Allied rifle infantry (right) and Soviet rifle infantry (left)
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 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.
Red Alert Universe
- Effective against infantry.
- Effective against light vehicles in group
- Cheapest infantry 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 supporting rocketeers; 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 rocketeers, rifle infantry are fast to build and extremely cheap hard counters to rocketeers. 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 rocketeers 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 rocketeers 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 the Allied soldiers are armed with M16s and Soviet soldiers with AK47s, the game code identifies both weapons as M1 carbine, which would also be more realistic for the time period. Allied riflemen in cutscenes, however, use the M16.