Follow TV Tropes



Go To

A weapon or ability that is effective against basic infantry units.

Typically involves Kill It with Fire if not specialized munitions or More Dakka. Herd-Hitting Attack style weapons or abilities are also often used.

For the sake of Competitive Balance and Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, many anti-infantry-specific weapons are near useless against sufficiently armored enemies.

Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Anti-Air, Anti-Armor, Anti-Cavalry, Anti-Vehicle and Anti-Structure.



Anime and Manga

  • Mobile Suit Gundam: most (if not all) Gundam designs carry Vulcan Cannons on their helmets, designated as both point-defense and anti-infantry weapons.
  • Exaggerated in The Five Star Stories. See all those little divots in the average Mortar Headds' armor? Chances are each one has an anti-personnel laser and/or grenade launcher inside it.


  • Keith Laumer's Bolo stories sometimes mentioned anti-personnel weapons meant to be used against enemy infantry.
  • The panzers of Hammer's Slammers have anti-personnel mines attached to their armor. Since infantry can still sneak up on a hovertank and take it out with a cheap buzzbomb, these mines are necessary.

Tabletop Games

  • Steve Jackson's Ogre: the title cybernetic tank has anti-personnel weapons used against the armored-suit infantry of its opponents.
    • Car Wars had this as a limitation on most pedestrians' weapons; after all, if a car is built to handle a few seconds of 7.62mm machinegun fire, it likely won't be as hurt by, say, a 9mm handgun. There were a few pedestrian weapons that were effective on cars, though; notably, the axe and hatchet, for those who felt like going into melee.
  • Good ol' Warhammer 40,000 has several vehicle variants on each faction that the fluff describes as more effective against infantry. An example are variants of the Chimera APC with flamethrowers or toxic waste-throwers instead of the normal Multi-Laser, the 'Devastator'-Pattern Leman Russ tank (with dual autocannons which are effective against anything with light armor, but again the fluff describes as an 'anti-personnel' variant of the tank... which says a lot about the kind of monsters commonly considered as 'enemy personnel', actually) and the Punisher Pattern Leman Russ tank,(which is armed with an enormous Gatling gun capable of turning a massive enemy army into red mist) .
    • The Space Marine's handheld missile launcher and the Ork Kannon are good examples of the difference between anti-infantry and anti-armor since they both allow to choose between two kinds of ammo: One is a single-target high-power round ("krak" missiles), the other is weaker but with an Area of Effect (frag missiles).
  • Paranoia had several gas grenade types (and cone rifle warheads) that only affected people.
    • Poison: did physical damage, could kill.
    • Vomit: caused uncontrollable retching.
    • Hallucinogenic: "Oh look, there's a unicorn! And my flashlight is talking to me!"
  • BattleTech: While they have their usefulness in Humongous Mecha combat (for example, by overheating an enemy 'Mech and thus disabling it), flamethrowers and machine guns are much more typically equipped to deal with attacking infantry. Among other Battlemechs designed around such capability, there's the appropriately-named "Firestarter" series. Anti-personnel Gauss Rifles are also fearsome infantry-killing weapons that fire gobs of small projectiles that carve up conventional infantry formations at three times the range of a machine gun.
    • Battle Armor are banes to unarmored infantry. Clan Elementals are 10 ft juggernauts capable of surviving hits from mech weapons, and will easily mow down infantry with flamers, machine guns, and anti-personnel weapons (typically a sub-machine gun of some sort). Some suits also mount fearsome infantry-killing melee weapons like Vibro-Claws
  • Advertisement:
  • WARMACHINE has plenty of Warjacks that excel in mowing down infantry. The Cygnar Cyclone for one has pair of chain guns as its weapons.

