On the hike the camp will be laid out daily in advance by a staff
officer. The company being halted and in line, the company commander
gives the order: FORM FOR SHELTER TENTS.
The first sergeant and right guide fall in on the right of the company.
The blank files in the squads have to be filled by men from the file
closers, and the remaining guides and file closers form on the left
flank or at such places
as may be designated by the company commander.
The company commander next gives the order: 1. Take interval, 2. To the
left, 3. MARCH, 4. Company, 5. HALT.
At the second command (to the left) the rear rank men march backward
four steps of fifteen inches each and then halt.
At the command MARCH, all face to the left and the leading man of each
rank steps off. The remaining men step off in succession, each following
the preceding man at four paces. The rear rank men march abreast of
their file leaders.
The company commander gives the command HALT when all have gained their
intervals. At this command all halt and face to the front, dressing to
the right. The more quickly you dress and establish the line of tents,
the more quickly you will be relieved of those heavy packs. This is the
time to brace up and give the company commander your support by giving
him your attention. If you cover in file accurately as you take interval
you will often be accurately aligned upon halting.
The next command is: PITCH TENTS. At this command each man steps off
obliquely to the right with the right foot (about thirty inches) and
lays his rifle on the ground, butt to the rear and near the toe of the
right foot, muzzle to the front, barrel to the left. He then steps back
to his original position. During this process of grounding the rifle,
the front rank man must keep his left foot strictly in its position.
Each front rank man then draws his bayonet from the scabbard and sticks
it in the ground by the outside of his right heel. Now in order to
insure the bayonet being properly aligned, thus producing a straight
line of tents, the company officers (first and second lieutenants),
sometimes are required to align the line of bayonets while the men are
unslinging and opening their equipment. The equipment is then unslung
and laid on the ground. The packs are opened and the shelter half and
pins removed therefrom. Each man spreads his shelter half, small
triangle to the rear, on the ground that the tent is to occupy, the
rear-rank man's shelter half being on the right. Then the front-and
rear-rank men button the halves together, the rear-rank man's half on
top. The guy loops at each end of the lower half are then passed
through the button holes provided in the lower and upper halves; next
the whipped end of the guy rope is passed through both guy loops and
secured; this is done at both ends of the tent, the rear-rank man
working at the rear and the front-rank man at the front.
Each front-rank man then inserts the muzzle of his rifle under the
front end of the tent and holds the rifle upright, sling to the front,
heel of the butt on the ground beside the bayonet. The rear-rank man
comes to the front of the tent and pins down the two front corners on
the line of bayonets, stretching the sides of the tent taut. He then
inserts a pin in the loop of the front guy rope and drives it in the
ground at such a distance in front of the rifle as to hold the rope
taut. Then both men proceeding to the rear of the tent, each pins down a
corner, stretching the sides and rear of the tent taut before driving
the pin in. The rear-rank man next inserts an intrenching tool or a
bayonet, in its scabbard, under the rear end of the tent, the front rank
man pegging down the end of the guy rope. The rest of the pins are then
driven by both men, the rear-rank man working on the right.
The front flaps of the tent are not fastened down, but thrown back on
In pitching the tent, it is absolutely necessary that the front-and
rear-rank men work together. Team work is essential.
When the camp site is small, it is necessary that each
company pitch its tents in two lines facing each other.
The following illustration shows the arrangement of the articles of the
equipment when they are laid out for inspection. During the inspection,
each man stands at attention in front of the corner pin of his own
shelter half on a line with the front guy rope pin, unless ordered to