Manual of Military Training - Second, Revised Edition
by James A. Moss
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303. Certain movements executed as in Schools of the Soldier, Squad and Company. The battalion executes the halt (See par. 116), rests (See pars. 100-101), facings (See par. 104), steps and marchings (See pars. 107-109), manual of arms (See pars. 120-147), resumes attention (See par. 102), kneels (See pars. 174-177), lies down (See par. 175), rises (See par. 176), stacks and takes arms (See pars. 160-161), as explained in the Schools of the Soldier and Squad, substituting in the commands battalion for squad.

The battalion executes squads right (left) (See par. 221), squads right (left) about (See par. 228), route step and at ease (See par. 233), and obliques and resumes the direct march (See pars. 162-163), as explained in the School of the Company. (266)

304. Certain movements executed as in School of the Company. The battalion in column of platoons, squads, twos, or files changes direction. (See pars. 223-224); in column of squads, forms column of twos or files and re-forms columns of twos or squads, as explained in the School of the Company. (See pars. 234-235.) (267)

305. Simultaneous execution by companies or platoons of movements in School of the Company. When the formation admits of the simultaneous execution by companies or platoons of movements in the School of the Company the major may cause such movement to be executed by prefixing, when necessary, companies (platoons) to the commands prescribed therein: As 1. Companies, right front into line, 2. MARCH. To complete such simultaneous movements, the commands halt or march, if prescribed, are given by the major. The command front, when prescribed, is given by the captains. (See par. 302.) (268)

306. Execution of loadings and firings by battalion. The battalion as a unit executes the loadings and firings only in firing saluting volleys. The commands are as for the company, substituting battalion for company. At the first command for loading, captains take post in rear of the center of their respective companies. At the conclusion of the firing, the captains resume their posts in line.

On other occasions, when firing in close order is necessary, it is executed by company or other subdivision, under instructions from the major, as prescribed in pars. 179-194. (269)

To Form the Battalion

307. For purposes other than ceremonies: The battalion is formed in column of squads. The companies having been formed, the adjutant posts himself so as to be facing the column, when formed, and 6 paces in front of the place to be occupied by the leading guide of the battalion; he draws saber; adjutant's call is sounded or the adjutant signals assemble.

The companies are formed, at attention, in column of squads in their proper order. Each captain, after halting his company, salutes the adjutant; the adjutant returns the salute and, when the last captain has saluted, faces the major and reports: Sir, the battalion is formed. He then joins the major. (270)

308. For ceremonies or when directed: The battalion is formed in line.

The companies having been formed, the adjutant posts himself so as to be 6 paces to the right of the right company when line is formed, and faces in the direction in which the line is to extend. He draws saber; adjutant's call is sounded; the band plays if present.

The right company is conducted by its captain so as to arrive from the rear, parallel to the line; its right and left guides precede it on the line by about 20 paces, taking post facing to the right at order arms, so that their elbows will be against the breasts of the right and left files of their company when it is dressed. The guides of the other companies successively prolong the line to the left in like manner and the companies approach their respective places in line as explained for the right company. The adjutant, from his post, causes the guides to cover.

When about 1 pace in rear of the line, each company is halted and dressed to the right against the arms of the guides. (See par. 302.)

The band, arriving from the rear, takes its place in line when the right company is halted; it ceases playing when the left company has halted.

When the guides of the left company have been posted, the adjutant, moving by the shortest route, takes post facing the battalion midway between the post of the major and the center of the battalion.

The major, staff, noncommissioned staff, and orderlies take their posts, as prescribed in pars. 73; 76-78.

When all parts of the line have been dressed, and officers and others have reached their posts, the adjutant commands: 1. Guides, 2. POSTS, 3. Present, 4. ARMS. At the second command guides take their places in the line. (Plate II, page 69.) The adjutant then turns about as explained in par. 74, and reports to the major: Sir, the battalion is formed, as prescribed in par. 75; the major directs the adjutant: Take your post, Sir; draws saber and brings the battalion to the order. The adjutant takes his post, passing to the right of the major. (271)

To Dismiss the Battalion

309. Dismiss your companies.

Staff and noncommissioned staff officers fall out; each captain marches his company off and dismisses it, as laid down in par. 217. (272)

To Rectify the Alignment

310. Being in line at a halt, to align the battalion: 1. Center (right or left), 2. DRESS.

The captains dress their companies successively toward the center (right or left) guide of the battalion, each as soon as the captain next toward the indicated guide commands: FRONT. The captains of the center companies (if the dress is center) dress them without waiting for each other. (273)

311. To give the battalion a new alignment: 1. Guides center (right or left) company on the line, 2. Guides on the line, 3. Center (right or left), 4. DRESS, 5. Guides, 6. POSTS.

At the first command, the designated guides place themselves on the line, as prescribed in par. 308, facing the center (right or left). The major establishes them in the direction he wishes to give the battalion.

At the second command, the guides of the other companies take posts, facing the center (right or left), so as to prolong the line.

At the command dress, each captain dresses his company to the flank toward which the guides of his company face, taking the positions prescribed in par. 302.

At the command posts, given when all companies have completed the dress, the guides return to their posts. (Plate II, page 69.) (274)

To Rectify the Column

312. Being in column of companies, or in close column, at a halt, if the guides do not cover or have not their proper distances, and it is desired to correct them, the major commands: 1. Right (left), 2. DRESS.

Captains of companies in rear of the first place their right guides so as to cover at the proper distance; each captain aligns his company to the right and commands: FRONT. (See par. 302.) (275)

On Right (Left) Into Line

313. Being in column of squads or companies: 1. On right (left) into line, 2. MARCH, 3. Battalion, 4. HALT.

Being in column of squads: At the first command, the captain of the leading company commands; Squads right. If at a halt each captain in rear commands: Forward. At the second command, the leading company marches in line to the right; the companies in rear continue to march to the front and form successively on the left, each, when opposite its place, being marched in line to the right.

The fourth command is given when the first company has advanced the desired distance in the new direction; it halts and is dressed to the right by its captain (par. 265); the others complete the movement, each being halted 1 pace in rear of the line established by the first company, and then dressed to the right.

Being in column of companies: At the first command, the captain of the first company commands: Right turn. If at a halt, each captain in rear commands: Forward. Each of the captains in rear of the leading company gives the command: 1. Right turn, in time to add, 2. MARCH, when his company arrives opposite the right of its place in line.

The fourth command is given and the movement completed as explained above.

Whether executed from column of squads or column of companies, each captain places himself so as to march beside the right guide after his company forms line or changes direction to the right.

If executed in double time, the leading company marches in double time until halted. (276)

Front into Line

314. Being in column of squads or companies: 1. Right (left) front into line, 2. MARCH.

Being in column of squads: At the first command, the captain of the leading company commands: Column right; the captain of the companies in rear: column half right. At the second command the leading company executes column right, and, as the last squad completes the change of direction, is formed in line to the left, as prescribed in par. 221, halted and dressed to the left. (See par. 302.) Each of the companies in rear is conducted by the most convenient route to the rear of the right of the preceding company, thence to the right, parallel to and 1 pace in rear of the new line; when opposite its place, it is formed in line to the left, halted, and dressed to the left.

Being in column of companies: If marching, the captain of the leading company gives the necessary commands to halt his company at the second command; if at a halt the leading company stands fast. At the first command, the captain of each company in rear commands: Squads right, or Right by squads, and after the second command conducts his company by the most convenient route to its place in line, as described above.

Whether executed from column of squads or column of companies, each captain halts when opposite, or at the point, where the left of his company is to rest. (277)

To Form Column of Companies Successively to the Right or Left

315. Being in column of squads: 1. Column of companies, first company, squads right (left), 2. MARCH.

The leading company executes squads right and moves forward. The other companies move forward in column of squads and successively march in line the right on the same ground as the leading company and in such manner that the guide covers the guide of the preceding company. (278)

To Form Column of Squads Successively to the Right or Left

316. Being in column of companies (Plate III, page 90): 1. Column of squads, first company, squads right (left), 2. MARCH.

