The role of the Infantry is to destroy the enemy and to hold ground by day or night on any terrain.
Infantry Corps – The Combat Arm
The Infantry are the combat soldiers of the Irish Army. Manoeuvring mounted and dismounted throughout the battlespace, the Infantry can deploy across the full spectrum of operations in support of strategic objectives. The Infantry are unique in that they can be tasked to close with and destroy the enemy, seize objectives, and hold ground. The Infantry’s role means they must maintain a diverse set of conventional capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures, in order to operate throughout all phases of war. They must also possess the agility to operate in more complex environments whilst deployed on peace support of crisis management operations.
As the combat arm of the Irish Defence Forces, the Infantry must remain flexible, deployable, sustainable, interoperable, and adaptable; ready to face the challenges of operations across the full spectrum of conflict. This requires the infantry soldier to achieve and maintain a high level of physical fitness and mental toughness, and constantly strive to better him/herself.
The Irish Army’s Infantry Corps can be categorised as light infantry and mechanised infantry. Light infantry operate dismounted, often in complex environments characterised by difficult or close terrain; whereas mechanised infantry operate in wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APC) giving the soldiers protected mobility across the battlespace with greater firepower, logistics, and communications capabilities. Whilst all seven of the Army’s infantry battalions are light infantry, soldiers train in mechanised infantry tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) often required on overseas operational deployments. At present, the Army operates 65 MOWAGs Piranha APCs. Apart from their use at home, the MOWAG has seen service overseas in Eriteria (UNMEE), Kosovo (KFOR), Liberia (UNMIL) and Chad (EUFOR/MINURCAT), Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Golan Heights (UNDOF). 1 Mechanised Infantry Company (1 MIC) based in the DFTC, Curragh Camp are a permanently mechanised unit. In addition to their role as a mechanised infantry company, they are also responsible for training APC crews, commanders, and soldiers in the various TTPs associated with mechanised operations.
The Infantry Corps will continue to develop, sustain and deliver effective, flexible and appropriate combat resources to the Defence Forces to ensure that it has sufficient light and mechanised infantry capabilities to enable it to fulfill its commitments to on island security and international peace and security.
Infantry Corps Advice and Policy
School Commandant The Infantry School and Director of Infantry advises the General Staff on infantry roles and Corps deployment in the Defence Forces (DF). This includes the procurement of Individual Protection Equipment (IPE), infantry small arms and support weapon requirements in the DF. The Director of Infantry is responsible for the development and implementation of infantry doctrine in the DF. The Infantry Corps is responsible for the training of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) crews in the DF.
The Infantry Corps ensures Corps personnel and vehicles are prepared for deployment on UN mandated Peace Support Operations (PSO) overseas.
The Infantry Corps provides sufficient forces with the necessary capabilities to sustain a significant contribution to multinational peace support, crisis management and humanitarian operations. The Corps continuously improves its operational capabilities in order to provide for the military defence of the State’s territorial integrity.
The Corps continues to educate, train and exercise it’s Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates to develop and maximize individual potential, collective readiness, operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The Corps achieves the required capabilities by:
- Conducting courses in accordance with the DFHQ Annual Training and Education Directive (ATED)
- Completing the necessary Corps Career and Instructor courses for all ranks
- Conducting Conventional Tactical training for all ranks
- Conducting training for the full spectrum of Peace Support Operations (PSO)
- Conduct and validation of all instructor level support weapons and skills training conducted by the Corps
- Supporting unit, and collective, integrated and non-integrated RDF training
The Infantry Battalion
The heart of the Infantry Corps is its operational units, the Infantry Battalions. There are seven Infantry Battalions spread across two all arms brigades, with 1 MIC based in the DFTC. The Infantry are the combat soldiers of the Army’s brigades, with the other corps providing necessary combat support and combat service support assets to enable the Infantry to operate. Each battalion consists of three rifle companies, one support company and a headquarters company. Each rifle company of 133 soldiers contains three rifle platoons of 31 soldiers and one weapons platoon with anti-armour (84mm anti-tank gun), medium machine gun (GPMG SF) and mortar (60mm mortar) sections. Support Company contains an anti-armour (Javelin) platoon, a HMG (12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun) platoon, and a reconnaissance platoon which includes snipers. Headquarters Company contains administrative, logistics, communications and transport platoons.
The Infantry are the largest component of the Irish Defence Forces and as such have their own unique culture and ethos. While other corps of the Irish Army are dependent on specialist equipment and/or vehicles, the infantry is primarily focused on the individual soldier and his/her team. The unique role and characteristics of the Infantry are captured in the Infantry Ethos Booklet. This Ethos is based around eight ‘Infantry Soldier Principles’:
- Embrace Hardship
- Acquire Physical Robustness and Mental Resilience
- Promote Mission Command
- Strive for Professional Excellence
- Foster Teamwork
- Collaborate with Supporting Arms
- Encourage Pride
- Promote Loyalty