The Plattsburg Manual - A Handbook for Military Training
by O.O. Ellis and E.B. Garey
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The movement described in this paragraph will be ordered right or left, so as to restore the files to their normal relative positions in column of twos or in column of squads.

The movements prescribed in the three preceding paragraphs are difficult of execution at attention and have no value as disciplinary exercises.

Marching by twos or files can not be executed without serious delay and waste of road space. Every reasonable precaution will be taken to obviate the necessity for these formations.

The remainder of chapter on close order drill, School of the Company, is in general for those above the grade of private, therefore, unless we are perfectly clear in what we have had so far, let us not go too deeply into these special features until we have more experience.

The captain is responsible for the theoretical and practical instruction of his officers and noncommissioned officers, not only in the duties of their respective grades, but in those of the next higher grades.

If the left squad contains less than six men, it is either increased to that number by transfers from other squads or is broken up and its members assigned to other squads and posted in the line of file closers. These squad organizations are maintained, by transfers if necessary, until the company becomes so reduced in numbers as to necessitate a new division into squads. No squad will contain less than six men.

The company is further divided into two, three, or four platoons, each consisting of not less than two nor more than four squads. In garrison or ceremonies the strength of platoons may exceed four squads.

Platoons are assigned to the lieutenants and noncom-missioned officers, in order of rank, as follows: 1, right; 2, left; 3, center (right center); 4, left center.

The noncommissioned officers next in rank are assigned as guides, one to each platoon. If sergeants still remain, they are assigned to platoons as additional guides. When the platoon is deployed, its guide, or guides, accompany the platoon leader.

The first sergeant is never assigned as a guide. When not commanding a platoon, he is posted as a file closer opposite the third file from the outer flank of the first platoon; and when the company is deployed he accompanies the captain.

Musicians, when required to play, are at the head of the column. When the company is deployed, they accompany the captain.

Guides and enlisted men in the line of file closers execute the manual of arms during the drill unless especially excused, when they remain at the order. During ceremonies they execute all movements.

In taking intervals and distances, unless otherwise directed, the right and left guides, at the first command, place themselves in the line of file closers, and, with them, take a distance of 4 paces from the rear rank. In taking intervals, at the command march, the file closers face to the flank and each steps off with the file nearest him. In assembling the guides and file closers resume their positions in line.

Being in line at a halt, the captain directs the first sergeant, dismiss the company. The officers fall out; the first sergeant places himself faced to the front, 3 paces to the front and 2 paces from the nearest flank of the company, salutes, faces toward opposite flank of the company, and commands: 1. Inspection, 2. ARMS, 3. Port, 4. ARMS, 3. DISMISSED.

The alignments are executed as prescribed in the School of the Squad, the guide being established instead of the flank file. The rear-rank man of the flank file keeps his head and eyes to the front and covers his file leader.

At each alignment the captain places himself in prolongation of the line, 2 paces from and facing the flank toward which the dress is made, verifies the alignment, and commands: FRONT.

Platoon leaders take a like position when required to verify alignments.


As soon as your progress in close order is sufficiently advanced, you will be given extended order drill, which will teach you the formations used in battle, and how a firing line is controlled. They are executed at ease.

We should know the meaning of the two following terms: Base and Deploy.

Base. The element on which a movement is regulated. In company drill it is usually the right or left; leading, rear, or center squad.

Deploy. To extend the front. The company deploys when it executes as skirmishers.

There are really only two conditions that we must consider in this drill. The movements are very easy to

understand, but they require a lot of practice to prevent confusion.

First Case. Let us take the company in line at a halt. It is desired to form a skirmish line to the front. 1. As skirmishers, guide right (left or center), 2. MARCH.

At the preparatory command (i.e., as skirmishers, guide right) all the corporals, except the corporal of the first squad, give the command, by the left flank, the corporal of the first squad gives the command, as skirmishers.

At the command march, all squads, except the first squad, move to the left, and when they have their proper intervals they are deployed to the right (left) and on the line of the base squad by the corporals giving the commands: As skirmishers, 2. MARCH. The corporal of the first squad deploys his squad as soon as he has sufficient room (interval).

That's all there is to the first movement with some slight modifications.

Of course if the command had been as skirmishers, guide left, the base squad would have been the left or fourteenth Squad instead of the first squad, for when we speak of the right or left of a company, in the deployments, the company being in line, we mean the right or left squads of the company.

Another modification: Suppose the command had been as skirmishers, guide center. In that case the base squad would be the center or seventh squad. The base (seventh) squad deploys without moving to the right or left. There is only one thing for the first six squads to do and that is to move to the right. There is only one thing for the last seven squads to do and that to move to the left.

We have considered the company so far to be at a halt; suppose that it had been moving forward. The corporal of the base squad deploys his squad as soon as he has sufficient interval, and then continues straight to the front until the command: 1. Company, 2. HALT, is given by the captain. The other corporals move their squads to the left front (or right front), by commanding their squads, Follow me. They conduct their squads on the shortest and easiest route to their places in the line and then deploy their squads as they arrive in the general line.

The corporals should remember that they are not to step out from their squads to conduct them to their proper places until the captain has given the command march.

The corporals often fail to take sufficient intervals thus causing a jam.

The company being at a halt, the corporals should remember to give by the right or left flank instead of right or left face.


Now suppose the company is in column of squads at a halt. It is desired to form a skirmish line to the front: 1. As skirmishers, guide right (left), 2. MARCH.

At the command march, the corporal of the first, or leading squad, deploys his squad without advancing. All of the other corporals move to the left front and deploy their squads on the line formed by the first squad. At the preparatory command the corporals command, follow me, and at the command MARCH, they step in front of their squads and conduct them to their places.

Had the command been as skirmishers, guide left, of course all except the leading squad would have moved to the right. For when the company is in column of squads, as skirmishers, guide right means that the first or leading squad is to be the right of the skirmish line. If left, instead of right is given that simply means that the leading or base squad is to be the left of the skirmish line.

Now we come to the last variation. It is difficult for the new man. The command as skirmishers, guide center, the company being in column of squads, simply means that the center squad is to be the base squad. All other squads are to regulate their movements on the base squad as in all other cases.

This is a peculiar case and for it the authorities have adopted a rule of thumb. All squads in front of the base squad go to the right, those in rear to the left. That's all there is to it. But that must be remembered. Corporals will conduct their squads to their proper places by the shortest and easiest routes.

We will use a platoon of four squads to illustrate the idea.

Note that the leading corporal turns his squad well to the right rear and then to the left.

We have assumed the company to be at a halt; suppose it is moving forward. In that case the base squad simply continues moving forward after it has deployed until the captain gives the command halt. The other corporals conduct their squads by the shortest routes to their proper places and deploy them on the general line.

When the company, while moving, is deployed, it is a common error for squads in rear of the base squad to take long and fast steps and come up on the line of the base squad. This should not be done unless the command double time is given. In which case all the squads take up the double time, except the base squad.

Extended Order


The command guide right (left or center) indicates the base squad for the deployment; if in line it designates the actual right (left or center) squad; if in column the command guide right (left) designates the leading squad, and the command guide center designates the center squad. After the deployment is completed, the guide is always center without command, unless otherwise ordered.

At the preparatory command for forming skirmish line, from either column of squads or line, each squad leader (except the leader of the base squad, when his squad does not advance) cautions his squad, follow me or by the right (left) flank, as the case may be; at the command march, he steps in front of his squad and leads it to its place in line.

Having given the command for forming skirmish line, the captain, if necessary, indicates to the corporal of the base squad the point on which the squad is to march; the corporal habitually looks to the captain for such directions.

The base squad is deployed as soon as it has sufficient interval. The other squads are deployed as they arrive on the general line; each corporal halts in his place in line and commands or signals, as skirmishers march; the squad deploys and halts abreast of him.

If tactical considerations demand it, the squad is deployed before arriving on the line.

Deployed lines preserve a general alignment toward the guide. Within their respective fronts, individuals or units march so as best to secure or to facilitate the advance but the general and orderly progress of the whole is paramount.

On halting, a deployed line faces to the front (direction of the enemy) in all cases and takes advantage of cover, the men lying down if necessary.

The company in line or column of squads may be deployed in an oblique direction by the same commands. The captain points out the desired direction; the corporal of the base squad moves in the direction indicated; the other corporals conform.

To form skirmish line to the flank or rear the line or the column of squads is turned by squads to the flank or rear and then deployed as described.