The leading company executes squads right and moves forward. The other companies move forward in column of companies and successively march in column of squads to the right on the same ground as the leading company. (279)

To Change Direction

317. Being in column of companies or close column. (Plate III, page 90); 1. Column right (left), 2. MARCH.

The captain of the first company commands: Right turn.

The leading company turns to the right on moving pivot, the captain adding: 1. Forward, 2. MARCH, upon its completion.

The other companies march squarely up to the turning point; each changes direction by the same commands and means as the first and in such manner that the guide covers the guide of the preceding company. (280)

318. Being in line of companies or close line. (Plate III, page 90): 1. Battalion right (left), 2. MARCH, 3. Battalion, 4. HALT.

The right company changes direction to the right, as prescribed in par. 224; the other companies are conducted by the shortest line to their places abreast of the first.

The fourth command is given when the right company has advanced the desired distance in the new direction; that company halts; the others halt successively upon arriving on the line. (281)

319. Being in column of squads, the battalion changes direction by the same commands and in the manner prescribed for the company, as explained in par. 224. (282)

Mass Formations

319a. Being in column of squads, to form a line of columns of companies or company subdivisions, facing in any desired direction, at any desired interval, on the right or left of the leading element of the battalion: 1. Line of companies (half companies, platoons), at (so many) paces, guide right (left), 2. MARCH, 3. Battalion, 4. HALT.

The leading company (or subdivision) marches in the direction previously indicated by the major until the command halt is given and then halts. Each succeeding company (or subdivision) marches by the most direct route to its place at the prescribed intervals on the left (right) of the next preceding company (or subdivision), halting when it is abreast of the leading element of the battalion.

If the battalion be in any formation other than column of squads, the major indicates the desired direction to the leading element. The entire command forms column of squads and executes a movement in conformity with the principles indicated above. (282-1/2)

320. Being in line, line of companies, or column of companies. (Plate III, page 90): 1. Close on first (fourth) company, 2. MARCH.

If at a halt, the indicated company stands fast; if marching, it is halted; each of the other companies is conducted toward it and is halted in proper order in close column.

If the battalion is in line, companies form successively in rear of the indicated company; if in column of squads, companies in rear of the leading company form on the left of it.

In close column formed line on the first company, the left guides cover; formed on the fourth company, right guides cover. If formed on the leading company, the guide remains as before the formation. In close line, the guides are halted abreast of the guide of the leading company.

The battalion in column closes on the leading company only. (283)

(In closing from line of companies and in extending from close line, the companies other than the base one, may be moved either by the commands, (a) 1. Squads, right (left), 2. MARCH; (b) 1. Right (left) oblique, 2. MARCH; (c) 1. Forward, 2. MARCH; (d) 1. Squads left (right) 2. MARCH; (e) 1. Company, 2. HALT; or, (a) 1. By the right (left) flank, 2. MARCH; (b) 1. Company, 2. HALT; (c) 1. Left (right), 2. FACE; or if at a halt by the commands, (a) 1. Right (left), 2. FACE; (b) 1. At Trail, 2. Forward, 3. MARCH; (c) 1. Company, 2. HALT; (d) 1. Left (right), 2. FACE. In some commands it is customary to use one method while in other commands another is used. For the sake of uniformity all companies of a given command should use the same method.—Author.)

To Extend the Mass

321. Being in close column or in close line; 1. Extend on first (fourth) company, 2. MARCH.

Being in close line: if at a halt, the indicated company stands fast; if marching, it halts; each of the other companies is conducted away from the indicated company and is halted in its proper order in line of companies.

Being in close column, the extension is made on the fourth company only. If marching, the leading company continues to march; companies in rear are halted and successively resume the march in time to follow at full distance. If at halt, the leading company marches; companies in rear successively march in time to follow at full distance.

Close column is not extended in double time. (See author's note, par. 320.) (284)

322. Being in close column: 1. Right (left) front into line, 2. MARCH. Executed as from column of companies, as explained in par. 314. (285)

323. Being in close column: 1. Column of squads, first (fourth) company, squads right (left), 2. MARCH.

The designated company marches in column of squads to the right. Each of the other companies executes the same movement in time to follow the preceding company in column. (286)

324. Being in close line: 1. Column of squads, first (fourth) company, forward, 2. MARCH.

The designated company moves forward. The other companies (halting if in march) successively take up the march and follow in column. (287)

Route Step and at Ease

325. The battalion marches in route step and at ease as prescribed in the School of the Company. (See par. 233.) When marching in column of companies or platoons, the guides maintain the trace and distance.

In route marches the major marches at the head of the column; when necessary, the file closers may be directed to march at the head and rear of their companies. (288)


326. The battalion being wholly or partially deployed, or the companies being separated: 1. Assemble, 2. MARCH.

The major places himself opposite to or designates the element or point on which the battalion is to assemble. Companies are assembled, as explained in par. 248, and marched to the indicated point. As the companies arrive the major or adjutant indicates the formation to be taken. (289)



327. The following references to orders are applicable to attack or defense: (290)

328. Use of prescribed commands; "tactical orders," "orders" and "commands." In extended order, the company is the largest unit to execute movements by prescribed commands or means. The major, assembling his captains if practicable, directs the disposition of the battalion by means of tactical orders. He controls its subsequent movements by such orders or commands as are suitable to the occasion. (291)

329. Major's order making disposition of battalion for combat; base company in attack. In every disposition of the battalion for combat the major's order should give subordinates sufficient information of the enemy, of the position of supporting and neighboring troops, and of the object sought to enable them to conform intelligently to the general plan.

The order should then designate the companies which are to constitute the firing line and those which are to constitute the support. In attack, it should designate the direction or the objective, the order and front of the companies on the firing line, and should designate the right or left company as base company. In defense, it should describe the front of each company and, if necessary, the sector to be observed by each, as prescribed in 281-284. (292)

330. Reconnaissance and protection of flanks. When the battalion is operating alone, the major provides for the reconnaissance and protection of his flanks; if part of a larger force, the major makes similar provisions, when necessary, without orders from higher authority, unless such authority has specifically directed other suitable reconnaissance and protection. (293)

331. Issue of extra ammunition when battalion is deployed. When the battalion is deployed upon the initiative of the major, he will indicate whether extra ammunition shall be issued; if deployed in pursuance of orders of higher authority, the major will cause the issue of extra ammunition, unless such authority has given directions to the contrary. (For ammunition supply see pars. 569-575.) (294)


(See pars. 456-462; 463-466.)

332. The following principles of deployment are applicable to attack or defense. (295)

333. Avoiding premature deployment. A premature deployment involves a long, disorganizing and fatiguing advance of the skirmish line, and should be avoided. A greater evil is to be caught by heavy fire when in dense column or other close order formation; hence advantage should be taken of cover in order to retain the battalion in close order formation until exposure to heavy hostile fire may reasonably be anticipated. (296)

334. Depth of deployment and density of firing line; companies and detachments conducted to their places by their commanders. The major regulates the depth of the deployment and the extent and density of the firing line, subject to such restrictions as a senior may have imposed.

