5. Keep an account of all articles issued to the men, turned in to the quartermaster, condemned, expended, lost, stolen or destroyed.
6. Worn out and unserviceable, property that is beyond repair in the company should be submitted to the action of a surveying officer, the Survey Reports (Form No. 196, A. G. O.) being prepared in triplicate, and submitted to the commanding officer, who will appoint a surveying officer. No property that can be repaired in the company should ever be submitted to the action of a surveying officer or inspector. In this connection company commanders and supply sergeants should be thoroughly familiar with Ordnance Department pamphlet No. 1965 and G. O. 26, 1917, the two covering the care, repair and disposition of unserviceable Ordnance equipment.
7. Property that is to be submitted to the action of a surveying officer or an inspector should always first be carefully examined by the responsible officer in person, who should be prepared to give all necessary information in regard to it.
The property should be arranged in the order of enumeration in the survey or the inventory report, and should be arranged in rows of five, ten, or some other number, so that the numbers of the various articles can be counted at a glance.
The Army Regulations require that the responsible officer shall be present at the inspection of property by a regular inspector. He should also be present when property is acted on by a surveying officer.
8. All company property (Ordnance, Quartermaster, Signal and Engineer) except the litter (Medical Department) is gotten from the unit supply officer on memorandum receipt. The litter is gotten from the surgeon on memorandum receipt. Settlements are required to be made quarterly with the officers concerned, and also when relinquishing command.
887. Scope of subject. To cover in full the subject of company paperwork would require more space than it is practicable to spare in a manual of this nature, and consequently only brief reference is made herein to the principal books, records and papers connected with the administration of a company.
The subject of company paperwork, as well as Army administration in general, is covered in full in Army Paperwork, published by Geo. Banta Publishing Co., Menasha, Wis. Price $2.00, postpaid.
In connection with company paperwork, it may be remarked that now-a-days no company office is complete without a typewriter. For all-around field and garrison work the CORONA, which is used throughout the Army, is recommended. Not only is it less bulky and lighter than other machines, but it is simpler of construction and will stand harder usage. The Corona Folding Stand adds very much to the convenience of the machine for field use.
888. Morning Report. Which shows, at the hour the report is submitted, the exact condition of the company as to the number of officers and men present for duty, sick, absent, etc. All changes since the last report (the day before) are shown by name, under "Remarks," on the right-hand page, and by number on the left-hand page. In case of no change since last report, note, "No change," under, "Remarks," and also on the left-hand page. (See model given below.)
NOTE. The numbers 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, etc., entered by hand on the left in model, and which show the number of days from each printed number (date) to the end of the month, are entered the beginning of each month, and are a convenience in showing at once the number of rations to be added or deducted in the case of men joining or leaving the company.
889. Daily Sick Report. On which are entered the names of all enlisted men requiring medical attention and such of the company officers as may be excused from duty because of illness. The report is signed each day by the surgeon and the company commander, and shows whether or not the sickness was incurred in line of duty.
890. Duty Roster. On which is kept a record of all details for guard duty, kitchen police, and other details for service in garrison and in the field, except the authorized special and extra duty details. For instructions regarding the keeping of roster, see, "Details and Rosters," Manual of Interior Guard Duty and the Model and instructions on the form itself.
891. Files of Orders. A file will be kept of all orders issued by the company commander. Files will also be kept of all orders and instructions received from higher authority.
892. Company Fund Book. In which are entered all receipts to, and expenditures from, the company fund, together with the monthly proceeding of the Company Council of Administration, and a list of property, with cost thereof, purchased from the company fund. The model in the front of the book shows how the account is to be kept.
893. Correspondence Book, with index. In which is entered a brief of each item of correspondence in respect to which a record is necessary, and a notation of the action taken thereon.
894. Document File, being the original documents or communications when these are retained, and carbon, letter press, or other copies of letters, indorsements, or telegrams sent in regard to the same, all of which are filed according to serial numbers.
895. Delinquency Record, in which are noted the disciplinary punishments awarded by the company commander in compliance with the provisions of Army Regulations.
896. Property Responsibility. Two loose-leaf books in which are listed, in one all articles of quartermaster property, and in the other, all articles of ordnance property, issued each soldier for his personal use.
897. Service Record. (Formerly known as "Descriptive List.") One for each member of the company, in which is kept a full description of him, including date of enlistment, personnel description, record of deposits, trial by court-martial, record of vaccination, clothing account, etc.
898. Descriptive Card of Public Animals. To be kept in organizations supplied with public animals.
899. Retained Copies of Rolls, Returns, etc. Retained copies of the various rolls, reports, and returns (property and other) that are required by orders and regulations.
900. Memorandum Receipts, showing all articles of ordnance quartermaster, and other property that may be held on memorandum receipt, with date of receipt, from whom received, etc. The company commander has a quarterly settlement with the staff officers concerned.
901. Abstract Record of Memorandum Receipts. For keeping a record of property issued on memorandum receipt, in connection with the unit accountability equipment.
902. Record of Rifles, showing the number of the rifle, the Arsenal where made, date of receipt, to whom issued, and number of shots fired each target season. (Note. Geo. Banta Publishing Co., Menasha, Wis., print an excellent card for this purpose.)
903. Summary Court Records. Commanding officers are required to furnish organization commanders with true copies of all summary court records relating to men of their organizations, which papers form a part of the records of the organization.
904. Statement of Clothing Charged to Enlisted Men. When clothing is drawn individually from the quartermaster, the Individual Clothing Slips are entered on the Statement of Clothing Charged to Enlisted Men, which is filed with the requisition to which it pertains.
905. Abstract of Clothing. All individual clothing slips are entered on this abstract as the issues are made, the total quantities and money values being determined and the abstract completed at the end of month or when the organization leaves the vicinity of the issuing quartermaster for an extended period. At the close of period covered, the organization commander compares his copy of the abstract with the quartermaster's copy, and it is then filed with the Individual Clothing Slips and Statement of Clothing Charged to Enlisted men.
906. Record of Size of Clothing. A record of the sizes of clothing of every man in the company as ascertained by measurement.
907. Company Target Records. An individual record is kept for each man of the company and for every officer firing, on which are entered the record rifle practice and the qualification for each target season. A similar record is kept in the case of those required to fire with the pistol. Records are also kept of the company combat firing and the proficiency test, and of the combat practice. The combat practice records are kept until the close of the following target season, when they may be destroyed.
908. Company Return. On the first day of each month a Company Return for the preceding month is submitted to regimental headquarters. The return gives by name all changes since rendition of last return in the case of officers, and by number all changes in the case of enlisted men, and shows the condition of the company at midnight of the last day of the month for which rendered. All officers, present and absent, are accounted for by name, and under "Record of Events," is given a brief statement of the duties performed by the company during the month, including marches made, actions in which engaged, etc. See next page for a "Model" Company Return.
909. Ration return. In addition to rations, on this form are obtained soap, candles, matches, toilet paper, rock salt, vinegar for animals, flour for paste in target practice, towels, and ice, the allowances of which are prescribed in the Army Regulations.
The best way to show how a ration return is prepared is to give a "model" and then explain how the figures thereon were obtained.
The figures in the above "model" were obtained as follows:
(a) The enlisted strength of Co. "H," 50th Inf., present and absent according to the morning report of Feb. 29/16, was 97
(b) Deduct from the above the number of men absent according to the morning report of Feb. 29/16, and for whom rations will not, therefore, be drawn for any part or for the whole of the month of March, the number of men absent being (assumed) as follows:
On furlough 3 On detached service 2 Absent sick 2 Absent in confinement 1 Present sick in hospital 4 Attached to and rationed with the band 2 14 ————- Balance 83
(c) Add the number of men attached to the company for rations, which (it is assumed) consists of two general prisoners 2 ————- TOTAL 85
That is to say, we have 85 men for whom one ration per day must be drawn for the month of March, that is to say, 31 days.
