Manual for Noncommissioned Officers and Privates of Infantry
Part 4 out of 8
48. Attacks against dummies will be practiced. The approach will
be made against the dummies both in quick time and double time.
V. PRACTICAL BAYONET COMBAT.
49. The principles of practical bayonet combat should be taught
as far as possible during the progress of instruction in bayonet
50. The soldier must be continually impressed with the extreme
importance of the offensive due to its moral effect. Should an
attack fail, it should be followed immediately by another attack
before the opponent has an opportunity to assume the offensive.
Keep the opponent on the defensive. If, due to circumstances,
it is necessary to take the defensive, constantly watch for an
opportunity to assume the offensive and take immediate advantage
51. Observe the ground with a view to obtaining the best footing.
Time for this will generally be too limited to permit more than
a single hasty glance.
52. In personal combat watch the opponent's eyes if they can
be plainly seen, and do not fix the eyes on his weapon nor upon
the point of your attack. If his eyes can not be plainly seen,
as in night attacks, watch the movements of his weapon and of
53. Keep the body well covered and deliver attacks vigorously. The
point of the bayonet should always be kept as nearly as possible in
the line of attack. The less the rifle is moved upward, downward,
to the right, or to the left, the better prepared the soldier is
for attack or defense.
54. Constantly watch for a chance to attack the opponent's left
hand. His position of guard will not differ materially from that
described in paragraph 24. If his bayonet is without a cutting
edge, he will be at a great disadvantage.
55. The butt is used for close and sudden attacks. It is particularly
useful in riot duty. From the position of port arms a sentry can
strike a severe blow with the butt of the rifle.
56. Against a man on foot, armed with a sword, be careful that the
muzzle of the rifle is not grasped. All the swordsman's energies
will be directed toward getting past the bayonet. Attack him with
short, stabbing thrusts, and keep him beyond striking distance
of his weapon.
57. The adversary may attempt a greater extension in the thrust
and lunge by quitting the grasp of his piece with the left hand
and advancing the right as far as possible. When this is done, a
sharp parry may cause him to lose control of his rifle, leaving
him exposed to a counter attack, which should follow promptly.
58. Against odds a small number of men can fight to best advantage
by grouping themselves so as to prevent their being attacked
59. In fighting a mounted man armed with a saber every effort
must be made to get on his near or left side, because here his
reach is much shorter and his parries much weaker. If not possible
to disable such an enemy, attack his horse and then, renew the
attack on the horseman.
60. In receiving night attacks the assailant's movements can
be best observed from the kneeling or prone position, as his
approach generally brings him against the sky line. When he arrives
within attacking distance rise quickly and lunge well forward
at the middle of his body.
VI. FENCING EXERCISES.
61. Fencing exercises in two lines consist of combinations of
thrusts, parries, and foot movements executed at command or at
will, the opponent replying with suitable parries and returns.
62. The instructor will inspect the entire fencing equipment
before the exercise begins and fissure himself that everything
is in such condition as will prevent accidents.
63. The men equip themselves and form in two lines at the order,
facing each other, with intervals of about 4 paces between files and
a distance of about 2 paces between lines. One line is designated
as number 1; the other, number 2. Also as attack and defense.
64. The opponents being at the order facing each other, the
instructor commands: SALUTE.
Each man, with eyes on his opponent, carries the left hand smartly
to the right side, palm of the hand down, thumb and fingers extended
and joined, forearm horizontal, forefinger touching the bayonet.
(Two.) Drop the arm smartly by the side.
This salute is the fencing salute.
All fencing exercises and all fencing at will between individuals
will begin and terminate with the formal courtesy of the fencing
65. After the fencing salute has been rendered the instructor
commands: 1. _Fencing_exercise_, 2. GUARD.
At the command GUARD each man comes to the position of guard,
heretofore defined, bayonets crossed, each man's bayonet bearing
lightly to the right against the corresponding portion of the
opponent's bayonet. This position is known as the ENGAGE or ENGAGE
66. Being at the ENGAGE RIGHT: ENGAGE LEFT.
The attack drops the point of his bayonet quickly until clear of
his opponent's rifle and describes a semicircle with it upward
and to the right; bayonets are crossed similarly as in the engaged
position, each man's bayonet bearing lightly to the left against
the corresponding portion of the opponent's bayonet.
67. Being at ENGAGE LEFT: ENGAGE RIGHT.
The attack quickly drops the point of his bayonet until clear of
his opponent's rifle and describes a semicircle with it upward
and to the left and engages.
68. Being engaged: ENGAGE LEFT AND RIGHT.
The attack ENGAGE LEFT and then immediately ENGAGES RIGHT.
69. Being engaged left: ENGAGE RIGHT AND LEFT.
The attack ENGAGES RIGHT and then immediately ENGAGES LEFT.
70. 1. Number one, ENGAGE RIGHT (LEFT); 2. Number two, COUNTER.
Number one executes the movement ordered, as above; number two
quickly drops the point of his bayonet and circles it upward
to the original position.
71. In all fencing while maintaining the pressure in the engage
a certain freedom of motion of the rifle is allowable, consisting
of the play, or up-and-down motion, of one bayonet against the
other. This is necessary to prevent the opponent from divining
the intended attack. It also prevents his using the point of
contact as a pivot for his assaults. In charging from one engage
to the other the movement is controlled by the left hand, the
right remaining stationary.
72. After some exercise in ENGAGE, ENGAGE LEFT, and COUNTER,
exercises will be given in the assaults.
73. The part of the body to be attacked will be designated by
name, as head, neck, chest, stomach, legs. No attacks will be
made below the knees. The commands are given and the movements
for each line are first explained thoroughly by the instructor;
the execution begins at the command ASSAULT. Number one executes
the attack, and number two parries; conversely, at command, number
two attacks and number one parries.
74. For convenience in instruction ASSAULTS are divided into
SIMPLE ATTACKS, COUNTER ATTACKS, ATTACKS ON THE RIFLE, and FEINTS.
75. Success in these attacks depends on quickness of movement.
There are three simple attacks--the STRAIGHT, the DISENGAGEMENT,
and the COUNTER DISENGAGEMENT. They are not preceded by a feint.
76. In the STRAIGHT the bayonet is directed straight at an opening
from the engaged position. Contact with the opponent's rifle
may or may not be abandoned while making it. If the opening be
high or low, contact with the rifle will usually be abandoned
on commencing the attack. If the opening be near his guard, the
light pressure used in the engage may be continued in the attack.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE RIGHT, 1. Number one, at neck (head,
chest, right leg, etc.), thrust; 2. Number two, parry right; 3.
77. In the DISENGAGEMENT contact with the opponent's rifle is
abandoned and the point of the bayonet is circled under or over
his bayonet or rifle and directed into the opening attacked.
This attack is delivered by one continuous spiral movement of
the bayonet from the moment contact is abandoned.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE RIGHT, 1. Number one, at stomach
(left chest. left leg, etc.), thrust; 2. Number two, parry left
(etc.); 3. ASSAULT.
78. In the COUNTER DISENGAGEMENT a swift attack is made into
the opening disclosed while the opponent is attempting to change
the engagement of his rifle. It is delivered by one continuous
spiral movement of the bayonet into the opening.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE RIGHT, 1. Number two, engage left;
2. Number one, at chest, thrust; 3. Number two, parry left; 4.
Number two initiates the movement, number one thrusts as soon
as the opening is made, and number two then attempts to parry.
79. A COUNTER ATTACK or RETURN is one made instantly after or
in continuation of a parry. The parry should be as narrow as
possible. This makes it more difficult for the opponent to recover
and counter parry. The counter attack should also be made at
or just before the full extension of the opponent's attack, as
when it is so made a simple extension of the arms will generally
be sufficient to reach the opponent's body.
Example: Being at ENGAGE, 1. Number two, at chest, lunge; 2.
Number one, parry right and at stomach (chest, head, etc.), thrust;
ATTACKS ON THE RIFLE.
80. These movements are made for the purpose of forcing or disclosing
an opening into which an attack can be made. They are the PRESS,
the BEAT, and the TWIST.
81. In the PRESS the attack quickly presses against the opponent's
bayonet or rifle with his own and continues the pressure as the
attack is delivered.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, press, and at chest,
thrust; 2. Number two, parry right; 3. ASSAULT.
82. The attack by DISENGAGEMENT is particularly effective following
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, press, and at stomach,
thrust; 2. Number two, low parry left; 3. ASSAULT.
83. The BEAT is an attack in which a sharp blow is struck against
the opponent's rifle for the purpose of forcing him to expose
an opening into which an attack immediately follows. It is used
when there is but slight opposition or no contact of rifles.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, beat, and at stomach
(chest, etc.), thrust; 2. Number two, parry left; 3. ASSAULT.
84. In the twist the rifle is crossed over the opponent's rifle
or bayonet and his bayonet forced downward with a circular motion
and a straight attack made into the opening. It requires superior
strength on the part of the attack.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, twist, and at stomach,
thrust; 2. Number two, low parry left; 3. ASSAULT.
85. Feints are movements which threaten or simulate attacks and
are made with a view to inducing an opening or parry that exposes
the desired point of attack. They are either single or double,
according to the number of such movements made by the attack.
