Now suppose the company is in column of squads at a halt. It is desired
to form a skirmish line to the front: 1. As skirmishers, guide right
(left), 2. MARCH.
At the command march, the corporal of the first, or leading squad,
deploys his squad without advancing. All of the other corporals move to
the left front and deploy their squads on the line formed by the first
squad. At the preparatory command the c
rporals command, follow me, and
at the command MARCH, they step in front of their squads and conduct
them to their places.
Had the command been as skirmishers, guide left, of course all except
the leading squad would have moved to the right. For when the company is
in column of squads, as skirmishers, guide right means that the first or
leading squad is to be the right of the skirmish line. If left, instead
of right is given that simply means that the leading or base squad is to
be the left of the skirmish line.
Now we come to the last variation. It is difficult for the new man. The
command as skirmishers, guide center, the company being in column of
squads, simply means that the center squad is to be the base squad. All
other squads are to regulate their movements on the base squad as in all
This is a peculiar case and for it the authorities have adopted a rule
of thumb. All squads in front of the base squad go to the right, those
in rear to the left. That's all there is to it. But that must be
remembered. Corporals will conduct their squads to their proper places
by the shortest and easiest routes.
We will use a platoon of four squads to illustrate the idea.
Note that the leading corporal turns his squad well to the right rear
and then to the left.
We have assumed the company to be at a halt; suppose it is moving
forward. In that case the base squad simply continues moving forward
after it has deployed until the captain gives the command halt. The
other corporals conduct their squads by the shortest routes to their
proper places and deploy them on the general line.
When the company, while moving, is deployed, it is a common error for
squads in rear of the base squad to take long and fast steps and come up
on the line of the base squad. This should not be done unless the
command double time is given. In which case all the squads take up the
double time, except the base squad.