Companies or designated subdivisions and detachments are conducted by their commanders in such manner as best to accomplish the mission assigned to them under the major's orders. Companies designated for the firing line march independently to the place of deployment, form skirmish line, and take up the advance. They conform, in general, to the base company, as prescribed in Par. 329. (297)

335. Division of battalion into firing line and support. The commander of a battalion, whether it is operating alone or as part of a larger force, should hold a part of his command out of the firing line. By the judicious use of this force, the major can exert an influence not otherwise possible over his firing line and can control, within reasonable limits, an action once begun. So, if his battalion be assigned to the firing line, the major will cause one, two, or three companies to be deployed on the firing line, retaining the remaining companies or company as a support for that firing line. The division of the battalion into firing line and support will depend upon the front to be covered and the nature and anticipated severity of the action. (298)

336. Size of support. If the battalion be part of a larger command, the number of companies in the firing line will generally be determinable from the regimental commander's order; the remainder constitutes the support, as prescribed in par. 335. If the battalion is acting alone, the support must be strong enough to maintain the original fire power of the firing line, to protect the flanks, and to perform the functions of a reserve, whatever be the issue of the action, as explained in par. 445. (299)

337. Position of support. If the battalion is operating alone, the support may, according to circumstances, be held in one or two bodies and placed behind the center, or one or both flanks of the firing line, or echeloned beyond a flank. If the battalion is part of a larger force, the support is generally held in one body. (300)

338. Distance between firing line and support. The distance between the firing line and the supporting group or groups will vary between wide limits; it should be as short as the necessity for protection from heavy losses will permit. When cover is available, the support should be as close as 50 to 100 yards; when such cover is not available, it should not be closer than 300 yards. It may be as far as 500 yards in rear if good cover is there obtainable and is not obtainable at a lesser distance. (301)

339. Placing entire battalion or regiment in firing line at beginning. In exceptional cases, as in a meeting engagement, it may be necessary to place an entire battalion or regiment in the firing line at the initial deployment, the support being furnished by other troops. Such deployment causes the early mingling of the larger units, thus rendering leadership and control extremely difficult. The necessity for such deployment will increase with the inefficiency of the commander and of the service of information. (302)


340. Major apportions target. Fire direction and fire control are functions of company and platoon commanders, as laid down in pars. 285-290. The major makes the primary apportionment of the target—in defense, by assigning sectors of fire, in attack, by assigning the objective. In the latter case each company in the firing line takes as its target that part of the general objective which lies in its front. (303)

341. Major indicates where or when fire fight begins. The major should indicate the point or time at which the fire fight is to open. He may do this in his order for deployment or he may follow the firing line close enough to do so at the proper time. If it be impracticable for him to do either, the senior officer with the firing line, in each battalion, selects the time for opening fire. (304)


(See pars. 456-502.)

342. Battalion the attack unit. The battalion is the attack unit, whether operating alone or as part of a larger unit. (305)

343. Advance of battalion acting as one of several in firing line. If his battalion be one of several in the firing line, the major, in executing his part of the attack, pushes his battalion forward as vigorously as possible within the front, or section, assigned to it. The great degree of independence allowed to him as to details demands, in turn, the exercise of good judgment on his part. Better leadership, better troops, and more favorable terrain enable one battalion to advance more rapidly in attack than another less fortunate, and such a battalion will insure the further advance of the others. The leading battalion should not, however, become isolated; isolation may lead to its destruction. (306)

344. Close in on enemy as much as possible before opening fire. The deployment having been made, the firing line advances without firing. The predominant idea must be to close with the enemy as soon as possible without ruinous losses. The limited supply of ammunition and the uncertainty of resupply, the necessity for securing fire superiority in order to advance within the shorter ranges, and the impossibility of accomplishing this at ineffective ranges, make it imperative that fire be not opened as long as the advance can be continued without demoralizing losses. The attack which halts to open fire at extreme range (over 1,200 yards) is not likely ever to reach its destination. Every effort should be made, by using cover or inconspicuous formations, or by advancing the firing line as a whole, to arrive within 800 yards of the enemy before opening fire. (For expenditure of ammunition see pars. 432-433; for advancing the attack see par. 467.) (307)

345. Fire to be directed against the hostile infantry. Except when the enemy's artillery is able to effect an unusual concentration of fire, its fire upon deployed infantry causes losses which are unimportant when compared with those inflicted by his infantry; hence the attacking infantry should proceed to a position as described above, and from which an effective fire can be directed against the hostile infantry with a view to obtaining fire superiority. The effectiveness of the enemy's fire must be reduced so as to permit further advance. The more effective the fire to which the enemy is subjected the less effective will be his fire. (308)

346. The further advance of the firing line; size of rushing units. Occasionally the fire of adjacent battalions, or of infantry employing fire of position, as explained in par. 438, or of supporting artillery, as explained in pars. 434-438, will permit the further advance of the entire firing line from this point, but it will generally be necessary to advance by rushes, as laid down in par. 259, of fractions of the line.

The fraction making the rush should be as large as the hostile fire and the necessity for maintaining fire superiority will permit. Depending upon circumstances, the strength of the fraction may vary from a company to a few men.

The advance is made as rapidly as possible without losing fire superiority. The smaller the fraction which rushes, the greater the number of rifles which continue to fire upon the enemy. On the other hand, the smaller the fraction which rushes the slower will be the progress of the attack. (309)

347. Size of rushing units. Enough rifles must continue in action to insure the success of each rush. Frequently the successive advances of the firing line must be effected by rushes of fractions of decreased size; that is, advances by rushes may first be made by company, later by half company or platoon, and finally by squads or files; but no subsequent opportunity to increase the rate of advance, such as better cover or a decrease of the hostile fire, should be overlooked. (310)

348. The rush begun by a flank unit. Whenever possible, the rush is begun by a flank fraction of the firing line. In the absence of express directions from the major, each captain of a flank company determines when an advance by rushes (par. 222) shall be attempted. A flank company which inaugurates an advance by rushes becomes the base company, if not already the base. An advance by rushes having been inaugurated on one flank, the remainder of the firing line conforms; fractions rush successively from that flank and halt on the line established by the initial rush.

The fractions need not be uniform in size; each captain indicates how his company shall rush, having due regard to the ground and the state of the fire fight. (311)

349. Fractions to advance under covering fire. A fraction about to rush is sent forward when the remainder of the line is firing vigorously; otherwise the chief advantage of this method of advancing is lost.

The length of the rush will vary from 30 to 80 yards, depending upon the existence of cover, positions for firing, and the hostile fire. (312)

350. Subsequent advances. When the entire firing line of the battalion has advanced to the new line, fresh opportunities to advance are sought as before. (313)

351. Prearranged methods of advancing by rushes prohibited. Two identical situations will never confront the battalion; hence at drill it is prohibited to arrange the details of an advance before the preceding one has been concluded, or to employ a fixed or prearranged method of advancing by rushes. (314)

352. Post of the major. The major posts himself so as best to direct the reenforcing of the firing line from the support. When all or nearly all of the support has been absorbed by the firing line, he joins, and takes full charge of, the latter. (315)

353. Size of reenforcements. The reenforcing of the firing line by driblets of a squad or a few men has no appreciable effect. The firing line requires either reenforcement or a strong one. Generally one or two platoons will be sent forward under cover of a heavy fire of the firing line. (316)

354. Two methods of reenforcing the firing line. To facilitate control and to provide intervals in which reenforcements may be placed, the companies in the firing line should be kept closed in on their centers as they become depleted by casualties during the advance.

When this is impracticable reenforcements must mingle with and thicken the firing line. In battle the latter method will be the rule rather than the exception, and to familiarize the men with such conditions the combat exercises of the battalion should include both methods of reenforcing. Occasionally, to provide the necessary intervals for reenforcing by either of these methods, the firing line should be thinned by causing men to drop out and simulate losses during the various advances. Under ordinary conditions the depletion of the firing line for this purpose will be from one-fifth to one-half of its strength. (317)

355. Fixing bayonets. The major or senior officer in the firing line determines when bayonets shall be fixed and gives the proper command or signal. It is repeated by all parts of the firing line. Each man who was in the front rank prior to deployment, as soon as he recognizes the command or signal, suspends firing, quickly fixes his bayonet, and immediately resumes firing; after which the other men suspend firing, fix bayonets, and immediately resume firing. The support also fixes bayonets. The concerted fixing of the bayonet by the firing line at drill does not simulate battle conditions and should not be required. It is essential that there be no marked pause in the firing. Bayonets will be fixed generally before or during the last, or second last, advance preceding the charge. (318)

356. The charge. Subject to orders from higher authority, the major determines the point from which the charge is to be made. (See Pars. 478-489 regarding the charge.) The firing line having arrived at that point and being in readiness, the major causes the charge to be sounded. The signal is repeated by the musicians of all parts of the line. The company officers lead the charge. The skirmishers spring forward shouting, run with bayonets at charge, and close with the enemy.