86. In order that the attack may be changed quickly, as little
force as possible is put into a feint.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, feint head thrust;
at stomach, lunge; 2. Number two, parry right and low parry right;
Number one executes the feint and then the attack. Number two
executes both parries.
87. In double feints first one part of the body and then another
is threatened and a third attacked.
Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, feint straight thrust
at chest; disengagement at chest; at stomach, lunge; 2. Number
two, parry right, parry left, and low parry left; 3. ASSAULT.
88. An opening may be offered or procured by opposition, as in
the PRESS or BEAT.
89. In fencing exercises every FEINT should at first be parried.
When the defense is able to judge or divine the character of the
attack the feint is not necessarily parried, but may be nullified
by a counter feint.
90. A COUNTER FEINT is a feint following the opponent's feint or
following a PARRY of his attack and generally occurs in combined
91. When the men have become thoroughly familiar with the various
foot movements, parries, guards, attacks, feints, etc., the
instructor combines several of them and gives the commands in
quick succession, increasing the rapidity and number of movements
as the men become more skillful. Opponents will be changed
1. Example: Being at the ENGAGE. 1. Number one, by disengagement
at chest, thrust; 2. Number two, parry left, right step (left
foot first), and lunge; 3. ASSAULT.
2. Example: Being at ENGAGE LEFT, 1. Number one, press and lunge;
2. Number two, parry right, left step, and thrust; 3. ASSAULT.
3. Example: Being at the ENGAGE, 1. Number one, by disengagement
at chest, thrust; 2. Number two, parry left, front pass, and
at head butt strike; 3. Number one, right step; 4. ASSAULT.
92. Examples 1 and 2 are typical of movements known as CROSS
COUNTERS, and example No. 3 of movements known as CLOSE COUNTERS.
93. A CHANCERY is an attack by means of which the opponent is
disarmed, which causes him to lose control of his rifle, or which
disables his weapon.
94. When the different combinations are executed with sufficient
skill the instructor will devise series of movements to be memorized
and executed at the command ASSAULT. The accuracy and celerity
of the movements will be carefully watched by the instructor,
with a view to the correction of faulty execution.
95. It is not intended to restrict the number of movements, but
to leave to the discretion of company commanders and the ingenuity
of instructors the selection of such other exercises as accord
with the object of the drill.
VII. FENCING AT WILL.
96. As satisfactory progress is made the instructor will proceed
to the exercises at will, by which is meant assaults between
two men, each endeavoring to hit the other and to avoid being
hit himself. Fencing at will should not be allowed to degenerate
into random attacks and defenses.
97. The instructor can supervise but one pair of combatants at
a time. Frequent changes should be made so that the men may earn
different methods of attack and defense from each other.
98. The contest should begin with simple, careful movements, with
a view to forming a correct opinion of the adversary; afterwards
everything will depend on coolness, rapid and correct execution of
the movements, and quick perception of the adversary's intentions.
99. Continual retreat from the adversary's attack and frequent
dodging to escape attacks should be avoided. The offensive should
he continually encouraged.
100. In fencing at will, when no commands are given, opponents
facing each other at the position of order arms, salute. They
then immediately and simultaneously assume the position of guard
rifles engaged. Neither man may take the position of guard before
his opponent has completed his salute. The choice of position
is decided before the salute.
101. The opponents being about two paces apart and the fencing
salute having been rendered, the instructor commands 1. _At_
_will_, 2. ASSAULT, after which either party has the right
to attack. To interrupt the contest the instructor will command
HALT, at which the combatants will immediately come to the order.
To terminate the contest, the instructor will command, 1.
_Halt_, 2 SALUTE, at which the combatants will immediately
come to the order, salute, and remove their masks.
102. When men have acquired confidence in fencing at will, one
opponent should be required to advance upon the other in quick
time at CHARGE BAYONET, from a distance not to exceed 10 yards,
and deliver an attack. As soon as a hit is made by either opponent
the instructor commands, HALT, and the assault terminates. Opponents
alternate in assaulting. The assailant is likewise required to
advance at double time from a distance not exceeding 20 yards
and at a run from a distance not exceeding 30 yards.
103. The instructor will closely observe the contest and decide
doubtful points. He will at once stop the contest upon the slightest
indication of temper. After conclusion of the combat he will
comment on the action of both parties, point out errors and
deficiencies and explain how they may be avoided in the future.
104. As additional instruction, the men may be permitted to wield
the rifle left handed, that is on the left side of the body,
left hand at the small of the stock. Many men will be able to
use this method to advantage. It is also of value in case the
left band is wounded.
[Illustration: Par. 104.]
105. After men have fenced in pairs, practice should be given
in fencing between groups, equally and unequally divided. When
practicable, intrenchments will be used in fencing of this character.
In group fencing it will be necessary to have a sufficient number
of umpires to decide hits. An individual receiving a hit is withdrawn
at once from the bout, which is decided in favor of the group
having the numerical superiority at the end. The fencing salute
is not required in group fencing.
RULES FOR FENCING AT WILL.
106. 1. Hits on the legs below the knees will not be counted.
No hit counts unless, in the opinion of the instructor, it has
sufficient force to disable.
2. Upon receiving a hit, call out "hit."
3. After receiving a fair hit a counter attack is not permitted.
A position of engage is taken.
4. A second or third hit in a combined attack will be counted
only when the first hit was not called.
5. When it is necessary to stop the contest--for example, because
of breaking of weapons or displacement of means of protection--take
the position of the order.
6. When it is necessary to suspend the assault for any cause, it
will not be resumed until the adversary is ready and in condition
to defend himself.
7. Attacks directed at the crotch are prohibited in fencing.
8. Stepping out of bounds, when established, counts as a hit.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FENCING AT WILL.
107. When engaging in an assault, first study the adversary's
position and proceed by false attacks, executed with speed, to
discover, if possible, his instinctive parries. In order to draw
the adversary out and induce him to expose that part of the body
at which the attack is to be made, it is advisable to simulate
an attack by a feint and then make the real attack.
108. Return attacks should be frequently practiced, as they are
difficult to parry, and the opponent is within easier reach and
more exposed. The return can be made a continuation of the parry,
as there is no previous warning of its delivery, although it
should always be expected. Returns are made without lunging if
the adversary can be reached by thrusts or cuts.
109. Endeavor to overcome the tendency to make a return without
knowing where it will hit. Making returns blindly is a bad habit
and leads to instinctive returns--that is, habitual returns with
certain attacks from certain parries--a fault which the skilled
opponent will soon discover.
110. Do not draw the rifle back preparatory to thrusting and lunging.
111. The purpose of fencing at will is to teach the soldier as
many forms of simple, effective attacks and defenses as possible.
Complicated and intricate movements should not be attempted.
HINTS FOR INSTRUCTORS.
112. The influence of the instructor is great. He must be master
of his weapon, not only to show the various movements, but also
to lead in the exercises at will. He should stimulate the zeal of
the men and arouse pleasure in the work. Officers should qualify
themselves as instructors by fencing with each other.
113. The character of each man, his bodily conformation, and
his degree of skill must always be taken into account. When the
instructor is demonstrating the combinations, feints, returns,
and parries the rapidity of his attack should be regulated by
the skill of the pupil and no more force than is necessary should
be used. If the pupil exposes himself too much in the feints
and parries, the instructor will, by an attack, convince him of
his error; but if these returns be too swiftly or too strongly
made the pupil will become overcautious and the precision of
his attack will be impaired. The object is to teach the pupil,
not to give exhibitions of superior skill.
114. Occasionally the instructor should leave himself uncovered
and fail to parry, in order to teach the pupil to take quick
advantage of such opportunities.
Instruction in bayonet exercise and bayonet fencing should be
conducted with a view to teaching the aggressive use of the bayonet.
Unless troops are so thoroughly trained with the bayonet that
they believe that with it they are superior to their opponents
it will be difficult or impossible to develop that morale which
is necessary for a successful assault. Men should be impressed
with the importance of acting always on the offensive in bayonet
combat, of pushing their attack with all their might. Troops which
are successful in their first few bayonet encounters will seldom
thereafter be called upon to use the bayonet--their opponents
will not await the assault.
SECTION 1. PRINCIPLES OF INFANTRY TRAINING.
Inaction gives every advantage to the enemy.
The offensive alone gives decisive results.
A quick and energetic offensive minimizes losses.
An advance against the enemy's position once entered upon must
be continued. To go back under fire is to die.
The best way to hold down the fire of the enemy and to diminish
his power to inflict losses is to bring the position he occupies
under well conducted and continued fire.
Present as small a target as possible to the enemy by utilizing
every bit of cover the ground affords.
Individual skill in marksmanship is an advantage in battle only
when united with fire discipline and control.
Constant movement to the front lessens the effect of the enemy's
fire. Modern battles fought in the open show that the heaviest
losses are in the mid and long ranges. When close range is reached
the losses diminish rapidly.
The best protection against artillery fire is a constant but
irregular movement to the front. When close to the enemy's position
his fire is least effective.
A knowledge of how to use the bayonet and the will to use it must
often be the deciding factors in battle.
In infantry training we can not go far wrong or fail to accomplish
the best results if we keep before our minds the spirit as well as
the wording of paragraph 352 of the Infantry Drill Regulations:
"The duties of infantry are many and difficult. All infantry
must be fit to cope with all conditions that may arise. Modern
war requires but one kind of infantry--good infantry."