Hence, the total number of rations will be, 85 x 31 = 2635 rations.
(d) Additions and deductions must be made as follows:
For the men who were attached to the company for rations and who joined during the month of February, from absent sick, furlough, detached service, etc., and which (let us assume) the "Plus" column of "Rations" on the company morning report for February shows to be 150
For the men who left the company during the month of February, on account of being sent to the hospital sick, going on furlough, etc., and which (let us assume) the "Minus" column of "Rations" on the company morning report for February shows to be 200
Leaving us (a "Net correction") to be added of 50 ————- And making the total number due the company for the month of March 2585
The Army Regulations fixes the maximum allowance of soap, toilet paper, matches, etc., the commanding officer being authorized, if he so desires, to determine the allowances, with the prescribed maximum. The allowances are based either on so much per ration, per so many rations, or per organization. In the case of candles and matches the allowance is left entirely to the commanding officer.
(See "model" ration return above)
Soap. Allowance is 0.64 for each ration or 4 lbs. to 100 rations. 25.85 x 4 = 103.40, i. e., the company is entitled to 103 lbs. of soap for the month of March.
Toilet paper. Allowance is 1000 sheets for every 60 rations, 2585 / 60 = 43+, that is, the company is entitled to 43 packages of toilet paper.
Matches. Allowance of matches for lighting fires and lights, for which fuel and the illumination supplies are issued, is such as the commanding officer may order as necessary.
Flour. Allowance of flour for paste used in target practice is 50 lbs. for each troop or company for the practice season.
 Silicate Roll Blackboards, which are perfectly flexible and can be rolled tightly, like a map, without injury, may be obtained from the New York Silicate Book Slate Co., 20 Vesey St., New York. They are made in various sizes, about the most convenient for use in noncommissioned officers' schools is No. 3, three by four feet—price $2.
 For example, noisy or disorderly conduct in quarters, failure to salute officers, slovenly dressed at formations, rifle equipments not properly cleaned at inspection or other formations, overstaying pass, short absences without leave and absences from formations (especially for first offense).
910. Definition. Discipline is not merely preservation of order, faithful performance of duty, and prevention of offenses—in other words, discipline is not merely compliance with a set of rules and regulations drawn up for the purpose of preserving order in an organization. This is only one phase of discipline. In its deeper and more important sense discipline may be defined as the habit of instantaneous and instinctive obedience under any and all circumstances—it is the habit whereby the very muscles of the soldier instinctively obey the word of command, so that under whatever circumstances of danger or death the soldier may hear that word of command, even though his mind be too confused to work, his muscles will obey. It is toward this ultimate object that all rules of discipline tend. In war, the value of this habit of instantaneous and instinctive obedience is invaluable, and during the time of peace everything possible should be done to ingrain into the very blood of the soldier this spirit, this habit, of instantaneous, instinctive obedience to the word of command.
911. Methods of Attaining Good Discipline. Experience shows that drill, routine, military courtesy, attention to details, proper rewards for good conduct, and invariable admonition or punishment of all derelictions of duty, are the best methods of attaining good discipline—that they are the most effective means to that end.
912. Importance. History shows that the chief factor of success in war is discipline, and that without discipline no body of troops can hold their own against a well-directed, well-disciplined force.
913. Sound System. We must bear in mind that what may be considered a sound system of discipline at one epoch or for one nation, may be inapplicable at another epoch or for another nation. In other words, sound discipline depends upon the existing state of civilization and education, the political institutions of the country, the national trait and the national military system. For example, the system of discipline that existed in the days of Frederick the Great, and which, in modified form, exists today in certain European armies, whereby the soldier was so inured to a habit of subjection that he became a sort of machine—a kind of automaton. Such a system of discipline, while answering admirably well its purpose at that time and for those nations, would not do at all in this day and generation, and with a people like ours, in whom the spirit of personal freedom and individual initiative are born. Of course, the discipline that will insure obedience under any and all conditions—the discipline that will insure prompt and unhesitating obedience to march, to attack, to charge—is just as important today as it was a thousand years ago, but we can not attain it by the machine-making methods of former times. The system we use must be in keeping with the national characteristics of our people and the tactical necessities of the day, the latter requiring individual initiative. According to the old system, the company commander imposed his will upon a body of submissive units; under the new system the company commander, backed by authority and greater knowledge, leads obedient, willing units, exacting ready obedience and loyal cooeperation. The company commander used to drive; now he leads.
914. Means of attaining and maintaining such discipline.
1. Explain to the men the importance of discipline and its value on the field of battle, and give the reasons that makes it necessary to subject soldiers to restrictions that they were not subjected to in civil life.
2. Do not impose unnecessary restrictions or hardships on your men, nor issue orders that have no bearing on their efficiency, health, cleanliness, orderliness, etc.
3. Demand a high standard of excellence in the performance of all duties whatsoever, and exact the utmost display of energy.
A system of discipline based on the above principles develops habits of self-control, self-reliance, neatness, order, and punctuality, and creates respect for authority and confidence in superiors.
915. Punishment. In maintaining discipline, it must be remembered the object of punishment should be two-fold: (a) To prevent the commission of offenses, and (b) to reform the offender. Punishment should, therefore, in degree and character depend upon the nature of the offense. Punishment should not be debasing or illegal, and the penalty should be proportionate to the nature of the offense. If too great, it tends to arouse sympathy, and foster friends for the offender, thus encouraging a repetition of the offense. A distinction, therefore, should be made between the deliberate disregard of orders and regulations, and offenses which are the result of ignorance or thoughtlessness. In the latter case the punishment should be for the purpose of instruction and should not go to the extent of inflicting unnecessary humiliation and discouragement upon the offender.
916. In the administration of discipline the following principles should be observed.
1. Everyone, officers and soldiers, should be required and made to perform their full duty. If the post commander, for instance, requires the company commanders to do their full duty, they will require their noncommissioned officers to do their full duty, and the noncommissioned officers will in turn require the men to do the same.
2. Subordinates should be held strictly responsible for the proper government and administration of their respective commands, and all changes or corrections should be made through them.
3. Subordinates should have exclusive control of their respective commands, and all orders, instructions and directions affecting their commands should be given through them.
4. If, in case of emergency, it be not practicable to make certain changes or corrections, or to give certain orders, instructions or directions, through the subordinates, they should be notified at once of what has been done.
5. After a subordinate has been placed in charge of a certain duty, all instructions pertaining thereto should be given through him, and all meddling and interfering should be avoided. Interference by superiors relieves the subordinate of responsibility, and causes him to lose interest, become indifferent, and do no more than he is obliged to do.
6. The certainty of reward for, and appreciation of, meritorious conduct, should equal the certainty of punishment for dereliction of duty.
7. It is the duty of an officer or noncommissioned officer who gives an order to see that it is obeyed; carrying out orders received by him does not end with their perfunctory transmission to subordinates—this is only a small part of his duty. He must personally see that the orders so transmitted are made effective.
8. The treatment of soldiers should be uniform and just, and under no circumstances should a man be humiliated unnecessarily or abused. Reproof and punishment must be administered with discretion and judgment, and without passion; for an officer or noncommissioned officer who loses his temper and flies into a tantrum has failed to obtain his first triumph in discipline. He who can not control himself can not control others.
9. Punishment should invariably follow dereliction of duty, for the frequency of offenses depends, as a general rule, on the degree of certainty with which their commission is attended with punishment. When men know that their derelictions and neglects will be observed and reproved, they will be much more careful than they would be otherwise—that's human nature.
A strict adherence to the above general principles will instill into the minds of those concerned, respect for authority and a spirit of obedience.
MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS PERTAINING TO COMPANY TRAINING AND INSTRUCTION
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COMPANY TRAINING AND INSTRUCTION
917. Object of Training and Instruction. The object of training and instructing a company is to thoroughly knit together its different parts, its various elements (individuals, squads and platoons), into a complete, homogeneous mass, a cohesive unit, that will under any and all conditions and circumstances respond to the will of the captain—a cohesive unit that knows how to march, that knows how to live properly in camp, that knows how to fight and that can be readily handled tactically on the field of battle. In short, the object of training and instruction is to make out of the company an efficient, wieldy fighting weapon, to be manipulated by the captain. There is but one way this object can be obtained, and that is by work, work, work—and then more work—by constant care, attention and pains—by cooeperation, by team work, among the officers, the noncommissioned officers and the privates.
918. Method and Progression. Arrangement is an essential of sound teaching. Training and instruction in order to be easily understood and readily assimilated—in order to give the greatest results in the shortest time—must be carried on according to a methodical and progressive plan. Each subject or subjects upon a knowledge of which depend the proper understanding and mastering of another, should be studied and mastered before taking up the other subject, and the elementary and simpler aspects of a given subject must be mastered before taking up the higher and more difficult phases of the subject, which means that individual training and instruction must precede, and provide a sound foundation for, collective training and instruction—that is to say, for the higher tactical training and instruction of the company as a unit. These basic, fundamental principles of successful training and instruction apply to practical as well as theoretical training. For instance, in the subject of entrenchments we would first instruct the men individually in the use of the tools and in the construction and use of the trenches, after which we would pass on to the tactical use of entrenchments by the company. Also, in training and instructing the company in fire discipline, we would first explain to the men the power and tactical value of the rifle, and instruct them in their duties on the firing line as regards adjustment of sights, attention to commands, economy of ammunition, etc.; we would explain to the platoon commanders and guides their duties as regards control of fire, enforcement of fire discipline, etc., after which we would practice the company as a unit in fire action, and fire control, ending up with an exercise showing the tactical application of the rules and principles explained. And again, in the training and instruction of the company in the attack, we would first train and instruct the company in all the formations and operations that naturally precede an attack (patrolling, outposts, advance guard, rear guard), and also in those that form an inherent part of an attack (extended order, field firing, use of cover, etc.).
919. Program. The training and instruction of a company, whether practical or theoretical, should be carried on in accordance with a fixed, definite program, in which the subjects are arranged in a natural, progressive order.
920. Simultaneous Instruction and Training. The next question that presents itself is: Should instruction and training in each branch be completed before proceeding to the next, or should instruction and training be carried on simultaneously in two or more different subjects, as one, for example, are taught mathematics, French and history at the same time, a different hour of the day being devoted to each subject? In other words, should we, for instance, devote one hour of the day to attack, one hour to defense, and one hour to the service of security, thus preventing the soldier from getting weary of doing the same thing that whole day? Our answer is:
1st. If the instruction and training is being given on the ground where the application of the principles of any given subject is varied so much by the type of the ground and the nature of the situation, each type of ground affording a different solution of the problem, it is thought the best results can be obtained by finishing each subject before proceeding to the next, thus not losing the "atmosphere" of one subject by switching to the next, and also confusing the minds of the men with different principles.
2nd. However, if the instruction and training be theoretical and the time available each day be several hours, better results can be obtained by studying two or more subjects simultaneously. This would also be the case if the work be practical, but if it be such that the type of the ground and the nature of the situation will not of themselves afford variety in the application of the same principles.
921. Responsibility. The Army Regulations and War Department orders hold the company commander responsible for the training and instruction of the company. The subject is a most important one and should receive serious thought and study. Before admonishing one of your men for not knowing a subject, always ask yourself, "Have I made an effort to teach it to him?"
922. Interest. Special effort should be made to make the training and instruction of the company interesting, so that the work will not become monotonous and irksome, and thus cause the men to lose interest and get stale. To accomplish this, these points should be borne in mind:
Variety. Inject variety into the work. Do not keep the men too long at one thing.
Clearness. Every exercise, lesson or lecture should have in view a well-defined object, the meaning and importance of which must be explained to, and understood by, the men at the beginning of the exercise, lesson or lecture. In other words, at the beginning, explain the main, governing idea of the subject, and then take pains to explain in a simple, conversational way each phase as you come to it. Give the reasons for everything. You can not expect men to take an interest in things the meaning of which they do not understand and the reason for which they do not see. Make sure by asking questions of different ones as you go along that your explanations are understood.
Thoroughness. Every lecture, talk, drill or exercise should be carefully planned and arranged beforehand. Remember, that the men who are going to listen to your talk—the men who are going to go through the exercise—have the right to expect this of you, and you have no right to compel them to listen to lots of disconnected, half-baked statements, or make them go through a disjointed exercise or drill. In the case of tactical exercises always, if practicable, visit and examine the terrain beforehand. Of course, all this will mean work—additional work—but remember the government pays you to work.
Reality. Make all practical work as real as possible—do not permit the commission of absurdities—do not let men do things which manifestly they would not be able to do in actual practice—and you yourself be sure to make your exercises and tactical scheme as like real conditions of warfare as possible.
923. Individual Initiative. The effective range and great power of modern firearms cause troops in battle to be spread out over large areas, thus decentralizing control over men and operations, and consequently increasing the value and importance of individual initiative. The company commander should, therefore, practice, accustom and encourage the privates, noncommissioned officers and lieutenants in the development and exercise of individual initiative and responsibility. This should be borne in mind in all training and instruction.
Officers, noncommissioned officers and privates must not "lay down" just because they have no specific orders. Remember, the one thing above all others that counts in war, is action, initiative. Indeed, 'tis better to have acted and lost than never to have acted at all. Listen to what the Chief of Staff of the Army has to say about this in the preface to the Field Service Regulations: "Officers and men of all ranks and grades are given a certain independence in the execution of the tasks to which they are assigned and are expected to show initiative in meeting the different situations as they arise. Every individual, from the highest commander to the lowest private, must always remember that inaction and neglect of opportunities will warrant more severe censure than an error in the choice of means."
924. Determination and Individual Intelligence. While the value of discipline can hardly be overestimated, there are two other factors in battle that are fully as important, if not more so, and they are, determination to win, and individual intelligence, which, in war, as in all other human undertakings, almost invariably spell success. Therefore, make these two factors one of the basic principles of the instruction and training of the company, and do all you can to instill into your men a spirit of determination, and to develop in them individual intelligence. Every human being has in his soul a certain amount of determination, even though it be only enough to determine upon the small things of life. Some people are born with more determination than others, but it is a mistake to suppose that a man must remain through life with the same amount of determination that he brought into it. The attributes of the human mind, such as determination, bravery, ambition, energy, etc., are all capable of improvement and also of deterioration. It is essential therefore, for us to endeavor by all means in our power to improve our strength of character—our determination. It is, of course, useless for us to learn the art of war if we have not sufficient determination, when we meet the enemy, to apply the principles we have studied. There is no reason, however, why every officer, noncommissioned officer and private should not improve his determination of character by careful training in peace. It can only be done by facing the difficulties, thoroughly understanding the dangers, and asking ourselves repeatedly whether we are prepared to face the ordeal in war. Let us not think, in a vague sort of a way, that in war we shall be all right and do as well as most people. We know that we are not gifted with tremendous personal courage, and we know that, whatever happens, we shall not run away. But that is not enough. We must train ourselves to understand that in the hour of trial we can harden our hearts, that we can assume the initiative, and retain it by constant advance and constant attack; unless we can fill our hearts with the determination to win, we can not hope to do our full duty on the field of battle and acquit ourselves with credit.