The intervals between men are increased or decreased as described in the School of the Squad, adding to the preparatory command, guide right (left or center), if necessary.


The captain takes his post in front of, or designates, the element on which the company is to assemble and commands: 1. Assemble, 2. MARCH.

If in skirmish line the men move promptly toward the designated point and the company is re-formed in line. If assembled by platoons, these are conducted to the designated point by platoon leaders, and the company is reformed in line.

Platoons may be assembled by the command: 1. Platoons, assemble, 2. MARCH.

Executed by each platoon as described for the company.

One or more platoons may be assembled by the command: 1. Such platoon(s), assemble, 2. MARCH.

Executed by the designated platoon or platoons as described for the company.

Wherever it is necessary in campaign to deploy troops there is often so much noise and confusion that it is impossible for the officers and noncommissioned officers to make themselves heard. Signals must be used instead of verbal commands.


There are only two kinds of whistle signals; a short last and a long blast. A short blast means pay attention, or look out for a signal or command.

A long blast means stop firing for a minute (suspend firing).


The advance of a company into an engagement whether for attack or defense) is conducted in close order, preferably column of squads, until the probability of encountering hostile fire makes it advisable to deploy. After deployment, and before opening fire, the advance of the company may be continued in skirmish line or other suitable formations, depending upon circumstances. The advance may often be facilitated, or better advantage taken of cover, or losses reduced by the employment of the platoon or squad columns or by the use of a succession of thin lines. The selection of the method to be used is made by the captain or major, the choice depending upon conditions arising during the progress of the advance. If the deployment is found to be premature, it will generally be best to assemble the company and proceed in close order.

Patrols are used to provide the necessary security against surprise.

Being in skirmish line: 1. Platoon columns, 2. MARCH.

The platoon leaders move forward through the center of their respective platoons: men to the right of the platoon leader march to the left and follow him in file; those to the left march in like manner to the right; each platoon leader thus conducts the march of his platoon in double column of files; platoon guides follow in the

rear of their respective platoons to insure prompt and orderly execution of the advance.

Being in skirmish line: 1. Squad columns, 2. MARCH. See preceding page.

Each squad leader moves to the front; the members of each squad oblique toward and follow their squad leader in single file at easy marching distances.

Platoon columns are profitably used where the ground is so difficult or cover is so limited as to make it desirable to take advantage of the few favorable routes; no two platoons should march within the area of burst of a single shrapnel (ordinarily about 20 yards wide). Squad columns are of value principally in facilitating the advance over rough or brush-grown ground; they afford no material advantage in securing cover.

To deploy platoon or squad columns: 1. As skirmishers, 2. MARCH.

Skirmishers move to the right or left front and successively place themselves in their original positions on the line.

Being in platoon or squad columns: 1. Assemble, 2. MARCH.

The platoon or squad leaders signal assemble. The men of each platoon or squad, as the case may be, advance and, moving to the right and left, take their proper places in line, each unit assembling on the leading element of the column and reforming in line. The platoon or squad leaders conduct their units toward the element or point indicated by the captain, and to their places in line; the company is reformed in line.

Being in skirmish line, to advance by a succession of thin lines: 1. (Such numbers), forward, 2. MARCH.

The captain points out in advance the selected position in front of the line occupied. The designated number of each squad moves to the front; the line thus formed preserves the original intervals as nearly as practicable; when this line has advanced a suitable distance (generally from 100 to 250 yards, depending upon the terrain and the character of the hostile fire), a second is sent forward by similar commands, and so on at irregular distances until the whole line has advanced. Upon arriving at the indicated position, the first line is halted. Successive lines, upon arriving, halt on line with the first and the men take their proper places in the skirmish line.

The first line is led by the platoon leader of the right platoon, the second by the guide of the right platoon, and so on in order from right to left, by the officers and non-commissioned officers in the file closers.

The advance is conducted in quick time unless conditions demand a faster gait.

The company having arrived at the indicated position, a further advance by the same means may be advisable.

The advance in a succession of thin lines is used to cross a wide stretch swept, or likely to be swept, by artillery fire or heavy, long-range rifle fire which cannot profitably be returned. Its purpose is the building up a strong skirmish line preparatory to engaging in a fire fight. This method of advancing results in serious (though temporary) loss of control over the company. Its advantage lies in the fact that it offers a less definite target, hence is less likely to draw fire.

The above are suggestions. Other and better formations may be devised to fit particular cases. The best formation is the one which advances the line farthest with the least loss of men, time, and control.


These exercises, as well as combat exercises, are for instruction in duties incident to campaign. To receive the maximum benefit from them you must know the assumed situation of each exercise.


The principles governing the advance of the firing line in attack are considered in the chapters on Attack and Defense.

When it becomes impracticable for the company to advance as a whole by ordinary means, it advances by rushes.

Being in skirmish line: 1. By platoon (two platoons, squad, four men, etc.) from the right (left), 2. RUSH.

The platoon leader on the indicated flank carefully arranges the details for a prompt and vigorous execution of the rush and puts it into effect as soon as practicable. If necessary, he designates the leader for the indicated fraction. When about to rush, he causes the men of the fraction to cease firing and to hold themselves flat, but in readiness to spring forward instantly. The leader of the rush (at the signal of the platoon leader, if the latter be not the leader of the rush) commands: Follow me, and running at top speed, leads the fraction to the new line, where he halts it and causes it to open fire. The leader of the rush selects the new line if it has not been previously designated.

The first fraction having established itself on the new line, the next like fraction is sent forward by its platoon leader, without further command of the captain, and so on, successively, until the entire company is on the line established by the first rush.

If two or more platoons are ordered to rush, the senior platoon leader takes charge of them, and the junior (or juniors) carries out the wishes of the senior.

A part of the line having advanced, the captain may increase or decrease the size of the fractions to complete the movement.

When the company forms a part of the firing line, the rush of the company as a whole is conducted by the captain, as described for a platoon in the preceding paragraph. The captain leads the rush; platoon leaders lead their respective platoons, platoon guides follow the line to insure prompt and orderly execution of the advance.

When the foregoing method of rushing, by running, becomes impracticable, any method of advance that brings the attack closer to the enemy, such as crawling, should be employed.

Quibbling over minor details shows a failure to grasp the big ideas.



Do not study this chapter until you begin your extended order drills.

If the authors of this text were requested to select for you the most important of all information that you will receive during your instruction at a training camp, they would advise you to take home that contained in this chapter. If you have learned fully so much you will have done well. If you have failed to comprehend as much as this, you will have returned to your homes lacking in important knowledge.

If you are on the battle-field and propose to crush the other side (defeat the enemy), you have got to do one thing: you have got to make your rifle fire better than his, and you have got to keep it better.

The proposition is this: The enemy is on the defense. He is in a number-one, first-class trench. It is constructed with steel, concrete, and sandbags. It has all the improvements that science can devise. Your business is to attack and crush the enemy. How can you advance over exposed ground against such a position? The man behind all those modern improvements has got to stick his head up more or less when he fires. If the volume and rate and accuracy of your fire is greater than his, he will grow timid about the matter. His fire will become less effective. That is to say, he cannot have fire superiority. When your side has fire superiority, it not only can advance upon such a position but it can do so without ruinous losses, and with hope of success.

To obtain this fire superiority it is necessary to produce a heavier volume of accurate fire than your opponent can produce. We can get a proper conception of the ideas involved by imagining two firemen in a fight armed with hose. One has a larger hose and a greater water pressure than the other. All else being equal, we can foresee clearly who will be the victor and who will be defeated. The more water one throws into the other's face, the less accurate and effective will the other's aim become. This is equally true with bullets. Put a man on the target range, where no danger whatsoever is involved, and he may fire with a nice degree of accuracy. Put him on the battle-field with a great number of bullets whizzing around his head, and he must be a trained veteran to fire with the same accuracy. This is true simply because we have been made that way.

The volume and accuracy of fire depend upon several considerations: (a) Of primary importance is the number of rifles employed. Let us imagine a battle-line one mile long. It is obvious that we cannot have one man firing behind another. We don't want to destroy our own men. They must, therefore, be placed side by side. Each man must have sufficient room to operate his rifle. Experience tells us that we must not have more than one man per yard. We thus see that our battle-line of a mile can only have about eighteen hundred rifles. (b) The rate of fire affects its volume; an excessive rate reduces its accuracy. If you were hunting tigers, you can easily imagine where one well-aimed and well-timed shot could be of more use to you and more harm to the tiger than half a dozen shots fired too rapidly. (c) If the target is large, is clear (can be easily seen), and is but a short distance from you, your fire, for reasons that do not require explanations, can be more rapid. Greater density increases the effect. Suppose a hundred deer were grazing on a hill; you would be more likely to kill some deer than if only a half dozen were there. (d) The position of the target influences the effect of fire. Suppose that ten men were lined up in a row against a wall and that it is your business to kill the lot with a rifle. If you are in front of them, ten shots at least will be required. But it is possible for you to take a position in prolongation of the line (on its flank) and kill the entire number with one bullet. (This also illustrates the extreme vulnerability of flanks.)