SECTION 2. COMBAT.
The field of battle is the final test of the instruction, discipline,
and efficiency of the fighting force of any army.
The battalion is the attack unit or the defense unit, whether
operating alone or as part of a regiment. The companies constitute
the firing line and the support.
An individual soldier is concerned only with the enemy in his
immediate front, in obeying orders, and instinctively doing what
he has been trained to do.
The one requisite necessary to win the battle is intelligent
team work. The army is handled just like a football team. A part
is on the first line facing the enemy. Another part, like the
half backs, is held back as supports. Another part, like the
full backs, is held as a reserve. Each unit, like each player,
has a certain duty to perform. When the signal is given, all
work together--all play the game--team work. The players consist
of all branches of the service.
The same rule holds true down to the smallest unit and even to
the individual enlisted man. Each regiment is a team composed
of three players--each a battalion. Each battalion is a team of
four players--each a company. In the same manner each company
is a team of two or more platoons; each platoon a team of two
or more squads; and last, but not least, each squad is a team
of eight players.
The one question that always presents itself on the battlefield
every minute of the time to every person, whether he be a general
or a private, is "What play has my team captain ordered, and
how best may I act so as to work in conjunction with the other
players to bring about the desired result?"--team play.
To the Infantry private this means--
First. Prompt and loyal obedience to the squad leader. Every
squad always has a team captain. If the squad leader is killed or
disabled, another player previously designated takes his place.
If no one was designated, then the private with the longest service
takes command. When the squad leader gives the command for a
certain play, don't stop to think if the play is a good one,
but do your very best to carry ont the play as ordered. A poor
play in which every player enters with his whole heart (team
work) will often win, while, on the other hand, the best play in
which some of the players are skulkers and shirkers will probably
Second. Never lose touch with your squad. Every individual, as
well as every unit, should always be acting under the control
of some higher commander. This is necessary if there is to be
any unity of action. Therefore if you lose your squad, or it
becomes broken up, join the first squad you can find and obey
your new squad leader as loyally and as cheerfully as you did
Infantry approaches the battle field in columns of squads. While
yet several miles from the enemy's position the troops may come
under artillery fire. On green men entering upon their fight,
the sound of the projectile whistling through the air, the noise,
flash, and smoke on the burst of the shrapnel, and the hum of
the various pieces thereafter, all produce a very terrifying
effect, but old soldiers soon learn to pay little attention to
this, as the danger is not great.
As the troops advance, the column breaks up into smaller columns,
which form on an irregular line with more or less interval between.
As the advance continues each column breaks up into smaller columns
until finally a line of skirmishers is formed.
Firing is delayed as long as possible for three reasons, viz:
(a) At the extreme ranges little damage can be done on the
enemy, and ineffective firing always encourages him; (b)
halting to fire delays the advance, and the great object to be
accomplished is to close in on the enemy where you can meet him
on better terms; (c) plenty of ammunition will be required
at the decisive stage of the fight, and it is very difficult to
send extra ammunition up to the firing line. Therefore never
fire until ordered to do so, and then never fire more than the
number of rounds designated. Never fire after the command "cease
firing" is given.
Ammunition in the bandoleers will ordinarily be expended first.
Thirty rounds in the right pocket section of the belt will be
held as a reserve, to be expended only when ordered by an officer.
Soon, however, it will be necessary to halt and open fire on
the enemy in order to cause him some loss, to make his riflemen
keep down in their trenches, and to make them fire wildly. It
is probable that at this time and until you arrive much closer
you will not see any of the enemy to fire at. You may not even
see any trenches nor know just where the enemy is. Your higher
officers, however, with their field glasses and the messages
they receive, will know. Each company will be assigned a certain
front to cover with its fire. Therefore be careful to fix your
sights at the designated range and fire only at the designated
target. This means team work in firing, which is one of the most
important elements of success.
The firing line advances from position to position by means of
rushes. At long range the entire line may rush forward at the
same time, but as the range decreases one part of the line rushes
forward while the remainder keeps up a hot fire on the enemy.
The number taking part in each rush decreases as the fire of
the enemy becomes warmer, until perhaps only one squad, or even
less, rushes or crawls forward at a time, protected by the fire
of the rest of the company. The distance covered by each rush
also becomes less and less. After any rush no part of the line
again advances until the rest of the line is up. In making a
rush, the leader of the unit gives the signal and leads the way.
The rest follow. No attempt is made to keep a line, but each man
rushes forward at a run, seeking only to reach the new halting
position as quickly and with as little exposure as possible.
When halted, the skirmishers need not be in a perfect line, but
every advantage should be taken of the ground for concealment
and protection. It is necessary only that no man or group of
men should interfere with the fire of other parts of the firing
The noise on the firing line will be great. Leaders will be disabled
and new men will take their places. Reinforcements coming up will
cause units to become mixed. To the green man everything may appear
to be in confusion, but this is not so. This is war as it really
is. If you have lost your squad or your squad leader, join the
leader nearest to you. This is the way the game is played.
As long as the fight lasts every available rifleman must be kept
in the firing line. The first and last consideration is to win
the battle. Therefore, under no circumstances will any soldier be
permitted to go to the rear, either for ammunition or to assist
If the attacking force can no longer advance, it is much safer to
throw up hasty intrenchments and await the arrival of reinforcements
or darkness than it is to retreat. Retreating troops are the one
that suffer the greatest. This lesson is taught by every great
war. Therefore, always remember that the safest thing to do is
to stick to firing line.
Troops on the firing line, when not actually engaged in firing
at the enemy, busy themselves throwing up shelter trenches. It
only requires a few minutes to construct a trench that gives
great protection. Therefore, never get separated from your
Concealment is no less important than protection. Therefore,
when conditions permit, as is generally the case when on the
defensive, every effort should be made to hide intrenchments by
the use of sod, grass, weeds, bushes, etc.
In making an attack the infantry is always supported when possible
by its own artillery, which continues to fire over its head until
the infantry arrives very close to the enemy's trenches. This
fire is helping you a great deal by keeping down the fire of
the enemies infantry and artillery. Therefore, don't think you
are being fired into by your own artillery because you hear their
shells and shrapnel singing through the air or bursting a short
distance in your front, but rather be thankful you are receiving
their help up to the very last minute.
In the last rush which carries the enemy's position there is
always much mixing of units. The firing line does not continue
rushing madly as individuals after the enemy, but halts and fires
on him until he gets out of good range. The pursuit is taken
up by formed troops held in reserve or by the firing line only
after its units are again gotten together.
As the fighting often lasts all day, and great suffering is caused
from thirst, don't throwaway your canteen when the fight commences.
It may also be impossible to get rations up to the line during
the night. Therefore, it is advisable to hold onto at least one
As the recent war has shown the possibility of hand-to-hand fighting,
especially at night, each soldier should be schooled in the use
of the bayonet.
The following has particular reference to the duties of platoon
and squad leaders and to the team work of the platoon in combat:
Attacking troops must first gain fire superiority in order to
reach the hostile position. By gaining fire superiority is meant
making one's fire superior to that of the enemy in volume and
accuracy, and it depends upon the number of rifles employed,
the rate of fire, the character of the target, training and
discipline, and fire direction and control. When the fire of the
attackers becomes effective and superior to that of the defenders
the latter are no longer able to effectively and coolly aim and
fire at the former, and, as a consequence, the attackers are
able to inaugurate a successful rush or advance which carries
them nearer to the enemy's position.
When a trained organization has been committed to the attack,
the gaining of fire superiority depends upon the way in which
fire direction and fire control are exercised.
The captain directs the fire of the company. He indicates to
the platoon commanders the target (enemy) which the company is
to fire and advance upon, and tells each upon which part of this
target he is to direct the fire of his platoon. When he desires
the fire to be opened he gives the necessary commands or signals,
including the range at which the sights lire to be set.
When the fire fight has once started it becomes to a great extent
a fight of a number of platoons. The platoon is the largest
organization which can be controlled by a single leader in action.
The platoon commander (lieutenant or sergeant) controls its fire
in order to gain the maximum fire effect and to avoid wasting
ammunition. He must try his best to make the fire of his platoon
effective, to get it forward, and to support neighboring platoons
in their effort to advance. At the same time he must hold himself
subject to his captain's directions. He should take advantage
of every chance to carry his platoon forward unless otherwise
ordered. In all this he is assisted by his platoon guide (sergeant)
and by his corporals.
At the commencement of an engagement the platoon commander will
give the objective (part of the enemy's line or aiming target) at
which his platoon is to direct its fire. Noncommissioned officers
must be sure that they see and understand the objective, and that
all the men in their squads do likewise. Fire is then directed at
this objective without further command until the platoon commander
gives a new objective.
Men should be instructed to aim at that part of the target assigned
to their platoon which corresponds with their own position in
their own platoon, so that there will be no portion of the target
which is not covered by fire. A portion of the enemy's line not
covered by fire means that that portion is able to coolly aim
and fire at their opponents.
In an engagement the voice can seldom be heard over a few feet,
and the platoon commander will generally have to convey his orders
by signals. A corporal may be able to shout orders to his squad,
and orders may be repeated along a skirmish line by shouting.