925. The Human Element. No system of training and instruction that does not take into account human nature, can be thoroughly effective. The human element probably enters into war more than it does into any other pursuit. The old idea of turning a human being into a machine, by means of discipline, and making him dread his captain more than the enemy, died long ago, especially with the American people. In modern war success depends to a great extent upon the initiative, the individual action of the soldier and this action is greatly influenced by the soldier's state of mind at the moment, by the power that can be exercised over his mind by his comrades and those leading him. The company commander should, therefore, study the characteristics of the human mind with the object of ascertaining how he can influence the men under his command, so that in battle those human attributes which are favorable to success, may be strengthened and those which are favorable to defeat may be weakened. Of the former, courage, determination, initiative, respect, cheerfulness, comradeship, emulation and esprit de corps, are the principal ones; of the latter, fear, surprise, disrespect, and dejection, are the leading ones. By means of good, sound discipline, we can create, improve and foster the qualities mentioned that are favorable to success, and we can eliminate to a considerable extent, if not entirely, those that are detrimental to success.
926. Fear. The emotion of fear acts more powerfully upon the feelings of the individual soldier than any other emotion, and it is also probably the most infectious. Fear in a mild form is present in every human being. Nature wisely put it there, and society could not very well get along without it. For example, we stop and look up and down a crowded street before starting to cross, for fear of being run over; in going out in the cold we put on our overcoats, for fear of catching cold. In fact, we hardly do anything in life without taking a precaution of some kind. These are all examples of reasonable fear, which, within bounds is a perfectly legitimate attribute of a soldier in common with other human beings. For example, we teach the men to take advantage of cover when attacking, and we dig trenches when on the defense, in both cases for fear of being shot by the enemy. It is the unreasoning type of fear that plays havoc in war, and the most deadly and common form of it is a vague, indefinite, nameless dread of the enemy. If the average man was to analyze his feelings in war and was to ask himself if he were actually afraid of being killed, he would probably find that he was not. The ordinary soldier is prepared to take his chance, with a comfortable feeling inside him, that, although no doubt a number of people will be killed and wounded, he will escape. If, then, a man is not unreasonably afraid of being killed or wounded, is it not possible by proper training and instruction to overcome this vague fear of the enemy? Experience shows that it is. If a soldier is suffering from this vague fear of the enemy, it will at least be a consolation to him to know that a great many other soldiers, including those belonging to the enemy, are suffering in a similar manner, and that they are simply experiencing one of the ordinary characteristics of the human mind. If the soldier in battle will only realize that the enemy is just as much afraid of him as he is of the enemy, reason is likely to assert itself and to a great extent overcome the unpleasant feelings inside him. General Grant, in his Memoirs, relates a story to the effect that in one of his early campaigns he was seized with an unreasonable fear of his enemy, and was very much worried as to what the enemy was doing, when, all at once, it dawned upon him that his enemy was probably worrying equally as much about what he, Grant, was doing, and was probably as afraid as he was, if not even more so, and the realization of this promptly dispelled all of his, Grant's, fear. Confidence in one's ability to fight well will also do much to neutralize fear, and if a soldier knows that he can shoot better, march better, and attack better, than his opponent, the confidence of success that he will, as a result, feel will do much to dispel physical fear. By sound and careful training and instruction make your men efficient and this efficiency will give them confidence in themselves, confidence in their rifles, confidence in their bayonets, confidence in their comrades and confidence in their officers.
The physical methods of overcoming fear in battle are simply to direct the men's minds to other thoughts by giving them something for their bodies and limbs to do. It is a well-known saying that a man in battle frequently regains his lost courage by repeatedly firing off his rifle, which simply means that his thoughts are diverted by physical movements. This is no doubt one of the reasons why the attack is so much more successful in war than the defense, because in the attack the men are generally moving forward and having their minds diverted by physical motion from this vague dread of the enemy.
927. Courage. Courage, like all other human characteristics, is very infectious, and a brave leader who has no fear of the enemy will always get more out of his men than one who is not so well equipped in that respect. However, it is a well-known fact that a man may be brave far above his fellows in one calling or occupation, and extremely nervous in another. For example, a man may have greatly distinguished himself in the capture of a fort, who would not get on a horse for fear of being kicked off. Courage of this kind is induced chiefly by habit or experience—the man knows the dangers and how to overcome them, he has been through similar experiences before and he has come out of them with a whole skin. This type of courage can be developed by careful training during peace, and it can be increased by self-confidence—by so training the soldier that he knows and feels he will know what to do in any emergency which may arise, and how to do it; he will not be surprised by the unexpected event, which invariably occurs, and he will understand others besides himself are being troubled by unpleasant feelings, which it is his duty as a man and a soldier to overcome.
928. Surprise. Surprise may be said to be the mother of a panic, which is the worst form of fear. In such a case unreasoning fear sometimes turns into temporary insanity. Panic is most infectious, but, on the other hand, a panic can often be averted or stayed by the courageous action of one or more individuals, who can thus impose their will on the mass and bring the people to a reasonable state of mind. Teach every man in the company that when surprised the only hope of success is to obey at once and implicitly the orders of his immediate commander.
Surprises in war are not limited to the ordinary acceptance of the term, such as a sudden attack from an unexpected direction. The soldier who goes into battle, for instance, and hears the whiz of a bullet, or sees a shell burst in front of him, is surprised if he has not been taught in peace that these things have to be faced, and that for one bullet that hurts anyone thousands have to be fired. Similarly, a man sees a comrade knocked over; the horrors of war are immediately brought to him, and his courage begins to ebb—he has been surprised, because he has not realized in peace that men are bound to be killed in war. The whole atmosphere of the battlefield is a surprise to the average soldier with no previous experience—the enemy is everywhere, behind every bush, and lurking in every bit of cover, the air is full of bullets, and any advance towards the formidable-looking position held by the enemy is suicidal. However, if the soldier is properly trained and instructed in peace, he will not be greatly surprised at his novel surroundings; he will know that the enemy is not everywhere, and that one bullet sounds much more dangerous than it really is. A bullet sounds quite close when it is fifty yards away, and there is a popular saying that a man's weight in lead is fired for every man that is killed in war.
929. Respect. It is a mistake to imagine that all that is required from a soldier is respect to his officers and noncommissioned officers. Self-respect is fully as important. A soldier is a human being; if he possesses self-respect he will respect all that is good in his comrades, and they will respect all that is good in him. A man who respects himself knows how to respect other people. These are the men that form the backbone of the company, and are the best material on which to work in order to raise the general standard of courage in Battle. From a purely military point of view, it is absolutely necessary for an officer, noncommissioned officer, or private to possess some marked military qualifications in order to gain respect from others.
This respect engenders confidence in others. Self-respect in the individual can be encouraged, not by fulsome praise, but by a quiet appreciation of the good military qualities displayed by him, and by making use of those qualities whenever an opportunity occurs. For example, if a soldier is seen to do a good piece of scouting or patrolling, the first opportunity should be taken to give him a similar task, if possible in a more responsible position or on a more important occasion. Knowledge is a powerful factor in creating respect, and is probably second only to determination of character. It is essential, therefore, that all officers and noncommissioned officers should have a thorough knowledge of their duties—that they should be "on to their jobs."
930. Cheerfulness. Cheerfulness is a valuable military asset in war, and like all other characteristics of the human being, is very infectious, and in times of depression, such as during a long siege, or after the failure of an attack, it does more than anything else to restore the fighting power of the men.
931. Contentment. Contentment amongst troops in war is dependent upon these main factors: good leading, good food, and sufficient shelter and sleep. Of these, good leading is by far the most important, because it has been proved time and again that badly fed and badly quartered troops, who have suffered great hardships, will still be content and will fight in the most gallant and vigorous manner, provided they are well led. Although good leading emanates in the first instance from the highest military authorities, a great deal depends upon the company officers and noncommissioned officers. A good leader as a rule is careful of the comforts of his men; he obtains the best food and best shelter available, he does not wear out the men by unnecessary movements or unnecessary work, either in the field or in camp, and consequently when he does order them to do anything they know at once that it is necessary and they do it cheerfully.
