On Infantry

On Infantry

On Infantry

On Infantry

Synopsis

Another volume in Praeger's The Military Profession series, this revised edition of the 1984 Praeger classic tells the story of infantry in the 20th century and its impact on the major conflicts of our time. Its purpose is to provide the reader--whether infantryman or not--with hitherto unavailable insights on the role that infantry plays in the larger battle and how that has helped shape the world that we live in today. Unique aspects of the book include the treatment of technical issues in non-technical language, the extensive use of German and French sources generally unavailable to the English-speaking reader, and the shattering of some long-cherished myths. Combat motivation and combat refusal, the role played by small units (such as the squad and fire team), the role of infantry in the Blitzkrieg, and many other issues often papered over in the literature of infantry are discussed and analyzed in detail in this revised edition.

Excerpt

When the first edition of this work, then called A Perspective on Infantry, appeared in 1981, it seemed as if infantry would soon go the way of horse cavalry. With all eyes focused on the defense of Western Europe against an attack by Soviet conventional forces, with the literature of World War II still dominated by the memoirs of the German Panzer commanders, and with debates over the purchase of hardware taking the place of serious military thought, the armies of the developed world paid little attention to the humble foot soldier. A dozen years later, the end of the Cold War and the consequent movement of regional and intramural conflicts from backdrop to center stage has cured many armies of this myopia. Military power is no longer calculated solely in terms of throw-weight or numbers of first-line fighter aircraft, tanks, or armored personnel carriers. When questions of whether to intervene in Somalia or Bosnia come up, the unit of account that matters is, as it was at the beginning of this century, the infantry battalion.

The current revival of interest in infantry is not limited to soldiers and statesmen. The past decade or so has seen a significant improvement in both the quantity and quality of published military history. This body of work has changed the way that we look at the wars and armies of the past century and, in particular, has uncovered a number of facts of interest to the student of infantry. The volumes that make up this corpus are too numerous to list in so short an introduction. Their study, however, played an important part in the preparation of the revised version of this book.

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