Care should be taken that orders intended for one platoon only
are not thus conveyed to another platoon.
A short blast on the whistle, given by the platoon commander,
means "Attention to Orders." All noncommissioned officers at
once suspend firing and glance toward the platoon commander to
see if the latter has any signals or orders for them. If not,
they resume firing. A long blast on the whistle means "Suspend
Firing." When a noncommissioned officer hears this signal from
his platoon commander he should at once shout "Suspend Firing."
Upon receiving a signal, the noncommissioned officer for whom
it is intended should at once repeat it back, to be sure that
it is correctly understood.
When a leader in command of a platoon or squad receives an order
or signal to rush, he should cause his men to suspend firing and
to hold themselves flat but ready for a sprinter's start. He
selects the point, as far as possible with reference to cover,
to which he intends to carry his unit forward. He then gives the
command "RUSH," springs forward, and running at full speed about
three paces ahead of his men, leads them in the rush. Arriving
at the position he has selected, he throws himself prone, and
the men drop on either side of him. All crawl forward to good
firing positions, considering the cover also, and the leader
gives the necessary orders for resuming the fire. The latter
will include giving the range again, the length of the rush being
subtracted from the sight setting ordered at the last position.
As a rule, rushes should be started by a unit on one flank, and
should be followed in succession by the other units to the opposite
flank. Each succeeding unit should halt on the line established
by the unit which first rushed. When a unit is about to rush,
leaders in charge of adjacent units should caution their men to
be careful not to fire into the rushing unit as it bounds forward.
When one unit suspends fire for the purpose of rushing, adjacent
leaders should arrange to have a portion of their men turn their
fire on the target of the rushing unit, to the end that there
may be no portion of the enemy's line not under fire and able
to fire coolly on the rushing unit.
Rushes should be made for as long a distance as possible, due
regard being had for the wind of the men and not to get beyond
supporting distance of the other units. Long rushes facilitate an
advance, and quickly place a skirmish line close to the enemy's
position, where its fire will have more effect. An attacking
line suffers less from casualties at short ranges than it does
at mid range.
Every advantage should be taken to utilize the cover available.
The best kind of cover is that which, while it masks the skirmishers
from the sight and fire of the enemy, affords favorable conditions
for firing and for readily advancing. In order to allow men to
regain their wind, or should the fire of the enemy be so effective
as to prevent a further advance without reinforcement, advantage
may be taken to lie close in cover, or hasty fire trenches may be
thrown up in order to allow the line to maintain its position.
"To go back under fire is to die."
When a platoon is firing, all noncommissioned officers watch
every opportunity to make the fire more effective. The platoon
guide should constantly watch the men to see that they do not
become excited, fire too hastily or without aim, that their sights
are set at the correct range, that they are obviously firing
at the designated target, and that they assume steady firing
positions and take advantage of cover. In performing these duties
it may be necessary for the guides to be constantly crawling
along the line. A corporal in like manner supervises his squad,
firing with it when he is not actively engaged in controlling
Bayonets are fixed preparatory to a charge. This command is usually
given by the bugle. Only one or two men in each squad should
fix their bayonets at the same time, in order that there may
be no marked pause or diminution in the fire at this critical
stage of the engagement.
In order to be effective in combat, the platoon must be thoroughly
trained to work as a team. Each noncommissioned officer must be
conversant with the signals and commands and the proper methods
for instantly putting into effect the orders of his platoon
commander. Each private must be trained until he instinctively
does the right thing in each phase of the action.
SECTION 3. PATROLLING.
The designation of a patrol indicates the nature of the duty for
which it is detailed, as, for example, visiting, reconnoitering,
exploring, flanking, combat, harassing, pursuing, etc. An Infantry
patrol consists, as a rule, of from 3 to 16 men.
Reconnoitering patrols are habitually small and seek safety in
concealment or flight, fighting only when their mission demands
it. The most skillful reconnaissance is where patrols accomplish
their mission and return without being discovered by the enemy.
When resistance is expected stronger detachments are required.
These cover themselves with small patrols of two to four men,
the remainder acting as support.
The commander determines the number and strength of patrols and
when they are to be sent out. It is a cardinal principle to send
out patrols of such strength only as will accomplish the object.
The officer sending out the patrol verifies the detail, designates
a second in command, and gives the necessary instruction. The
orders or instructions for a patrol, or for any detachment going
on reconnoissance, must state clearly where the enemy is or is
supposed to be, what information is desired, what features are
of special importance, the general direction to be followed,
whether friendly patrols are liable to be encountered, and where
messages are to be sent or the patrol is to report. Important and
comprehensive instructions should be in writing, but precautions
against capture of papers must be taken. An officer sending out a
patrol must be certain that his orders are understood. Detailed
instructions are, as a rule, avoided. When necessary the time
of return is stated.
The patrol leader should be selected with care. He should have
good judgment, courage, be able to read maps, make sketches,
and send clear and concise messages. In addition to his ordinary
equipment, he should have a map of the country, a watch, field
glass, compass, whistle, message blanks, and pencils.
The leader of a patrol should carefully inspect it before starting
out and see that each member is in good physical condition, has
serviceable shoes, a full canteen, one ration, a first-aid packet,
and that his rifle and ammunition are in good condition. He will
see that the equipment is arranged so as not to rattle; that
nothing bright is exposed so as to glitter in the sunlight; that
nothing is taken along that will give information to the enemy
should any member fall into his hands, as, for example, copies
of orders, maps with position of troops marked thereon, letters,
newspapers, or collar ornaments. Blanket rolls should generally
be left behind, in order that the patrol may travel as light
The leader then gives his patrol information and instructions.
These embrace instructions from higher authority; his detailed
plans; information of the country and enemy; the countersign,
if any; the point where the patrol will assemble if scattered.
He will see that the men understand the prescribed signals.
It must always be remembered that it makes no difference how
valuable may be the information that the patrol gets, it is worthless
if not sent back in time to be of service. Herein is where most
patrols full. This applies particularly to the information obtained
by patrols acting as a point or flankers of advance, rear, and
flank guards. Whenever the patrol gets any information, the leader
must think whether the commanding officer would change his plans
or issue new orders if he had the information. If he would, the
information should be sent back at once. If the distance is great
or the inhabitants are hostile, it is well to send two men with
the message. These men should not travel side by side, but as
a patrol of two men. If the information is very important, and
the danger of capture is considerable, the message should be
sent by two parties, each traveling by a different route.
A message from a patrol should always show (a) the place from
which it is sent; (b) the time it is sent (date, hour, and minute);
(c) to whom it is sent; (d) the message itself; (e) what the
patrol intends doing after sending the message; (f) the name of
the sender. Under (d) care must be taken to separate what has
actually been seen by the patrol from information received from
other sources. Care must also be taken not to exaggerate what is
seen, but to report only the exact facts.
In their conduct patrols exercise the greatest vigilance to prevent
discovery. No formal formation is or should be prescribed. Under
the leader's guidance it moves so as to guard against surprise,
usually with point and flankers. To extend the sphere of its
observation, still smaller patrols (one or two men) may be sent
out for short distances, communication with the leader being
maintained by signals. Whatever the formation adopted, it should
favor the escape of at least one man in case of surprise.
In patrols of two to five men the commander generally leads.
In this formation few signals are necessary, the men simply
regulating their movements by his.
In questioning civilians caution is observed not to disclose
information that may be of value to the enemy. Strangers are
not allowed to precede the patrol. Patrol lenders are authorized
to seize telegrams and mail matter, and to arrest individuals,
reporting the facts as soon as possible.
Patrols should observe everything for signs of the enemy. Even
apparent trifles may be of great value. The finding of a collar
ornament showing a man's regiment may enable the chief of staff
to determine that the enemy has been reenforced.
Patrols should not travel on the main roads if they can observe
them and at the same time make the necessary progress by moving
some distance to the side of the roads.
Unless in case of attack or of great personal danger, no member
of the patrol should fire on hostile troops without orders from
the patrol leader. When sent out to gain information, patrols
should avoid fighting unless it is absolutely necessary in order
to carry out their orders.
Villages and inclosures involving danger of surprise are entered
with precaution, and for brief periods only. Halts are made at
points affording good view, and the country is studied in all
directions, landmarks to the rear being impressed on the minds
of the men so that the way back can be readily found; the leader
consults his map and locates himself thereon.
When a patrol is scattered it reassembles at some place previously
selected; if checked in one direction, it takes another; if cut
off, it returns by a detour or forces its way through. As a last
resort, it scatters so that at least one man may return with
information. Patrols nearing their own lines should march at a
walk unless pressed by the enemy.
Occasionally it is advisable fur the leader to conceal his patrol
and continue the reconnoissance with one or two companions.
Patrols far from their commands or in contact with the enemy
often remain out overnight. In such cases they seek a place of
concealment, proceeding thereto after nightfall or under cover.
