Support Weapons for Infantry


Active Member
As usually my posts get too long but I wanted to give this specific example before deducting some:

Nobody knows exactly what will work exactly for example in a high-intensity conventional war in Europe against a Russian aggression. WWII was very long ago and many decades have passed since large-scaled armored operations between nations with a similar tech level. And while Israels MBT lacked night capability compared to the Syrian soviet ones we see thermal optics even among SDF guerilla forces in Afrin and ISIS snipers in Iraq. Cheap modern communications galore, Smartphones and Tablets as universal combat support items from maps to ballistic calculators, drones and remote sensors as stable of warfare. Chemical warfare is locally back and gets delivered by rocket systems able to launch also massive HE projectiles...

Precision guided weapons are ever available in smaller sizes, active defence systems are getting fielded, EW warfare is more important then ever, cyber is present and so forth. The autonomous drive has a direct impact but also pushes radar, cameras, lidar and theraml costs far lower.

Overall I think it is save to say that the human body faces potentially more dangers. Concealment is far more difficult for conventional forces for the same force density then a couple of decades ago and some cover has been drastically reduced in protection value.° Death can come precisely for you from far further away and can be called in by more sources.

So what does this mean for infantry and it's combat support?

°Tunnel networks are nothing new but the degree of investment into deep caves by rebel forces in Syria is telling.


Active Member
I think it is plain that every attempt has to be made to integrate the tech advances and react to them in doctrine, force structure and training to support and shield the own forces so that they are able to complete their mission while reducing the ability of the enemy forces to do so.

For example while APC offered the infantry beside mobility protection against the god of war and some direct fires the rise and rise of longer ranged precision fires negates this shield. Driving around inside said battle taxi in good ATGM country turned out often to be a bad idea in Syria. In the latter case the relative lack of indirect firepower makes it fairly straightforward to dismount early and use the APC in some venues as limited firepower support. Early dismounting and distance from the mothership puts the soldier in a though spot. On the one hand he needs more leg mobility and thus would profit greatly from a lighter load, on the other hand he is forced ceteris paribus to carry more to be less dependent on supplies.

Part of the solution might be to offer quicker, more precise and overall more fire support to the infantry, lessening the need to carry HE and AT weapons. More UAV support could the vital to detect, geolocate and relay targets but more sensors like optics in general and thermals specifically for squads and platoons. Smarter, less noisy° and more secure communication ability will also be needed. A greater spread and more initiative at the fireteam level could be vital.

Weapon-wise a 40mm Milkor plus ammunition might just be too much weight relative to performance for such offensive action, just like a 60mm commando mortar.

Heavy APC in the Israeli vein might become necessary to support offensive actions and even their utility could be limited despite good doctrine and smart leadership if active defense suites are missing. The high costs will likely force a high-low mix with cheaper, wheeled? battle taxis handling much of the movement outside the hottest zones. Even in those circumstances and with lower ADS costs, protection against loitering or standard AT guided threats might be become a sine qua non, likely forcing painful trade-offs...

In any case offering firepower options to the infantry is generally good and gives them the possibility to use their knowledge and initiative but burdening it by doctrine is dangerous*

°Beam/direction control to avoid detection, different bands to reduce the impact of disruption.

*GPMG, heavy AT/AP, mines!, multiple grenade launcher, heavy precision rifles should be trained with and can all be sensible or even needed, but not forced as a general squad standard for all types of operations...