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22nd January 2005best infantry
By kieran
hi everyone who do u think has the best infantry now even tho the americans have the marines even tho we invented the marines i would still say britian post your view
22nd January 2005Paul Cubbin
The US Marines are very well equipped and, for American troops, well trained. Physically, they are also very muscular (rather lacking in aerobic fitness, though - they like their helicopters to take the strain), for the most part and certainly have plenty of confidence in their own abilities. However the best trained, fittest and finest infantry in the world is found in the British Army. There simply is no argument. There may well be elite units across the globe who excel in certain areas, but in every joint exercise between Britain and the US, and indeed with evry other nation, it is our forces who have come out on top time and again. Obviously, without a head-on encounter no-one really knows for sure, and God forbid it ever happen again. I have heard the US Army described (by an old acquaintance who has served for over 25 years in various arenas) as the worst soldiers he has ever come across...and he had served alongside French reservists. Perhaps a little harsh, and more a measure of how they stand compared to how they think they stand. Sorry, American contributors, its not meant to be insulting, just a factual quote from a very experienced soldier. They do have some lovely toys, though (often British designed and US built). Who else is there to compare? Chinese? No-one knows. Russia? Not likely. France? Ur...I think not. Possibly the closest I would say is the Israelis.

Without bashing the armed forces of other nations too much (too late) there really can be no comparison - The Parachute Regiment, The Royal Marines (not army, I know), the various Guards Regiments, The Ghurkas, what about a little organisation known as the SAS? And let's not forget just one such proud regiment, The Royal Regiment of Wales. Small but (almost) perfectly formed. Other countries appear to have adopted contrition and negotiation as a defence policy; but when it comes down to it, if you are not strong enough to defend yourself you may very well find that you have to.

Here's a little quote from a Venetian gentleman, over four hundred years ago, "The English never yield, and though driven back and thrown into confusion, they always return to the fight, thirsting for vengeance as long as they have a breath of life."
22nd January 2005Martin Boyle
I agree that the British Army is the best. I think the US army could be much better than they are at present if they didn't rely so heavily on technology. Technology is very important, but there have to be highly-trained men on the ground.
23rd January 2005Michael Boyle

I believe it was the Romans who invented Marines, at least in the contemporary sense of infantry cross-trained to fight at (and from the) sea, during the First Punic War.(Although there are references that go back much farther.)


To start I'll grant that the only time the US Marines were forced from the field in battle (by a foreign foe) was by the British Army at the battle of Bladensburg,MD.We have however suffered a couple of defeats; at Wake Island where a regiment of Marines was eventually over-come by an entire Japanese invasion force (the last communication recieved from the Marine commander upon being asked if there was anything the US could do for him was the reply "Yeah,send us more Japs.") and the unfortunate Marines who found themselves attached to MacArthur in the Phillipines (don't get me started on "Dug-out Doug"!) There were also a few instances of 'should-have-been-defeated' like Guadalcanal (Navy?What Navy?),Chosin Resevoir("Retreat Hell! We're just attacking in another direction!")and Khe Sahn (Dien Bien Who?) (of course we did accept a little help from the Air Force!)(and eventually lost the war anyway).All in all I'll put the record of the United States Marine Corps up against any outfit, anywhere,any time.

It is said that, for most armies, enlisted training is designed to make one pass and officer training is designed to make one fail. US Marine training for both is designed to either induce suicide or the motivation to earn your "Eagle,Globe and Anchor".Don't let the muscle bulk fool you, Marines run three miles three times a day(only twice on Sundays) and bi-weekly twenty mile forced marches with full kit as well as complex 'obstacle' courses.Further, Marines are required to 'qualify' with their rifles (Marksman,Sharpshooter and Expert) before they become Marines and bi-annually after. So There!

I do find it some how curious that the Victorian attitude towards modern technology seems alive and well given the threads here dealing with red uniforms,white helmets and kit,lack of repeating rifles, glorified fire-works and bronze muzzle-loaders in an age of breach loaders.(In spite of the fact that,as I seem to remember, the British Army was the first to field breach loading artillery only to subsequently recall them after 'tests' found them 'inferior' to said bronze cannon.A lesson not driven home until the First Boer[South African?] War.)Modern times,modern wars,modern technology-'purchase or perish'!

