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"Should the US Army look at creating heavy-light infantry...." Topic

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531 hits since 29 Dec 2018
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Tango0129 Dec 2018 12:55 p.m. PST

…. combinations for the near-peer fight?.

"While every effort has been made to lighten the combat load on the infantryman, one Army captain has floated the idea of a return to the ancient and medieval structures of light and heavy infantry to meet the variety of modern battlefield needs.

And the balance between protection and mobility in something as intimate as body armor can provide a window into large considerations for how the modern Army might have to fight.

Capt. Matthew Allgeyer, assistant plans officer for 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, laid out his plan in Infantry Magazine this past year……"
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RudyNelson29 Dec 2018 3:10 p.m. PST

Even back in the 1970s, several infantry division were regarded as Light. The 82nd, 101st and the 10th mountain along with several brigades. In addition several National Guard and reserve brigades were classified as light.

So this is not a valid opinion.

Dragon Gunner29 Dec 2018 3:13 p.m. PST

I can see the need for it but I also see other potential issues…

1. Mixing and matching dismounted infantry types with different movement rates. You move at the rate of your slowest element or you split your unit and leave part behind.

2. Necessity forcing heavy infantry to fight in ways not anticipated. (Ok the heavy infantry are going into this swamp…)

3. The not my job mentality. (I am light infantry its not my job to fight I don't have armor, we will wait for the heavy infantry.)

4. Heat casualties

Dragon Gunner29 Dec 2018 3:19 p.m. PST

"Even back in the 1970s, several infantry division were regarded as Light. The 82nd, 101st and the 10th mountain along with several brigades."- Rudy Nelson

My understanding is "light" meant not mechanized. Lights were intended to be rapidly deployed and could be used in terrain where mech units would have to leave their vehicles behind.

RudyNelson29 Dec 2018 4:56 p.m. PST

I was in both the First Cavalry Armored Division and the First Infantry Division and at Seventh Corps HQ. The 10th Mountain in particular was called Light though I am no longer sure if they were leg or Motoized, truck transport battalions.
The 82 was leg Airborne and the 101st was leg, Air Assault. The separate Light Brigades May have been leg or motorized, truck. I know the Alaska Bde was light.
The 1979 Armies of the World for 1978 lists 4 Armored Div, 5 Mech Div with a sixth being shifted from infantry to Mech in 1979. 1Airborne, 1Air Mobile/assault, 5 shifting to 4 Infantry non-mech Div, 3Cav Bde, 1 Infantry Bde, Berlin Bde.2 Special Mission Bdes Lgt.
Reserves 22 independent Bdes, 2 Armored, 1 Mech a 5 Infantry divisions.
Note that infantry divisions are not regarded as Mech Divisions.

Dragon Gunner29 Dec 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

"Note that infantry divisions are not regarded as Mech Divisions."- Rudy Nelson

I never said they were, the discussion is the difference between light and heavy infantry. Please clarify your point? Also please clarify how his opinion is not "valid"? I am not trying to be snarky I would really like your input as an officer and a veteran.
I was Airborne Infantry 1984-1988 82nd so I am familiar with the terminology "light infantry". There was no heavy infantry back then, being light just meant a lack of AFV, vehicles and larger crew served weapons.

RudyNelson29 Dec 2018 6:05 p.m. PST

In modern terms heavy inf is Mech Mounted or mixed Mech and tank battalions. Truck or leg is not heavy regardless of their arms. If lucky they may have TOWs mounted on gun jeeps/HUMVEEs now. They are not on M901s.

Transport and organic AFVs is what I would use to classify.

RudyNelson29 Dec 2018 10:14 p.m. PST

While combat sustainability may include certain factors for a light or heavy rating, ie the combat numbers on a game counter, other aspects are influenced by ratings. One of my last positions in the army was as a logistical lander for a program to integrate guard, reserve, active and foreign troops for a conflict in northern Asia.

So a rating would tell us how many transport and civilian passenger planes to allocate for the transport to Asia. The numbers included transit time, projected losses and replacement monetary costs for planes. The same calculations were also needed for transport ships. And train cars in the States. And more aspects than civilians realize.

Lion in the Stars30 Dec 2018 5:49 p.m. PST

We already do this.

There are Infantry BCTs (which walk to work or occasionally get a ride in helicopters); Heavy BCTs (with Abrams and Bradleys); and Stryker BCTs (which drive to work in huge trucks).

Sir Walter Rlyeh31 Dec 2018 11:38 a.m. PST

As a former infantryman as well as a medevialist, I am all for the reintroduction of proper heavy infantry. If it happens I will drink a nice toast in honor of Xenophon. Of course, as a former infantryman as well as a medevialist, I am also in favor of replacing the current Pope with someone named either Urban or Innocent.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 2:04 p.m. PST

Another oxymoron is born.

Dragon Gunner31 Dec 2018 2:18 p.m. PST

We are talking about two separate ideas here…

#1 The article advocates very heavy "personal body armor" while other infantry would have less body armor, heavier personal armor means heavy infantry.

#2 The article is not dwelling on past descriptions of light and heavy infantry from the Cold War era, i.e. infantry that has AFVs or a lack of them.

I will repeat my question how is his opinion not valid?

Lion in the Stars31 Dec 2018 2:28 p.m. PST

Unless said super-heavy personal body armor is also powered, modern firearms make full plate armor able to stop ranged weapons fire (as opposed to just fragments) unwearably heavy.

gregmita201 Jan 2019 11:44 p.m. PST

One of the big advantages to infantry is that they can go to places that vehicles can't. If their equipment is too heavy, that advantage goes away.

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