Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by EX_STAB, Dec 28, 2009.
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I've looked this up here and there but I still don't get it.
Any historians who can help?
The term 'Armoured Infantry' arrived in the British Army during the 1980s with the Warrior. Previously they were Mechanised (FV-432).
Armoured infantry move forward in their vehicles with the tanks and dismount for the final assault. Mechanized Infantry use their vehicles to move around, but due to the light armour of their vehicles, advance and assault as standard infantry.
At least that is how it was explained to me.
Was this due to a change in tactics? Althought WR clearly has a more potent Fire Support capability than FV432 (30mm cannon Vs GPMG/LMG) was the structure and tactics of the force really much different?
Why the change? In other armies the terms seem to be almost interchangeable......
Armoured - Warrior.
Mechanised - Saxon / 4 Tonners.
Or at least that's the simple way I look at it!
Tracks & Wheels
Yes. It's not just the greater firepower of WR but also greater mobility and protection, compared to FV432. A lot of effort went into developing new drills and tactics for armoured infantry.
The term mechanised infantry continued to be used for FV432-equipped units, and still is for Bulldog (up-armoured upgraded 430 series).
4 tonners would be motorised by most standards though. Saxon would qualify as mechanised by early Russian Cold War standards, certainly by British WWII standards......
If memory serves, and it probably doesn't, when I first joined the infantry in Germany equipped with 432s were called 'Armoured Infantry' and were used with advancing with the tanks and de-bussing when they were on top of the objective or very close to it. The mechanized infantry, which seemed to be based everywhere else, were moved around in 4 tonners and advanced on foot with the tanks in a style that seemed as if it wouldn't look out of place in WW2.
That sounds more like the airportable battalion in them days. Nearest equivalent now would be the light-role infantry battalion.
Currently I believe that there are 4 types (generally) of infantry operations
Mechanised (Saxon being replaced by Bulldog)
Light ( wheeled and including arctic & Jungle)
Air assault (Including Para & Heliborne)
I am, however, very receptive of correction
"Armoured Infantry" is a British Term, no one else in NATO uses it.
German infantry in Marder are termed 'Mechanized Infantry' by them.
US Infantry in Bradley (extremely similar to Warrior) are known as 'Mechanized Infantry' by Uncle Sam.
Ditto the majority of NATO nations who employ infantry in tracked vehicles and who work in close proximity with tanks. In fact, most nations have what the Brits would call 'Permenant Battle Groups' - a unit with four sub-units, two of which consist of tanks, two of which consist of 'Mechanized Infantry Companies' (insert vehicle type according to nation...) - and they call them 'Battalions'. Imagine! A dedicated Battalion sized group, with 2 companies of tanks and two IFVs that lived, worked and trained together!! It would never catch on!
Do the maths.
I seem to recall when I was in Junior Leaders we did Army in the Contemporary World lessons. ('87).
IIRC "A" and "B" type infantry roles were talked about
I've not worked from Wr/432s, but as I understand it,
Mech - some protection and firepower. Transported around in vehs, dismount before contact and fight as light role inf; just with more mobility out of contact. Vehs could be wheeled or tracked.
Armd - far better protection and firepower. The idea is for the veh to go fully into the attack to debus closer and to give F/Sp. Vehicles are almost always tracked.
I'm thinking the former would be Saxon or Bulldog/432, or even arguably the new PPVs if in a COIN scenario, and the latter would be Warrior - it would need to have a turreted gun for F/Sp and not just a GPMG for self defence.
On the international stage it would be the difference between a BTR and a BMP/BMD, or a Stryker and a CV90, or a Fuchs and a Marder/Puma.
I'm sure some ninja of armoured doctrine will be along soon to correct me tho!
In the 1980s the British Army line regiments initially had three basic varieties of battalion:
Mechanised Infantry Battalions (FV-432)
Infantry Battalion Type A (Motorised - eventually upgraded to Saxon, but not called 'Mechanised' until much later)
Infantry Battalion Type B (Motorised/Light Role- these were mainly TA - had some organisational differences at various times, such as the inclusion of an Assault Pioneer Platoon, but were not upgraded with Saxon)
The fourth type - Armoured Infantry - was added with the introduction of Warrior. Prior to this, the British Army had had no 'Armoured Infantry'.
The US Army did have 'Armoured Infantry' during WW2, though this was a description of their role (supporting armour) and did not necessarily indicate that their vehicles were armoured. The Americans changed the title to 'Mechanised Infantry' after WW2.
The Germans have always used the term 'Panzer-Grenadier' to describe infantry units that support tanks. However, although all Panzer-Grenadiers in recent times have been equipped with armoured vehicles, this was not always the case - most Panzer-Grenadiers in WW2 rode trucks. The 'Panzer' bit reflects the role, not the degree of armoured protection - this is somewhat different to British Armoured Infantry.
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