry: in·fan·try
                  Pronunciation: 'in-f&n-trE
                  Function: noun
                  Inflected Form(s): plural -tries
                  Etymology: Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French infanterie, from Old Italian infanteria, from infante boy, foot soldier, from Latin infant-, infans
                  : soldiers trained, armed, and equipped to fight on foot

                  Politicans using infantry as peacekeeping troops are not aware of how to use military forces. The faliure of many UN Operations shows that. One bad use of infantry was at Cite Soleil, Haiti this year. I am sure it was a combnation of a bad use of troops and the troops being untrained for the role they took. Rwanda is another example.

                  The US uses Civil Affairs troops and Military Police for many of these peacekeeping type roles. Of course the US is guilty of using Infantry troops, tankers, ADAs, and just about anything else in Bosnia and Kosovo.

                  Many people criticize the US for not providing peacekeepers. Considering the US pays 30% of the Peacekeeping budget, provide airlift for many missions, and has troops all over the world and many engaged in combat, I think the US is doing too much already.

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                  • #10
                    if we are to follow your line of thought then "combat troops" would never do anything but train between wars.

                    that may be o.k. for the US who are regularly deploying troops to many active combat zones around the world, thus giving troops combat experience.

                    however, for the majority of countries in the world, not involved in or likely to be involved in a major conflict, this is not an option.

                    for these countries, including Ireland, peace-keeping and peace enforcement missions are a vital tool for giving troops experience of operations in real situations. for example in the recent east timor and liberia missions, irish troops are (and did) conducting many long range foot and vehicle patrols in very severe surroundings and with hostile forces around. while most of these operations do not end up with troops closing with "the enemy" none-the-less the troops are exposed to much higher levels of stress and get to exercise many of the military skills, or "soldiering", that would never be re-created on exercise at home. this is because these skills are practised in a "live" scenario.

                    i disagree that only doing peace-keeping missions degrades combat skills. the combat skills, and peace-keeping skills, of an army depends on the quality of training and professionalism in that army. what is needed is the ability to be able to switch rapidly between prepared for combat operations and peace-keeping, or visa versa.

                    you only have to look at the british army, which has arguably some of the best infantry combat units in the world, to see how a well trained and motivated army can switch between the two roles. their operations during the last gulf war where they switched from combat operations to more inclusive maintenance of the peace in their AO in southern iraq is a perfect example.

                    indeed, many people would say the the US places too much emphasis on their war fighting capabilities and none on peace-keeping. in todays enviroment, its not enough just to win battles, troops must be able to win over and engae the local populations after. something that has always appeared as a US weakness.
                    Fate whispers to the warrior, "There is a storm coming"

                    And the warrior whispers back "I am the storm".

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ldman60119
                      No matter what the role a country uses its infantry, if it in a peacekeeping role the combat skills are degraded. Infantryman have one job, to close in on the enemy and kill them. Being an infantryman, and serving in that role in wartime, that is what we do.
                      Incorrect

                      Any Military theorist will tell you that military forces are merely instruments of state. They carry out state policy. To assume that they are anything more is a failure of politicians.

                      Military forces must only be used to achieve a political goal. Most Countries will not do something unless it is in their self interest. The reason for most UN missions is to prevent expansion of that conflict. The UN was set up in an attempt to prevent another World War, and it is in most countries interests for that not to happen again. The US being the dominant power in the globe are not too pushed about preventing another world war since they are militarily superior to everyone and would win any such conflict. Secondly it is unlikely to involve them since what state would attack the US head on in a war like WWII.
                      Therefore the US does not have Peacekeeping as a political goal and therefore is very half hearted about committing troops to such roles.

                      Ireland on the other hand uses its peace keeping role as a instrument to achieve predominance beyond its size. Irelands DF are instrumental in that role and are therefore being correctly utilised in that role.

                      Infantry and armies have one role.... To carry out state policy. Usually how they achieve that is by closing with and destroying the enemy but that is merely how they do it.... it is not their role. If their state dictates that they are in a peacekeeping role, then closing with and destroying the enemy is not the way to do it (most of the time).

                      Come on. Military theory 101.

                      Considering the US pays 30% of the Peacekeeping budget, provide airlift for many missions, and has troops all over the world and many engaged in combat, I think the US is doing too much already.
                      Don't want to get into a political row with our US friends but the US actually owes quite a lot to the UN and has not been keeping up with what it committed itself to. Whether they should or not is another argument.

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                      • #12
                        The Infantry's job is to fight -Military theory 101. The US has payed more than its share for the UN. The UN HQ is in NYC. We pay Millions a year for rent, food, power, transporation, etc etc etc. And we protect many countries around the world.

                        My only arguement is that infantry troops skills will be degrade by peacekeeping missions. I cannot see how someone would argue with that. The US has special units (Civil Affairs) and uses private contractors for many of the peacekeeping-type duties.