Video Games

  • Brothers in Arms has the Browning M1919 and the MG-42, fixed machine-guns capable of killing enemy infantry in one hit. In Hell's Highway, portable versions of these machine-guns appear, and are the standard-issue weapon for machine-gun teams of both the Americans and Germans.
    • In terms of artillery, there's the 88mm Flak 36 gun. While normally used in the Anti-Air or Anti-Armor role, the gun can also be used to attack infantry, as demonstrated late in Earned in Blood and well into its sequel.
  • Company of Heroes has most units use a weapon that will be at least usable against infantry, if not especially good at it (the especially good ones usually either having a high rate-of-fire or simply explodes over a large area). The minority that aren't are anti-vehicle specialized weapons, which can kill unfortunate infantryman in a single hit due to their power, but are encumbered from being particularly useful in that regard by a low fire-rate and abysmal accuracy against man-sized targets and make actually killing them in most cases a miracle.
  • In Dark Reign The Future of War each side has one that specialize in this. The Imperium have their Shredder that instantly kills infantry it can hit with its blades. The Freedom Guard have their Sniper that can snipe infantry from afar.
  • Subverted by Tutorial Failure in the GBA Fire Emblem games. The handful of weapons labeled as "effective against infantry" are actually Anti-Armor and Anti-Cavalry. How this is supposed to add up to "infantry" is never explained.
    • Played straight in Fire Emblem Heroes with the Poison Dagger weapon, which inflicts bonus damage against infantry units.
  • World in Conflict has a few:
    • The Sniper is extremely deadly to infantry of all kinds, especially if he is well hidden in the woods or perched atop a tall building.
    • Napalm and gas canister Tactical Aids are pretty much the only efficient ways to flush out enemy infantry hidden in the woods or inside the buildings (only gas works on infantry in the buildings, but it helpfully leaves the buildings intact).
    • Heavy artillery Tactical Aid has universal effect but works best on infantry standing in the open (heavier units can generally escape the bombardment area before dying; infantry can't).
  • Mastermind World Conqueror: The flamethrower upgrade. Not very useful on its own, but the only type of enemy that attacks the Moonbase is infantry.
  • Advance Wars: the Anti-Air vehicle unit is also very effective at eliminating walking infantry units with its vulcan cannon, not just planes and copters. Tank machine guns don't kill infantry with nearly the same effectiveness, unless it's an overpriced Mega Tank or such. Anti-Airs only have to watch out for bazooka-carrying infantry striking first.
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: Engineers can place an anti-personnel defensive turret (a machine gun). It will only attack soldiers, though-which means that it's possible to attack it freely with a vehicle if it's undefended.
  • The first Command & Conquer: Red Alert had the Yak, a plane that strafed targets with machine guns and earned the nickname "Infantry Eraser".
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn had the flame tank from the Brotherhood of Nod. GDI have the Wolverine to fill this role for them.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals has each three sides having at least one or two units that excel in this (and one unit each to instantly clear out Garrisonable Structures). The USA has their Pathfinders, Humvees (and Pathfindersin Humvees) and Rangers with flashbang grenades, China has its flame tank and gatling tank, the GLA has the chem tractor and quad cannon, in addition to all vehicles being able to run over enemy infantry.
  • The bears and jaguars from Aztec Wars. They do wonders against infrantry, but are rather useless against buildings and vehicles.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, most Anti-Air assets also double as Anti-Infantry against the Personal Space Invader Battlearmor, courtesy of their high-powered, rapid-fire autocannons being able to shred battlearmor with only a few shots. LB-X buckshot shotguns carried by some of the anti-air assets also create a satisfying spray of blood and gibs and are much easier to use against battlearmor currently using their Jet Pack. The best anti-infantry weapon is the Short Ranged Missile, which sprays up to 6 missiles towards the crosshair with enough damage and splash to rip a battlearmor player to pieces - though they are nigh-unusable against clever battlearmor who never lands within the SRM's firing arc.
  • MechCommander and its sequel have both standard and Powered Armor infantry, carrying small lasers, machine guns, and missiles. Unlike the source material, you have to target each trooper individually. Weapons with fast fire rates tended to be the best option, since any one hit would take one trooper out, but it needed to hit a trooper first. Sheer volume of fire means that pulse lasers and rapid-fire autocannons worked best against infantry.
  • Dawn of War: The game divides its infantry into regular (Guardsmen, orks...) and heavy infantry (Space Marines). A good rule of thumb is that the higher the rate of fire, the better against regular infantry (heavy infantry is best taken out with plasma weapons), although artillery is remarkably effective at scattering and killing infantry.

Real Life

  • The Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the modern version of the "light" tank, meant primarily to serve as infantry support. Distinguishable from main battle tanks in that they usually mount autocannons rather than artillery-grade main guns.
  • Most of the tanks of World War I were not yet built to fight other tanks. They were primarily built to disrupt an enemy's defences, such as barbed wire and trenches, and to either blow up machine gun nests (most medium and heavier tank types equipped with larger guns) or fight individual infantry with the use of their machine guns (light tanks, especially the Whippet and Renault FT-17). Some early examples of tank-vs-tank battles did occassionally occur in the last two years of the war, but tanks were still primarily anti-infantry and anti-fortification vehicles at this time, instead of the mostly Anti-Armor vehicles they became later.
  • A real-life inversion of this trope: Tank crews are trained to avoid heavy machine guns whenever they can. The Russian 12.7x108mm is able to penetrate lightly-armored vehicles and damage the external equipment of tanks, such as searchlights, radar, transmitters, engine compartment covers, etc.
  • The cluster bomb, which disperses bomblets to take out soft targets like infantry over a wider area.
  • One of the nastier uses of the ultimate (in terms of explosive yield) 'conventional' weapon, the thermobaric (aka Fuel-Air) bomb. Available in sizes from man-portable RPG-like to 2000-lb bomb, the FAE kills via massive shock wave and suffocation (and, possibly, burns) over a large area, and is deadly to infantry not housed in a totally enclosed hardened vehicle or building. And is extremely effective at killing people hiding in tunnel systems. Body Armor Is Useless in this case.
  • The machine gun is the anti-personnel weapon today, to the point that it's completely subsumed the role, formerly done by infantry volley fire, of repelling mass charges. It also has largely eliminated the need for battle rifles capable of targeting the enemy at ranges beyond 500 meters, except for dedicated snipers.
  • The anti-personnel mine is a mine designed to kill or wound enemy infantry (as opposed to anti-tank mines, which infantry can walk over without triggering). These include explosives disguised as innocuous objects a person might pick up, and "bounding" mines designed to spray shrapnel horizontally at groin level.
  • Grenades
    • Fragmentation grenade. Sends out high velocity shrapnel that rips through the human body quite nicely, leaving horrible wounds.
    • Stun (Flash/Bang) grenade. Generates a blinding flash and a deafening noise, which stuns unprotected humans nearby.
  • Most ground-based anti-aircraft guns have also been found to be extremely effective when pressed into the anti-infantry role. Primarily due to their extremely high rate of fire and (in most cases) pre-fragmented proximity-burst rounds. The M42 Duster, for example, turned out to be far more effective at suppressing human wave attacks than in it's intended anti-air role.
  • Canister shot was specifically developed to turn artillery into giant shotguns for use in the anti-infantry role. It was hideously effective, particularly in the era of Napoleonic warfare. Modern versions (for example, the US M1028) are even worse.
  • The use of airburst artillery (e.g. Killer Junior) firing even normal HE rounds is highly effective even against dug-in infantry.