INFANTRY I Fr. infunterie, from Sp. infan t• ria, from infante, young person. foot-soldier, from Lit. infans, infant, from in-, not -4-- fari, oil vat, to speak, Skt. WO, to shine). A term applied to an organized body of men, ti:line.1 for rapid evolutions, and to tight alw•iys on foot. It thus stands in contradistinction to the cavalry, which is primarily for mounted service in charges on the field of action and in covering the flanks of an army, or as a screen or curtain to conceal movements. and as a corps of observation; the cavalry is also, especially in the United States service. required at times to dismounted. feudal times the lords were considered 'the chivalry,' at least by them selves, and they ceased to regard the infantry, which was composed of the poorer people, badly equipped and armed, in the same high esteem accorded to it in the earlier wars. Nevertheless the English infantry armed with the longbow was recognized its a dangerous antagonist, and the crossbow, though inferior in accuracy and %%las not to he despised. reg:Irds other weapons, the of the Crusaders were barbed and SO the arrows used at Cricey and elsewhere, the object being to make it impossible to extraet them without laceration of the flesh. The sarhaelin•, a long, hollow tube, WAIS in use for sb000ting poisoned arrows at the enemy, Tl .. spears were of diverse fin-ins, known parlisfuts,nall'S, Span' loons, and all of 55cre in use the infantry. With such weapons and equipped with Pilo, or helmet. inanteau 'Plumes, ic shoul der-protector, (minks, loingnard, spear, war ham mer and sword, buckler or rondaelie (shield)• mobility of action was not possible.
The armies of the aneient Creeks were e0111 1Mseil of infantry, and in the Homan armies cavalry played but a very subordinate part. It was not till the time of the feudal system that cavalry became (lie 11101'e important force. decay of feudalism affected the cavalry as the principal fighting force in armies. The victories by the foot-soldiers of the liberty•loving Swiss mountaineers over the Austrians at Morgarten (1315), Sempach (1386), and Niifels (1388) in creased the esteem in which foot-soldiers were generally hold, and, cis will be shown further on, centuries have established the fact that this arm of the service is the most essential and most im portant factor in war.
The nreeill11 order of battle, termed the pha lanx, was eight, to sixteen ranks in depth, either forming a triangular-sliap•d wedge, with the apex to the enemy, or a solid reetangle arra-Iged in subdivisions, each equivalent to a company of 120 men, With distances between them equal to their front. The advantage of this massive
formation was found in weight of impaet as an attaeking force, irresistible from its momentum and in its great resisting power in defense. The Romans first encountered the famous phalanx when defeated by Pyrrhus at the battle of Hera elea (B.E, 280). The phalanx, as a whole, often comprised 10,000 to 20,000 men when in order of battle. These masses were not easily handled, and were practieally without mobility, unable to work over rough ground or execute elianges of front, or •Ilanking matneuvres with neeessar• rapidity of action.
'flue Greek infantryman was equipped with shield. helmet, breastplate, and grea•es (metal leggings), sword, battle-axe. and barbed spears or javelins which were hurled with great force in close lighting. The bow and arrow were used in skirmishing well in advanee of the main body, and before the conflict reached the stage of the hand-to-hand combat. The great strength of the Roman legion, numbering 4500 men, was prig cipally in the infantry. It was divided into 1200 h(iNtati (spearinen)• 1200 principes (veterans). 1200 •elites (skirmishers), 600 pilani (veteran reserves), and a small cavalry contingent num bering 300 equitrs, Later the enstomar• forma tion of the phalanx was somewhat improved by line or leaionary formations in three lines. but still retaining the great depth of ten men. This plan made possihle extension of lines and out flanking the enemy's front or rapid massive for mations to meet concentrated onslaught. The Ioo:;e formation, with intervals of a pace or more between files, was similar to the c,rici/d,l/ order of modern tactics, and in other features con nected with the attack, support, reserves, etc., we have in our modern system quite closely fol lowed their ideas, omitting the heavy lines. The front rank of the infantry was frequently armed with spears 21 to 24 feet in length, or lances IS feet in length; the pilam, an iron-pointed spear v.•ighing some 12 pounds. was thrown at close range, and this attack followed by a rush and ini.he with the short, stout, two-edged sword. The introduction of gunpowder in the fourteenth century and the invention of the hand-gun dur ing the fifteenth century contributed to hasten the downfall of feudalism by rendering the in fantry soldier equal to the armo•-clad knight. To Prince Maurice of Nassau (1567-1625) is attributed the sagacious plan of arming half of In infantry with firearms and improving the butt-end of the arquebus, so that it could be handled more readily and placed against the chest. Nevertheless, still following the old fash ions, lie kept his infantry in ten ranks.