The further conduct of the charging troops will depend upon circumstances; they may halt and engage in bayonet combat or in pursuing fire, as explained in par. 486; they may advance a short distance to obtain a field of fire or to drive the enemy from the vicinity; they may assemble or reorganize, etc. If the enemy vacates his position every effort should be made to open fire at once on the retreating mass, reorganization of the attacking troops being of secondary importance to the infliction of further losses upon the enemy and to the increase of his confusion, as set forth in pars. 490-494. In combat exercises the major will assume a situation and terminate the assault accordingly. (319)


357. Tactical unit best suited to defensive action. In defense, as in attack, the battalion is the tactical unit best suited to independent assignment. Defensive positions are usually divided into sections and a battalion assigned to each. (320)

358. Trenches. The major locates such fire, communicating, and cover trenches and obstacles as are to be constructed. He assigns companies to construct them and details the troops to occupy them. (See "Field Fortifications," Chapter XVI, Part III.) (321)

359. Reenforcement of firing line. The major reenforces the firing line in accordance with the principles applicable to and explained in connection with, the attack, in pars. 352-354, maintaining no more rifles in the firing line than are necessary to prevent the enemy's advance. (322)

360. Opening fire. The supply of ammunition being usually ample, fire is opened as soon as it is possible to break up the enemy's formation, stop his advance or inflict material loss, but this rule must be modified to suit the ammunition supply. (323)

361. Fixing bayonets. The major causes the firing line and support to fix bayonets when an assault by the enemy is imminent. Captains direct this to be done if they are not in communication with the major and the measure is deemed advisable.

Fire alone will not stop a determined, skillfully conducted attack. The defender must have equal tenacity; if he can stay in his trench or position and cross bayonets, he will at least have neutralized the hostile first line, and the combat will be decided by reserves. (324)

362. Support to cover withdrawal. If ordered or compelled to withdraw under hostile infantry fire or in the presence of hostile infantry, the support will be posted so as to cover the retirement of the firing line (325)

363. Support in case of battalion acting alone. When the battalion is operating alone, the support must be strong and must be fed sparingly into the firing line, especially if a counter-attack is planned. Opportunities for counter-attack should be sought at all times, as explained in pars. 525-530. (326)



364. Scope of subject of combat tactics in this book. Part II of these regulations treats only of the basic principles of combat tactics as applied to infantry and to the special units, such as machine guns and mounted scouts, which form a part of infantry regiments and battalions.

The combat tactics of the arms combined are considered in Field Service Regulations. (350)

365. Demands of modern combat upon infantry; complicated maneuvers impracticable; success dependent upon leadership, etc. Modern combat demands the highest order of training, discipline, leadership, and morale on the part of the infantry. Complicated maneuvers are impracticable; efficient leadership and a determination to win by simple and direct methods must be depended upon for success. (351)

366. Duties and quality of infantry. The duties of infantry are many and difficult. All infantry must be fit to cope with all conditions that may arise. Modern war requires but one kind of infantry—good infantry. (352)

367. Offensive necessary for decisive results; use of ground, fire efficiency, etc.; local success. The infantry must take the offensive to gain decisive results. Both sides are therefore likely to attempt it, though not necessary at the same time or in the same part of a long battle line.

In the local combats which make up the general battle the better endurance, use of ground, fire efficiency, discipline, and training will win. It is the duty of the infantry to win the local successes which enable the commanding general to win the battle. (356)

368. Requisites of infantry; trained to bear heaviest burdens; good infantry can defeat vastly superior infantry of poor quality. The infantry must have the tenacity to hold every advantage gained, the individual and collective discipline and skill needed to master the enemy's fire, the determination to close with the enemy in attack, and to meet him with the bayonet in defense. Infantry must be trained to bear the heaviest burdens and losses, both of combat and march.

Good infantry can defeat an enemy greatly superior in numbers, but lacking in training, discipline, leadership, and morale. (354)

369. Fixed forms and instructions covering all cases impossible; study and practice necessary; purposes of practical and theoretical instruction. It is impossible to establish fixed forms or to give general instructions that will cover all cases. Officers and noncommissioned officers must be so trained that they can apply suitable means and methods to each case as it arises. Study and practice are necessary to acquire proper facility in this respect. Theoretical instruction can not replace practical instruction; the former supplies correct ideas and gives to practical work an interest, purpose, and definiteness not otherwise obtainable. (355)

370. Exercises in extended order to be in nature of combat exercises; all combat exercises to be conducted under assumed tactical situations. After the mechanism of extended order drill has been learned with precision in the company, every exercise should be, as far as practicable, in the nature of a maneuver (combat exercise) against an imaginary, outlined, or represented enemy.

Company extended order drill may be conducted without reference to a tactical situation, but a combat exercise, whatever may be the size of the unit employed, should be conducted under an assumed tactical situation. (356)

371. Effective method of conducting combat exercises. An effective method of conducting a combat exercise is to outline the enemy with a few men equipped with flags. The umpire or inspector states the situation, and the commander leads his troops with due regard to the assumptions made.

Changes in situation, the results of reconnaissance, the character of artillery fire, etc., are made known to the commander when necessary by the umpire or inspector, who, in order to observe and influence the conduct of the exercise, remains in rear of the firing line. From this position he indicates, with the aid of prearranged signals, the character of the fire and movements of the hostile infantry. These signals are intended for the men outlining the enemy. These men repeat the signals; all officers and men engaged in the exercise and in sight of the outlined enemy are thus informed of the enemy's action, and the exercise is conducted accordingly.

Assistant umpires, about one for each company in the firing line, may assist in indicating hostile fire and movements and in observing the conduct of the exercise.

An outlined enemy may be made to attack or defend.

Situations should be simple and natural. During or after the exercise the umpire or inspector should call attention to any improper movements or incorrect methods of execution. He will prohibit all movements of troops or individuals that would be impossible if the enemy were real. The slow progress of events to be expected on the battlefield can hardly be simulated, but the umpire or inspector will prevent undue haste and will attempt to enforce a reasonably slow rate of progress.

The same exercise should not be repeated over the same ground and under the same situation. Such repetitions lead to the adoption of a fixed mode of attack or defense and develop mere drill masters. Fixed or prearranged systems are prohibited. (357)


General Considerations

372. What constitutes art of leadership. The art of leadership consists of applying sound tactical principles to concrete cases on the battlefield.

Self-reliance, initiative, aggressiveness, and a conception of team-work are the fundamental characteristics of successful leadership. (358)

373. Basis of success; adherence to original plan. A correct grasp of the situation and a definite plan of action form the soundest basis for a successful combat.

A good plan once adopted and put into execution should not be abandoned unless it becomes clear that it can not succeed. Afterthoughts are dangerous, except as they aid in the execution of details in the original plans. (359)

374. Avoid combats offering no chance of valuable results. Combats that do not promise success or some real advantage to the general issue should be avoided; they cause unnecessary losses, impair the morale of one's own troops, and raise that of the enemy. (360)

375. Avoid complicated maneuvers. Complicated maneuvers are not likely to succeed in war. All plans and the methods adopted for carrying them into effect must be simple and direct. (361)

376. Order and cohesion necessary. Order and cohesion must be maintained within the units if success is to be expected. (362)

377. Officers to be true leaders. Officers must show themselves to be true leaders. They must act in accordance with the spirit of their orders and must require of their troops the strictest discipline on the field of battle. (363)

378. Units not to be broken up. The best results are obtained when leaders know the capacity and traits of those whom they command; hence in making detachments units should not be broken up, and a deployment that would cause an intermingling of the larger units in the firing line should be avoided. (364)

379. Leading deployed troops difficult; necessity for training, discipline and close order. Leading is difficult when troops are deployed. A high degree of training and discipline and the use of close order formations to the fullest extent possible are therefore required. (365)

380. Avoidance of unnecessary hardship; limit of endurance exacted when necessary. In order to lighten the severe physical strain inseparable from infantry service in campaign, constant efforts must be made to spare the troops unnecessary hardship and fatigue; but when necessity arises, the limit of endurance must be exacted. (366)

381. Fighting troops not to carry back wounded. When officers or men belonging to fighting troops leave their proper places to carry back, or to care for, wounded during the progress of the action, they are guilty of skulking. This offense must be repressed with the utmost vigor. (367)

382. Complete equipment usually carried into action. The complete equipment of the soldier is carried into action unless the weather or the physical condition of the men renders such measure a severe hardship. In any event, only the pack[4] will be laid aside. The determination of this question rests with the regimental commander. The complete equipment affords to men lying prone considerable protection against shrapnel. (368)

383. Post of commander; use of reserve in case of victory; when firing line is controlled by commander. The post of the commander must be such as will enable him to observe the progress of events and to communicate his orders. Subordinate commanders, in addition, must be in position to transmit the orders of superiors.

