As basic infantry, riflemen often take the brunt of an assault. They are armed with assault rifles that just entered widespread use at the beginning of the war (the AK-47 in the Soviet Union and the M16 among the Allies) and usually don't wear much protection - usually only fatigues and steel helmets.
As the absolute cheapest unit in Red Alert—costing just 100 credits and featuring an extremely fast build time of 3 seconds—the Rifle Infantry are highly cost-efficient to make and can be massed with ease in a very short period of time.
Rifle Infantry possess several disadvantages: their mobility is low (despite their decent running speed, they tend to hit the dirt and move prone when under attack, reducing their movement speed heavily), their rifle attacks are weak against anything that isn't an infantry unit, and they can be run over by vehicles, or otherwise wiped out with ease (particularly by explosive weapons) considering their low health.
Despite this, Rifle Infantry are useful for countering enemy infantry attacks; they are the best unit for overpowering Rocket Soldiers, and work well when supported by vehicles. Additionally, they build so fast for so cheap that one can have a practically unending stream coming out of a Barracks, allowing a commander to plug gaps in their defense quickly. They are good as disposable scouts and can be used to spot for artillery attacks.
When buildings are sold or destroyed, they often spawn a few rifle infantry. These infantry function identically to those trained normally, though rifle infantry spawned from destroyed buildings are damaged by default.
In the decades following the Second World War, Rifle Infantry were eventually succeeded by Minigunners, used by both GDI and Nod during the First Tiberium War. Compared to the Rifle Infantry of the past, Minigunners had more modern weapons and wore modern uniforms including Kevlar helmets and body armour, but otherwise functioned identically to their predecessors.
Red Alert Universe
After the Second World War, the Allies and Soviets both replaced the Rifle Infantry.
The Allies had replaced their varient with the G.I. They had similar (albeit updated) armour and carried submachine guns when on the move. They could deploy sandbags to create light machine gun nests, which would afford them greater range and damage, but at the cost of being immobile while in this mode. However, they were also more costly than their predeccesors.
The Soviets had replaced their varient with the Conscript. They had heavier armour than before, but had to lose their assault rifles in place of submachine guns. They cost the same as their predeccesors.
- Effective against infantry
- Effective against light vehicles in group
- Cheapest unit in game at 100 credits
- Can easily destroy buildings in large numbers
- In large groups, it can easily overwhelm an Tesla coil
- Great cannon fodder
- Reasonable speed
- Can easily be crushed by heavy armour
- Vulnerable to anti-infantry units
- Vulnerable to air units
- Only effective in sheer numbers in most situations
- Rifle infantry are best used to support and protect rocket troops; the latter are far superior at engaging armor and aircraft, but are extremely vulnerable to rifle fire and do little anti-infantry damage. A large army of rockets and riflemen is cheap to build, quick to raise, and can roll over enemy forces.
- When an enemy deploys a large horde of rocket troops, rifle infantry are fast to build and extremely cheap counters to them. If one spots a large horde advancing on their base, and does not wish to waste expensive vehicles on countering the horde, using rifle infantry is the cheapest option.
- Rifle infantry are surprisingly effective when deployed against buildings en masse. While Soviet grenadiers and rocket units are superior in general, in a pinch, a force of rifle infantry can tear up buildings in a reasonable time.
- Squads of around ten riflemen are very easy to set up, and are usually capable of dealing with enemy rocket troops and even some light vehicles, though the latter will result in heavy casualties. Placing these squads around the map as scouts is a cheap way to extend your vision. Mixing rocket troops into this will greatly improve survival against vehicles.
- Allied medics can keep riflemen in the game for much longer, but are usually not worth the cost, especially since you can cheaply replace any losses.
- Do not simply build massive hordes and leave them lying around your base; riflemen are extremely susceptible to artillery and other area of effect attacks. If you have a large number of infantry in general to defend with, spread them out and keep a reserve to rapidly call in once the bullets start flying.
Although the game manual says that Allied soldiers are armed with M16s and Soviet soldiers with AK-47s, the game code identifies both weapons as M1 carbine, which would also be slightly more realistic for the time period. Allied riflemen in cutscenes, however, are always shown using the M16. In all likelihood, soldiers were probably initially armed with many different weapons, including WWII-era semi-automatic rifles like the Soviet SVT-40, or submachine guns like the French MAT 49, and early assault rifles like the German StG 44 and French Modèle 1950. The M1 Carbine was simply a generic representation for all Rifleman-type weapons.