                        The US does not want a Finnish General command their troops. And many UN missions have been total faliures. Having so many troops with different training and different language usually under the command of a general with zip for combat experience is a recipe for diaster.

                        I use to be in favor of using troops for peacekeeping mission. Then when I was in Bosnia I saw how our units performance waned. Several military leaders also had the same concerns. I was in the first wave in Iraq in March 2003. For the next couple months it was what we should of been doing-closing in on the Iraqis and killing them. After a few months it turned more into a peacekeeping role. Search and destroy-type missions were curtailed, and it seemed like Bonsia all over again, excepet of course for the bomb, bullets and bodies.

                        My views are different in here than most peoples. A lot of that has do with being in combat. I can't afford to look at the 'theortical view' about infantrymen. I saw too many people die because they where not trained properly. I was later attached to a unit that came from Kosovo and it showed what peacekeeping duties can do to their skills. I will most likely be going back to Iraq sometime in late 2006 after I finish OCS. I will train my infantymen to fight and kill the enemy. I want to come back alive.
                        Last edited by ldman60119; 13 December 2005, 18:04.

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                        • #13
                          IDman,
                          Are you for real?

                          So far you have been fulfilling every US military stereotype that goes about.
                          USA is better than everyone else, We dont want foreigners telling us how to do our jobs, kill kill kill, war is hell, what do you lot know you werent there etc.
                          Do you seriously think Bosnia couldhave been solved by going around and killing all the Bosnians?
                          DO you even know why you were there in the first place?

                          You cannot be a real person.
                          Please tell me you are a cartoon characature.

                          It is to me insulting that you come in here and lecture us about how peacekeeping is pointless. Is it only because your mighty military have been so useless at it? Our troops(not just infantrymen) have cut their teeth on Peacekeeping missions for 50 years. In that time they have lost many in war's that were not of their making. However, in spite of the lack of support, both military and financial from the USA(and the other non paying security council members) they have almost always achieved their mandate. Our troops are welcome as peace enforcers around the world.

                          Fighting and killing the enemy will not defeat them in modern conflict.
                          Train your infantrymen to defeat the enemy instead.

                          There is a difference.

                          Its called "peace support".


                          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ldman60119
                            What is the purpose of military? Is it to be prepared to fight an enemy?
                            I thought it was to carry out the government's political goals by threat or force of arms if necessary. At any rate, FM 3-0 states that the Army's role is full spectrum operations. Both conventional warfighting, and OOTW.

                            No matter what the role a country uses its infantry, if it in a peacekeeping role the combat skills are degraded. Infantryman have one job, to close in on the enemy and kill them
                            In Operation Granby, one of the infantry battalions had just completed a long train-up for Northern Ireland. They dragged their IFVs out of storage, brought them to Saudi, and went and fought a war rather successfully. Distractions such as peacekeeping need not have such a drastic effect on combat readiness. (There will be some, but not necessarily a horrible one). In either case, the current 'three-block war' theory is the one in ascendancy in US military circles. Whether the infantry like it or not, they now need to train not only for combat, but also for non-traditional roles.

                            And many UN missions have been total faliures
                            A number have been successful too.

                            I will most likely be going back to Iraq sometime in late 2006 after I finish OCS.
                            It may seem self-evident, but you are going to have an entirely different point of view as an officer than you will as an NCO. NCOs tend to deal only with the tactical realities. Officers have to look at the larger picture a lot more. You should spend a lot more time 'restraining' your soldiers from violence than you would 'pushing them' to commit violence. A killer instinct in the troops is desireable, as long as it is unleashed only at the appropriate times. A large factor on if you and your men will all come home alive is going to be dependent on the incentive that the locals have to kill you. If they find you not particularly objectionable, you will suffer fewer attacks, and will get more leads. It may not jive with the infantry mentality you have, but that mentality has to change regardless because of the way you are going to be used. Please note, this is not to say that you should in any way lower your guard, just that you need to take larger factors into consideration than simply 'how best to react to ambush'

                            Look up the US doctrinal definition of 'defeat'. It does not mean 'destroy'

                            NTM
                            Last edited by California Tanker; 13 December 2005, 18:53.
                            Driver, tracks, troops.... Drive and adjust!!

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                            • #15
                              Don't want to get into a political row with our US friends but the US actually owes quite a lot to the UN and has not been keeping up with what it committed itself to.
                              There is actually something of a legal glitch. US law (Enacted in 1994, Clinton, if anyone's wondering) prohibits the US from paying more than 25% of the UN's peacekeeping budget. The US's obligations by treaty to the UN is to pay 27% of the peacekeeping budget. Hence a shortfall.

                              Bush's 2006 budget allocates $1billion for UN peacekeeping. This is about a 66% increase on last year.

                              NTM
                              Driver, tracks, troops.... Drive and adjust!!

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