Before entering an action, the commander should be as far to the front as possible in order that he personally may see the situation, order the deployment, and begin the action strictly in accordance with his own wishes.

During the action, he must, as a rule, leave to the local leaders the detailed conduct of the firing line, posting himself either with his own reserve or in such a position that he is in constant, direct, and easy communication with it.

A commander takes full and direct charge of his firing line only when the line has absorbed his whole command.

When their troops are victorious, all commanders should press forward in order to clinch the advantage gained and to use their reserves to the best advantage. (369)

384. Latitude allowed subordinates. The latitude allowed to officers is in direct proportion to the size of their commands. Each should see to the general execution of his task, leaving to the proper subordinates the supervision of details, and interfering only when mistakes are made that threaten to seriously prejudice the general plan. (370)


385. Latitude allowed subordinates; success depends on cooerdination of subordinates. The comparatively wide fronts of deployed units increase the difficulties of control. Subordinates must therefore be given great latitude in the execution of their tasks. The success of the whole depends largely upon how well each subordinate cooerdinates his work with the general plan.

A great responsibility is necessarily thrown upon subordinates, but responsibility stimulates the right kind of an officer. (371)

386. Initiative of subordinates; general plan to be furthered. In a given situation it is far better to do any intelligent thing consistent with the aggressive execution of the general plan, than to search hesitatingly for the ideal. This is the true rule of conduct for subordinates who are required to act upon their own initiative.

A subordinate who is reasonably sure that his intended action is such as would be ordered by the commander, were the latter present and in possession of the facts, has enough encouragement to go ahead confidently. He must possess the loyalty to carry out the plans of his superior and the keenness to recognize and to seize opportunities to further the general plan. (372)

387. But one supreme will in a battle; subordinates to cooeperate. Independence must not become license. Regardless of the number of subordinates who are apparently supreme in their own restricted spheres, there is but one battle and but one supreme will to which all must conform.

Every subordinate must therefore work for the general result. He does all in his power to insure cooeperation between the subdivisions under his command. He transmits important information to adjoining units or to superiors in rear and, with the assistance of information received, keeps himself and his subordinates duly posted as to the situation. (373)

388. Deviation from orders. When circumstances render it impracticable to consult the authority issuing an order, officers should not hesitate to vary from such order when it is clearly based upon an incorrect view of the situation, is impossible of execution, or has been rendered impracticable on account of changes which have occurred since its promulgation. In the application of this rule the responsibility for mistakes rests upon the subordinate, but unwillingness to assume responsibility on proper occasions is indicative of weakness.

Superiors should be careful not to censure an apparent disobedience where the act was done in the proper spirit and to advance the general plan. (374)

389. Intermingling of units; duties of officers and guides. When the men of two or more units intermingle in the firing line, all officers and men submit at once to the senior. Officers and platoon guides seek to fill vacancies caused by casualties. Each seizes any opportunity to exercise the functions consistent with his grade, and all assist in the maintenance of order and control.

Every lull in the action should be utilized for as complete restoration of order in the firing line as the ground or other conditions permit. (375)

390. Separated officers and noncommissioned officers placing themselves under nearest higher commander. Any officer or noncommissioned officer who becomes separated from his proper unit and can not rejoin must at once place himself and his command at the disposal of the nearest higher commander. (376)

Anyone having completed an assigned task must seek to rejoin his proper command. Failing in this, he should join the nearest troops engaged with the enemy.

391. Duty of separated soldiers. Soldiers are taught the necessity of remaining with their companies, but those who become detached must join the nearest company and serve with it until the battle is over or reorganization is ordered. (377)


392. Orders for deployment; combat orders of divisions and brigades usually written. Commands are deployed and enter the combat by the orders of the commander to the subordinate commanders.

The initial combat orders of the division are almost invariably written; those of the brigade are generally so. The written order is preferable and is used whenever time permits.

If time permits, subsequent orders are likewise written, either as field orders or messages. (378)

393. Combat orders of regiments and smaller units; verbal messages. The initial combat orders of regiments and smaller units are given verbally. For this purpose the subordinates for whom the orders are intended are assembled, if practicable, at a place from which the situation and plan can be explained.

Subsequent orders are verbal or in the form of verbal or written messages. Verbal messages should not be used unless they are short and unmistakable. (379)

394. Initial combat orders; personal reconnaissance. The initial combat order of any commander or subordinate is based upon his definite plan for executing the task confronting him.

Whenever possible the formation of the plan is preceded by a personal reconnaissance of the terrain and a careful consideration of all information of the enemy. (380)

395. Composition of combat orders. The combat order gives such information of the enemy and of neighboring or supporting friendly troops as will enable subordinates to understand the situation.

The general plan of action is stated in brief terms, but enough of the commander's intentions is divulged to guide the subsequent actions of the subordinates.

Clear and concise instructions are given as to the action to be taken in the combat by each part of the command. In this way the commander assigns tasks, fronts, objectives, sectors or areas, etc., in accordance with his plan. If the terms employed convey definite ideas and leave no loopholes, the conduct of subordinates will generally be correspondingly satisfactory.

Such miscellaneous matter relating to special troops, trains, ammunition, and future movements of the commander is added as concerns the combat itself.

Combat orders should prescribe communication, reconnaissance, flank protection, etc., when some special disposition is desired or when an omission on the part of a subordinate may reasonably be feared. (381)

396. Encroaching upon functions of subordinates prohibited; orders to be definite. When issuing orders, a commander should indicate clearly what is to be done by each subordinate, but not how it is to be done. He should not encroach upon the functions of a subordinate by prescribing details of execution unless he has good reason to doubt the ability or judgment of the subordinate, and cannot substitute another.

Although general in its terms, an order must be definite and must be the expression of a fixed decision. Ambiguity or vagueness indicates either a vacillation or the inability to formulate orders. (382)

397. Orders generally given subordinates through their immediate superiors. Usually the orders of a commander are intended for, and are given to, the commanders of the next lower units, but in an emergency commander should not hesitate to give orders directly to any subordinate. In such case he should promptly inform the intermediate commander concerned. (383)


398. Communication, how maintained. Communication is maintained by means of staff officers, messengers, relay systems, connecting files, visual signals, telegraph, or telephone. (384)

399. Lines of communication established by signal corps. The signal corps troops of the division establish lines of information from division to brigade headquarters. The further extension of lines of information in combat by signal troops is exceptional. (385)

400. Lines of communication established by regiment; orderlies carry signal flags. Each regiment, employing its own personnel, is responsible for the maintenance of communication from the colonel back to the brigade and forward to the battalions. For this purpose the regiment uses the various means which may be furnished it. The staff and orderlies, regimental and battalion, are practiced in the use of these means and in messenger service. Orderlies carry signal flags. (386)

401. Communication between firing line and major or colonel; company musicians carry signal flags. Connection between the firing line and the major or colonel is practically limited to the prescribed flag, arm, and bugle signals. Other means can only be supplemental. Company musicians carry company flags and are practiced in signaling. (387)

402. Communication by artillery with firing line by means of staff officers or through agents. The artillery generally communicates with the firing line by means of its own staff officers or through an agent who accompanies some unit in or near the front. The infantry keeps him informed as to the situation and affords any reasonable assistance. When the infantry is dependent upon the artillery for fire support, perfect cooerdination through this representative is of great importance. (388)


403. Importance of combat reconnaissance; avoidance of deployment on wrong lines. Combat reconnaissance is of vital importance and must not be neglected. By proper preliminary reconnaissance, deployments on wrong lines, or in a wrong direction, and surprises may generally be prevented. (389)

404. Protection of troops by proper reconnaissance. Troops deployed and under fire can not change front, and thus they suffer greatly when enfiladed. Troops in close order formation may suffer heavy losses in a short time if subjected to hostile fire. In both formations troops must be protected by proper reconnaissance and warning. (390)

405. Difficulty of reconnaissance depends on extent of enemy's screen; strength of reconnoitering parties. The difficulty of reconnaissance increases in proportion to the measures adopted by the enemy to screen himself.