932. Comradeship. Comradeship is a very valuable military characteristic. What a world of meaning there is in the words, "Me and my bunkie." A soldier may have many acquaintances and a number of friends, but he has but one "bunkie." In times of great danger two men who are "bunkies" will not shirk so easily as two independent men. The best in one man comes out to the surface and dominates any bad military points in the other. They can help each other in countless ways in war, and if one is unfortunately killed or wounded, the other will probably do his best to get even with the enemy at the earliest possible opportunity. This spirit may not be very Christianlike, but it is very human and practical, and helps to win battles, and to win battles is the only reason why soldiers go to war.
ART OF INSTRUCTION ON THE GROUND
933. Advantages. Whenever practicable, training and instruction should, in whole or in part, be imparted on the ground, as this gives the instruction a practical aspect that is most valuable, and enables the soldier to grasp and apply principles that he would not otherwise understand. Knowledge that a man can not apply has no value.
934. Different Methods. Instruction on the ground may be given according to one of these three methods:
1st Method. By means of a talk or lecture prepare the minds of the men for the reception and retention of the subject to be explained later on the ground. In other words, first explain the principles of the subject and then put a "clincher" on the information thus imparted by taking the men to some suitable ground, assuming certain situations and then by quizzing different men see how they would apply the principles just explained in the talk or lecture. For example, after a lecture on the selection of fire-positions take the men to some suitable nearby place and explain to them that the company is attacking toward that house and is being fired upon from that direction. Then continue:
Captain: Remember what I told you about the selection of good fire-positions during the advance. We want to use our rifles with effect, so we must be able to see the position of the enemy. On the other hand, we want to avoid being hit ourselves, if possible; so, we would like to get as much cover as possible. Now, Smith, do you think where we are at present standing is a good place for a fire-position?
Smith: No, sir.
Captain: Why not?
Smith: We can see the enemy from here, but he can see us better than we can see him, and can hit us easier than we can hit him.
Captain: Jones, can you choose a better place, either to the front or rear of where we are now standing?
Jones: I would choose a position along that row of bushes, about fifty yards to the front.
Jones: Because, etc., etc.
Twenty minutes' instruction in this manner, after a lecture, will firmly fix in the brains of the men the principles explained in the lecture.
It is a good plan to repeat the salient points of the lecture in the questions, as was done in the first question asked above, or to do so in some other way.
If a man can not give an answer, or choose a suitable place, explain the requirements again and help him to use his common sense.
2d Method. By practicing the men on the ground in the subject about which the talk or lecture was delivered.
3d Method. This may be called the ocular demonstration method, which consists in having a part of the company go through the exercise or drill, while the rest of the company observes what is being done. This method is illustrated by the following example:
935. Attack. The company commander has just delivered a talk to the company on the second stage of the attack, and has marched the company to a piece of ground suitable for practicing this particular operation, and which the company commander has himself visited beforehand (The ground should always be visited beforehand by the company commander, who should be thoroughly familiar with it. If possible, ground suitable for practicing the operation in question should always be selected.) The operation should begin about 1200 yards from the enemy's position. After pointing out the enemy's position to the company, the particular part of his line it is intended to assault and the direction the company is to advance, the company commander would then proceed something like this: "We are part of a battalion taking part in a battle, and there are companies to our right and left, with a support and reserve in our rear. So far we have been advancing over ground that is exposed to hostile artillery fire (or not exposed to hostile artillery fire, according to the actual country). We have just come under the enemy's infantry fire also, and consequently we must change our method of advancing. Our immediate object is to get forward, without expending more ammunition than is absolutely necessary, to a position close enough to the enemy to enable us to use our rifles with such deadly effect that we will be able to gain a superiority of fire. Now, is this place sufficiently close for the purpose? No, it is not—it's entirely too far away. Is that next ridge just in front of us close enough? No, it is not; it is at least 1,000 yards from the enemy's position. As a rule, we must get from eight to six hundred yards from the enemy's position before the real struggle for superiority of fire begins.
"The following are the main points to which attention must be paid during this part of the advance:
"1. We must halt in good fire position from which we can see and fire at the enemy, and from which we can not be seen very clearly.
"2. We must advance very rapidly over any open ground that is exposed to the enemy's artillery or rifle fire.
"3. We must find halting places, if possible under cover, or under the best cover available, so as to avoid making our forward rushes so long that the men will get worn out, and begin to straggle long before they get close enough to the enemy to use their rifles with deadly effect.
"4. Whenever possible, company scouts should be sent on ahead to select fire-positions."
Of course, the above points will have been explained already in the lecture, but this short summary is given in order to focus the minds of the men upon the action that must be taken by the privates, and squad leaders and the platoon commanders.
We now take one platoon and the remainder of the company looks on. The platoon commander is reminded that he is under artillery and infantry fire, and is then directed to advance, in proper formation, to the first fire-position available.
We will suppose there is a gentle slope up to the next ridge or undulation of the ground, and that there are no obstructions to the view except those afforded by the ground itself. The platoon now advances, the captain remaining with the rest of the company, pointing out mistakes as well as good points, and asking the men questions, such as:
Captain: Corporal Smith, should the whole platoon have gone forward together, or would it have been better to advance by squads?
Corporal Smith: I think it should have advanced by squads.
Captain: No, it was all right to advance as they did. At this distance the enemy's infantry fire would not be very deadly, the platoon is well extended as skirmishers, it would take considerably longer to go forward to the next position by successive squads and we want to advance at this stage as rapidly as possible; for, the longer we took, the longer would the men be exposed to fire, and consequently the greater would be the number of casualties.
Captain: Sergeant Jones, why did the platoon advance at a run when moving down the slope, and begin to walk just before reaching the foot of the slope?
Sergeant Jones: Because the slope is exposed and it was necessary to get over it as quickly as possible. They began to walk just before reaching the foot of the slope, because they struck dead ground and were covered from the enemy's fire by the ridge in front.
Captain: Corporal Adams, shouldn't the platoon have halted when it reached cover, so as to give the men a rest?
Corporal Adams: No, sir; the men had not run very far and walking gave them sufficient rest. It would have been an unnecessary loss of time to halt.
Captain: Harris, why did that man run on ahead as soon as the platoon halted?
Pvt. Harris: So he could creep up the crest of the ridge and lie down in exactly the spot that is the best fire-position—that is, where he can just see to fire over the crest and where the enemy can not see him.
Captain: Yes, that's right. All the men in the platoon might not stop at the best fire-position and in the hurry and excitement of the moment the platoon commander might also fail to do so, but if a man goes forward and lies down, the whole platoon knows that they must not go beyond him. Individual men who, owing to slight undulations of ground, may not be able to fire when they halt in line with this man, can creep up until they can see. Others who, for the same reason as regards the ground, find that if they get up on a line with the man they will be unduly exposed, will halt before that time.
Captain: Sergeant Roberts, is it necessary for another platoon to provide covering fire during the advance of the platoon?
Sergeant Roberts: No sir. At this range the enemy's infantry fire would not be very effective, and it is important to husband our ammunition for the later stages of the attack.
Having asked any other questions suggested by the situation or the ground, the captain will then take the rest of the company forward over the ground covered by the platoon, halting at the place where the platoon changed its pace from a rush to a walk, so that the men can see for themselves that cover from fire has been reached. He will then move the rest of the company forward and tell them to halt and lie down in what each man considers to be the best fire-position, not necessarily adopting the same position as that chosen by the leading platoon. The platoon commanders will then go along their platoons and point out any mistakes.
The leading platoon will now join the company and another platoon will be deployed in the fire position, the platoon commander being directed to advance to the next fire-position.
As we are now about 1,000 yards from the enemy's position the question will again arise as to whether covering fire is necessary.
If the enemy's rifle fire were heavy and accurate it might be necessary, but it should be avoided if possible, on account of the expenditure of ammunition.
We will suppose that the ground falls gently towards the enemy and is very exposed to view for about 300 yards, and half this distance away there is a low bank running parallel to the front of the attack and with a small clump of three or four trees on the bank directly in front of the platoon. Four hundred yards away is the bottom of the valley covered with bushes and shrubs. On the far side the ground rises with small undulations and low foot hills to the high ground occupied by the enemy.
