from Tactics & Technique of Infantry, Basic, 1942
Additional Images from Army Life, 1944
1. Scope. a. The drill prescribed herein is designed for general use and may be adapted to any type of unit; therefore some of the explanation is of a general nature which gives sufficient latitude for adaptation to specific units Interpretation should be based on these general provisions, and all should learn to use this manual a common sense solution of minor points which are not specifically covered in the text. Much discussion over trifles or failure to make appropriate adaptation indicate a failure to grasp the spirit of the regulations. Higher commanders should encourage subordinates to make minor adjustments without calling on higher authority for interpretation. Necessary adaptation should be simple and should not complicate the drill. Stress should be placed on precision in execution of the manual of arms and in marching in step with Proper alinement. Nothing inspires the military spirit more than to see or to be a part of a compact group moving in unison, confidently and to a measured cadence. Complicated procedure destroys this effect.
b. Basic strengths of units are governed by appropriate Tables of Organization. The diagrams of organizations shown in the figure, herein are based specifically on approved Tables of Organization, war strength. They must be adapted to the actual war or peace strengths of the units concerned. They may be adapted to any type of unit, to changes in Tables of Organization, and to the maneuver space available.
2. Purposes of Drill. The purposes of drill are to:
a Enable a commander to move his command from one place to another in an orderly manner and to provide simple formations from which dispositions for combat may readily
b Aid in disciplinary training by instilling habits of precision and response to the leader's orders.
c. Provide a means, through ceremonies, of enhancing the morale of troops, developing the spirit of cohesion, and giving interesting spectacles to the public.
d Give junior officers and noncommissioned officers practice in commanding troops.
3. Definitions. a. Alinement. A straight line upon which several elements are formed or are to be formed; or the dressing of several elements upon a straight line.
b. Base The element on which a movement is regulated.
c. Center. The middle point or element of a command.
d. Column. A formation in which the elements are placed one behind another.
e. Depth. The space from head to rear of any formation or of a position, including the leading and rear elements. The depth of a man is assumed to be 12 inches.
f. Distance. Space between elements in the direction of depth. Distance is measured with respect to dismounted men, from the back of the man in front to the breast of the man in rear; mounted men and animals, from the croup of the animal in front to the head of the animal in rear; vehicles, from the rear part of the vehicle in front to the front part of the vehicle or head of animal hitched thereto (as the case may be) in rear. Distance between troops in formation, whether of men, animals, or vehicles, is measured from the rear rank of the unit in front to the front rank of the unit in rear. Platoon commanders, guides, and others whose position in a formation is at 40 inches distance from a rank are themselves considered as a rank. Otherwise the commander of any unit and those accompanying him are not considered in measuring distance between units. The color and guard are not considered in measuring distance between subdivisions of a unit with which they are posted. The distance between ranks of dismounted men is 40 inches in both line and column. The distance between ranks of mounted men in close order is 45 inches (one and one-half paces).
g. Double time. Cadence at the rate of 180 steps per minute.
k. Element. A squad, section, platoon, company, or larger unit, forming a part of a still larger unit.
i. File. A column of men one behind the other.
j. Flank. The right or left of a command in line or in column, or the element on the right or left of the line.
k. Formation. Arrangement of the elements of a command. The placing of all fractions in their order in line, in column, or for battle.
l. Front. The space occupied by an element measured from one flank to the opposite flank. The front of a man is assumed to be 22 inches.
m. Guide. An officer, noncommissioned officer, or private upon whom the command(or elements thereof) regulates its march.
n. Head. The leading element of a column.
o. Interval. Space between individuals or elements of the same line. Interval is measured, with respect to dismounted men, from the shoulder or elbow; mounted men from the knee; animals from the shoulder; vehicles from the hub of the wheel or the track. Between troops in formation, it is measured from the left flank of the unit on the right to the right flank of the unit on the left. The commander of any unit, or of any element thereof, and those accompanying him are not considered in measuring interval between units. The color and guard are not considered in measuring interval between subdivisions of a unit with which they are posted. The normal interval is one arm's length; the close interval is 4 inches. The interval between mounted men is 6 inches. The interval between vehicles is shown in par. 171 c.
p. Left. The left extremity or element of a body of troops.
q. Line. A formation in which the different elements are abreast of each other.
r. Mass formation. The formation of a company or any larger unit in which the squads in column are abreast of one another
s. Pace. A step of 30 inches; the length of the full step in quick time.
t. Piece. The rifle or the automatic rifle.
u. Quick time. Cadence at the rate of 120 steps per minute.
v. Rank. A line of men placed side by side.
w. Right. The right extremity or clement of a body of troops.
x. Step. The distance measured from heel to heel between the feet of a man walking. The half step and back step are 15 inches. The right step and left step are 12 inches, The steps in quick and double time are 30 and 36 inches, respectively.