The strength of the reconnoitering party is determined by the character of the information desired and the nature of the hostile screen. In exceptional cases as much as a battalion may be necessary in order to break through the hostile screen and enable the commander or officer in charge to reconnoiter in person.

A large reconnoitering party is conducted so as to open the way for small patrols, to serve as a supporting force or rallying point for them, and to receive and transmit information. Such parties maintain signal communication with the main body if practicable. (391)

406. Each separate column to protect itself by reconnaissance. Each separate column moving forward to deploy must reconnoiter to its front and flank and keep in touch with adjoining columns. The extent of the reconnaissance to the flank depends upon the isolation of the columns. (392)

407. Reconnaissance before attacking. Before an attack a reconnaissance must be made to determine the enemy's position, the location of his flanks, the character of the terrain, the nature of the hostile field works, etc., in order to prevent premature deployment and the resulting fatigue and loss of time.

It will frequently be necessary to send forward a thin skirmish line in order to induce the enemy to open fire and reveal his position. (393)

408. Extent of reconnaissance. It will frequently be impossible to obtain satisfactory information until after the action has begun. The delay that may be warranted for the purpose of reconnaissance depends upon the nature of the attack and the necessity for promptness. For example, in a meeting engagement, and sometimes in a holding attack, the reconnaissance may have to be hasty and superficial, whereas in an attack against an enemy carefully prepared for defense there will generally be both time and necessity for thorough reconnaissance. (394)

409. Reconnaissance in defense. In defense, reconnaissance must be kept up to determine the enemy's line of advance, to ascertain his dispositions, to prevent his reconnaissance, etc.

Patrols or parties posted to prevent hostile reconnaissance should relieve the main body of the necessity of betraying its position by firing on small bodies of the enemy. (395)

410. Duration of reconnaissance; protection of flanks. Reconnaissance continues throughout the action.

A firing or skirmish line can take care of its front, but its flanks are especially vulnerable to modern firearms. The moral effect of flanking fire is as great as the physical effect. Hence, combat patrols to give warning or covering detachments to give security are indispensable on exposed flanks. This is equally true in attack or defense. (396)

411. Responsibility of infantry commanders for reconnaissance; surprise unpardonable. The fact that cavalry patrols are known to be posted in a certain direction does not relieve infantry commanders of the responsibility for reconnaissance and security.

To be surprised by an enemy at short range is an unpardonable offense. (397)

412. Commander of flank battalion responsible for security of his flank. The commander of a battalion on a flank of a general line invariably provides for the necessary reconnaissance and security on that flank unless higher authority has specifically ordered it. In any event, he sends out combat patrols as needed.

Where his battalion is on a flank of one section of the line and a considerable interval lies between his battalion and the next section, he makes similar provision. (398)

413. Patrols established by battalion commanders. Battalion commanders in the first line establish patrols to observe and report the progress or conduct of adjoining troops when these can not be seen. (399)



(See par. 427)

414. Success in battle dependent upon fire superiority. In a decisive battle success depends on gaining and maintaining fire superiority. Every effort must be made to gain it early and then to keep it.

Attacking troops must first gain fire superiority in order to reach the hostile position. Over open ground attack is possible only when the attacking force has a decided fire superiority. With such superiority the attack is not only possible, but success is probable and without ruinous losses.

Defending troops can prevent a charge only when they can master the enemy's fire and inflict heavy losses upon him. (400)

415. Volume and accuracy necessary to obtain fire superiority. To obtain fire superiority it is necessary to produce a heavy volume of accurate fire. Every increase in the effectiveness of the fire means a corresponding decrease in the effectiveness of the enemy's fire.

The volume and accuracy of fire will depend upon several considerations:

(a) The number of rifles employed. On a given front the greatest volume of fire is produced by a firing line having only sufficient intervals between men to permit the free use of their rifles. The maximum density of a firing line is therefore about one man per yard of front.

(b) The rate of fire affects its volume; an excessive rate reduces its accuracy.

(c) The character of the target influences both volume and accuracy. Larger dimensions, greater visibility, and shorter range increase the rate of fire; greater density increases the effect.

(d) Training and discipline have an important bearing on the rate or volume of fire, but their greatest influence is upon accuracy.

The firing efficiency of troops is reduced by fatigue and adverse psychological influences.

(e) Fire direction and control improve collective accuracy. The importance of fire direction increases rapidly with the range. Control exerts a powerful influence at all ranges. (401)


Opening Fire

416. Long range fire, when effective. Beyond effective ranges important results can be expected only when the target is large and distinct and much ammunition is used.

Long range fire is permissible in pursuit on account of the moral effect of any fire under the circumstances. At other times such fire is of doubtful value. (402)

417. Opening fire in attack. In attack, the desire to open fire when losses are first felt must be repressed. Considerations of time, target, ammunition, and morale make it imperative that the attack withhold its fire and press forward to a first firing position close to the enemy. The attacker's target will be smaller and fainter than the one he presents to the enemy. (403)

418. Opening fire in defense. In defense, more ammunition is available, ranges are more easily determined, and the enemy usually presents a larger target. The defender may therefore open fire and expect results at longer ranges than the attacker, and particularly if the defenders intend a delaying action only.

If the enemy has a powerful artillery, it will often be best for the defending infantry to withhold its fire until the enemy offers a specially favorable target. Vigorous and well-directed bursts of fire are then employed. The troops should therefore be given as much artificial protection as time and means permit, and at an agreed signal expose themselves as much as necessary and open fire. (404)

419. Opening fire in unexpected, close encounters. In unexpected, close encounters a great advantage accrues to the side which first opens rapid and accurate fire with battle sight. (405)

Use of Ground

420. Requisites of ground for cover. The position of the firers must afford a suitable field of fire.

The ground should permit constant observation of the enemy, and yet enable the men to secure some cover when not actually firing.

Troops whose target is for the moment hidden by unfavorable ground, either move forward to better ground or seek to execute cross fire on another target. (406)

421. Skillful use of ground reduces visibility. The likelihood of a target being hit depends to a great extent upon its visibility. By skillful use of ground, a firing line may reduce its visibility without loss of fire power. Sky lines are particularly to be avoided. (407)

Choice of Target

422. Target to be chosen. The target chosen should be the hostile troops most dangerous to the firers. These will usually be the nearest hostile infantry. When no target is specially dangerous, that one should be chosen which promises the most hits. (408)

423. Target not to be changed except for good reason. Frequent changes of target impair the fire effect. Random changes to small, unimportant targets impair fire discipline and accomplish nothing. Attention should be confined to the main target until substantial reason for change is apparent. (409)

424. Flanking fire to be delivered when opportunity offers. An opportunity to deliver flanking fire, especially against artillery protected in front by shields, is an example warranting change of target and should never be overlooked. Such fire demoralizes the troops subjected to it, even if the losses inflicted are small. In this manner a relatively small number of rifles can produce important results. (410)

The Range

425. Importance of correct sight setting. Beyond close range, the correct setting of the rear sight is of primary importance, provided the troops are trained and well in hand. The necessity for correct sight setting increases rapidly with the range. Its importance decreases as the quality of the troops decrease, for the error in sight setting, except possibly at very long ranges, becomes unimportant when compared with the error in holding and aiming. (411)

426. Determination of ranges. In attack, distances must usually be estimated and corrections made as errors are observed. Mechanical range finders and ranging volleys are practicable at times.

