Just what you wanted to know | All about THE INFANTRY

The Infantry
The Infantry

Only the Infantry and Armour can gain ground. Only the Infantry can hold it alone.” “Infantry is the Queen of the battle.”

Background : Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use armoured mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

The Indian Army has a total of over 130 Infantry battalions of 32 infantry Regiments (Refer Appendix A). It needs to be understood that each regiment has more than one battalion. E.g 9 Madras means 9th Battalion of the Madras Regiment. The digit refers to a particular battalion(which is called a unit) and the name is of the Regiment. The names are legendary from the British Era. The composition of the units in British Era was based on area/ caste, however, in present day the units have mixed composition having Officers as well as jawans from PAN India. Officers in the units are not based on caste / state.

Tasks Of Infantry:  Infantry is broadly tasked to defend an area or attack an area. These can be in any type of terrain or operation and in conjunction with armoured or independently. Besides the two broad categories they also have to undergo the following tasks(integral to defence / attack):-

  • Prepare and camouflage defences / defensive structures such as bunkers, fortifications
  • Erect obstacles such as barbed wire fencing, minefields
  • Protection of roads / specified High priority installations from terrorist attacks
  • Road clearance as part of anti terrorist operations
  • Cordon and search of specified premises / area as part of anti terrorist operations
  • Sniper duties
  • Patrolling an area
  • Reconnaissance and surveillance of an area
  • Record fresh topographical information
  • Assist in directing artillery / aerial fire on enemy

Organisation of Infantry Unit: An Infantry battalion has a manpower of about 25 Officers and about 800 jawans. Each battalion has four rifle companies(5 Officers and 135 jawans), an administration company and a support company. Each company has three platoons of 35 jawans each. Each platoon has three sections of 10 jawans each. The rifle companies have personal weapons like rifles, carbines and short range mortars with them.

Organisation Of Infantry Battalion: The Administration company is responsible for holding and maintaining the vehicles of the unit, rations, clothing, ammunition and complete logistical support to the unit. The Support company holds the support weapons such as medium range mortars, Medium Machine Guns(MMG), Heavy Machine Guns(HMG), Battle field Surveillance radars(BFSR), Anti tank weapons (Recoil less Guns(RCL)/ Rocket Launchers(RL)), communication equipment for supporting the battalion operations.

Infantry Weapons       Infantry weapons are divided into two broad categories – Personal weapons and area weapons. Personal weapons are Rifles, carbines and pistols which are carried and used by personnel for personal protection and used against pin point targets such as an enemy personnel. Area weapons are those which are  used over and area and in support of operations. These are LMG, MMG, HMG, mortars, RLs and are also called support weapons. .(Refer to Appendix B)

  • Personal Weapons The requirement of a personal weapon is accuracy, stability, reliability, light weight, minimum effective range of about 400 metres. The weapon, if possible should be able to fire a burst of 2-3 rounds.  
  • Area Weapons            The requirement of area weapon is stability, reliability, light weight, minimum effective range of about 600 metres. While the LMG, MMG and MMG must be able to fire long bursts, yet the stability should not be adversely affected. However, weapons like , RL and RCL should be capable of  firing a variety of ammunition at different ranges to be effective against personnel, bunkers as well as limited damage to vehicles.

Conclusion: Some interesting details about Indian Army Infantry regiments are at Appendix A. These include the Motto  and War Cries, which the reader would find interesting. Coining of each has its own story but these definitely give the soldiers a josh and uplifts their morale.

Appendix A

(Refers to para 2)

Infantry Regiments of Indian Army

Regiment Active From Regimental Center Motto War Cry
The Brigade of the Guards 1948 Kamptee, Maharashtra “Pahla hamesha pahla” (“first always


“Garud ka hun bol pyare” (“I am from the Garuds, say O my friend”)
Madras Regiment 1758 Wellington, Tamil Nadu “Swadharme nidhanam shreyaha”

(“it is a glory to die doing one’s duty”)

“Vetri vel, Veera vel” (“Brave and victorious Spear – allegory

to Lord Murugan’s weapon (spear) “)



1775 Delhi Cantonment “Veer bhogya vasundhara” (“the brave shall inherit the earth”) “Raja Ramachandra ki jai”

(“victory to King


Rajput Regiment 1778 Fatehgarh, Uttar Pradesh “Sarvatra vijay” (“victory everywhere”) “Bol Bajrang Bali Ki jai” (“say victory to Lord Hanuman”)