What are the important steps that must be taken if you are going to get this fire superiority? 1st, Fire Direction. 2d, Fire Control. 3d, Fire Discipline.


A company that cannot start firing or stop firing, that cannot fire faster or slower, that cannot distribute equally its fire over an opposing target, that cannot switch its fire from one place to another and make bull's-eyes, would be as unsuccessful in battle to-day as Harvard's football team would be, without practice, in its final game with Yale. The team work in no department of athletics is as necessary or vital as that of a military force, the teamwork of a military machine. The first is a sport, a limited time being involved. The second is a question of life and death to the nation.

It requires a nice and cool judgment, under actual conditions of war, to point out and distribute properly the target to the different groups, to find the exact range, and give all these instructions (directions) that will be necessary to produce an effective fire upon the enemy. Who is responsible for giving these instructions (fire direction), and exactly what are all the conditions that must be fulfilled in order that each individual on the firing line may know exactly where and how to fire?

The captain (company commander) is responsible for all. In the military world there is no such thing as shifting responsibilities. The commander assumes full responsibility, whether things go right or wrong. He must handle his job through his subordinates (platoon leaders). 1st, He points out the target to his platoon leaders. 2d, He assigns a part of the target to each platoon, in such a manner that the entire target (objective) will be covered (fired upon). 3d, He determines and gives the men the distance to the objective (range). 4th, He indicates the kind of fire to be employed (that is, whether each man will fire as he pleases, fire five shots and then stop, et cetera). 5th, He indicates when the company is to commence firing. 6th, Thereafter the captain observes what effect his company's fire is producing, and corrects flagrant (material) errors. He prevents the exhaustion of his ammunition and distributes such extra ammunition as may be received from the rear.


We have just described what the captain directs. Now we must put his directions (orders) into effect. This is done through his platoon leaders, assisted by the platoon guides and the corporals. 1st, The platoon leaders point out and describe their part of the objective (target) to the corporals. 2d, They assign a particular part of the objective to each corporal with the view of covering equally with the fire the entire objective. 3d, They announce the range (distance to the objective) to their platoons. 4th, If any part of the line cannot see the objective, the platoon leaders must make the changes so that it can see, or so that its fire will be effective. 5th, They order their platoons to open fire at the proper time. Thereafter they observe the target and make any necessary changes to keep the fire effective, i.e., fire fast or slow, according to the necessity, and are on the alert for any commands or signals from the captain.

The platoon guides do one thing only: they watch the firing line and check every breach of fire discipline. (See "Fire Discipline," below.)

The corporals have four distinct duties. 1st, They transmit the commands and signals to their squads when necessary. 2d, They observe the conduct of their squads and abate excitement. 3d, They do all in their power to enforce discipline. 4th, They participate in the firing.


Now we come to the individual private on the firing line. All of the above measures for efficiency will come to but little unless the man with the gun can understand and do what he is directed to do. This training is called Fire Discipline.

Fire Discipline implies, besides a habit of obedience, a control of the rifle by the soldier (the result of training), which will enable him in action to make hits instead of misses. It embraces: 1st, Taking advantage of the ground. 2d, Care in setting the sight and delivery of fire. 3d, Constant attention to the orders of the leaders, and careful observation of the enemy. 4th, An increase of fire when the target is favorable, and a cessation of fire when the enemy disappears. 5th, Economy of ammunition.


Fire Direction is the issuance of instructions regarding the firing.

Fire Control is the explanation of these instructions through the platoon leaders.

Fire Discipline is the quality which enables the soldier to submit to control and fire efficiently under all conditions.



"Security" has the same meaning in the military world as elsewhere. We properly think of the security of our persons, our property, our families in connection with the term. In the military world the family, or community, being so much larger, the word "security" acquires additional dignity.

A husband and father provides for the protection of his family whether at home or abroad. So does the military commander for his command, whether it is an army or a squad; whether it is in camp, on the march, in battle, advancing upon or retreating from the enemy. The end desired is the same in all cases. A study of all the measures adopted by the successful generals in history shows that the means are not very different.

A body of troops in camp is protected (made secure) by the use of groups placed between the enemy and the camp. We were told by a bee expert in Arizona that a limited number of bees remained in the vicinity of the hive. They were quick to observe and resist (the two great duties of an outpost) any intruder.

Suppose that you are in a part of the jungles of Borneo where wild Mohammedan tribes still exist, that you have had a strenuous day's march, and it is time for you to halt and camp for the night. If you are a thoughtful and experienced hunter you will pitch your camp where its protection will be least difficult. A few wild men may severely punish you for a lack of judgment in the matter. They may probably spring from a weak and unexpected quarter when the occasion is least favorable for you. And unless the members of your camp know that you have exercised wise discretion, and that there are proper measures for their security, they will be unable to obtain the needed repose for the following day's work. From this we can see the important business (function) of an outpost.

As a father would interpose himself between his wife and children and an attacking bulldog, so would a military commander provide a similar protection for his camp. We see from this one of the big duties of an outpost commander, i.e., especial attention should be devoted to the direction from which the enemy (bulldog) is coming or is thought to be coming, and a probably less degree of attention to other points.

Consider yourself a member of General Sherman's army during its march from the North on Atlanta. You are to camp for the night on a very open piece of ground. You do not know where the enemy is, but you believe that he is somewhere south of you. The troops are tired. They have had a long, hard march. Let us suppose it is your duty to provide the security of the main body for the night. General Sherman has given you a certain number of men for this purpose. Just how would you go about it?

Regardless of other considerations, it is imperative that your own main force be not surprised or caught off guard by any contingency, however exceptional. To secure this immunity, it is necessary to send men or groups of men in the direction of the probable advance of the enemy, anti to arrange these men or groups of men so that they can be of assistance to each other. This we call forming an outpost.

It may be possible to have a line of protection extending around the entire camp. It must be extended and arranged so as to keep the enemy so far away from our main body that he cannot observe our numbers or our position. The enemy must not be permitted to approach close enough to the main body to annoy or surprise it. Experience shows that all of this is best accomplished by placing: 1st, some groups or line of groups farthest from our main body and closest to the enemy in order to observe, to report the movements of the enemy, and, when necessary, to make a temporary resistance; 2d, a line of resistance ("supporting groups") called "supports" upon which the first line can retire before, being swamped by superior numbers; 3d, large groups, or line of groups ("line of reserves"), so located that they may go to the assistance of the second line in case of necessity. Such arrangements may be illustrated by the following diagram.



Danger zone Cavalry

Danger zone Danger zone - - Cavalry Cavalry / / / + / + ^ + / + / ^ + + -+ + / MAIN BODY ^ / - Line of observation. Line of reserves - Occupied by small to move forward to groups. Drive back help line of supports. enemy patrols. Line of supports on line of resistance. Rallying point for small groups in front.

Note that distances from the line of observation to the main body increase as the groups increase in size. The reserves are the largest groups. The groups on the Line of observation are the smallest.

It is most important to note that the groups are placed according to the conditions and circumstances of the particular case. Don't follow any blind rules. Your judgment must tell you when to place this group here and not to place that group there. Have as few men on such duty as practicable.

If a swamp, or a large body of water here, very small groups will afford the necessary security.

If a forest, or steep hills here, very small parties will afford the necessary security.

Assume that we want to afford security for our main body from any especially dangerous sector such as ABC. Our cavalry is in front of our first line and in touch with the enemy. The danger zone represents the direction from which the enemy is expected.]

This plan must be modified according to the particular case. Let us suppose that we are camping by a large body of water, or that we are surrounded by mountains. We can easily imagine where we could change the above general plan so as to give adequate protection and at the same time lessen the number of men detailed for security. We must never forget that men are generally tired when they arrive in camp, and that we should make their work as light as circumstances permit. It requires a nice judgment to choose the correct number for security.

