Command and Leadership
From the papers of Officer Tomlinson
- Always give commands on the proper foot, the right if a change of direction to the right is involved for all or part of your unit or vice versa. Keeping always in step with your unit helps your command.
- Voice control is essential. Face your unit. Get plenty of air into your lungs. Start with a low pitch and keep rising. Make the command of execution short and explosive.
- Keep your commands uniformly two beats apart as is done in cadence drill in order to obtain uniformity of execution. Use the same time interval for commands given at a halt.
- When marching, get your unit well in hand before giving Command. This means having them in step and properly alligned and marching at the proper cadence. The commands, mark time and half step are useful for obtaining control. Give right dress before manual of arms.
- Avoid holding men at attention unnecessarily. When making explanations,
"Stand at Ease" will give you a greater degree of attention from
men in ranks than "At Ease". Every explanation should be accompanied
by demonstration step by step and followed by a complete normal demonstration
of the movement. Reciting the manual has little value. Know when to stop
talking and remember that practice makes perfect much sooner than long winded
Here are the steps:
Preparation By the Instructor. Know you stuff. Explanation In simple brief language. Demonstration Step by step, then all together. Imitation Much repetition by the unit.
- Make corrections. One of the commonest criticisms of the young officer is that he can reel off commands but doesn't train his men to execute them precisely. Faults and errors must be corrected. There are certain common errors to be expected for each movement and your scheme of instruction should include their correction.
- Avoid monotony and keep your men interested. Manual of Arms, for example may be varied by giving it, by the numbers, without the numbers, by the count, while marching, as a silent manual, as fidget drill, and as a competition picking winners by elimination.
- Occasional drilling on a hard floor or pavement where the men can hear their footfalls helps greatly to develop their sense of rhythm but has a tendency to increase the cadence above normal. Rhythm is essential.
- It will help you in making explanations to develop the idea of the check step and apply it to all movements executed while marching. The general rule is: After the command of execution for the new movement, keep doing the old movement for one step, then start the new movement. Such movements as change setp by the right flank, and the halt from an oblique, become simple if this is kept in mind.
- The regulations are sound. Stick to them.
- Avoid being hard-boiled and sarcastic. Your object is to produce a well drilled unit. It is necessary to "have the men working for you". Patience, your example, knowledge of your subject, and through these the confidence men have in you to do your part as leader are some of the factors which count. Teamwork spells success.
- Recognize the authority vested in your NCO's, require them to excercise it, and back them up. Develop individual and organizational self-respect, for example never reprimand a NCO before his juniors.
- Train every man in every position in the squad and develop substitutes for all men performing special functions in the unit.
- Require strict discipline during drill periods. PLAY THE GAME.