1877 Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh “Kartavyam anvatma” (“duty before death”) “Jawala Mata ki jai” (“victory to Goddess Jawala”)
Sikh Regiment 1846 Ramgarh

Cantonment, Jharkhand

“Nischay kar apni jeet karon” (“with determination, I will be triumphant”) “Jo bole So Nihal, sat sri akal” (“he who cries ‘God is truth’ is ever happy”) “Wahe Guruji Da Khalsa, Wahe Guruji Di Fateh” (“The Khalsa of Waheguru is victorious”)
Jat Regiment 1795 Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh “Sangathan va veerta” (“unity and valour”) “Jat balwan, jai bhagwan”

(“the Jat is strong, victory to


Parachute Regiment 1945 Bengaluru, Karnataka “Shatrujeet” (“the conqueror”) “Balidan Param Dharma” (“Sacrifice Before Duty”)
Punjab Regiment 1761 Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand “Sthal wa jal” (“by land and sea”) “Jo bole So Nihal, sat sri akal” (“he who cries ‘God is truth’ is ever happy”); “Bol Jawala Ma ki jai” (“say victory to Goddess




1758 Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh “Sarvada shaktishali

(“always strong”)

“Sarvada shaktishali” (“always strong”)
Sikh Light Infantry 1944 Fatehgarh, Uttar Pradesh “Deg teg fateh” (“prosperity in peace and victory in war”) “Jo bole So Nihal, sat sri akal” (“he who cries ‘God is truth’ is ever happy”)
Maratha Light


1768 Belgaum, Karnataka “Duty, honour, courage” “Bola Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai, Temlai Mata ki jai” (“say victory to Emperor

Shivaji, victory to Goddess


The Garhwal 1887 Lansdowne, Uttarakhand “Yudhaya krit “Badri Vishal Lal ki jai”


Regiment Active From Regimental Center Motto War Cry
Rifles nischya” (“fight with determination”) (“victory to the Great Lord

Badri Nath”)

Kumaon Regiment 1813 Ranikhet, Uttarakhand “Parakramo vijayate”

(“valour triumphs”)

“Kalika Mata ki jai” (“victory to Goddess Kali”); “Bajrang Bali ki jai” (“victory to Lord Hanuman”); “Dada Kishan ki jai” (“Victory to Dada


Assam Regiment 1941 Shillong, Meghalaya “Assam vikram” (“unique valour”) “Rhino charge”


1941 Danapur, Bihar “Karam hi dharam”

(“work is worship”)

“Jai Bajrang Bali” (“victory to

Lord Hanuman”)

Mahar Regiment 1941 Saugor, Madhya Pradesh “Yash sidhi” (“success and attainment”) “Bolo Hindustan ki jai” (“say victory to India”)
Jammu &

Kashmir Rifles

1821 Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh “Prashata ranvirta” (“valour in battle is praiseworthy”) “Durga Mata ki jai” (“victory to Goddess Durga”)
Jammu and

Kashmir Light


1947 Avantipur, Jammu and Kashmir “Balidanam vir lakshanam ”

(“sacrifice is a characteristic of the brave”)

“Bharat Mata ki jai” (“victory to Mother India”)


1970 Ranikhet, Uttarakhand “Jai Durga Naga” (“victory to

Durga Naga”)

1 Gorkha


1815 Sabathu, Himachal Pradesh “Kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramro”

(“better to die than live like a coward”)

“Jai Ma Kali, ayo Gorkhali” (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
3 Gorkha


1815 Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh “Kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramro”

(“better to die than live like a coward”)

“Jai Ma Kali, ayo Gorkhali” (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
4 Gorkha


1857 Sabathu, Himachal Pradesh “Kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramro (“better to die than live like a


“Jai Ma Kali, ayo Gorkhali” (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
5 Gorkha




1858 Shillong, Meghalaya “Shaurya evam nistha” (“courage and determination”) “Jai Ma Kali, ayo Gorkhali” (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
8 Gorkha


1824 Shillong, Meghalaya “Kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramro (“better to die than live like a


“Jai Ma Kali, ayo Gorkhali” (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
9 Gorkha


1817 Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh “Kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramrod”

(“better to die than live like a coward”)