We should know the names of these groups. Farthest away is the line that sees, and reports what it sees, but can offer only a limited resistance. This is called the "line of observation" or the "line of outguards." In rear of the line of outguards we have larger groups placed at greater distances. These are called "supports." This is the line that fights. This is the line that makes extensive preparations for fighting (or resisting). It is called the "line of supports" or the "line of resistance."[2] We have one farther and last line of groups which is still larger and occupies still greater distances than the two we have just discussed. This is the safety valve and is called the "reserve," or the "line of reserves." This is the line that gives a sound factor of safety. It will only be called upon in cases of emergency and may therefore generally enjoy a considerable degree of repose. But it and the line of supports combined must have sufficient strength to delay the enemy, in case of a general attack, long enough for our main body to form for battle.

Let us look at the line of outguards for further important considerations and distinctions. The enemy's movements and operations should ordinarily be expected where there are for him least difficulties. Large (dangerous) bodies of troops find trouble in marshes, thick forests, steep mountainous country. They avoid these obstacles as much as possible, selecting open country, solid soil, strong bridges, and good roads. Here is where large and strong groups in opposition are necessary. Small and unimportant groups (or no groups at all) should be placed where the enemy's advance is exceptionally difficult. Finally, there will be places between these last two extremes that require just an average amount of attention, that is to say, require groups of medium strength.

The groups that are largest and are used at the important places where danger is most expected, are called "Pickets." (These consist of from two squads of eight men each to eight squads.) The least important groups are called "Cossack Posts." (These consist of four men, usually a noncommissioned officer and three privates.) The groups of average importance are called "Sentry Squads." (These consist of eight men, a corporal and seven privates.)

Having discussed in broad terms the security of troops in camp, we are prepared to consider their security while either advancing upon or retreating from the enemy. In either case groups are placed between our main body and the actual or supposed position of the hostile troops. When we are advancing upon an enemy our advanced groups constitute what we term the "advance guard." If we are retreating from the enemy, our rear groups compose the "rear guard." The main general ideas of an advance guard are illustrated by the husband who takes his wife and family to his house after an evening's absence. The house is dark and without occupants. The wife and children are apprehensive of danger. The husband goes first, turns on the light, and searches for any indications of an enemy. He looks, if desirable, in the closets and under the beds. If there is any one that may harm his family it is his duty to find out and dispose of him.

In the advance guard we have exactly the same general scheme as with outposts. Far advanced to the front (and often to the sides or flanks) we have small groups (called, when considered collectively, the "advance party") whose business it is to inform us of the presence of the enemy. Next we have a large group ("support") to assist these small and rather helpless ones in advance in case of difficulty. And last we have a still larger group ("reserve") that may be called upon in great emergencies.

We should fully understand that all these groups are out to accomplish several ends, but their one great and ultimate object should be to push on ahead of the main body so that it may be secure and its march uninterrupted. To accomplish this it is desirable to get all possible information about the enemy; it is also desirable to keep him from getting any information about your own troops.

The ideas are nearly the same with rear guards. Note this important difference: if, in an advance upon the enemy, your advance guard should suddenly be fired upon, your main body would (temporarily) halt. If, in a retreat, your rear guard is halted by the enemy's fire, your main body would normally be marching farther from it. In the first case assistance is near at hand. In the second it is withdrawing. The rear guard in a retreat should therefore be a little larger than in an advance. It must be able to extricate itself from any situation however difficult or it loses its usefulness. Its commander should have a cool, level head. To delay the enemy and thus assist the main body to escape is his mission. For him to remain too long in a good position might endanger not only his safety but that of the main body as well.



The European War has demonstrated more clearly than ever before two points in attack and defense. First, no people, or group of people, can claim a monopoly on bravery. They all move forward and give up their lives with the same utter abandon. Courage being equal, the advantage goes to him in the attack who possesses superior leaders, greater training, and better equipment. Second, a man's training and courage, his clear eye and steady nerve, his soul's blood and iron, constitute a better defense than steel and concrete.

A soldier has little business attacking or defending anything in this day unless he is an athlete, unless he is skilled in the technique of manoeuver, unless he is a good shot, unless he knows the value of many features of the terrain (which means the nature of the country—its hills, rivers, mountains, depressions, etc.—considered from a military point of view), unless he is disciplined to a splendid degree, and unless his training has imbued him with an irresistible desire to push forward, to get at his opponent. Assuming, at least, as much as this, we are prepared to consider the subject of the attack (the offensive).

To have your troops superior in number, condition, training, equipment, and morale to that of your enemy; to be at the right place, at the right time, and there to deliver a smashing, terrific blow—this is the greatest principle of the attack. And history shows that victory goes more often to him who attacks.

Initiative in war is no less valuable than in business life. Become at once imbued with the desire to put "the other fellow" on the defensive. That makes him somewhat dependent upon your own actions. That gives you opportunities to fool him that he does not so fully enjoy. Your commander can elect to attack any point of the defensive line. Your dead and wounded—always a demoralizing element—are left behind. Your target is stationary. Your side is closing in. The enemy is straining every nerve to fire faster and more effectively, and still your side is closing in. There is the thrill of motion.

To attack, you will usually require a greater number of troops than the defense. Why so? Because you will be more exposed. You will have to move forward, however dangerous the ground. Your enemy, for his protection, will be certain to utilize and improve every advantage of cover. Your losses will be greater. You should have a greater number of reserves to fill the depleted ranks. If the defensive can maintain a better (superior) fire, that is to say, a fire that kills and wounds a greater number than the opposing fire (this we call fire superiority), he will stop the advance of the attacking force unless that force is so superior in numbers that it can send forward reinforcements after reinforcements as an ocean sends shoreward its series of waves.

Suppose that you were in command of a group of men and that you were ordered to attack. Just what principal points should you weigh? First, you should avail yourself of every opportunity to obtain all information of military value, such as the enemy's strength, his position, and intentions. For this you would have to send out groups of reconnoitering patrols exceptionally skilled in woodcraft, or trained to gather information. As soon as such information as is available is reported to you, you should at once begin the consideration of all the important elements that affect your problem. You must not lose sight of what you were sent out to do (your mission). Consider how this and that fact bear upon your course of action (estimate the situation). For instance: the enemy's force is reported to be greatly inferior to your own. He is out of supplies. He is greatly fatigued with forced marches. His morale is shattered on account of recent and frequent reverses. His camp is disorganized. It is poorly guarded. Certain roads are in fine condition. Others are very poor. Your troops are in splendid shape and excellent spirits. They believe that they can crush the enemy and want to attack. As you easily see, all such points have great significance in sizing up the case (estimating the situation).

Having estimated the situation, you should investigate and consider all possible courses of attack that are open to you. Don't ask any advice from any one. Select the course that appears to offer the greatest chance of success. Make up your mind what you are going to do (come to a decision).

Having come to a decision, stick to it, right or wrong. Your next and final thing to do is to put your decision into action. To do that, give your subordinates the information they should possess; tell them what you are going to do and how you are going to do it; i.e., issue your orders.

A study of the orders of successful generals in history teaches us that we will be greatly aided in issuing them, if we will observe a system. We understand an order more easily and quickly if it conforms to some plan with which we are familiar.

In order to give your group an opportunity to act with a greater degree of teamwork, and intelligence in case of an emergency, it is necessary to give it data (information) concerning the enemy. Your men should know where there are friendly troops. Now tell them what you are going to do (your plan), whether it be to attack, retire, or assume the defensive. And then order the execution of that plan by assigning to each group its task. Next tell (direct) what is to be done with the wagons (trains), and last, state where you may be found at any time in case of need or where messages may be sent to you.

Having issued the order, let us now observe the progress of the attack. You are probably three or four thousand yards from the enemy. His position is invisible. His artillery has opened fire. Your artillery is replying. The troops must advance cautiously over exposed ground. They are not firing. They are not deployed for action (in battle line). They are waiting to get within as short a distance of the enemy's line as possible, for their ammunition is limited; and after troops are actually launched in the attack, control over them, for ordinary purposes, is practically lost. The farther from the enemy the attack is launched, the longer the exposure to their fire and the greater the number of casualties, so the leaders of the different groups are taking advantage of all the accidents of the ground, of all cover in advancing. They are using one formation here, another there, with a view to minimizing the losses and reaching an advantageous position as soon as possible where they can open an effective fire on the enemy.