There appears to be no marked fire-position which will afford any cover except the bank 150 yards away. The second platoon advances in the same manner as did the first and the captain with the commanders of the remaining platoons will continue to ask questions and point out what has been done right or wrong by the leading platoon. The first question which will arise is whether the platoon can reach the fire position offered by the bank in one rush, and secondly, whether the bank is a good fire-position. A former question will again crop up as to whether the whole platoon should go forward at once or whether the advance should be made by squads.
A hundred and fifty yards is a long way to advance without a halt, and if a halt is made on such exposed ground fire must be opened. Probably three advances, each of about fifty yards, would be made, covering fire being provided by the other platoons, which will be occupying the fire-position which the leading platoon has just left. This covering fire would not endanger the leading platoon as it would be delivered from just behind the crest and the leading platoon would be over the crest and out of sight and therefore out of fire from the platoon in rear.
The selection of a fire-position during this advance would depend upon very minute folds of the ground, or very low bushes, grass, etc., which might give a certain amount of cover from view, and therefore make it difficult for the enemy to aim or range accurately. We will suppose that the leading platoon has halted to fire about fifty yards in front, the remaining platoons, in turn, should then be taken forward, examining the ground very carefully as they go, and each platoon commander asked to halt his platoon in what he considers to be the best place.
The possibility of using a scout to select a fire-position would be considered, and a fire-position selected by one platoon would be compared with that selected by another.
The third platoon would then lead during the advance to the next fire-position, and so on with the fourth platoon, if necessary, until the bank was reached. The bank will afford a good deal of material for discussion. Is it a good fire-position or is it not, should it be occupied as such or should it be avoided altogether?
If we ask an artillery officer his opinion about the matter, he will tell us that by means of the clump of trees the defenders' artillery will be able to range with absolute accuracy on that bank. The direction of the bank is parallel to their front, and therefore they can fire at any part of it for some distance right and left of the clump without materially altering their range, and if any infantry occupy the bank they can bring a very deadly fire to bear against them.
There appears to be no doubt, from an artillery point of view, that our platoon should avoid occupying it and get out of its neighborhood as rapidly as possible.
There is another drawback as regards the bank: it is some 850 yards from the enemy's position and may be expected to be under an effective rifle fire. It is no doubt a good mark for the enemy, and, now we come to the crux of the whole matter; his artillery and infantry fire might not do us much damage so long as we remain behind the bank, but they might make it very unpleasant for us directly we try to leave this cover and advance further.
Before finally deciding what to do we must consider human nature, which is entirely in favor of halting behind the bank, and if allowed to remain there long, will be opposed to leaving it. We cannot hope to gain superiority of fire over the enemy at a range of 850 yards, so that a long halt at the bank is out of the question. But it appears to be an extraordinary thing, when we are searching everywhere for cover, that we should be doubtful about occupying such good cover when we find it.
If we decide not to occupy it, the logical conclusion is that, when preparing a position for defense, we should construct a good fire-position for the attack some 850 yards away, which is the last thing we should think of doing.
There is no doubt about it, that with badly-trained troops such a fire-position would be liable to become a snare, and that if they once occupied it, there would be great difficulty in getting them forward again, and probably the attack would be brought to a standstill at a critical time.
The answer appears to be found in the simple solution of good training. We must teach our men that when they get into such positions they must use the cover afforded, but for no longer than any other fire-position, and that they must get into the habit in peace of looking upon such localities with suspicion, and with the knowledge that they are not suitable for lengthy occupation in war, if the battle is to be won.
We now come to a still more difficult question of training, namely, how far can the company get forward from the bank without being compelled to stop in order to gain superiority of fire over the defense? In war we want to get as close as possible; the moral effect on the defense is greater, our fire is more effective, and we are likely to gain our object more rapidly. In peace there is no fire to stop us, and we move forward to ridiculous positions which we could not possibly reach in war without first gaining superiority of fire. The result of this is that we try to do the same thing when first we go to war, and we are stopped, probably much further back than we should have been if we had studied the question in peace.
Even on the most open ground we must get to within 600 yards of the enemy, and if the ground affords any cover in front, the exposed space must be rushed and the more forward position gained. Having pointed out this difficulty to the company during the previous lecture, and reminded them of it on the ground, we can now extend the whole company and move forward from the bank, using covering fire and letting each platoon commander decide how far he can get to the front after a series of rushes, the company acting as a whole.
The captain can then go down the line and discuss with each platoon the position it has reached. Whilst he is doing this, the remaining platoons can be trained in fire direction and control, which should be carefully watched and criticized by the platoon commanders. One platoon, owing to the nature of the ground in front of it, can get forward further than other platoons, and this should be brought home to each platoon, so as to avoid the possibility of playing the game of follow your leader, and one platoon halting merely because another has halted.
If there is still time available, and the ground is suitable, the company can be moved to a flank to choose a similar fire-position where the ground is more favorable to an advance, and where the company could get within 300 yards of the enemy, or even less, before it would be absolutely necessary to stop in order to gain superiority of fire.
If there is still time available, and the ground is suitable, the whole operation can be carried out in the opposite direction or in some other direction, and the platoons can thus be trained to appreciate that fire-positions which are good in one place are bad in another.
936. Defense. Demonstrations in defense can be carried out in a similar manner, the captain explaining to the company the general line of defense to be taken up, the portion allotted to the company, and the probable direction of the enemy's attack.
The cooeperation of the artillery and infantry will have been pointed out in the previous lecture: how some part of the enemy's advance will be dealt with by artillery alone, some part by both artillery and infantry, and some part by infantry alone.
This can now be pointed out to the men on the ground. Having considered the assistance provided by the artillery, the next point to decide upon is the exact position of the fire trench. The best way to proceed is to allot a certain portion of the front occupied by the company to each platoon and to let the platoon commanders take charge of the operations. The platoon commander can direct one of his squads to select a position for the trench, and that squad can lie down there. The remaining squads will then select a position in turn. If two squads select the same they can lie down together. The platoon commander will then fall in his platoon, and make them lie down in the most retired position chosen; he will ask the squad leader why the squad chose that locality in preference to any other, why they did not go ten yards further forward or ten yards further back; and he will explain to the whole platoon the advantages and disadvantages of selecting this locality. He will then move the whole platoon forward to the next position chosen by another squad and deal with that locality. Finally, he will select the position he thinks the best, giving his reasons why he has decided upon it, and place the whole platoon on it. When all the platoons have decided upon their line of defense, the captain will move the whole company in turn from the ground occupied by one platoon to that occupied by another, asking the platoon commander in each case to explain why the position was chosen in preference to any other.
He will give his decision as regards each platoon, and he will finally arrange for the position to be occupied by the whole company. One platoon, for some good reason, may have chosen a place which it would not be safe to occupy, owing to the fire of another platoon on the flank. Another platoon may have chosen a place which was very good as regards the field of fire in a direction which was already adequately defended by another platoon, but which had a bad field of fire over ground which no other platoon could fire upon. The company commander would adjust all these matters, and in the end one or more platoons might not be placed in the best position as regards their own particular front, but in the best as regards the whole company.
Having decided upon the exact site of the trenches and the general distribution of fire, the next matter to consider is the amount of clearing that is necessary, and the position and nature of any obstacles which may be required. Each platoon commander having been allotted a definite fire zone, can point out to his platoon what clearance is necessary; he can then ask each squad, as before, to choose the position for the obstacle. The company commander can then take the whole company to the position occupied by each platoon and tell the platoon commander to explain what ground they propose to clear, where they propose to place their obstacle, the material available for its construction, and in every case the reason why the decision has been arrived at. If digging is permitted, the trenches will now be constructed, and care will be taken that they are actually finished. It is far better to work overtime than to construct trenches which would be of little use in war and could not be properly defended. It is the exception rather than the rule to see trenches properly finished, fit for occupation, and capable of resisting a heavy attack. If the trenches cannot be dug the company can be taken to another part of the same position, where the ground in front is totally different, and the exercise can be repeated, the platoon and company commanders pointing out why a fire trench which was well sited in the first case would be badly sited if a similar position was selected in the second case.