When the enemy is encountered it is very necessary to locate his
main force. Information is particularly desired of his strength,
whether he has infantry, cavalry, and artillery, the route and
direction of his march, or the location of his camp and line
Dust clouds indicate moving bodies. Infantry raises a low, thick
cloud; cavalry a high thin cloud; artillery and wagons a broken
cloud. The kind of troops, direction of march, and approximate
strength may thus sometimes be roughly estimated. If from some
position a body of troops can be seen marching along in column,
the exact time in minutes and seconds it requires for them to
pas a certain point should be noted, together with the formation
they are in, thus: Infantry, column of squads, three minutes and
twelve seconds; cavalry, columns of twos at a trot, one minute
and twenty seconds; wagons, four-mule, five minutes. From this
information the strength can be determined by the following rule:
Assuming that infantry in column of squads occupy half a yard
per man, cavalry in column of fours 1 yard per man, and artillery
and wagons in single column 20 yards per gun, caisson, or wagon,
a given point would be passed in one minute by about--
110 cavalry at a walk.
200 cavalry at a trot.
5 guns, caissons, or wagons.
For troops in column of twos, take one-half of the above estimate.
Patrols should always observe the country marched over, with a
view to making a report on the same. The following information
is always of value:
ROADS.--Direction; kind, whether dirt, gravel, macadam, etc.;
width, whether suitable for column of squads, etc.; border, whether
fenced with stone, barbed, wire, rails, etc.; steepness in crossing
hills and valleys; where they pass through defiles and along
commanding heights. etc.; crossroads.
SURROUNDING COUNTRY.--Whether generally open and passable for
infantry, cavalry, and artillery, or whether broken and impassable,
due to fences, woods, crops, ravines, etc.
RAILROADS.--Single or double track, narrow or broad gauge, tunnels,
bridges, cuts, direction, stations, etc.
BRIDGES.--Material, wood, stone, steel, etc.: length and breadth;
number and kind of piers or supports.
RIVERS.--Direction; width, depth; kind of bottom, such as mud,
sand, rocky, etc.: banks, steep or gentle, open or wooded; rapidity
of current; variations in depth at different times as indicated
by driftwood and high-water marks; islands; heights in vicinity
WOODS.--Extent and shape; kind of trees; free from underbrush
or not; clearings, roads, swamps, ravines, etc.
TELEGRAPH LINES.--Number of wires, along ronds or railroads,
VILLAGES.--Size, kind of houses, nature of streets, means of defense,
HILLS AND RIDGES.--Whether slopes are gentle or steep; whether top
is narrow or wide; whether ground is broken or smooth, wooded or
clear; whether difficult or easy to cross, etc.; whether commanded
by other hills.
DEFILES.--Their direction, length, and width; whether surrounding
heights are passable for infantry and artillery; kind of country
at each opening of the defile, etc.
RAVINES, DITCHES, ETC.--Width and depth; banks, whether passable
for infantry, cavalry, and wagons; whether suitable for trenches,
or for movement of troops therein, etc.
In general, every soldier should be constantly on the lookout to
obtain information that might be of some military value. Remember
that information of the enemy and of the country is worthless
unless made known to the proper officials in time to be of use.
Every soldier should be able to find his way in a strange country;
should know how to use a compass; should know how to locate the
North Star; should be able to travel across country, keeping
a given direction, both by day and by night, and by observing
landmarks he should be able to return to the starting point either
over the same route or by a more circuitous one. This can easily
be learned by a little practice.
It adds a great deal to the value of a soldier if he knows how
to use a map to find his way. If he knows how to make a rough
sketch of the country, showing the position of roads, streams,
woods, railroads, bridges, houses, villages, fields, fences,
hills, etc., he has added to his value as a soldier very much,
indeed, because a rough sketch of a country will give more and
better information at a glance than can be obtained by reading
many pages of written description.
PATROLLING is one of the most important duties a soldier can
learn. Any enlisted man who understands thoroughly his duties as
a member of a patrol will understand also most of his duties when
with advance or rear guards or when on outpost duty. Patrolling
can not be learned merely by reading books nor by work indoors.
Thoroughness comes only by actually going out in the country
and acting as a patrol.
In carrying out this idea the following scheme is recommended:
Let four or more men and a noncommissioned officer act as a patrol.
They assemble at a certain time, at a convenient point on some
country road. An officer, whom we will call Captain A, acts as
the director; the noncommissioned officer, whom we will call
Sergeant B, acts as patrol leader; and the others (Privates C,
D, E, etc.) act as members of Sergeant B's patrol.
Assume that the company (battalion. etc.) has just made camp in
this vicinity find that the inhabitants are friendly (or hostile).
Captain A indicates to the rest of the men where the camp is
situated and points out where the various sentinels are posted.
(This in itself affords an opportunity for much discussion and
for teaching many valuable lessons.)
Captain A then calls up Sergeant B and tells him--
(a) Just what information Captain A has of the enemy,
and also any information of the country or of friendly troops
in the vicinity that might be of service to Sergeant B.
(b) How many men he shall take for the patrol (this is
another problem for Captain A to solve). Any men present not
used as part of the patrol go along with Captain A as observers.
(c) How far he shall go and what country he shall cover
with the patrol.
(d) Just what information it is particularly desired he
(e) Where he shall send his messages and when he shall
"Sergeant B, it has just been reported to me that a company of
hostile infantry was in camp last night at X, about 5 miles from
here on this road. Take 5 men and proceed toward X and find out
whether the enemy is still there, and if not, when he left and
where he went. Send messages to me here, and return by 8 o'clock
"Sergeant B, I think I heard the firing of field guns over in
that direction a short while ago. Take 6 men and proceed to that
high hill you see over there about 4 miles away. Send a message to
me here when you reach there. You may go farther if you then think
it advisable, but return before daylight. I desire particularly to
know if there are any hostile troops in this vicinity, especially
artillery. I shall send Sergeant X with 3 men to observe the
country from that hill you see over there farther to the south.
He will remain there till dark. Send messages to me here. If
the company is not here on your return you will find a note for
you underneath this rail."
"Sergeant B, this friendly country boy has just reported that
four hostile cavalrymen stopped about half an hour ago at his
father's house, which he says is about 2 miles up this road.
One of the men seemed to be very sick. You will select eight
men from your section and endeavor to capture these men. If they
have disappeared you will reconnoiter in that vicinity until dark.
This boy will accompany you as a guide. I desire particularly to
learn the position, strength, and composition of any hostile
troops in this vicinity. Send reports to me here. Return before
"Sergeant B, here is a map of the country in this vicinity on
a scale of 1 inch to the mile. Here is where we are camped
[indicating position on map]. I have just learned that foraging
parties of the enemy are collecting supplies over here at X
[indicating point on map], which is 10 miles off in that direction
[pointing across country toward X]. It is reported that this
bridge over this stream [indicating same on the map] which is
about 3 miles down this road [indicating road and direction on
the ground], has been destroyed. You will take three men from
your platoon and verify this report. You will also reconnoiter
the stream for a distance of 1 mile both above and below the
bridge for fords suitable for infantry. Messages will reach me
here. Return by 8 o'clock to-night."
Sergeant B then inspects his men and gives them their instructions.
The patrol is then formed and moves out exactly as it would under
actual war conditions.
Captain A may halt (and assemble if desirable) the patrol at
intervals in order to discuss the formation used and the movement
of any members of the patrol, their route, use of cover, etc.,
with the reasons therefor, and compare the same with suggested
modifications of the formations, etc. After the discussion, the
patrol is again set in motion. Captain A may accompany any part
of the patrol. From time to time he presents certain situations
to some member of the patrol, being very careful to assume only
such situations as might naturally occur.
Thus, take Example 1:
Captain A is with Sergeant B, who, with Private C, is marching
along the road as the point of the patrol. The other members of
the patrol are distributed to suit the nature of the country
over which the patrol is marching. The point has just reached a
ridge beyond which the country is open and cultivated for about
half a mile. Beyond this the road enters a woods. Captain A now
says: "Sergeant B, from this point you see two soldiers in khaki
on the road there at the beginning of that cornfield about 200
yards from the woods [points out same]. They are moving in this
direction. About 200 yards to the right of these find somewhat
farther to their rear you see two more men moving along that
Sergeant B now does exactly as he would do in actual war. How
does he signal to his patrol? Does he assemble his men? If so,
how and where? Does he send a message back to camp; and if so,
by whom, and is it written or verbal? (If written, Sergeant B
actually writes it and delivers it to Private ----, with the
necessary instructions. If verbal, it is actually given to Private
---- with instructions.) Captain A must in this case make notes
of what the message was. In either case, Private ---- ceases to
be a member of the patrol and joins Captain A as an observer.
He should, however, at some later time be required to repeat his
message to Captain A, on the assumption that he had reached camp
with the same. The message, whether oral or written, should be
thoroughly analyzed and discussed. Was it proper to send a message
at this time? Does Sergeant B intend to remain in observation; if
so, how long? (Captain A can give such information from time to
time concerning the hostile patrol as Sergeant B might reasonably
be supposed to learn in view of his dispositions. In order that
Captain A may present natural assumptions, it is very essential
that in his own mind he should, at the outset, assume a situation
for the hostile forces and that he should consider himself as
in command of all hostile troops. In this particular case he
should assume himself to be in command of the hostile patrol,
acting under certain specified orders similar to examples given,
and he should conduct this patrol in his own mind in accordance
with these orders, giving Sergeant B only such information as
he might reasonably be expected to obtain in view of whatever
action Sergeant B takes.) Will Sergeant B attempt to capture this
patrol? If so, how? Will he avoid fighting and attempt to pass
it unobserved; and if so, how and why?