In defense, it is generally practicable to measure more accurately the distances to visible objects and to keep a record of them for future use. (412)

Distribution of Fire and Target

427. Purpose of fire superiority; distribution of fire and target. The purpose of fire superiority is to get hits whenever possible, but at all events to keep down the enemy's fire and render it harmless. To accomplish this the target must be covered with fire throughout its whole extent. Troops who are not fired upon will fire with nearly peacetime accuracy.

The target is roughly divided and a part is assigned to each unit. No part of the target is neglected. In attack, by a system of overlapping in assigning targets to platoons, the entire hostile line can be kept under fire even during a rush. (Pars. 400-401.) (413)


428. Observation of target. The correctness of the sight setting and the distribution of fire over the target can be verified only by careful observation of the target, the adjacent ground, and the effect upon the enemy. (414)

429. Observation determines whether fire fight is being properly conducted. Observation only can determine whether the fire fight is being properly conducted. If the enemy's fire is losing in accuracy and effect, the observer realizes that his side is gaining superiority. If the enemy's fire remains or becomes effective and persistent, he realizes that corrective measures are necessary to increase either volume or accuracy, or both. (415)


430. What discipline accomplishes. Discipline makes good direction and control possible and is the distinguishing mark of trained troops. (416)

431. Communication on firing line by means of signals. The discipline necessary in the firing line will be absent unless officers and noncommissioned officers can make their will known to the men. In the company, therefore, communication must be by simple signals which, in the roar of musketry, will attract the attention and convey the correct meaning. (417)

Expenditure of Ammunition

432. Use of ammunition in attack. In attack the supply is more limited than in defense. Better judgment must be exercised in expenditure. Ordinarily, troops in the firing line of an attack can not expect to have that day more ammunition than they carry into the combat, except such additions as come from the distribution of ammunition of dead and wounded and the surplus brought by reenforcements. (418)

433. True economy in expenditure of ammunition. When a certain fire effect is required, the necessary ammunition must be expended without hesitation. Several hours of firing may be necessary to gain fire superiority. True economy can be practiced only by closing on the enemy, as explained in par. 344, before first opening fire, and thereafter suspending fire when there is nothing to shoot at. (419)

Supporting Artillery

434. Artillery fire principal aid of infantry. Artillery fire is the principal aid to the infantry in gaining and keeping fire superiority, not only by its hits, but by the moral effect it produces on the enemy. (420)

435. Functions of artillery fire in attack and defense. In attack, artillery assists the forward movement of the infantry. It keeps down the fire of the hostile artillery and seeks to neutralize the hostile infantry by inflicting losses upon it, destroying its morale, driving it to cover, and preventing it from using its weapons effectively.

In defense, it ignores the hostile artillery when the enemy's attack reaches a decisive stage and assists in checking the attack, joining its fire power to that of the defending infantry. (421)

436. Fire of artillery over friendly troops. Troops should be accustomed to being fired over by friendly artillery and impressed with the fact that the artillery should continue firing upon the enemy until the last possible moment. The few casualties resulting from shrapnel bursting short are trifling compared with those that would result from the increased effectiveness of the enemy's infantry fire were the friendly artillery to cease firing.

Casualties inflicted by supporting artillery are not probable until the opposing infantry lines are less than 200 yards apart. (422)

437. When no longer safe for artillery to fire over friendly troops. When the distance between the hostile infantry lines becomes so short as to render further use of friendly artillery inadvisable, the commander of the infantry firing line, using a preconcerted signal,[5] informs the artillery commander. The latter usually increases the range in order to impede the strengthening of the enemy's foremost line, as explained in pars. 345-346. (423)

Fire of Position

438. Fire of position, when used. Infantry is said to execute fire of position when it is posted so as to assist an attack by firing over the heads, or off the flank, of the attacking troops and is not itself to engage in the advance; or when, in defense, it is similarly posted to augment the fire of the main firing line.

Machine guns serve a like purpose, as set forth in par. 555.

In a decisive action, fire of position should be employed whenever the terrain permits and reserve infantry is available. (424)


439. Formation of troops before and during deployment. Troops are massed preparatory to deployment when the nature of their deployment can not be foreseen or it is desirable to shorten the column or to clear the road. Otherwise, in the deployment of large commands, whether in march column, in bivouac, or massed, and whether forming, for attack or for defense, they are ordinarily first formed into a line of columns to facilitate the extension of the front prior to deploying.

The rough line or lines of columns thus formed enable troops to take advantage of the terrain in advancing and shorten the time occupied in forming the firing line. (425)

440. Action of brigade and regimental commanders in deployment of division. In deploying the division, each brigade is assigned a definite task or objective. On receipt of his orders, the brigade commander conducts his brigade in column or in line of regiments, until it is advisable that it be broken into smaller columns. He then issues his order, assigning to each regiment its task, if practicable. In a similar manner the regimental commanders lead their regiments forward in column, or in line of columns, until the time arrives for issuing the regimental order. It is seldom advisable to break up the battalion before issuing orders for its deployment. (426)

441. Personal reconnaissance before deployment. Each subordinate commander, after receiving his order for the action, should precede his command as far as possible, in order to reconnoiter the ground personally, and should prepare to issue his orders promptly. (427)

442. Each commander to guard his command against surprise. Each commander of a column directs the necessary reconnaissance to front and flanks; by this means and by a judicious choice of ground he guards against surprise. (428)

443. Premature formation of firing line to be avoided. The premature formation of the firing line causes unnecessary fatigue and loss of time, and may result in a faulty direction being taken. Troops once deployed make even minor changes of direction with difficulty, and this difficulty increases with the length of the firing line. (429)

444. Rectification of deployment in wrong direction. In the larger units, when the original deployment is found to be in the wrong direction, it will usually be necessary to deploy the reserve on the correct front and withdraw and assemble the first line. (430)

445. Number of troops to be deployed in beginning. To gain decisive results, it will generally be necessary to use all the troops at some stage of the combat. But in the beginning, while the situation is uncertain, care should be taken not to engage too large a proportion of the command. On the other hand, there is no greater error than to employ too few and to sacrifice them by driblets. (For division of the battalion in attack see 335-339.) (431)

446. Dense, well-directed, and controlled line of heavy fire gives fire superiority. When it is intended to fight to a decision, fire superiority is essential. To gain this, two things are necessary: A heavy fire and a fire well-directed and controlled. Both of these are best obtained when the firing line is as dense as practicable, while leaving the men room for the free use of their rifles.

If the men are too widely separated, direction and control are very difficult, often impossible, and the intensity of fire is slight in proportion to the front occupied. (432)

447. Density of 1 man per yard; occupation of only sections of long lines. In an attack or stubborn defense the firing line should have a density of one man per yard of front occupied.

Where the tactical situation demands the holding of a line too long to be occupied throughout at this density, it is generally better to deploy companies or platoons at one man per yard, leaving gaps in the line between them, than to distribute the men uniformly at increased intervals. (433)

448. Use of thin firing line. A relatively thin firing line may be employed when merely covering the movements of other forces; when on the defensive against poor troops; when the final action to be taken has not yet been determined; and, in general, when fire superiority is not necessary. (434)

449. Length of firing line employed by whole force; strength of supports and reserves; density of charging line. The length of the firing line that the whole force may employ depends upon the density of the line and the strength in rear required by the situation.

Supports and reserves constitute the strength in rear.

In a decisive attack they should be at least strong enough to replace a heavy loss in the original firing line and to increase the charging line to a density of at least one and one-half men per yard and still have troops in rear for protection and for the other purposes mentioned above. (435)

450. Strength of reserve; troops deployed varying from 1 to 10 men per yard. In the original deployment the strength of the reserve held out by each commander comprises from one-sixth to two-thirds of his unit, depending upon the nature of the service expected of the reserve.

A small force in a covering or delaying action requires very little strength in rear, while a large force fighting a decisive battle requires much. Therefore, depending upon circumstances, the original deployment, including the strength in rear, may vary from 1 to 10 men per yard. Against an enemy poorly disciplined and trained, or lacking in morale, a thinner deployment is permissible. (436)

451. Density of whole deployment varies with size of command. The density of the whole deployment increases with the size of the command, because the larger the command the greater the necessity for reserves. Thus, battalion acting alone may attack two men per yard of front, but a regiment, with three battalions, may only double the front of the one battalion. (437)

452. Division of battle line into battle districts and density of deployment therein. By the assignment of divisions or larger units to parts of a line of battle several miles long, a series of semi-independent battle, or local combat, districts are created.