937. Outpost. We can now turn to the method of training the company in outpost duty, making use of the same system of demonstration. Having pointed out to the company the locality where the main body is bivouacked, the fighting position which the main body will occupy in case a heavy attack is made against the outposts, and the general line of the outposts, the company commander will indicate on the ground the extent of front which is to be guarded by his company, stating whether imaginary companies continue the position on one or both flanks. He will point out the possible avenues of approach from the direction of the enemy to that portion of the position to be occupied by the company, and state from which direction the enemy is most likely to advance and why.
The first point to decide is the number of outguards and their exact position. In war this would always be done by the company commander, but if it is desired to give the junior officers of the company some instruction in this important detail, they should be sent out before the company arrives on the ground to reconnoiter the position and make their decisions. The exact siting of the trenches for the outguards, the construction of obstacles, and the clearance of the foreground having been decided upon and the positions selected for each outguard discussed, and a definite site selected, the next question to decide is the number and position of the sentries.
The platoon commander would then take each scheme in turn, visit with the whole platoon each position selected for the sentry, and decide finally what it would be best to do, giving, as usual, his reasons.
Having decided upon the positions of the sentries, and their line of retreat, so as not to mask the fire of the outguard, the next matter to consider would be the number of patrols that are required, and the particular areas of ground that must be examined by them periodically. The necessary trenches, obstacles, etc., would then be constructed.
Finally, the whole company should be assembled, marched to the position chosen for each outguard and the reasons for selecting the position explained by the company commander. The company should then be told off as an outpost company, and divided into outguards, supports, if any, and the necessary sentries over arms, patrols, etc., and marched to their respective posts.
If there is still time available each platoon commander can reconnoiter the ground for suitable positions for his outguards by night, take the outguards there, explain why the change of position is desirable, and direct the outguard commanders with their outguards to select positions for the sentries, following the same procedure as by day.
Although it is quite correct to select positions for night outposts during daylight, when possible, they should never be definitely occupied by the company before dark, when the forward movement could not be observed by the enemy. To practice night outposts by day is bad instruction, outguards and sentries are placed in positions which appear ridiculous to the ordinary mind, and the men get confused ideas on the subject. When it is desired to practice day and night outposts as an advanced exercise it is advisable to commence work in the afternoon, establish the day outposts, reconnoiter for the night outposts, make the change after dark and construct the necessary trenches, obstacles, etc., after dark.
It is, however, extremely important that the patrols should get to know their way about the country in front during the daylight, when possible, so that they will have some practice in recognizing land marks by night.
It frequently occurs, when training the company in outpost duties, that periods elapse during which the outguards are doing nothing. These opportunities should be taken to instruct the men in their duties when ordered to patrol to the front, the same system of demonstration being employed. For instance, the officer or noncommissioned officer commanding a piquet can select three men, point out certain ground in front which the sentries cannot see and which must be examined by a patrol, and proceed to instruct the whole picket in the best manner of carrying out this work. We will suppose that the patrol is working by day and that the ground to be visited is behind a small hill some 500 yards in front of the sentry. The commander of the picket will then explain to the men that the first object of the patrol is to reach the ground to be examined without being seen by any hostile patrols which may be moving about in front. Before proceeding further it is necessary for the patrol to decide upon the best line of advance. The various lines of advance will be discussed and the patrol asked to decide which they would select. Three other men can then be asked to give their opinion, and so on until all the men of the picket have expressed their views. The commander of the picket will then state which he considers the best line and give his reasons.
The next matter to decide is the method of advance to be adopted by the patrol. Are the three men to march past the sentry in one body and walk straight over the hill in front? If they do this there may be a hostile patrol hiding just behind the crest, watching the movements of our patrol, and directly the latter reach the hill they will be covered by the rifles of the hostile patrol at a few yards' range and will be captured or shot.
If the patrol is not to advance in one body how is it to act? There is plenty of time available, so that there are no objections to deliberate methods. The patrol should advance from cover to cover with one man always going forward protected by the rifles of the remaining two men who have halted in a good position to fire on any enemy that can fire on the leading man. The leading man having readied the cover in front will signal back all clear, and the two men in the rear will join him. They will then make their next advance in a similar manner.
By looking at the hill the patrol can make a good guess at the locality which a hostile patrol would select if it was on the hill. It would be a place where it could get a good view towards our outpost line, and where the patrol could not be seen itself from the outpost line. If the hill was quite bare with nothing but grass on it and flat round top, the best place for the enemy's patrol would be exactly on the top just behind the crest. In such a position he could not be seen by any sentry to the right or left of our picket. For example, if the hostile patrol chose a place on the side of the bare slope of the hill and looked over the crest line it would not be seen by our sentry, but it might be seen by another one on the flank.
The object of our patrol would be to approach the hill, not direct from the outguard, but either from the left or right of the hill and thus come on the flank of the enemy's patrol if he was there.
The whole picket can then be taken out to the front and follow the movements of the patrol from cover to cover until the hill is reached.
The next step will be to ascertain if there is any one on the top of the hill. If the hill is perfectly bare with a somewhat convex slope, it would be best for the three men to extend to about twenty yards interval and move forward together, prepared to drop on the first sign of the enemy, so that they can creep up and open fire on him without exposing themselves. Three men with magazine rifles extended in this manner, opposed to a hostile patrol collected in one party, should be able to deal with the latter without much difficulty. Their fire would be converging, and coming from different directions would confuse the hostile patrol, especially if the advance was made from a flank. The men of the patrol when creeping up the hill should avoid exposing themselves in the direction of the ground behind the hill, if possible, because they want to examine that ground later on, and if seen by the enemy they might fall into an ambuscade. If it is impossible to avoid being seen from the ground beyond, it would be best for the patrol to retire as though they were going back to the outposts, and then move round the flank of the hill and advance to the ground beyond from an unexpected direction. All this would be considered by the officer or noncommissioned officer commanding the picket, together with many other points.
Sufficient has been said to explain how this system of demonstration can be worked in connection with any class of operation in the field. It is certainly slow, and takes a long time, but no one is ever idle and every one is constantly learning something fresh, for the simple reason that, although one may know every detail of the subject, the ground constantly differs and requires to be dealt with in a common sense and skillful manner. The men are interested throughout, and one morning spent on this kind of work is worth several days of practice in the ordinary manner.
It should be remembered that this system of demonstration is only required to teach the men their work; when they have once learned it and thoroughly understand the necessary details they must be practiced in it, the company or platoon commander indicating what has been well done, what has been badly done, and what requires improvement. (See "Outposts," Par. 1051.)
OTHER EXAMPLES OF THE OCULAR DEMONSTRATION METHOD
938. The following illustrations will suggest other examples of the employment of the ocular demonstration method of instruction:
The advantages and disadvantages of close and extended order. Send a lieutenant or a noncommissioned officer with two or three squads of the older soldiers some distance to the front of the company, and have them advance toward the company, first in close order and then in extended order.
By ocular demonstration show the men who are watching the approach of the company how easy it would be even for the poorest shots to land bullets in the thick of a closed body, but how much of a less distinct target the extended order offers and how many spaces there are in the skirmish line for the bullets to pass through; also, how much more easily cover can be employed and the rifle used in the extended order. Let them see also how much more difficult it is for the officers and noncommissioned officers to maintain control over the movements of troops in extended order, and the consequent necessity and duty of every soldier, when in extended order, doing all he can, by attention and exertion, to keep order and help his officers and noncommissioned officers to gain success.
