Infantry is that part or those parts of an army trained and organized to fight on foot with handheld weapons.
Infantry forces were termed either “light” or “heavy,” according to the weapons carried and armor worn by individual foot soldiers. Light
In loosely organized armies foot soldiers often relied more on numerical superiority than on tactical maneuvering, achieving victory by simply overwhelming enemy forces. Infantrymen were most effective, however, when deployed in organized formations. The
Written records of battles from ancient Egypt and the kingdoms of the Middle East frequently mention infantry, but it is difficult to determine what role foot
The superiority of the
The prominence of infantry battle in Greek warfare declined somewhat during the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404
A Greek hoplite, circa 700
More significant were the innovations of
As the Greeks and Macedonians employed phalanx tactics, the
With their legionary tactics, the Romans overcame the peoples of Italy and the western Mediterranean. Roman legions, however, were not invincible, and the Roman infantry met defeat in battles against Pyrrhus and in the Second Punic
The Roman legion underwent further reforms during the second century
Under the Roman Republic, the infantry of Rome’s legions was an offensive force. With the establishment of the Empire, Roman infantry forces acquired a defensive role. Rome’s legions manned the frontiers of the Roman Empire and engaged in few pitched battles in the first few centuries
The millennium following the fall of the Roman Empire is sometimes labeled an age of
The most significant infantry innovation was the development of the Swiss
the end of the fifteenth century, European monarchs were either recruiting Swiss infantrymen into their armies or modeling their own infantry units after the Swiss. Infantry had again come to dominate Western warfare.
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