The general deployment for a long line of battle comprising several battle districts is not directly considered in these regulations. The deployments treated of herein are those of the infantry within such districts.

The density of deployment in these districts may vary greatly, depending upon the activity expected in each. Within these battle districts, as well as in smaller forces acting alone, parts of the line temporarily of less importance may be held weakly, in order to economize troops and to have more at the decisive point. (438)

453. Extent of front occupied by a unit depends upon security of flanks. The front that a unit may occupy when deployed depends also upon whether its flanks are secured. If both flanks are secured by other troops, the unit may increase its front materially by reducing its reserve or supports. If only one flank is so secured, the front may still be somewhat increased, but the exposed flank must be guarded by posting the supports or reserve toward that flank.

Natural obstacles that secure the flanks have practically the same effect upon deployment. (439)

454. Regiments, battalions, and companies deployed side by side. Except when assigned as supports or reserve, regiments in the brigade, battalions in the regiment, and companies in the battalion are, when practicable, deployed side by side. (440)

455. Battalions furnish firing line and supports; larger units furnish reserves; employment of reserve. In the deployment, battalions establish the firing line, each furnishing its own support.

In each unit larger than the battalion a reserve is held out, its strength depending upon circumstances. In general, the reserve is employed by the commander to meet or improve conditions brought about by the action of the firing line. It must not be too weak or too split up. It must be posted where the commander believes it will be needed for decisive action, or where he desires to bring about such action. When necessary, parts of it reenforce or prolong the firing line. (441)


(For the battalion in Attack, see pars. 342-346)

456. Fire superiority means success; how to obtain fire superiority. An attack is bound to succeed if fire superiority is gained and properly used.

To gain this superiority generally requires that the attack employ more rifles than the defense; this in turn means a longer line, as both sides will probably hold a strong firing line. (442)

457. When frontal attack may be successful. With large forces, a direct frontal attack gives the attacker little opportunity to bring more rifles to bear. However, if the enemy is unduly extended, a frontal attack may give very decisive results. (443)

458. When turning movements are allowable. Owing to the difficulty of control and the danger of the parts being defeated in detail, wide turning movements are seldom allowable except in large forces. (444)

459. Advantages of enveloping attack. If the attack can be so directed that, while the front is covered, another fraction of the command strikes a flank more or less obliquely (an enveloping attack), the advantages gained are a longer line and more rifles in action; also a converging fire opposed to the enemy's diverging fire. (445)

460. Envelopment of both flanks. An envelopment of both flanks should never be attempted without a very decided superiority in numbers. (446)

461. Enveloping attacks result in local frontal attacks; advantage of envelopment. The enveloping attack will nearly always result locally in a frontal attack, for it will be met by the enemy's reserve. The advantage of envelopment lies in the longer concentric line, with its preponderance of rifles and its converging fire. (447)

462. Cooeperation between frontal and enveloping attacks; the two attacks to be deployed considerable distance from hostile positions. Cooeperation between the frontal and enveloping attacks is essential to success. Both should be pushed vigorously and simultaneously, and ordinarily both should move simultaneously to the charge; but at the final stage of the attack conditions may sometimes warrant one in charging while the other supports it with fire.

The envelopment of a flank is brought about with difficulty when made by troops already deployed in another direction or by their reserves. The two attacks should be deployed at a suitable distance apart, with the lines of attack converging in rear of the hostile position. The troops that are to make the enveloping attack should deploy in the proper direction at the start and should be given orders which enable them to gain their point of deployment in the most direct and practical manner.

The enveloping attack is generally made the stronger, especially in small forces. (448)


463. Distance from hostile position at which deployment is made; foreground to be cleared of hostile detachments before deployment. Where open terrain exposes troops to hostile artillery fire it may be necessary to make the deployment 2 miles or more from the hostile position.

The foreground should be temporarily occupied by covering troops. If the enemy occupies the foreground with detachments, the covering troops must drive them back. (449)

464. Moving well forward and deploying at night. To enable large forces to gain ground toward the enemy, it may sometimes be cheaper and quicker in the end to move well forward and to deploy at night. In such case the area in which the deployment is to be made should, if practicable, be occupied by covering troops before dark.

The deployment will be made with great difficulty unless the ground has been studied by daylight. The deployment gains little unless it establishes the firing line well within effective range of the enemy's main position. (See Night Operations, par. 580-590.) (450)

465. Each unit deploys on its direction line; intervals between battalions on firing line. Each unit assigned a task deploys when on its direction line, or opposite its objective, and when it has no longer sufficient cover for advancing in close order. In the firing line, intervals of 25 to 50 yards should be maintained as long as possible between battalions. In the larger units it may be necessary to indicate on the map the direction or objective, but to battalion commanders it should be pointed out on the ground. (451)

466. Post of reserve; reserve charged with flank protection. The reserve is kept near enough to the firing line to be on hand at the decisive stage. It is posted with reference to the attack, or to that part of the attacking line, from which the greater results are expected; it is also charged with flank protection, but should be kept intact.

Supports are considered in paragraphs 262 to 265, inclusive, and 335 to 339, inclusive. (452)


467. Firing line to advance as far as possible before opening fire. The firing line must ordinarily advance a long distance before it is justified in opening fire. It can not combat the enemy's artillery, and it is at a disadvantage if it combats the defender's long-range rifle fire. Hence it ignores both and, by taking full advantage of cover and of the discipline of the troops, advances to a first firing position at the shortest range possible, as explained in par. 344.

Formations for crossing this zone with the minimum loss are considered in paragraphs 249 to 257, inclusive. These and other methods of crossing such zones should be studied and practiced. (453)

468. Invisibility best protection while advancing. The best protection against loss while advancing is to escape the enemy's view. (454)

469. Advance of battalions. Each battalion finds its own firing position, conforming to the general advance as long as practicable and taking advantage of the more advanced position of an adjacent battalion in order to gain ground.

The position from which the attack opens fire is further considered in paragraphs 343-345, inclusive. (455)

470. Infantry moving to the attack passing through deployed artillery. It will frequently become necessary for infantry moving to the attack to pass through deployed artillery. This should be done so as to interfere as little as possible with the latter's fire, and never so as to cause that fire to cease entirely. As far as practicable, advantage should be taken of intervals in the line, if any. An understanding between artillery and infantry commanders should be had, so as to effect the movement to the best advantage. (456)

471. Advanced elements of firing line not to open fire on main hostile position. In advancing the attack, advanced elements of the firing line or detachments in front of it should not open fire except in defense or to clear the foreground of the enemy. Fire on the hostile main position should not be opened until all or nearly all of the firing line can join in the fire. (457)


(See pars. 414-438.)

472. Fire superiority sought at first firing position, and to be maintained until charging point is reached; size of rushing units. At the first firing position the attack seeks to gain fire superiority. This may necessitate a steady, accurate fire a long time. The object is to subdue the enemy's fire and keep it subdued so that the attacking troops may advance from this point to a favorable place near the enemy from which the charge may be made. Hence, in the advance by rushes, sufficient rifles must be kept constantly in action to keep down the enemy's fire; this determines the size of the fraction rushing. (458)

473. Futility of advancing without fire superiority. To advance without fire superiority against a determined defense would result in such losses as to bring the attack to a standstill or to make the apparent success barren of results. (459)

474. Signs that fire superiority has been gained. Diminution of the enemy's fire and a pronounced loss in effectiveness are the surest signs that fire superiority has been gained and that a part of the firing line can advance. (460)

475. Retiring under fire in daylight suicidal; intrenching. The men must be impressed with the fact that, having made a considerable advance under fire and having been checked, it is suicidal to turn back in daylight.

If they can advance no farther, they must intrench and hold on until the fall of darkness or a favorable turn in the situation develops.

Intrenching is resorted to only when necessary. Troops who have intrenched themselves under fire are moved forward again with difficulty. (461)

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