Now the enemy's fire is severe. Casualties are becoming heavy. The men are growing restless. It is necessary to return the fire. Fire superiority should be gained at once. Don't move forward until you gain it. If difficult to gain, use every means at your disposal. When you have it, keep it. Part of your men can advance when your side has fire superiority. The remainder of the firing line should fire faster to maintain that superiority. If you lose fire superiority, regain it. If necessary, troops from the rear will generally be sent forward.

Now you are approaching the point where the charge is to be made. Bayonets are fixed; not all at one time, for that would affect the advantage that you possess with your fire. Groups that have been held back in support are advanced. These are to be used at decisive moments. They are held well in hand. The firing line is lost in noise and confusion. Not so the supports; control is exercised over them. If they are not used in the attack they can be used to great advantage to complete the discomfort of the enemy after the clash (shock).

There is at last, if the enemy remains in his position, the clash. Bayonet against bayonet, man against man, nerve against nerve. Apply the great principle of attack and decide for yourself who the victor will be. If successful, then organize your men and prepare for the pursuit or for the return (counter attack) of the enemy.

Now you are to handle groups on the defense. You must bear in mind that there are two kinds of defense: first, where you do nothing but defend (passive defense); second, where you defend, but temporarily, with the idea of attacking the enemy as soon as a favorable opportunity arises (active defense). Let us assume that you have been ordered by superior authority to locate and prepare a definite position to check the advance of an enemy. Just what main points should you bear in mind? Suppose you have found an ideal position; what conditions should it fulfil? You should be able to see the enemy long before he arrives at your position. Intervening objects and trees would make that impossible. You should be hidden from his view. The ends of your lines (your flanks) should rest, if possible, on ground easy to defend; for instance, a high mountain, a large body of water, or an impassable swamp. A few acres of ground will not hold tens of thousands of men. Therefore the extent of the ground must be suitable for the size of your group (force or command). It would be of great advantage to have such cover that one group (for instance, a support) could move from this position to that without danger of being fired upon or observed. A wise general has plans for any contingency. He is either going to win or he is not going to win. If he loses, he should have a means of escape (retreat). In selecting his position he should place it where the enemy must attack or give up his mission. Verdun had to be attacked before the advance on Paris from the east was practicable.

In defense there is a generous allowance of advantages. Usually you have time to select and prepare your position. By preparing a position we mean, you can dig trenches, destroy intervening objects that obstruct the view of what you should see, construct obstacles that will embarrass the enemy in his advance, estimate (or determine) distances to important places. You have opportunities for collecting ammunition, arranging wires for communication, establishing stations for the wounded. Troops in motion are easier to see. You are not called upon for as much physical strain as the attacking troops. You are less fatigued. Your machine guns are better concealed and the gunners know the ranges better than those of the attack.

But it is most distressing to a man on the defense to see the enemy, regardless of everything he can do, advance step by step. He begins to question within himself the efficacy of his fire, which is to doubt his own ability. The more he questions and worries, the less effective his aim becomes. His comrades are dead and wounded about him. Their cries of distress are heard above the noise and confusion of battle. He becomes less methodical and deliberate in his actions. His shooting becomes high and wild. This becomes generally true. The attacking force gains fire superiority.

Suppose that it is actually your business to construct a defensive position. Just how will you assign the tasks? What are the important things to be done at first, and what, if time is pressing, may with least hardship be omitted? You would first cut down trees, blow up buildings, destroy crops that prevented you from seeing in any direction of danger. Next you should provide protection (concealment and cover), so that there will be as few casualties as possible. Then do what is in your power to make it most difficult for the enemy to arrive at your position; i.e., construct some barbwire fences (entanglements) that he will be unable to cross. Have your expert range finders determine and make notes of the distances to important points from which the enemy must advance. Next, dig ditches (trenches) so that your groups (supports or reserves) may pass from one point to another without danger. Now take steps to protect your most vital and vulnerable points, your flanks. Have them so strong, if practicable, that the enemy will leave them alone. Assign to each group of men a section of the ground to defend. Having done these important things, then go about those things that will make you more comfortable in the trenches.



The most thrilling experience you will have at a training camp will probably come when you step up to the firing line on the target range to fire your first shot. The great majority of new men grow pale, become nervous, lose their calm and poise, while they are on the firing line. This is a fact, not a theory. And this loss of nerve is not confined to the new man. Any shot, however old and experienced, will tell you that he fully understands what we have just described.

To become a good shot, we must solve a mental condition that corresponds in a way to that of beginners in golf. And we must master some details in technique.

We should know something about the machine (rifle) we are to operate. We must know what the sights are and how to use them. We should know how those men most successful in the science and art of shooting hold the rifle under different conditions, how they adjust their slings, how they prepare (blacken) their sights and care for their rifles, what practice and preparation they take, and what bits of advice they have to offer.

The primitive man had no means of accurately aiming his crude devices to throw stones. But in this day and age we have. The modern rifle is one of the most perfect pieces of scientific machinery in the world. Very shortly after you arrive in camp your captain will explain to you its sights and how they are adjusted. lie has a sighting bar for that purpose. It will take you only a few minutes to grasp the subject when you have a rifle in your hands, and your instructor is pointing out and explaining just what you should know. On paper it seems to be hard.

Now you will want to learn how to load your piece (rifle), work your bolt, and squeeze the trigger. Simple as these points may seem, you will have something to learn after you have been at it ten years. Practise! practise! practise! Sit on your bunk and work your bolt ten thousand times before you go on the range. Get in the habit of doing it quickly. Learn to keep your piece at your shoulder while you pull the bolt back and push it home. Learn to make the fewest possible motions of your body in working it. To pull a bolt back and push it forward seems to be a simple thing to do. It is simple. But when you are actually firing at the target, experience tells you that you will have more trouble and a greater collection of hard luck stories to amuse your friends with than you ever imagined possible, unless you have had plenty of practice.

To squeeze a trigger seems to be a simple thing to do. It is simple. But after you have been squeezing triggers for twenty years you will have something more to learn about it. Ninety-five per cent. of the failures on the target range in the training camps come from not squeezing the trigger properly. You can't learn how to squeeze it on paper. You have got to practise. Every time you work your bolt, squeeze your trigger. Get in some extra "squeezes." You will find that your whole muscular and nervous system will need to be coordinated and harmonized. After you have been long about it you will find an extreme delicacy in its operation. You will find that it requires a great deal more than a finger. All the muscles of your hand and arm will be required. We cannot overemphasize the importance of squeezing your trigger. When you learn to do this without jumping (flinching), without moving an eyelash, you are making progress and are prepared for more advanced work.

Why do you suppose we have "gallery practice," i.e., practice with a greatly reduced charge of powder? Simply to determine and correct your errors. We assume that you have normal sight and that you are in fair physical condition. Suppose that you make a perfect score. What conditions must you fulfil? 1st, You must aim in exactly the same way every time. 2d, At the instant of firing your body must be in perfect repose. 3d, You must squeeze your trigger properly (without a jerk).

You could not aim exactly the same way every time unless you understood your sights and unless you could see them plainly. You will be told to blacken them. Many forget and fail to do this. They do not fully realize that the sights are much easier to see when blackened, and that therefore the chances of hitting the bull's-eye are much greater. There's no more luck in shooting than there is in solving a problem in geometry, or in a game of billiards. It's all practice, nerve, and science.

Your body cannot be in repose at the instant you fire unless you have your sling properly adjusted, unless you are reasonably comfortable (not constrained), and unless you, temporarily, stop breathing. Your body must be, for an instant, a vise. Any trivial thing such as a puff of wind, a jerk of the trigger, or a noise near you, will ordinarily change your hold and throw you off the bull's-eye.

Suppose you are making a poor score. What is the trouble? In the first place don't blame it on the rifle or the ammunition. Assume full responsibility yourself. You are the responsible party. Practise a great deal and see if you can locate the fault. If you cannot, your captain will assist you.

When we go from gallery practice to the target range, where we fire the service rifle with the service charge, we find a great difference in the recoil of the rifle and in the sound. The good Lord has made our muscles and nervous system to react automatically at danger or anything connected with it. That is probably why we shudder and close our eyes when a door is slammed very near to us. But sound, unless we get too close, does not hurt any one, and we should steel our nerves to remember that fact when we are firing. We also know that there is going to be a certain amount of recoil of the rifle. But if you will hold your sling as you have been instructed, if you will provide yourself with proper elbow and shoulder padding, the authors of this text assure you that you will experience no pain or harm from the recoil. It is their judgment that if you are healthy and can see and will go on the range with your jaws set to fire with anything like your gallery practice coolness, and calmness, you will qualify. Your greatest stumbling block will be your rapid fire. This is where you fire a definite number of shots in a limited time. And this is where you will experience the extreme amount of nervousness.