In this manner the exercise is continued. Care must be taken
not to have the patrol leader or members state what they would
do, but they must actually do it. Explanations and discussions
may take place later.
In a similar manner the director may inform Sergeant B (or any
member of the patrol) that this hostile patrol is followed by
a squad (on the assumption that it is the leading unit of an
advance guard), and the exercise is then continued along these
The following are examples of assumption that might be made and
(a) That the patrol is unexpectedly fired upon.
(b) That one or more of the patrol is wounded.
(c) That a prisoner is captured (let an observer act as
(d) That a friendly inhabitant gives certain information.
(e) That a dust cloud is seen in the distance over the trees.
(f) That a column of troops can be seen marching along
a distant road.
(g) That an abandoned camp is discovered and certain signs
(h) That the patrol is attacked by a superior force and
compelled to scatter.
There is practically no end to the number of reasonable assumptions
that may be made.
Company officers may use this method of instructing non-commissioned
officers in patrolling, advance and rear guard duty, outposts,
and in squad leading, in writing messages, in selecting positions
for trenches, and in constructing and concealing same. This form
of instruction is called "a tactical walk." It is very greatly
used by all foreign armies. Exercises along the same general
lines are conducted for field and staff officers and even general
officers, and are called "tactical rides" and "strategical rides,"
depending upon their object.
After some proficiency has been attained as a result of these
tactical walks, the greatest interest and enthusiasm can be awakened
in this work by sending out two patrols the same day, one to
operate against the other. Each should wear a distinctive uniform.
The strength of each patrol, its starting point, route to be
followed, and its orders should all be unknown to the other patrol.
If blank ammunition is used, an officer should supervise its
issue and carefully inspect to see that no man carries any ball
cartridges. One umpire should accompany the commander of each
party. Each umpire should be fully informed of the strength,
orders, and route of both patrols. He must, however, carefully
avoid giving suggestions or offering any information to the
commander. Observers in these small maneuver problems are generally
in the way and none should be permitted to be along.
These small maneuvers may be gradually developed by having one
side establish al outpost or fight a delaying action, etc.
It should always be remembered that there is no hard and fast
rule prescribing how a patrol of three, five, or any number of
men should march. The same is equally true of advance guards,
and applies also to the establishment of outposts. It is simply
a question of common sense based on military knowledge. Don't
try to remember any diagrams in a book. Think only of what you
have been ordered to do and how best you can handle your men
to accomplish your mission, and at the same time save the men
from any unnecessary hardships. Never use two or more men to do
what one can do just as well, and don't let your men get beyond
In addition to the signals prescribed in the Infantry Drill
Regulations, the following should be clearly understood by the
members of a patrol.
Enemy in sight in small numbers, hold rifle above the head
horizontally; enemy in force, same proceeding, raising and lowering
the rifle several times; take cover, a downward motion of the
Other signals may be agreed upon, but they must be familiar to
the men; complicated signals are avoided. Signals must be used
cautiously so as not to convey information to the enemy.
SECTION 4. ADVANCE GUARDS.
The advance guard is a detachment of the main body which precedes
and covers it on the march. The primary duty of an advance guard
is to insure the safe and uninterrupted march of the main body.
Specifically its duties are:
1. To guard against surprise and furnish information by
2. To push back small parties of the enemy and prevent their
observing, firing upon, or delaying the main body.
3. To check the enemy's advance in force long enough to permit
the main body to prepare for action.
4. When the enemy is encountered on the defensive, to seize a
good position and locate his lines, care being taken not to bring
on a general engagement unless the advance guard commander is
empowered to do so.
5. To remove obstacles, repair the road, and favor in every way
the steady march of the column.
The strength of the advance guard will vary with the proximity
of the enemy and character of the country; for a regiment it
will generally consist of from two companies to a battalion,
for a battalion of one company; for a company of from a squad
to a platoon. The advance guard commander is responsible for
the proper performance of the duties with which it is charged
and for its conduct and formation.
The advance guard provides for its security and gains information
by throwing out to the front and flanks smaller bodies. Each part
must keep in touch with the unit from which it is sent out. An
advance guard is generally divided into a reserve and a support;
where it consists of less than a battalion, the reserve is generally
The support sends forward an advance party, which, in turn, sends
forward a point. In small advance guards the point precedes the
advance party about 150 yards, the advance party the support
about 300 yards, and the support the main body about 400 yards.
Where advance guards are large enough to require a reserve these
distances are increased about one-fourth, the reserve following
the support, the main body following the reserve at a distance
varying from 500 to 800 yards.
Unless the country to the flanks is distinctly visible from the
roads for a distance of what may be said to be effective rifle
fire, approximately 1,000 yards, flanking patrols of two or three
men each should be sent out from the advance party, and, when
in proximity of the enemy, in addition from the support. When
the nature of the country is such that patrols may move across
country without undue effort and fatigue these patrols should
march at a distance of from 200 to 300 yards from the flank of
the body from which detached. For the examination of any object,
such as a wood, buildings, etc., examining patrols should be sent
out from the main body. The usual method of protecting the flanks,
particularly when the country is at all cut up or difficult, is
to send out patrols from time to time to some point from which a
good outlook can be obtained, or which will afford protection to
the enemy. These patrols remain in observation until the advance
guard has passed, when they rejoin the nearest subdivision, as
quickly as possible working their way to that to which they belong
during the halts. By sending out a succession of small patrols in
this manner the flanks are protected. Should the advance party
become depleted, it must be reenforced from the support.
A battalion acting as advance guard would have two companies
in reserve and two in support. The support would send forward
as advance party two platoons, the advance party in turn sending
forward as point one squad. A company acting as advance guard
would have no reserve and would send forward as advance party
Cases may arise when the best means of covering the head and
flanks of the column will be by a line of skirmishers extended at
intervals of from 5 to 50 yards, as, for instance, when passing
through high corn, underbrush, etc.
It must always be remembered that the principal duty of the advance
guard is to secure the uninterrupted march of the main body. If
the point is fired upon, it should at once deploy and endeavor to
advance fighting. The flankers should assist in this and endeavor
to locate the enemy's flank should there be such resistance that
advance was impossible. Each succeeding body should march promptly
forward, and in turn be placed in action, with the idea of clearing
the way for the advance of the main body. Should this be impossible,
the commander of the entire body must determine what measures he
SECTION 5. REAR GUARDS.
A rear guard is a detachment detailed to protect the main body
from attack in rear. In a retreat it checks pursuit and enables
the main body to increase the distance between it and the enemy
and to re-form if disorganized. The general formation is that
of an advance guard reversed.
Its commander should take advantage of every favorable opportunity
to delay the pursuers by obstructing the road or by taking up
specially favorable positions from which to force the enemy to
deploy. In this latter case care must be taken not to become so
closely engaged as to render withdrawal unnecessarily difficult.
The position taken should be selected with reference to ease of
withdrawal and ability to bring the enemy under fire at long
SECTION 6. FLANK GUARDS.
A flank guard is a detachment detailed to cover the flank of a
column marching past, or across the front of, an enemy. It may
be placed in position to protect the passage, or it may be so
marched as to cover the passage. The object of the flank guard
is to hold the enemy in check long enough to enable the main body
to pass, or, like the advance guard, to enable the main body
to deploy. Like all other detachments, it should be no larger
than is necessary, and should not be detailed except when its
protection is required.
When a flank guard consists of a regiment or less, its distance
from the main body should not exceed a mile and a half. Practicable
communication must exist between it and the main body. The flank
guard is marched as a separate command; that is, with advance or
rear guards, or both, as circumstances demand, and with patrolling
on the exposed flank.
SECTION 7. OUTPOSTS.
Troops not on the march provide for their security by outposts.
The general duties of an outpost are reconnoissance, observation,
The specific duties are:
1. To protect the main body, so that the troops may rest undisturbed.
2. In case of attack, to check the enemy long enough to enable
the main body to make the necessary dispositions.
During an advance the outposts are usually detailed from the
advance guard. During the retreat the outpost for the night usually
forms the rear guard the next day. If the command remains in
bivouac, the new outpost generally goes on duty at daybreak.
The vigilance of outpost troops must be unceasing, but they should
avoid bringing on combats or unnecessarily alarming the command.
Firing disturbs the rest of troops and, if frequently indulged
in, ceases to be a warning.
No trumpet signals except "to arms" or "to horse" are sounded,
and all unnecessary noises must be avoided.
As a rule an outpost will not exceed one-sixth the strength of
a command. For a single company a few sentinels and patrols will
suffice; for a larger command a more elaborate system must be
devised. The troops composing the outpost are generally divided
into a reserve and several supports.
At a proper distance in front of the camp of the main body a
line which offers a good defensive position is selected. This
is called the LINE OF RESISTANCE, and should he so located that
an advancing enemy will be held in check beyond effective rifle
range in case of a small force, artillery range in case of a
large force, of the main body until the latter can deploy. The
reserve is stationed at some point in rear of this line, where
it can be moved quickly to reinforce any point as needed. The
line of resistance is divided into sections, the limits of each of
which are clearly defined. A support is assigned to each section,
which are numbered from right to left, and occupies a position
on or near the line, having special regard to covering avenues
of approach. The position occupied should always be intrenched.