939. The Use of Cover. Send a lieutenant or noncommissioned officer with a couple of squads of old soldiers a few hundred yards to the front and have them advance on the company as if attacking, first without taking advantage of cover and then taking advantage of all available cover, the part of the company that is supposed to be attacked lying down and aiming and snapping at the approaching soldiers. Then reverse the operation—send the defenders out and have them advance on the former attackers. Explain that the requisites of good cover are: Ability to see the enemy; concealment of your own body; ability to use the rifle readily. Then have a number of men take cover and snap at an enemy in position, represented by a few old soldiers. Point out the defects and the good points in each case.
940. Practice in Commanding Mixed Squads. In order to practice noncommissioned officers in commanding mixed firing squads, and in order to drill the privates in banding themselves together and obeying the orders of anyone who may assume command, it is good training for two or more companies to practice reenforcing each other by one company assuming a given fire-position and the other sending up reenforcements by squads, the men being instructed to take positions anywhere on the firing line where they may find an opening. However, explain to the men that whenever possible units should take their positions on the firing line as a whole, but that in practice it is very often impossible to do this, and that the drill is being given so as to practice the noncommissioned officers in commanding mixed units on the firing line and also to give the privates practice in banding themselves into groups and obeying the command of any noncommissioned officer who may be over them.
941. Operating Against Other Troops. There is no better way of arousing interest, enthusiasm, and pride in training troops than by creating a feeling of friendly rivalry and competition amongst the men, and the best way to do this is to have one part of the company operate against the other in all such practical work as scouting, patrolling, attacking, etc. Whenever practicable, blank ammunition should be used. One of the sides should wear a white handkerchief around the hat or some other distinguishing mark. The troops that are sent out must be given full and explicit instructions as to just exactly what they are to do, so that the principles it is intended to illustrate may be properly brought out.
 This chapter is based on "Company Training," by General Haking, British Army, which is the best book the author has ever seen on the subject of company training. "Field Training of a Company of Infantry," by Major Craufurd, British Army, an excellent little book, was also consulted.
GENERAL COMMON SENSE PRINCIPLES OF APPLIED MINOR TACTICS
942. To begin with, you want to bear in mind that there is nothing difficult, complicated or mysterious about applied minor tactics—it is just simply the application of plain, every-day, common horse sense—the whole thing consists in familiarizing yourself with certain general principles based on common sense and then applying them with common sense. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of following blindly rules that you have read in books.
943. One of the ablest officers in the Army has recently given this definition of the Art of War:
One-fifth is learned from books; One-fifth is common sense; Three-fifths is knowing men and how to lead them.
The man who would be successful in business must understand men and apply certain general business principles with common sense; the man who would be a successful hunter must understand game and apply certain general hunting principles with common sense, and even the man who would be a successful fisherman must understand fish and apply certain general fishing principles with common sense. And so likewise the man who would lead other men successfully in battle must understand men and apply certain general tactical principles with common sense.
Of course, the only reason for the existence of an army is the possibility of war some day, and everything the soldier does—his drills, parades, target practice, guard duty, schools of instruction, etc.—has in view only one end: The preparation of the soldier for the field of battle.
944. While the responsibilities of officers and noncommissioned officers in time of peace are important, in time of battle they are much more so: for then their mistakes are paid for in human blood.
What would you think of a pilot who was not capable of piloting a boat trying to pilot a boat loaded with passengers; or, of an engineer who was not capable of running a locomotive trying to run a passenger train? You would, of course, think him a criminal—but do you think he would be more criminal than the noncommissioned officer who is not capable of leading a squad in battle but who tries to do so, thereby sacrificing the lives of those under him?
You can, therefore, appreciate the importance, the necessity, of every officer and noncommissioned officer doing everything that he possibly can during times of peace to qualify himself for his duties and responsibilities during times of war.
If we are going to have a good army we must have good regiments; to have good regiments we must have good battalions; to have good battalions we must have good companies—but to have good companies we must have efficient company officers and noncommissioned officers.
As stated before, everything in the life of the soldier leads to the field of battle. And so it is that in the subject of minor tactics all instruction leads to the battle. First we have map problems; then terrain exercises; next the war game; after that maneuvers, and finally the battle.
945. Map Problems and Terrain Exercises. In the case of map problems you are given tactical problems to solve on a map; in the case of terrain exercises you are given problems to solve on the ground. (The word "Terrain," means earth, ground.) These are the simplest forms of tactical problems, as you have only one phase of the action, your information is always reliable and your imaginary soldiers always do just exactly what you want them to do.
946. War Game. Next comes the war game, which consists of problems solved on maps, but you have an opponent who commands the enemy—the phases follow one another rapidly and the conditions change—your information is not so complete and reliable. However, your men being slips of cardboard or beads, they will, as in the case of your imaginary soldiers in the map problems and terrain exercises, go where you wish them to and do what you tell them to do—they can't misunderstand your instructions and go wrong—they don't straggle and get careless as real soldiers sometimes do.
Map problems, terrain exercises and war games are but aids to maneuvers—their practice makes the maneuvers better; for you thus learn the principles of tactics and in the simplest and quickest way.
947. Maneuvers. In the case of the maneuver the problem is the same as in the war game, except that you are dealing with real, live men whom you can not control perfectly, and there is, therefore, much greater chance for mistakes.
948. The battle. A battle is only a maneuver to which is added great physical danger and excitement.
General rules and principles that must be applied in map problems, terrain exercises, the war game and maneuvers
949. Everything that is done must conform in principle to what should be done in battle—otherwise your work is wasted—your time is thrown away.
In solving map problems and in the war game, always form in your mind a picture of the ground where the action is supposed to be taking place—imagine that you see the enemy, the various hills, streams, roads, etc., that he is firing at you, etc.—and don't do anything that you would not be able to do if you were really on the ground and really in a fight.
Whether it be a corporal in command of a squad or a general in command of an army, in the solution of a tactical problem, whether it be a map problem, a terrain exercise, a war game, maneuver or battle, he will have to go through the same operation:
1st. Estimate the situation; 2d. Decide what he will do; 3d. Give the necessary orders to carry out his decision.
At first these three steps of the operation may appear difficult and laborious, but after a little practice the mind, which always works with rapidity in accustomed channels, performs them with astonishing quickness.
The child beginning the study of arithmetic, for example, is very slow in determining the sum of 7 and 8, but later the answer is announced almost at sight. The same is true in tactical problems—the process may be slow at first, but with a little practice it becomes quick and easy.
950. Estimating the Situation. This is simply "sizing up the situation," finding out what you're "up against," and is always the first thing to be done. It is most important, and in doing it the first step is to determine your MISSION—what you are to do, what you are to accomplish—the most important consideration in any military situation.
Consider next your own forces and that of the enemy—that is, his probable strength and how it compares with yours.
Consider the enemy's probable MISSION and what he will probably do to accomplish it.
Consider the geography of the country so far as it affects the problem—the valleys to cross, defiles to pass through, shortest road to follow, etc.
Now, consider the different courses open to you with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
You must, of course, in every case know what you're up against before you can decide intelligently what you're going to do.
In making your plan always bear in mind not only your own MISSION, but also the general mission of the command of which you form a part, and this is what nine men out of ten forget to do.
951. The Decision. It is important that you should come to a clear and correct decision—that you do so promptly and then execute it vigorously.
The new Japanese Field Service Regulations tell us that there are two things above all that should be avoided—inaction and hesitation. "To act resolutely even in an erroneous manner is better than to remain inactive and irresolute"—that is to say do something.
You are now ready to come to a decision, which is nothing more or less than a clear, concise determination of what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. Frederick the Great, expressed the same idea in fewer words: "Don't haggle."
Having settled on a plan, push it through—don't vacillate, don't waver. Make your plan simple. No other has much show. Complicated plans look well on paper, but in war they seldom work out. They require several people to do the right thing at the right time and this under conditions of excitement, danger and confusion, and, as a result, they generally fail.
952. The Order. Having completed your estimate of the situation and formed your plan, you are now ready to give the orders necessary to carry it out.