When you return from firing your first score at rapid fire, and have had time to think calmly over your actions, you will probably realize that your nerves were pitched up in G and that you did a number of foolish things. You should realize that you are not an exceptional man. Ninety-nine out of every hundred normal, virile men are more or less nervous when they first step up for rapid fire. Practice and will power are the correctives.

Let us suppose that you have ten shots to fire in two minutes. If you fire your ten shots in one minute it is plain that you return unused one minute given to you. This minute may have been of great use to you in getting closer to the bull's-eye. If you fire at the rate of ten shots in three minutes, it is plain that when your two minutes shall have expired you have missed the opportunity of firing four times at the bull's-eye.

Get one of your bunkies to go back of your tent and time you. Then swap about and you hold the watch for him. Try to make of yourself a machine that finishes the ten shots just before the time expires.

And here is a little rule of thumb we want you to bear constantly in mind while you are having rapid fire: Load your piece quickly, but aim and squeeze your trigger deliberately. Keep cool.

The best shot in the company is the man who practises the most.



The manoeuver practice march will be the most instructive, the most pleasant, and one of the hardest periods of your service. You will return from it proud of the hardships you have undergone and capable of speaking with authority on many practical matters pertaining to soldiering. You will be able to amuse yourself and your friends with reminiscences of the many incidents which you will never forget. It is during the practice march that you will put into practical use the tactical principles and battle formations of which, up to that time, you will have heard at lectures, or which you will have executed in a mechanical manner at drill. You will return from each march with a knowledge of many practical points on camp sanitation, of the pleasures and hardships incident to manoeuver warfare, and of the manner in which a soldier adapts himself to changing conditions, all of which cannot be learned from books or lectures.

The practice march demands a large expenditure of physical and mental energy; however, the hardships are greatly exaggerated by the old soldiers. To make up a set of equipment, to assist in cleaning up camp and loading trucks, to march and fight for a distance of ten or twelve miles while carrying a heavy pack on the back and a nine-pound gun on the shoulder, and upon reaching camp to pitch your tent, make up your bed, do some fatigue work, and probably some guard duty in addition, all in one day, is a hard physical strain on the average man. By obeying implicitly the advice of your company commander, you will greatly lessen the hardships incident to a practice march, and by disobeying it you may possibly undergo the mortification of having to drop out of ranks and be jeered at by the passing column. The following suggestions, if followed implicitly, will lessen the hardship of the "hike."


1. Adjust your equipment, if necessary, at the first halt.

2. Do not leave the column without the express permission of your company company commander.

3. Keep in your proper place in the column.

4. keep forty inches from the man in front of you.


Halts are made for the purpose of resting. Take advantage of the opportunity by sitting down at once along the side of the road near the place where your squad will form when the march is resumed. Remain seated until the command to fall in is given.

Sit down in such a way that you do not support the weight of the pack on your shoulders while resting. Don't go wandering off into people's yards or orchards. Relax as completely as possible. Get into place immediately when the signal is given.


Two men tent together—the front rank man and his rear rank file. Alter pitching your tent, get inside and level off the ground. Cut a drain around the tent to carry the water off; this should be done even in pleasant weather. In case you do not trench your tent and a sudden rain comes, your blankets may get wet and you will probably lose some much-needed rest and sleep. If the tent pins will not stay in the ground, cut some small sticks to a length of about twelve inches and use them as tent pins.


After you have pitched your tent, get some hay, grass, straw, or leaves and cover the floor. Place one poncho on this, then one or two blankets on top of the poncho to sleep on, and use the remaining blankets as cover. Spread the other poncho over the tent. Many men are careless about making a comfortable bed. You will be rewarded with large dividends if you are zealous in making yourself comfortable. Arrange your equipment at the rear just under the small triangle. Get your meat can, knife, fork, spoon, and tin cup out where they will be handy.


Immediately after reveille, take down your tent and make up your pack. Place your extra blankets on the pile with those of the other members of your squad. Make up your surplus kit bundle and put it in the surplus kit bag.


Fill your canteen each evening, as the water wagons sometimes do not reach camp before the morning march is commenced. Excessive water drinking on the march is the besetting sin of the inexperienced soldier. One swallow of water calls for another. Soon your canteen is empty. Your stomach feels uncomfortable. You are still thirsty. If it is necessary to replace some of the water of the body which is lost by perspiration, and this is often necessary, first gargle out the mouth and throat and spit the water out; then take a swallow or two, but be careful not to drink to excess. Injudicious and excessive water drinking fills the hospital ambulances and auto trucks with men who should be in ranks. One half a canteen of water is sufficient for you on any march you will have to make. After you arrive in camp and have cooled off a little, drink as much water as you desire, but do so slowly.


The infantryman's feet are his means of transportation. If you care for them properly, you will be rewarded.

1. Wash and dry the feet carefully and put on clean socks as soon as practicable after getting into camp.

2. Wash out the socks you have been wearing and hang them out to dry.

3. Do not wear socks with holes in them if you can possibly avoid it. Should a hole begin to cause rubbing, turn the sock inside out or change it to the other foot.

4. Just as soon as you decide to attend a training camp or join the colors, cut your toe nails square across the ends so they will not grow in.

5. In case of any foot trouble that you cannot relieve, report to the surgeon at once. Don't wait until you cannot march before reporting.

6. A Treatment for Blisters. Be careful not to tear off the skin covering the blister. Heat the point of a needle until it is red hot and when it cools insert it under the live skin a little distance away from the blister. Push it through to the under side of the bruised skin or blister and then press out the water. To protect the blister, grease a small piece of chamois with vaseline and place it so that it covers the blister and extends over on the solid skin surrounding it. Then place a piece of oxide adhesive tape over the chamois. This method allows the protective covering to be removed without rupturing the skin over the blister and protects the new tender and sensitive skin so that the weight can be rested upon the foot without causing severe pain. One man in each squad should be provided with a needle, adhesive tape, a bottle of vaseline, and a piece of chamois for the common use of the squad.

7. Shoes.

a. Be sure they fit your feet. The business shoe you wear at the office won't do for marching when, with the additional weight you carry, your foot spreads in breadth and extends in length; hence your marching shoes should be longer and broader than your business shoes. This is a very important item and should not be neglected. If your shoes are too large, blisters will result; if too small, your foot will be cramped, and every step will be painful.

b. Break your shoes in prior to the practice march.

c. Keep your shoes well oiled so they will be soft and pliable and keep out water.

d. If your shoes get wet on the inside heat some small pebbles (not so hot as to burn leather) and keep them inside the shoes until dry.


In camp you are really your brother's keeper. It is the duty of every man to keep the camp clean, sanitary, and livable. Constantly bear in mind that a great number of men are living together in a very small area; that food is being prepared in the open; that there are no sewers; and that the ground or dust and streams must not be polluted. Obey conscientiously and diligently the following rules:

1. Don't take food to your tent.

2. Use the latrines that are provided.

3. When possible bathe each day as soon as practicable after you arrive at camp.

4. Don't throw food or fruit peeling on the ground.

5. Dispose of any food you cannot eat by burning in the kitchen incinerator.

6. Keep away from the kitchen and cooks.

7. Don't dip your cup in the drinking water receptacle. Use the dipper provided for that purpose.

8. If sick, report to a surgeon.

9. Don't litter up the camp with paper.

10. Get your drinking water and bathe at the authorized places. The camp commander always designates different places for cooking and drinking water, for watering the animals, for bathing and washing clothes.

11. On leaving camp the ground should be in better condition than when you arrived. All sinks, latrines, ditches, and holes are filled and the earth stamped down; all combustibles that have no value should be burned and noncombustible matter either buried or piled so it can be carted away.

12. All deposits in the rears should be covered with earth.


1. Take great pains each morning to make a neat, small and solid pack and strap it up securely.

2. Don't put your pack on until ordered to do so by your company commander or first sergeant.

3. Get your pack properly adjusted.

4. Don't take your equipment off during the halts allowed for resting.

5. Don't eat anything or patronize the soft drink stand during a march.

6. Retire early and get a good night's rest.

7. Use only heavy or light wool socks and see that they fit perfectly. If you cannot wear wool socks, try cotton and then silk socks.

8. Don't overeat or overdrink.

9. A light pair of sneakers or canvas tennis shoes are serviceable for camp wear in the afternoons and are restful to the feet.