The reserve and supports proceed to their respective positions
by the shortest routes, providing for their own protection by
sending out covering detachments.
Generally speaking, about one-half the Infantry of the advance
guard should be in the supports. As each support arrives at its
position it sends out observation groups, varying in size from
four men to a platoon, to watch the country in the direction of
the enemy. These groups are called outguards. For convenience
they are classified as pickets, sentry squads, and cossack posts,
and should be sufficient in number to cover the front of the
section occupied by the support and connect with the neighboring
A picket is a group consisting of two or more squads, ordinarily
not exceeding half a company, posted in the line of outposts
to cover a given sector. It furnishes patrols and one or more
sentinels, sentry squads, or cossack posts for observation. Pickets
are placed at the more important points in the line of outguards,
such as road forks. The strength of each depends upon the number
of small groups required to observe properly its sector.
A sentry squad is a squad (eight men) posted in observation at
an indicated point. It posts a double sentinel in observation,
the remaining men resting near by and furnishing the reliefs of
sentinels. In some cases it may be required to furnish a patrol.
A cossack post consists of four men. It is an observation group
similar to a sentry squad, but employs a single sentinel.
As a rule not more than one-third of the support should be on
outguard duty. As soon as they are sent out to their postions
the support commander selects a defensive position on the line of
resistance; gives instruction for intrenching same; establishes
a sentinel to watch for and transmit signals from outguards;
sends out patrols to reconnoiter the country to the front of
his section and, if on the flank of the line, the flank; and
then proceeds to make a careful reconnoissance of the section
assigned him, rectifying the position of outguards if necessary,
seeing that they understand their instructions in case of attack
or when strangers approach their posts, and pointing out their
lines of retreat in case they are compelled to fall back on the
When the outguards are established, the members of the support may
stack arms and remove equipment except cartridge belts. No fires
will be built or smoking permitted unless specially authorized,
or no loud talking or other noise. All patrolling to the front
will be done, as a rule, from the support. The support commander
should locate the position of the adjacent supports und make
arrangements with the commanders for the joint defense of the
line of resistance. At nights all roads and trails should be
carefully covered and the country to the front and between adjacent
outguards well patrolled.
The line occupied by the outguards is called the LINE OF OBSERVATION.
Outguards move to their positions providing for their own protection
and so us to conceal the movement from the enemy. These positions
are intrenched and are numbered from right to left in each support.
The duties of the outguard are to observe the enemy, to guard
the outpost from surprise, and to make a preliminary resistance
to the enemy's advance. The strength of the outguard will vary
according to its object. When an important road which at night
will afford a line of advance, or a bridge is to be covered, or
when several posts are established from an outguard it should
be of considerable strength, two squads or a platoon. When mere
observation and alarm are all that is required four men will
suffice. A squall is a good unit to use as an outguard; this
will allow one double sentry post of three reliefs and one man in
addition to the commander, who may be used for messenger service.
The outguard should be carefully concealed.
The utmost quiet should be observed, and there should be no cooking
or smoking. The intervals between outguards will depend upon
the situation and the terrain. The line of observation is not
necessarily continuous, but all avenues of approach must be carefully
guarded. The distance of the outguard from the support likewise
is governed by the terrain, but in general may be said to be
from 300 to 400 yards. In thick country or at night outguards
patrol along the line of observation between posts. Communication
between outguards and the support is by signal and messenger, in
special cases by wire. Members of the outguard retain possession
of their weapons and do not remove their equipment.
Sentinels from the outguard are posted so as to avoid observation,
but so that they may have a clear lookout and be able to see,
if possible, by day, the sentinels of the adjacent outguards.
Double sentinels are always posted near enough to each other to
communicate easily in ordinary voice. Sentinels are generally
on post two hours out of six. For every sentinel and every patrol
there should be three reliefs, and outguards should be of a strength
sufficient to allow this. The position of a sentinel should be
selected with reference to observation. It may be advantageous
to place a sentinel in a tree. Sentinels furnished by cossack
posts or sentry squads are kept near their group. Those furnished
by their pickets may be kept as far sa 100 yards away.
Reliefs, visiting patrols, and inspecting officers approach sentinels
from the rear.
A sentinel on the line of observation should always have the
following instructions: The names of villages, streams, and prominent
features in sight and where the roads lead. The number (if any) of
his post, and the number of his and of the adjoining outguards;
the position of the support; the line of retreat to be followed if
the outguard is compelled to fall back; the position of advance
detachments and whether friendly patrols are operating in front;
to watch to the front and flanks without intermission and devote
special attention to unusual or suspicious occurrences; if he
sees indications of the enemy, to at once notify his immediate
superior; in case of imminent danger, or when an attack is made,
to give the alarm by firing rapidly; by day to pass in or out
officers, noncommissioned officers, and detachments recognized
as part of the outposts, and officers known to have authority to
do so; to detain all others and notify the outguard commander;
at night, when persons approach his post, to come to a ready, halt
them, and notify the outguard commander; the latter challenges,
ascertains their identity, and acts accordingly. When individuals
fail to halt, or otherwise disobey, to fire upon them after a
second warning, or sooner if they attempt to attack or escape;
to require deserters to lay down their arms, and remain until a
patrol is sent out to bring them in; to order deserters pursued
by the enemy to drop their arms and to give an alarm; if they
fail to obey they are fired upon; to require bearers of flags of
truce and their escorts to halt and to face outward; to permit
them to hold no conversation and to see that they are then
blindfolded and disposed of in accordance with instructions from
the support commander; if they fall to obey to fire upon them;
at night, to remain practically stationary, moving about for
purposes of observation only; not to sit or lie down unless
authorized to do so; in the daytime, to make use of natural or
artificial cover and assume such positions as to give him the
best field of view; to inform passing patrols of what he has
seen; to carry his weapon habitually loaded and locked and at
Outpost patrols are divided into those which operate beyond the
lines and those whose duty lies principally within the lines.
The former, called reconnoitering patrols, scout in the direction
of the enemy; the latter, called visiting patrols, maintain
communication between the parts of the outpost and supervise the
performance of duty on the line of observation. Reconnoissance
should be continuous. Though scouts and detachments of cavalry
remain in contact with the enemy, or at least push forward to a
considerable distance, more detailed reconnoissance by infantry
patrols in the foreground must not be neglected. Reconnoitering
patrols are composed of at least two men and a skillful leader, who,
in important cases, would be an officer. They obtain information,
ascertain the presence of the enemy, or discover his approach.
All patrols, when they cross the line of observation, inform the
nearest sentinel of the direction in which they are to advance;
on their return they similarly report what they have seen of the
enemy; signals are agreed upon so that they can be recognized
when returning. Any ground near the line of observation which
might afford cover for troops, or for scouts or spies, and the
approach to which can not be observed by sentinels, is searched
frequently by patrols. Definite information concerning the enemy
is reported at once. Patrols fire only in self-defense or to
give the alarm. Supports on the flank of an outpost position
patrol the country on the exposed flank. Visiting patrols and
reliefs should not march in the open, and thereby expose the
position of sentinels.
During a march in the vicinity of the enemy when halts are made,
special measures for protection are taken. When the halt is for
a short period, less than half an hour, the advance party and
support remain at ease, the point and flankers move to positions
from which they can obtain a good lookout, and additional patrols
may be sent out from advance parties and supports. Where the halt
is for a period exceeding half an hour a MARCH OUTPOST should
be formed. With an advance guard consisting of a battalion, 2
companies in the reserve, 2 in the support, the latter having
as advance party one-half a company, a typical march outpost
would be formed as follows: The advance party would send one
platoon, four or five hundred yards to the right as outguard No.
1, the remaining platoon constituting outguard No. 2. A platoon
from the head of the support would be sent a similar distance to
the left as outguard No. 3. The balance of the support would
constitute the support of the march outpost, the reserve of the
advance guard acting as reserve. On signal being given to resume
the march, the various units would close in, and as soon as the
advance party had assembled the march would be taken up.
SECTION 8. RIFLE TRENCHES.
Soldiers should remember that only by acting vigorously on the
offensive can an army hope to gain the victory. The defensive may
delay or stop the enemy, but it can never destroy him. "Troops
dig because they are forced to halt; they do not halt to dig."
Trenches will frequently be constructed, without being used,
and soldiers must expect this as a feature of campaigning and
accept cheerfully what at times may appear as unnecessary labor.
When intrenching under fire cover is first secured in the lying
position, each man scooping out a depression for his body and
throwing the earth to the front. In this position no excavation
can be conveniently made for the legs, but if time permits the
original excavation is enlarged and deepened until it is possible
to assume a sitting position, with the legs crossed and the shoulder
to the parapet. In such a position a man presents a smaller target
to shrapnel bullets than in the lying trench and can fire more
comfortably and with less exposure than in the kneeling trench.
From the sitting position the excavation may be continued until
a standing trench is secured.
