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Rethinking the Basis of Infantry Close Combat - Australian Army

Rethinking the Basis of Infantry Close Combat - Australian Army

Rethinking the Basis of Infantry Close Combat - Australian

ACTICS ETHINKING HE ASIS F NFANTRY LOSE OMBAT IEUTENANT OLONEL AVID ILCULLEN, USTRALIAN RMY This article is about contemporary dismounted infantry tactics. It argues that the Australian Army should reconsider some aspects of its approach to manoeuvre and suppression in the close battle. e article does not argue for a particular solution. Rather, it highlights some apparent problems with our current doctrine and poses a challenge to innovate, and to debate the issues. e aim is to encourage professional debate about tactical innovation within infantry. Whether that debate takes place in the pages of this journal or within some other forum is immaterial. What is important is that we have the debate, reconsider our approach to suppression and manoeuvre in the close battle, and validate our tactics for 21st-century conditions. Operational experience is more widespread among Australian infantry than at any time since the Vietnam War, yet actual combat experience remains rare. erefore, tactical doctrine—the way we ght, and how we teach our junior commanders—is more important than ever. If we do not constantly develop our tactical thinking, there is a real danger that we will apply inappropriate tactical methods in future conict—with disastrous consequences. is article will rst describe some experiences that have led the author to question certain aspects of our tactics. It will then briey examine some historical and scientic evidence before issuing a challenge to reconsider the basis of our infantry tactics. USTRALIAN RMY OURNAL OLUME , UMBER 1 PAGE 29

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