10. Each morning sprinkle a little talcum powder or footease in the shoes.

11. Keep the bowels functioning properly. Should you become constipated, report to the doctor for medicine before you begin to feel badly.

12. Clean your mess kit immediately after each meal.

13. Respect the property of others.


During the hike your equipment for living will be limited to: (1) your pack (things that you carry on your back), (2) a few authorized articles which are placed in a squad laundry bag (called a surplus kit), and (3) a blanket roll.

Contents of the Pack

1 bacon can. 1 condiment can. 1 blanket. 1 poncho. 1 shelter half (one-half of a small tent) 5 small tent pins. 1 tooth brush. 1 comb and any other toilet articles desired. 1 cake of soap. 1 or 2 towels. 1 extra suit of underwear. 1 pair socks. 1 pair shoe strings.

Contents of Surplus Kit

1 pair of breeches. 1 suit of underwear. 1 shirt, olive drab. 1 shoe laces. 2 pair of socks. 1 pair of shoes (tan).

Any other article that may be prescribed by the company commander.

The surplus kit of each man will be made up into a neat, compact bundle, tied with a string (use a shoe string for the purpose), and tagged with the owner's name. These individual kits will be packed in a laundry bag, called "surplus kit bag," tagged, one for each squad.

Contents of Blanket Roll

1. Extra blankets.

2. One ramrod for each squad.

3. Any other articles that may be prescribed by the company commander.

Each squad makes these extra blankets, etc., into a long roll which is called the "squad blanket roll." A tag is tied to it, showing to what regiment, company, and squad it belongs.


1. The bacon can is a convenient place to carry a small face towel, shaving outfit, and other small toilet articles.

2. Keep your soap in a soap box.

3. Each squad should have its own cleaning material which should be tied into a small package and carried in the surplus kit bag.

4. Interest in a hike or a manoeuver will be stimulated if at least one member of each squad has a map showing all the camp sites and route of march.

5. One man in each squad should be provided with a small bottle of iodine, some absorbent cotton and adhesive tape for the common use of the squad. This saves time for the surgeon and men in caring for minor injuries, scratches, etc.


Have too much esprit de corps to complain of the length of the march, or to kick about the dust on the road. Be self-controlled. Don't boast of your ability to march on forever. Such remarks are depressing to a tired comrade who is not as physically strong as you.



To make it possible to fill the gaps made in the Regular Army, by the heavy loss of commissioned officers which is inevitable in time of war and to make it possible to train large volunteer armies which are called into existence when war is imminent or actually upon the country, the Government has provided for an Officers' Reserve Corps.

It is, indeed, a patriotic and far-sighted act on the part of a citizen to become a reserve officer, for, by so doing, he will increase his measure of usefulness for the time when his country will need him most and when he will, if he is a real, virile man, desire to be of the utmost service to his country.

The President alone is authorized to appoint officers in the Reserve Corps. Each officer must be physically, mentally, and morally qualified to hold his commission. The highest rank in the reserve corps will be that of major.

Age limits for appointment in the line of the Reserve Corps:

2nd Lieutenants must be under 32 years of age.

1st Lieutenants must be under 36 years of age.

Captains must be under 40 years of age.

Majors must be under 45 years of age.

Any citizen who thinks that he has the necessary qualifications and desires to become a reserve officer should apply to the Commanding General of the Department wherein he resides for an application blank and all information pertaining thereto.

You must undergo a course of training in camp. We advise you in the strongest terms to go to camp as soon as possible. There are no short cuts in the military business. The most efficient instruction under the most ideal conditions with the most competent officers, will be found only in camp.


An officer in the Reserve Corps cannot, without his consent, be called into service in a lower grade than that held by him in the Reserve Corps.

When a Reserve Officer reaches the age limit fixed for appointment or reappointment in the grade in which commissioned, he will be honorably discharged from the service of the United States and he will be entitled to retain his official title, and, on occasions of ceremony, to wear the uniform of the highest grade he held in the Reserve Corps. The preceding provisions as to ages of officers do not apply to the appointment or reappointment of officers of the Quartermaster, Engineer, Ordnance, Signal, Judge Advocate, and Medical Sections of the Reserve Corps.

A commission in the Reserve Corps will cover a period of five years, except as provided in the preceding paragraph, unless sooner terminated in the discretion of the President. An officer may be recommissioned, either in the same or a higher grade for successive periods of five years, subject to examination and age limits.

To become eligible for appointment as an officer of the Officers' Reserve Corps a man must be not less than twenty-one years of age and must be a citizen of the United States.


In time of actual or threatened hostilities the President can order officers of the Reserve Corps to temporary duty with the Regular Army, or as officers at recruiting rendezvous and depots, or on such duty as he may prescribe. An officer thus called into service receives the same pay and allowances as an officer of the same rank in the Regular Army. When thus called out Reserve Officers may be promoted in rank to vacancies in volunteer organizations. Retired officers of the Officers' Reserve Corps are not entitled to retired pay but are entitled to pensions for disability incurred in line of duty and while in active service. When called out for active service an officer in the Reserve Corps will be required to obey the laws and regulations for the government of the Army of the United States in so far as they are applicable to officers whose permanent retention in the military service is not contemplated.


During peace the Secretary of War can order any Reserve Officer to duty for instruction for a period not to exceed fifteen days in any one calendar year. While so serving, an officer will receive the pay and allowance of his grade in the Regular Army. This period of service may be extended with the consent of the Reserve Officer. By thus extending such periods of instruction a Reserve Officer may, at the conclusion thereof, be examined for promotion to the next higher grade.


Each applicant for a commission in the Reserve Corps will be given a rigid physical examination. Make certain that you can pass such an examination. Go to your family physician and get him to examine you.

The examinations for Reserve Corps commissions are for the purpose of ascertaining the practical ability of the applicant. The record of all the service and training the applicant has had at training camps is considered as part of the examination.

Those desiring to enter the Officers' Reserve Corps may elect any of the following sections:

1. Infantry Officers' Reserve Corps. 2. Cavalry Officers' Reserve Corps. 3. Field Artillery Officers' Reserve Corps. 4. Coast Artillery Officers' Reserve Corps. 5. Medical (to include the reserve officers of the Medical Corps, Dental Corps, and Veterinary Corps) Officers' Reserve Corps. 6. Adjutant General's Officers' Reserve Corps. 7. Judge Advocate General's Officers' Reserve Corps. 8. Inspector General's Officers' Reserve Corps. 9. Quartermaster Officers' Reserve Corps. 10. Engineer Officers' Reserve Corps. 11. Ordnance Officers' Reserve Corps. 12. Signal Officers' Reserve Corps.


Officers in the Officers' Reserve Corps are required to report at once to the Adjutant General of the Department in which they live or to the heads of the Staff Corps or Departments to which they may belong of any permanent change of address. If a change of address to any other department is involved the adjutant of each department should be notified.


The President is authorized to establish and maintain in civil educational institutions a Reserve Officers' Training Corps which shall consist of senior and junior divisions.


A senior division of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps may be established at any university and college requiring of its students four years of collegiate study for a degree, and at essentially military schools which, as a result of annual inspection of such institutions by the War Department, are especially designated as qualified to establish a unit of the senior division. Authorities of the former (universities and colleges not essentially military) must establish and maintain a two years' elective or compulsory course of military training, as a minimum, for its physically fit male students. This course, when entered upon, must in the case of such students be a prerequisite for graduation.

When any member of this senior division has completed two academic years of service in that division; has been selected by the president of the institution and by its professor of military science and tactics (who must be an army officer); has made a written agreement to continue in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps for the remainder of his course in the institution, devoting five hours per week to the military training prescribed by the Secretary of War; has also made a written agreement to pursue the courses in training camps (one camp of not more than six weeks' duration each year) prescribed by the Secretary of War)—when he has fulfilled all these conditions, he may be given, at the expense of the United States, a money commutation of subsistence at a rate not exceeding the cost of the garrison (army) ration during the remainder of his service in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. This will amount to about thirty cents a day. This provision applies only to the senior division.


A junior division of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps may be established at any institution to which an army officer has been detailed as the professor of military science and tactics, and which cannot meet the necessary requirements for the senior division. In this case the Government does not give a commutation of subsistence and the students are not asked to obligate themselves as in the senior division.