The accompanying plate shows some of the more common forms of
trenches in profile. Figure 1 is the simplest form of standing
trench. Figure 2 shows the same trench deepened in rear, so as
to allow men to walk along in the rear (deeper) portion of the
trench without exposing their heads above the parapet. Figure 3
shows a cover and firing trench, with a chamber in which men can
find shelter when under heavy artillery fire. When the excavated
earth is easily removed figure 4 shows a good profile. The enemy's
infantry, as well as his artillery, will generally have great
difficulty in seeing this type of trench.
The mound or bank of earth thrown up for shelter in front of a
trench is called the PARAPET. It should be at least 30 inches
thick on top, and the front should slope gradually, as shown in
the plate, so that shells will tend to glance from it, rather
than penetrate and explode. The top should be covered with sod,
grass, or leaves, so as to hide the newly turned earth, which
could be easily seen and aimed at by the enemy. There should be
no rocks, loose stones, or pebbles on top, which might be struck
by the bullets, splintering and flying, thus adding greatly to
the number of dangerous projectiles, and often deflecting bullets
downward into the trench. A stone wall is a very dangerous thing
to be behind in a fight.
The portion of the ground in rear of the parapet and between
the parapet and the trench not covered by the parapet is to rest
the elbows on when firing, the rifle being rested on top of the
To obtain head cover in a trench fill a gunny sack or other bag
with sand or soil and place it on top of the parapet, aiming
around the right-hand side of it, or dig a small lateral trench
in the parapet large enough to hold the rifle. Roof it over with
boards, small logs, or brush, and heap dirt on top, aiming through
the small trench or resulting loophole.
Figure 5 shows the plan of a section of a rifle trench. Between
the portions occupied by each squad there is often placed a mound
of earth as high as the top of the parapet and projecting back into
the trench. This is called a TRAVERSE and protects the occupants
of the trench from fire from a flank. Bullets from this direction
hit a traverse, instead of flying down into the trench and wounding
[Footnote 7: The traverse should be at least 6 feet wide instead
of 3 feet, as shown in figure 5.]
Trenches are seldom continuous, but are made in sections placed
at the most advantageous points, as shown in figure 6. A company
or battalion may occupy a single section. The firing trenches
have cover trenches in rear of them, where the supports can rest
undisturbed by the hostile fire until they are needed in the
firing trench to repel a serious assault or to take part in a
counter attack. Passages consisting of deep communicating trenches
facilitate passage from the cover trenches to the firing trenches
when under fire. These communicating trenches are usually zigzag
or traversed to prevent their being swept by hostile fire.
When troops are likely to remain in trenches for a considerable
time drainage should be arranged for, and latrines and dressing
stations should be constructed in trenches. Water should be brought
into the trenches and holes excavated in the front wall of the
trench for extra ammunition.
In digging trenches men usually work in reliefs, one relief digging
while the others rest, the proportion of shovelers to pick men
being about 3 to 1. If a plow can be obtained to turn the sod,
it will greatly facilitate the initial work of digging.
[Illustration: Plate V.]
MARCHING AND CAMPING.
SECTION 1. BREAKING CAMP AND PREPARATION FOR A MARCH.
THE EVENING BEFORE THE MARCH.
When a command learns that it is to make a march on the following
day, presumably starting early in the morning, certain details
should be attended to the evening before.
All men should fill their canteens as there will probably be no
time for this in the morning.
The mess sergeant should find out whether lunch or the reserve
ration will be carried on the march and should attend to these
details in the evening in order that the issue can be made promptly
in the morning.
The commander of the guard should be given a memorandum as to
what time to awaken the cooks and where their tent is. The member
of the guard who does this should awaken them without noise so
as not to disturb the rest of the remainder of the command.
The cooks should be instructed as to what time breakfast is to
be served and what time to awaken the first sergeant.
The cooks or cook's police must cut and split all firewood for
the morning before 9 p. m. There must be no chopping, talking,
or rattling of pans before reveille which will disturb the rest
of the command. This applies to every morning in camp.
THE MORNING OF THE MARCH.
Cooks arise when called by the guard and start the preparation of
breakfast without noise. The first sergeant is usually awakened
by one of the cooks about half an hour before reveille in order
that he may complete his toilet and breakfast early and be able
to devote all his time to supervising the details of the morning's
work. If the officers desire to be awakened before reveille they
will notify the first sergeant accordingly.
At first call the men turn out, perform their toilets, strike
their shelter tents (unless it has been directed to await the
sounding of the general for this), and make up their packs.
At the sounding of assembly immediately after reveille each man
must be in his proper place in ranks. This assembly is under
arms. The first sergeant starts to call the roll or commands
"Report" at the last note of assembly. Arms are stacked before
the company is dismissed.
Breakfast is served to the company immediately after roll call.
Immediately after breakfast each man will wash his mess kit in
the hot water provided for that purpose at the kitchen and will
at once pack the mess kit in his haversack.
The cooks will provide hot water for washing mess kits at the
same time that breakfast is served.
Immediately after breakfast the company proceeds to the work
of breaking camp and packing in accordance with a prearranged
system similar to the following:
One squad assists the cooks in packing the kitchen.
One squad strikes and folds the officers' tents and brings them
to the kitchen.
One squad fills in the sink. The sink should not be filled in
earlier than is absolutely necessary.
One squad polices the camp within the company police limits.
One squad is available for possible details from regimental
Officers and first sergeant supervise the work.
A permanent assignment of squads to these duties lightens the
labor and decreases the time necessary for breaking camp. After
the breaking of camp the entire company is used to police camp.
Men should not start from camp thirsty, but should drink all
the water they want immediately after breakfast. All canteens
should be filled before marching, one man in each squad being
detailed to fill the canteens for his squad.
At assembly for the march the men fall in in rear or the stacks
fully equipped for marching.
SECTION 2. MARCHING.
The principal work of troops in the field consists of marching.
Battles take place only at indefinite intervals, but marches are
of daily occurrence. It is only by good marching that troops
can arrive at a given point at a given time and in good condition
The rate of march depends greatly upon the condition of the roads
and the weather, but the average rate for infantry is about 2-1/2
miles per hour. This allows for a rest of 10 minutes each hour.
The total distance marched in a day depends not only on the rate
of march, but upon the size of the command, large commands often
covering only about 10 miles a day, while small commands easily
cover double that distance.
In order to make the march with the greatest comfort and the
least danger, it is necessary that each unit be kept well in
hand. Each man is permitted and encouraged to make himself as
comfortable as possible at all times, excepting only that he
must not interfere with the comfort of others or with the march
of the column.
Infantry generally marches in column of squads, but on narrow
roads or trails column of twos or files is used. The route step is
habitually used when silence is not required. In large commands,
in order that the column be kept in hand, it is very necessary that
each man keep his place in ranks and follow his file leader at the
prescribed distance. This is one of the best tests for determining
the discipline and efficiency of troops. The equipment should
be carefully adjusted before starting out, and any part that is
not comfortable should be rearranged at the first opportunity.
The rifle is carried at will, except that the muzzle must be
pointed up so as not to interfere with the other men.
Under no circumstances will any man leave the ranks without
permission from his company or higher commander. If the absence
is to be for more than a short while, he must be given a pass
showing his name, rank, and organization, and the reason he is
permitted to be absent. If sick, it is better to wait by the
roadside at some comfortable place for the arrival of the surgeon
or the ambulance. In any case, the soldier keeps his rifle and
equipment with him, if possible. Soldiers absent from their
organization without a pass will be arrested and returned to their
command for punishment.
Marches in hot weather are particularly trying. Green leaves or
a damp cloth carried in the hat lessens the chance of sunstroke.
The hat should have ventilators, and when not exposed to the
direct rays of the sun it should be removed from the head. It
is well to keep the clothing about the neck and throat open,
and sometimes to turn up the shirt sleeves so as to leave the
The canteen should always be filled before starting out. Use
the water very sparingly. None at all should be drunk during
the first three or four hours of the march. After that take only
a few mouthfuls at a time and wash out the mouth and throat.
Except possibly in very hot weather, one canteen of water should
last for the entire day's march. Excessive water drinking on
the march will play a man out very quickly. Old soldiers never
drink when marching. A small pebble carried in the mouth keeps it
moist and therefore reduces thirst. Or a small piece of chocolate
may occasionally be eaten. Smoking is very depressing during a
Canteens will not be refilled on the march without authority
from an officer, as the clearest water, whether from a well,
spring, or running stream, may be very impure and the source of
many camp diseases. If canteens are to be refilled, it should be
done by order, and a detail is generally made for this purpose.
Entering upon private property without permission, or stealing
fruit, etc., from gardens and orchards, is a serious military
offense, as well as a violation of the civil laws.
When a cooked meal is carried, it should not be eaten until the
A command ordinarily marches for 50 minutes and halts for 10
minutes. The first halt in a day's march is for about 15 minutes,
is made after about 30 minutes' marching, and is for the express
purpose of allowing the men to relieve themselves. Men who wish
to do this should attend to it at once and not wait until the
command is almost ready to march again.
At every halt get all the rest possible and don't spend the time
wandering around or standing about. Only green recruits do this.
If the ground is dry, stretch out at full length, removing the
pack or blanket roll and belt, and get in as comfortable position
as possible. The next best way is to sit down with a good back
rest against a tree or a fence or some other object. Never sit
down or lie down, however, on wet or damp ground. Sit on your
pack or blanket roll, or on anything else that is dry. At a halt
Back to Full Books