New Light Infantry Manual

The latest in the series of manuals for fourth generation warfare is now available from our 4GW Manuals page.

The authors, the Fourth Generation Warfare Seminar at Quantico, observe that:

The light infantryman characterizes himself by his mental resourcefulness and physical toughness. Light infantry’s inborn self-reliance (the reason they were chosen to join Light Infantry units), reinforced by hard training, convinces them that they are able to overcome the most difficult situations that combat could present. Light infantrymen do not feel defeated when surrounded, isolated or confronted by superior forces. They are able to perform their duties for long periods of time without any type of comfort or logistical support, obtaining what they need from the land or the enemy. They are neither physically nor psychologically tied to the rear by the necessity to maintain open lines of communication. This attitude of self-confidence provides LI a great psychological advantage over its enemies. Thanks to its decentralized command philosophy, LI operates at a high tempo. An unpredictable ambush mentality and reluctance to follow a specified method is the essence of LI.

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9 Responses to “New Light Infantry Manual”

  1. jaylemeuxon 25 Sep 2008 at 12:36 am 1

    ” Light infantry’s inborn self-reliance…”

    I have to say I’m extremely skeptical that the traits of a light infantryman are “inborn.” While the role of genetics in defining an individual can’t be ignored, humans are mainly social animals. They are products of their social environment. Light infantryman aren’t born any more than professional athletes are-they get where they are because they learned from their parents, peers, and NCOs.

    The last LI manual from the 4GW seminar asserted that soldiers from rural areas had some sort of insurmountable advantage over soldiers from urban areas.

    I once led a Marine from Little Rock, Arkansas. He grew up on the streets with gangsters. Since war is migrating out of the country and into the city, we used his expertise to our great advantage. He had spent his teenage years running from the cops. He taught us how to get around in the city without being seen, which is incredibly difficult. Were it not for his rise straight out of the projects, more Marines in our section might have died on nighttime squad patrols in Iraq.

    Being a light infantryman is not a job for everyone, not even every infantryman. I concede that. But it is not a job reserved for some genetic class, like something out of Gattaca. It is taught, not inborn.

    [CR: Perhaps it should have read “Light Infantry’s inherent self-reliance …]

  2. Newjarheaddeanon 26 Sep 2008 at 6:56 pm 2

    AHOY, Jaylemeux. I don’t be leave the true art of infantry fighting tactics is being tout at all, hence Arkansas gangster teaching lots to US Marines on how to survive in the city. I would be interested in an example if you would please. I’m aware of the dog problem so what else. IMO a warrior class is exactly what could and should be allowed to develop. I’ve hard it said that the names on the tomb stones at Arlington have a certain commonality.

  3. jaylemeuxon 27 Sep 2008 at 3:09 pm 3

    what kind of example are you looking for?

    the crux of his wisdom revolved around how to move from one shadow to another, and what to do when you come across the inevitable well-lit wide road or open field.

  4. Newjarheaddeanon 28 Sep 2008 at 10:03 am 4

    AHOY, jaylemeux excuse me however those things sound like what should have been tout in basic or infantry schools not learned from a gangster. As far as I know about open fields you go around them (could be mined or ambushes). And if its raining you spread out abreast and zig zag cross to mix your foot prints to counter counting your unit. And leave area quickly. Well lit wide roads I would short out electricity in the area to counter lights (always keeping my dominate/shooting eye closed around possible or actual light sources) and cross roads mid way down the block in groups for starters. I just get a kick out of how strategy is the most important aspect of conflict yet it is discussed openly and endlessly by all. The library is full of books on the subject. However when it comes to tactics everyone acts like its all top secret. How did your unit deal with the brat scouts? LOL AKA children. G-day…

  5. jaylemeuxon 28 Sep 2008 at 2:10 pm 5

    Maybe they should have, but they weren’t. Besides, even if they were I’d rather have him teaching Marines than some guy who’d never actually done it before. The learning curve was probably a lot higher while running from the cops.

    I suppose shorting out the electricity would work, but I think it’s pretty difficult to put into practice. For one, you’d have to get to a source of electricity that’s probably well lit in the first place, and then you’d have to have a guy who knew how to disable it without electrocuting himself. Even if it worked, you could only do it once or twice before the locals clued in to what you were doing. A lot of times there was just no way to go around a well lit area without eating up too much time or running into another well lit area. I mean, Ramadi is a city of 450,000. There’s gonna be a lot of lights.