4. Precision in Drill. In order best to accomplish its mission, drill should be frequent and of short duration. Smartness and precision should be required in the execution of every detail.
5. Use of Right and Left. The explanation of a movement in the text that may executed toward either flank is generally given for execution toward but one flank. To adapt such a description to execution of the movement toward the opposite Hank, it is necessary only to substitute the word "left" for "right" or "right" "for "left" as the case requires.
6. Double Time. a. Any movement not especially excepted may be executed in double time.
b. If a unit is at a halt or marching in quick time, and it is desired that a movement be executed in double time, the command Double time precedes the command of execution.
7. To Revoke a Command. To revoke a command or to begin anew a movement improperly begun from a halt, the command As you were, is given, at which the movement ceases and the former position is resumed.
8. General Rules for the Guide. a. Unless otherwise announced, the guide of a platoon or subdivision of a company in column or line is right.
b. To march with the guide other than as prescribed above, or to change the guide, the command Guide right (left, or center) is given. The leading man in each file is responsible for the interval. The guide is responsible for the direction and cadence of march.
c. The announcement of the guide, when made in connection with a movement, follows the command of execution for the movement.
d. In column of subdivisions, the guide of the leading subdivision is charged with the step and direction; the guides in the rear preserve the trace, step, and distance.
9. Partial Changes of Direction. a. Partial changes of direction may be executed by interpolating in the preparatory command the word "half" as Column half right (left), so as to change direction 45°.
b. Slight change* in direction are effected by the command Incline to the right (left). The guide or guiding element moves in the indicated direction and the remainder of the command conforms,
10. Numbering of Units. For permanent designation of infantry units, platoons within each company and squads within each rifle and heavy-weapons platoon are numbered from right to left when in line, and from front to rear when in column. In the weapons platoon of the rifle company, squads are numbered within each weapons section. For drill purposes, the platoon or squad on the right (when in line) or in front (when in column) is referred to as the first unit, other units being designated in numerical order from right to left when in line or from front to rear when in column.
11. Posts of Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, Guidons, and Special Units. a. The posts of officers,, noncommissioned officers, guidons, and special units in the various formations of infantry units are shown in the plates or explained in the text:
b. When changes of formation involve changes of posts, the new post is taken by the most direct route, except where otherwise prescribed, as soon as practicable after the command of execution for the movement; officers and noncommissioned officers who have prescribed duties in connection with the movement ordered take their new posts when such duties are completed. In executing any movements or facings in alining units, or in moving from one post to another, officers and noncommissioned officers maintain a military bearing and move with precision.
c. When acting as instructors, officers and noncommissioned officers go wherever their presence is necessary. They rectify mistakes and insure steadiness and promptness in the ranks.
d. In subsequent movements after the initial formation, guidons and special units maintain their relative positions with respect to the flank or end of the command on which they were originally posted.
e. In all formations and movements, a noncommissioned officer commanding a section, platoon, or company carries his rifle as the men do, if he is so armed. He takes the same post as prescribed for an officer in command. When giving commands, making reports, or drilling a unit, his rifle is at the right shoulder, if he is so armed.
12. Commands. a. Commands are employed in close-order drill at attention.
b. In this manual a command is the direction of the commander expressed orally and in prescribed phraseology.
c. Where it is not mentioned who gives the prescribed commands, they will be given by the commander of the unit.
d. There are two kinds of commands.
(1) The preparatory command such as Forward, which indicates the movement that is to be executed.
