The term « infantry » comes from the Italian word « infante », meaning footsoldier.
From time immemorial, the infantry has always constituted the bulk of troops who fight on foot. At first, their main arms were double-edged swords, pikes, bows and arrows, after which came the arquebus, muskets, grenades and all the new weapons man, over the centuries, has been inventing all in a bid to ‘’elegantly’’ squeeze life out of his fellow brother.
20 septembre 1792 - Charge d'infanterie à la bataille de Valmy
Pierre Victor Robiquet - Musée de l'Armée - Paris
During the Napoleonic era, and subsequently during the XIX century, the infantry considerably retained the role it had been playing as far back as the period of the Roman legions when it used to be at the heart of battles, breaking through enemy fortifications and putting up resistance to contain attacks.
21 octobre 1870 - Défense de la porte de Longboyau
par les fantassins du 24e R.I. au château de Buzenval, près de Paris
Alphonse de Neuville - Musée de l'Armée - Paris
1870 - Contre-attaque d'infanterie dans un village
Paul-Louis-Narcisse Grolleron - Musée de l'Armée -Paris
It can be said that prior to World War I, the infantry had been the supreme warrior. During the First World War, artillery and machine guns were massively used against regiments of infantrymen. This resulted in real blood-baths as these unfortunate footsoldiers, who in groups made rash attacks, became « cannon fodder ».
Reprise du Fort de Douaumont par l'infanterie française en 1916
Georges Henri Chartier - Paris - Musée de l'Armée
With the advent of modern sophisticated equipment, weapons and devices such as tanks, aircrafts and missiles, the role of the various units of the armed forces have changed remarkably and the resources of the infantry have increased considerably.
Véhicule Avant Blindé Renault, Infantry armoured fighting, Blindé de combat d'infanterie,
Equipage: 2 hommes + 10, Poids: 13 tonnes, V.max: 92 km/h sur route,
Armes: canon de 20 mm, 1 mitrailleuse 7,62 mm, Photo FNCV
Though motorized infantry troops are transported in trucks, they still fight on foot. The mechanized infantry operates just like Armoured-Calvary arm units. It uses all terrain vehicles for transportation, or sometimes amphibious vehicles equally used in fighting. As for parachutist infantries and commando units, they are transported by air in aircrafts or helicopters but, like the other infantry units, they too fight on foot.
Le 126e Régiment d'infanterie - Devise: "Fier et Vaillant"
14 juillet 2007 - Champs Elysées - Paris Collection PC FNCV