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 do not 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 for disposable scouting, 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 variant 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 predecessors.
The Soviets had replaced their variant 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 predecessors.
- Rifle infantry are best used supporting rocket infantry; 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 infantry, rifle infantry are fast to build and extremely cheap hard counters to rocket infantry. 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 multi-national 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 infantry 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 infantry into this will massively 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 laying around your base; riflemen are extremely susceptible to artillery and other area of effect attacks. If you have a large amount 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. Allied riflemen in cutscenes, however, are always shown using the M16. In the original game, the cameo icon shows him wielding an M1 carbine, while the Remastered version instead shows him with a bolt-action rifle.
- Allied riflemen vary somewhat in appearance, presumably due to differences in equipment between the various Allied nations. In the final Allied cutscene, they wear greyish-olive uniforms with M-1956 web gear, while in another cutscene, they're dressed in brown uniforms and webbing of unknown type. The Remastered version of the cameo icon shows the rifleman wearing an M-1923 cartridge belt.
- Minigunner, The successor to the Rifle infantry during the First Tiberium War.
- Light Infantry, The basic infantry in Dune 2000.