The President is authorized, under such regulations as he may prescribe, to appoint in the Officers' Reserve Corps any graduate of the senior division of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, who shall have satisfactorily completed the two-year course of training (five hours a week), incident to receiving a commutation of rations; also any graduate of the junior division who shall have satisfactorily completed the courses of military training prescribed for students of the senior divisions, referred to in the first part of this paragraph, and shall have participated in such practical instruction, subsequent to graduation, as the Secretary of War shall have prescribed. They must be twenty-one years of age and must make written agreement under oath to serve the United States for ten years.

Any physically fit male citizen of the United States, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-seven years, who graduated prior to June 22, 1916, from any educational institution at which an officer of the Army was detailed as professor of military science and tactics, and who, while a student at such institution, completed courses of military training substantially equivalent to those prescribed for the senior division of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, may, after satisfactorily completing such additional practical military training as the Secretary of War shall prescribe, be eligible for appointment to the Officers' Reserve Corps.

The President can appoint and commission, as a temporary second lieutenant of the Regular Army in time of peace, for the purpose of instruction and for a period not to exceed six months, any Reserve Officer who was appointed in the manner described in the two preceding paragraphs. A temporary second lieutenant will receive the allowance authorized by law for that grade and pay at the rate of $100 a month. He will be attached to a unit of the Regular Army for duty and training. At the end of the six months he will revert to the status of a Reserve Officer.


At the end of each calendar year department commanders and chiefs of staff corps and departments compile lists of members of the Officers' Reserve Corps under their command, showing:

(a) Name, rank, age, and address. (b) Amount of instruction received. (c) Progress made. (d) Efficiency of officer. (e) Recommendation.

A copy of these lists will be forwarded to the Adjutant General of the Army.

The remainder of this chapter boils down to an irreducible minimum some of the most important subjects with which a Reserve Officer or an applicant for a commission in the Officers' Reserve Corps should be familiar. It emphasizes those things with which a reserve officer should at once become familiar.[A] It merely opens up a broad field of study for a reserve officer and at the same time can be used as a place of reference.


You now are, or expect to become, a member of the land forces of the United States. Of what do the land forces of the United States consist? They consist of the Regular Army, the Volunteer Army, the Officers' Reserve Corps, the Enlisted Reserve Corps, the National Army, the National Guard in the service of the United States and such other land forces as Congress may authorize.

The land forces are grouped under two general heads:

(1) The Mobile Army. (2) The Coast Artillery.

"The Mobile Army. The mobile army is primarily organized for offensive operations against an enemy, and on this account requires the maximum degree of mobility." (Field Service Regulations.) It consists of:

Infantry. Field Artillery. Cavalry. Engineers. Signal Corps Troops.

"The Coast Artillery. The coast artillery is charged with the care and use of the fixed and movable elements of the land and coast fortifications." (Field Service Regulations.)

The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. He exercises his command through the Secretary of War. The Chief of Staff acts as military adviser to the Secretary of War. He puts into effect the Administration's wishes.

For the purpose of equipping, inspecting, directing, and administering to the Army, there are the following corps and departments:

(1) General Staff Corps. (2) Adjutant General's Department. (3) Inspector General's Department. (4) Judge Advocate General's Department. (5) Quartermaster Corps. (6) Medical Department. (7) Ordnance Department. (8) Bureau of Insular Affairs. (9) Signal Corps. (10) Engineer Corps.

The following are the grades of rank and commands of officers and noncommissioned officers:

(1) General Commands: Armies. (2) Lieutenant-General Commands: Field Army. (3) Major-General Commands: Division. (4) Brigadier-General Commands: Brigade. (5) Colonel Commands: Regiment. (6) Lieutenant-Colonel Second in command in a Regiment. (7) Major Commands: Battalion. (8) Captain Commands: Company. (9) First Lieutenant Commands: Platoon. (10) Second Lieutenant Commands: Platoon. (11) Veterinarian He has no command. (12) Cadet at United States Military Academy He has no command. (13) Sergeant-Major (Regimental) He has no command. (14) Ordnance Sergeant He has no command. (15) Quartermaster Sergeant He has no command. (16) Sergeant-Major (Battalion) He has no command. (17) First Sergeant Commands: Platoon. (18) Sergeant Commands: Sometimes a Platoon. (19) Corporal Commands: Squad.


The Army is governed by the Articles of War, which can be found in the Army Regulations. Any laws, orders, et cetera, pertaining to the Army must not violate directly or indirectly any of the Articles of War. It is therefore desirable that each Reserve Officer know where to find them and become, in a general way, familiar with them.


To become a first-class drillmaster is desirable and necessary. But, being one, you are not to be intrusted with the command of troops in the field unless you have gone much farther than that. To become an excellent drillmaster means simply that you have mastered a detail. In order to become one you should bear this in mind: You cannot teach a man how to do a thing unless you know that thing yourself. If you don't know your drill, don't try to "bluff" your men. Burn the midnight oil, or remain a private.


An official letter should refer to one subject only.

In writing to the War Department address your letter to "The Adjutant General of the Army, Washington, D. C."

The United States (including colonies) is divided into the following departments:

(1) The Northeastern Department, with Headquarters at Boston, Massachusetts.

(2) The Eastern Department, with headquarters at Governors Island, New York.

(3) The Southeastern Department, with Headquarters at Charleston, South Carolina.

(4) The Central Department, with Headquarters at Chicago, Illinois.

(5) The Southern Department, with Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

(6) The Western Department, with Headquarters at San Francisco, California.

(7) The Philippine Department, with Headquarters at Manila. P. I.

(8) The Hawaiian Department, with Headquarters at Honolulu, Hawaii.

You will be in one of these departments. Address your communication to "The Commanding General" at his department headquarters.

Answer all official communications promptly. This is important. Letters must be written, folded, signed as prescribed by the War Department. Models illustrating the system are furnished by the Adjutant General's office, Washington, D. C. "Ind." is the abbreviation for indorsement.

(Correspondence Model)

COMPANY B, 40TH INFANTRY, Fort William H. Seward, Alaska, July 19, 1916.

From: The Commanding Officer, Co. B, 40th Inf.

To: The Adjutant General of the Army (Through military channels.)

Subject: Philippine campaign badge, Corporal John Doe.

Inclosed are lists in duplicate of the enlisted men of Company B, 40th infantry, entitled to the Philippine campaign badge.

John A. Brown, Capt., 40th Inf.

1st Ind.

Hq. Ft. William H. Seward, Alaska, July 19th, 1916.— To the Comdg. Gen., Western Department, San Francisco, California.

A. F. R., Brig.-Gen., Comdg.

2d Ind.

(Incl. is the abbreviation for inclosure.)

(Stamp) Rec'd Western Department, July 30, 1916.

(Note. This correspondence is not complete but it illustrates how to write a military letter and indorsement.)


Every efficient officer must realize the possibilities and limitations of his own arm of the service as well as the possibilities and limitations of the other arms. Each arm of the service is necessary and important. A proper understanding of the use of the combined arms is as essential to success in battle as cooeperation between the different members of a football team is to its success. Don't "knock" any arm but the one you are in, and don't knock that unless you are willing to admit you are not man enough to improve it.


"The infantry is the principal and most important arm, which is charged with the main work on the field of battle and it usually decides the final issue of the combat." (Field Service Regulations.) The role (duty or job) of the infantry, whether offensive or defensive, is the role of the entire force. If it fails, all fail. When properly supported by artillery, trained infantrymen armed with rifles, bayonets, and the will to put the enemy out of action, will settle all issues.


The chief duty of the artillery is to support the infantry. It does this in three ways: 1st, By firing at the hostile infantry. 2d, By putting out of action the hostile artillery so that it cannot fire at the infantry. 3d, By demolishing the obstacles in front of the enemy's works. It smothers the enemy with a curtain of fire, so that the infantry can move forward without ruinous losses. Cooeperation with the infantry is essential. If the infantry is defeated the artillery covers its withdrawal; if the infantry is successful the artillery moves forward and assists in reaping the full reward of victory by firing on the fleeing enemy. The present European War has greatly increased the prestige and importance of this arm of the service. The amount of artillery on the Western front and the amount of ammunition consumed daily is appalling.


This very important arm is the eye with which the general sees for many miles to the front and flank. In an advance it pushes ahead, combs the country for the enemy, disperses his cavalry, and thus protects the infantry in the rear. It locates the enemy, and occupies his attention until the infantry comes up. It protects the flanks and rear of the infantry and artillery during the fight. If needed, it joins in the fight. If the infantry is defeated it covers the withdrawal, and if the infantry wins it pursues and pounces upon the enemy.

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