Jai Ma Kali, Ayo Gorkhali (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
Regiment Active From Regimental Center Motto War Cry
11 Gorkha


19181922; from 1948 Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh “Yatraham

vijayastatra” (“Victory resides where I reside”)

“Jai Ma Kali, Ayo Gorkhali (“hail Goddess Kali, here come the Gorkhas”)
Ladakh Scouts 1963 Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir “Ki ki so so Lhargyalo”

(“Victory to God”)

Arunachal Scouts 2010 Rayang, Arunachal Pradesh
Sikkim Scouts 2013  




Appendix B

(Refers to para 7)


Ser Name and Type Company Effective Range Remarks
1. AS50 Sniper Rifle Accuracy international, United Kingdom 1.5 Km •            5 rounds in 1.6 seconds

•            Incendiary and Explosive ammunition

2. SA80A2 Assault


Royal Small Arms Factory,

United Kingdom

Upgraded by Heckler and


400 metres •           5.56 mm calibre

•           Bull pup design

3. AK74 assault


Klashnikov, USSR 500 metres           5.45 mm calibre
4. M4 Carbine Colt, USA 500 metres •           5.56 mm

•           Replace M16  rifle

5. HK 416 Rifle Heckler and Koch, Germany 300 metres           5.56 mm
6. FAMAS Assault


Manufacture d’Armes de

Saint-Étienne (MAS) – France

300 metres •           5.56 mm

•           1,100 rounds per minute

7. M16 Assault Rifle ArmaLite-Inc, USA 550 metres
8. AK103 Kalashnikov, USSR 500 metres           7.62 mm
9. ZH05 Assault


China 500 metres •           Can be used as a

Grenade launcher also

•           5.8 mm

10. Indian Small

Arms System


India 400 m •           600-650 rounds per minute

•           Can be used as a rifle or Light Machine Gun(LMG)

1. M249 Squad



FN Herstel, USA 3600 metres •             5.56 mm

•             800 rounds per minute

•             Magazine and belt fed

2. Negev NG 7 Punj Lloyd and Israel Military Industries 300-1000 metres •             5.56 mm

•             800-1050 rounds per minute

3. S&T Motiv K12 Daewoo Precision Industry, South Korea 800 metres •              650-950 rounds per minute

•              7.62 mm



Explosives, Rockets, and Mortars[edit]

Name Type Origin Notes
Grenade 36mm Hand


 India Fragmentation grenade which can be hand-thrown or rifle-launched from 1A SLR.




Hand grenade  India Status: In service.Standard grenade of the Indian Army. This modular grenade is available in Hand mode offensive, hand mode defensive and rifle mode. Types can be interchanged by changing outer sleeve.[11][12]
GP25 Grenade launcher(40 mm)  Soviet Union Attached to AKM and AK-103 assault rifles.




Grenade launcher(40 mm)  India Status: In service.Semiautomatic six shot 40mm x 46mm low velocity grenade launcher. Manufactured at Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli. *[2]
AGS17 Plamya Automatic grenade

launcher (3 0mm)

 Soviet Union Status: In service. Standard automatic grenade launcher, used as fire support weapon in infantry formations.
AGS30 Automatic grenade launcher (3 0mm)  Russia Replacing the AGS-17 and being manufactured at Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli.
RCL Mk II Recoilless rifle (84mm)  India


Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle produced by OFB.


Recoilless rifle (84mm)  India


Lighter, updated version of the RCL Mk II produced by OFB.




 United States
B300 Shipon Rocket Launcher  Israel For use by Special Forces. Specially Marcos and Para(SF).


Rocket Launcher  Russia


Rocket Launcher  Spain In use with the infantry units. C90CRRB (M3) variant only.
OFB E1 51mm Mortar  India Used by assault sections of infantry formations.



Mortar  India Used by mortar platoons of infantry formations.
L16 81mm mortar
OFB E1 120mm Mortar  India


Col Manoj Mehrotra
Col Manoj Mehrotra

About the Author :  Col Manoj Mehrotra is an alumni of the National Defence Academy and has now retired after 33 years of service. He was commissioned in the Army Air Defence and has a rich experience in different designations as well as locations. He has also been Principal Consultant to Department of Urban Development, Govt. of MP for Smart City Projects.

He can be reached at manoj_42ch@yahoo.co.in or via LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/col-manoj-mehrotra-retd-20764422 

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