US ground forces are not 'meat on feet', the amount of training required to master and coordinate modern weapon systems numbs my poor skull!

As for the US Army I should probably recuse (my favourite service joke being an exchange between a former Army officer and a former Marine noncom exiting a public rest room-"At West Point we were taught to wash our HANDS after urinating." "No s**t? At Parris Island we were taught not to p**s on 'em.") However as I recall certain events beginning in 1776,1812,1848,1861,1898,1916,1941,1950 and 1991 seem to prove their yeoman service.(I exclude Viet Nam as it was long,long ago in a galaxy far,far away.)

You can be the neatest,most disciplined team on the pitch but unless you bring home the win it's all for naught as amply demonstrated by both Isandhlwana and (on the win side) Rorke's Drift.

All that said I repectfully tip my hat to the ROK Marines (Korea) as being the most formidable infantry force on earth.(Six YEARS of basic training!)


23rd January 2005Richard
A nation who's infantry would give the British a run for their money is the Kiwi's.
23rd January 2005Paul Cubbin
Michael - I think the toilet gag does the rounds fairly universally - I've heard it as the same conversation between Army and RAF officers (with roles reversed depending of who is doing the telling). Its comforting somehow.
If we're going to quote stats, Britain hasn't lost a major war since the one where your country over the pond was born (not our finest hour). The list of battles won by the 'PBI' against unbelieveable odds is too long to list anywhere outside of a library. Don't get me wrong, the US Marines are obviously good enough to overcome most of their oppostion and no-one can doubt the courage of US forces through the ages. But I'm comparing them against a body of men (and now women) that has no peers.
As for discipline, its a means to an end...and it works. Those that have proved themselves are allowed to relax (I've never met a dirtier, more slovenly and laid back bunch of guys as the SAS gentlemen I have known).
Oh, and a three mile shuffle is not a run...its a warm-up.
But six years basic training? These guys aren't taking any chances this time are they.
23rd January 2005Chris
The British elite units, let it not be forgotten, also train the other nations' elite units.

I also heard similar tales from a naval friend of my fathers. Norman his name was, and he was saying the Americans breathe a huge sigh of relief whenever our lads arrive.
29th January 2005Michael Boyle

Trust me. It's not a shuffle. I also seem to recall that that in 1814 we retained the less odiferous end of the stick (although New Orleans was a tragic encore by any measure).As far as 'peerless', neither of our countries have been seriously tested in the last few decades and I sincerely hope that situation prevails.Military discipline is not A means to an end, it is THE means to the desired end.(Reflecting on my younger self it's hard to believe I've come round to that!)


Nor let us forget that the elite units of many countries have trained the elite of others.(To both good and ill.) In my time events had not conspired to see your lads arrive but we were not at all discomfited when the ANZACS arrived in Viet Nam!

Best cage match- ROK Marines vs. Israeli Defense Force! (Or maybe Iroquois vs. Zulu!)(Or maybe Roman Legion vs. Zulu with comparable shields and no ranged attack.)



30th January 2005Paul Cubbin
Michael - when the US Marines were bogged down in Falujah(?) they requested, and received, the assistance of the Agryll and Sutherland Highland Regt - not one of the 'elites' of the British Army. They had been champing at the bit in reserve and were relieved to get some action. When they arrived, Iraqi insurgents had got into the comfortable habit of moving at will during the night....why? Because the Marines retreated into their stockades and would not patrol after dark. The Argylls began aggressive nightime patrolling immediately - static and fighting - and caused extremely heavy casualties, night after night, with no loss to themselves. The insurgents shut up shop soon after. Night maneuvers are a tricky thing, requiring a great deal of training, discipline and confidence. That is why it is the standard practise for British actions to be performed at night, because nobody else can. By the way, you won't find many reports of the above in the newspapers, you'll just have to take my word for it (or ask a mate in the Argyll's - like I did)!

Cage match - hmmm it would have to be Spartan vs Varangian Guard (I'm a historical kind of guy).