    We never came up with an answer to kids. It’s amazing how good they are at spotting anything out of the ordinary.

  6. Newjarheaddeanon 29 Sep 2008 at 5:06 pm 6

    AHOY, I find it odd that lights in Iraq where a problem at all, with electricity only 4-8 hours a day. Seems 22:00- 0400 hours time of most attacks and should have been lights out and prime patrol hours too. Fencing or wire cables over any group of lines should short out area lights. Like the Aluminum foil strip warheads used during the bombing campaigns. I know money etc is a problem and I say a sin to restricting options. But with the kids I would have tried to provide sports events etc to limit the numbers and non lethal weapons like stink bombs on the ones mothers could not control. Now I do salute your service and know you did not make all the calls. But I’m all about pointing out the lack of a professional killing USMC. So if the units where not always operating out ward from base camps and if the Marines had worn the wood land camouflage to distinguish themselves and no sun glasses and lived and slept with the people like the Marines were suppose to do the kids might have worked for us. G-day!

  7. Newjarheaddeanon 30 Sep 2008 at 1:15 pm 7

    AHOY, I appreciate the feed back from someone who was over there. You’re the first one I’ve talked to. Also with crossing streets you try to find a low point and or cross just before or after a bend. Keeping the eye closed or covered pirate like is so when a light goes out you still have night vision when you expose your eye ball to shoot. The zig zaging across fields would be only used far behind enemy lines. And if going around was not a good option what did the Arkansas Marine suggest. Traditional smoke screens tend to drawl fire in urban situations so in Vietnam they used structure and brush fires etc. Was any of this tout in basic to the brave men and women to your knowledge? G-day!

  8. jaylemeuxon 01 Oct 2008 at 11:15 pm 8

    It’s really hard to deal with the light in Iraq. In a lot of places, electricity’s been fairly reliable. In my AOs power outages were intermittent, but only so. It took us a few months to figure out which routes were dark or dim and which were well lit. As crossing streets goes, you spend 90% of your time on them in Iraq. Looking for low points or bends at every intersection can be just an incredible hassle, and the more times you use a particular crossing point the more dangerous it becomes. On top of that, depending on what time of the month it was, we were faced with the choice of rushing through some fairly well-lit areas or going the long way and getting caught by the moonrise.

    A lot of the time our choice was between a bad crossing point or a terrible one. We’d compress our formation up to the last concealed spot before the light, wait till no civilians were around, and run across the lit area one at a time. Nothing fancy about it. I’d be interested to see what true light infantrymen might do-perhaps they’d creep across the street slower than can be perceived by the human eye, assuming they had the time. Or maybe they’d be smarter than to conduct patrols in a populated city at all.

    Another choice I made was to make covert movement easier for my Marines by allowing them to leave the wire without all of the garbage we were required by unit SOP to carry (half of us rarely wore our groin protectors, and I even took my kevlar collar off once or twice). I would have gotten in enormous trouble had we ever gotten caught-probably would have lost my rank and billet-but my choice was between that or unnecessarily drawing attention in a city where we did not have a lot of friends.

    [CR: Thanks very much — powerful first-person comment. Brings some reality to these discussions.]

  9. Newjarheaddeanon 02 Oct 2008 at 3:46 pm 9

    AHOY THE TRUTH SHALL SIT US STRAIT… According to you’re first hand account you were winging it which means Marines are no better at combat operations than any other well disciplined motivated physically fit unit. A side from my belief about the extra steel to join in the first place. “In a lot of places, electricity’s been fairly reliable”. IMO that’s were the Son’s of Iraq live. The outages were sabotage according to CNN or maybe that was all propaganda. “It took us a few months to figure out which routes were dark or dim etc”. So you used the same routes? Was not planning of patrols aided by information from high tech remote sensors, UAVs or Satellites? We here so much talk about information over load. “As crossing streets goes, you spend 90% of your time on them in Iraq”. So crossing them or fields was never a big concern. IMO no units were shot at that much and dismounted only after the sky was full of helicopters UAVs and fixed wing aircraft. And please tell it to this Marine; why no sniper problem like we saw in Bosnia? I know it wasn’t well trained counter sniper teams. Semper Fi