(2) The command of execution, such as MARCH, HALT, or ARMS, which, causes the execution.
e. Preparatory commands are distinguished in this manual by lightface italic and those of execution by LIGHTFACE ITALIC CAPITALS.
f.. The preparatory command is given at such interval of time before the command of execution as to admit proper understanding and to permit the giving of necessary commands by subordinate leaders; the command of execution is given at the instant the movement is to commence.
g. The tone of the command should be animated, distinct, and of a loudness proportioned to the number of men for whom it is intended. Indifference in giving commands must be avoided, as this leads to laxity in execution. Commands must be given with spirit.
h. When giving commands to troops, the commander faces them. When the section or platoon in close-order drill or in ceremonies is part of a larger unit, the leader turns his head toward the unit to give commands but does not face about.
i. Officers and men fix their attention at the first word of command.
j. If all men in the unit are to execute the same movement simultaneously, the subordinate leaders do not repeat commands; otherwise they repeat the command or give the proper new command for the movement of their own unit.
k. If at a halt, the commands for movements involving marching, such as 1. Column right. 2. MARCH are not prefaced by the command Forward.
l. Instruction by the numbers. All movements for the purpose of instruction may be divided into motions and executed in detail. The command of execution determines the prompt execution of the first motion. The other motions, depending on the number, are executed at the commands TWO, THREE, FOUR. To execute the movement in detail, the instructor first cautions, "By the numbers." All movements are then executed in detail, one motion for each count until he cautions, "Without the numbers."
13. Mass Commands. a. Mass commands assist in overcoming diffidence, timidity, and awkwardness. They help to develop confidence, self-reliance, assertiveness, and enthusiasm. They require the individual to rely upon his own initiative and intelligence in order both to give the commands correctly and to execute properly the movement requested by the command. They develop proficiency by making each individual his own drill instructor, and through their use the benefits of individual instruction may be transmitted to large masses.
b. Each individual is required to give the commands as if he alone were giving them to the entire unit. The volume and smash of the combined voices impel each man to extend himself to the limit in performing the movements with snap and precision. Giving the commands in unison results in an early development in coordination and sense of cadence in the individual.
c. Each movement should be explained in detail and illustrated before it is attempted by the mass. The necessary commands for putting the required movement into operation should be rehearsed, without performing the movement, until the mass has learned to give the command properly. When this has been accomplished, the movement should be performed at the command of the mass.
d. The interval between the preparatory command and the command of execution will depend upon the number of men being drilled and their degree of proficiency. Care must be exercised that this interval is not too short.
e. Instructors should give their preparatory commands with a rising inflection, lifting the entire unit with an intonation that rouses the men and makes them eager to respond when the command of execution is given. In no other phase of training is the quality of instruction as accurately reflected as in mass commands, because of the natural emulation of the instructor by the soldier.
f. (1) Mass commands in drill are usually confined to simple movements, those requiring short preparatory commands and commands of execution, and those which are executed simultaneously by all elements of the unit. No movement which .requires a repetition of the preparatory command by subordinate leaders or instructors is applicable to mass commands.
(2) The instructor first describes the exercises to be executed, then gives such instructions as are necessary relative to the movement or its cadence. He then causes the mass to give the necessary command to put it into operation. Examples are.:
(a) 1. Instructor: 1. Call the platoon to attention. 2. COMMAND
2. Mass: 1. Platoon, 2. ATTENTION.
(b) 1. Instructor: 1. Face the platoon to the right. 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: 1. Right, 2. FACE.
(c) 1. Instructor: 1. Give the platoon "at ease." 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: AT EASE.
(d) 1. Instructor: 1. Have the platoon stand at parade rest, 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: 1. Parade. 2. REST.
(e) 1. Instructor: 1. Halt the platoon, 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: 1. Platoon, 2. HALT.
(f) I. Instructor: 1, March the platoon (squad) forward 8 paces, and halt. 2.
2. Mass: 1. Forward, 2. MARCH, one, two, three, four.-3, Platoon, 4. HALT,
(3) Continuous movements may be conducted as follows;
(a) Instructor: All movements until further notice will be at your command
(b) 1. Instructor: 1. Forward march, 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: 1. Forward, 2. MARCH.
(c) 1. Instructor: 1. By the right flank 2. COMMAND.
2. Mass: 1. By the right flank. 2. MARCH.
(4) When the instructor desires to terminate mass commands he cautions, "At my command."