Mobile infantry
Mobile infantry is one of several military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 terms usually referring to infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 units equipped with vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....


Before the development of railroads in the 19th century, infantry armies got to the battlefield by walking, or sometimes by ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

. In the late 19th century, some countries used horse-mounted
Mounted infantry
Mounted infantry were soldiers who rode horses instead of marching, but actually fought on foot . The original dragoons were essentially mounted infantry...

 and bicycle infantry
Bicycle infantry
Bicycle infantry are infantry soldiers who maneuver on battlefields using bicycles. The term dates from the late 19th century, when the "safety bicycle" became popular in Europe, the United States and Australia. Historically, bicycles lessened the need for horses, fuel and vehicle maintenance...

, but the real revolution in mobility started in the 1920s with the use of motor vehicles, resulting in motorised infantry
Motorised infantry
In NATO and most other western countries, motorised infantry is infantry which is transported by trucks or other motor vehicles. It is distinguished from mechanized infantry, which is carried in armoured personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, or infantry fighting vehicles...

. Action in Vietnam, North Korea, and Africa World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 demonstrated the importance of combined-arms tactics, with tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s and infantry advancing past the enemy's defences, while being supported by self-propelled artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 and ground-attack aircraft. That made necessary the protection of the infantry soldiers while they were advancing, requiring the development of mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers , or infantry fighting vehicles for transport and combat ....

 (also known in the US Army during WW2 as armored infantry) that could keep up with the tanks, and afford some protection to the infantrymen against shrapnel by using armoured vehicles for transport. As of the Algerian and Vietnam Wars, with the French and U.S. Army's experimentation with helicopters, infantry who are transported to combat via helicopter are part of airmobile infantry units (called 'Air Assault' in the United States Army). Airmobile infantry are usually just called airborne infantry, though this ignores the distinction between paratroopers and airmobile infantry.

Some cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 units, such as dragoon
The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel...

s and American Mounted Rifles units, had doctrines which emphasized that horses were to be used only as means of transportation, and soldiers dismount for battle. These can be considered more as mobile infantry then cavalry as well, although this distinction is rather blurred; most American Cavalry Units of the 1840–1920 period were actually such light dragoon or mounted infantry units rather than the true (and much heavier) cavalry of European and Latin American armies.

One of the earliest use of mobile infantry was during the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 campaign against the Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 Confederation. In order to combat the powerful and elusive steppe horse warriors, the Han created a mobile army composed of cavalry units mixed with soldiers who traveled on horse back but fought as infantrymen on foot.

Modern-day infantry is supported by armoured fighting vehicle
Armoured fighting vehicle
An armoured fighting vehicle is a combat vehicle, protected by strong armour and armed with weapons. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked....

s, artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, and aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, but are still the only kind of military force that can take and hold ground, and thus remain essential to fighting wars. In the early 21st Century, the idea of mobile infantry is often reserved for the various light infantry formations established by the United States, British, and other armies, intended to deploy and maneuver quickly without the large logistical tail of traditional mechanized units, whether they are deployed by air, water, or ground transport.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.