Categories: SCHOOL OF THE SQUAD
Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual
To align the squad, the base file or files having been established: 1.
Right (left), 2. DRESS, 3. FRONT.
At the command dress, all men place the left hand upon the hip (whether
dressing to the right or left); each man, except the base file, when on
or near the new lines executes eyes right, and, taking steps of 2 or 3
inches, places himself so that his right arm rests lightly against the
elbow of the man
n his right (vice versa in left dressing), and so that
his eyes and shoulders are in line with those of the men on his right,
and also that each man can see the eyes of at least two men on his
The instructor verifies the alignment of both ranks from the right flank
and orders up or back such men as may be in the rear, or in advance, of
the line; only the men designated move.
At the command front, given when the ranks are aligned, each man turns
his head and eyes to the front and drops his left hand by his side.
There are in dressing a number of common errors that we should try to
avoid. Don't jab the man on your left with your elbow. If you are not on
the line, move your feet. Don't lean forward or backward. Be sure to
touch gently the man on your right with your right arm. Be certain to
keep your left elbow forced well to the front. This is a little
uncomfortable at first, but unless we do this our arms will not measure
the 4 inches correctly. Don't hump up the left shoulder, and don't turn
the shoulders to the right. Keep fingers of left hand extended and
We want to place especial stress on the importance of three movements
in the school of the squad. When you have thoroughly mastered these
three, you will have a splendid basis for the remainder of the School of
the Squad, the full value of which you will later appreciate. These are:
Squad right, Squad right about, and Right turn.
The first line drawing in this chapter shows correct proportions of
interval and distance. To save space and for convenience, the drawings
hereafter are made without regard to proportions (intervals and
Being in line, to turn and march: 1. Squad right (left), 2. MARCH.
In this movement many instructors have recruit squads step off on the
7th count. When the drill progresses the squad should step off on the
At the command march, No. 1 in the front rank faces to the right in
marching and marks time; Nos. 2, 3, and 4 of the front rank turn 45
degrees to the right (right oblique), place themselves abreast (on the
same line) of No. 1 and mark time.
Now it is difficult quickly to understand the movements of the rear
rank. Give them a lot of study and don't go on until you are certain
that you understand.
No. 3 moves straight to the front.
No. 2 follows No. 3.
No. 1 follows No. 2.
When they (Nos. 3, 2 and 1) arrive in rear of their file leaders, (Nos.
3, 2 and 1, front rank) they face to the right in marching and mark
No. 4 of the rear rank moves straight to the front four paces, and
places himself abreast of No. 3, rear rank.
When No. 4, front rank, and No. 4, rear rank, are on the line, (and the
remainder of the squad must glance toward them to see when that is
true), the whole squad moves forward without further command.
Note that we have said that No. 1 front rank marks time. We see that he
becomes, temporarily, an immovable pivot for his squad. We, therefore,
call him a fixed pivot.
Had the command been squad left, instead of squad right, No. 4 would
have been the fixed pivot instead of No. 1.
Being in line, to turn and halt: 1. Squad right (left), 2. MARCH, 3.
Squad, 4. HALT.
The turn is executed as prescribed in the preceding case except that all
men, on arriving on the new line, mark time until the command halt is
given, when all halt.
Whenever the third command (i.e., squad) is given means that the command
halt is to follow. This is caution to the squad to prepare to halt. The
command halt should be given as No. 4 arrives on the line.
SQUAD RIGHT ABOUT
Being in line, to turn about and march: 1. Squad right (left) about, 2.
At the command march, the front rank twice executes Squad right,
initiating (starting) the second Squad right when No. 4 has arrived on
the line. That much is very simple.
The rear rank has a harder task. Let us have the front and rear rank
execute the movement separately:
The rear rank is to take its place on the dotted line a b.
No. 3 rear rank moves straight to the front until in prolongation of
the line to be occupied by the rear rank.
No. 2 follows No. 3.
No. 1 follows No. 2.
When No. 3 arrives on the line to be occupied by the rear rank he
changes direction to the right; he moves in the new direction until in
rear of No. 3, front rank, when Nos. 3, 2, and 1, rear rank, are in rear
of Nos. 3, 2, and 1, front rank, (i.e., when they are in rear of their
front rank men), they face to the right in marching and mark time. No. 4
marches on the left of No. 3 to his new position. As he arrives on the
line, both ranks execute forward march without command, For the
remainder of the squad to know when No. 4 front and rear rank have
arrived on the line, they glance to see. The squad should step off on
the 9th count.
Being in line: 1. Right (left) turn, 2. MARCH.
At the command march, No. 1 front rank faces to the right in marching
and takes the half step. Nos. 2, 3, and 4 front rank right oblique
(turn 45 degrees to the right) until opposite their places in line, then
execute a second right oblique and take the half step on arriving
abreast of the pivot man. When No. 4 arrives on the line Nos. 1, 2, 3,
and 4 take the full step without further command. (To know when No. 4
arrives on the line it is necessary to glance in his direction.) Full
step on the 7th count.
The rear rank executes the movement in the same way and turns on the
same ground as the front rank. The rear rank, therefore, moves forward
at the command march, or continues to move forward, if already marching,
until it arrives at the place where the front turned, when it turns.
Note that the squad turns on No. 1 front rank but that he does not
remain in his position even temporarily, as in squad right; he is,
therefore, called the moving pivot. No. 4 is called the marching flank.
Had the command been left turn, No. 4 would have been the moving pivot,
and No. 1 the marching flank.
Knowing the three above movements, we are prepared for the following:
Being in line at a halt: 1. Take interval, 2. To the right (left), 3.
MARCH, 4. Squad, 5. HALT.
At the command to the right (left), the rear rank men march backward
four steps (15 inches each step) and halt.
At the command march, all face to the right and No. 1 front and rear
rank step off. No. 2, front and rear rank, follow No. 1, front and rear
rank, at a distance of four paces. Likewise with the other numbers.
At the command halt, given when No. 3 is three paces distant from No. 4,
all halt and face to the front.
Being at intervals: 1. Assemble, to the right, (left), 2. MARCH.
At the command march, No. 1 front rank stands fast. No. 1 rear rank
closes to 40 inches. The other men face to the right, close by the
shortest line, and face to the front.
Being in line at a halt: 1. Take distance, 2. MARCH, 3. Squad, 4. HALT.
At the command march, No. 1 of the front rank moves straight to the
front; Nos. 2, 3, and 4 of the front rank and Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the
rear rank, in the order named, move straight to the front, each stepping
off so as to follow the preceding man at four paces. The command halt is
given when all have their distances.
In case more than one squad is in line, each squad executes the movement
as above. The guide of each rank of numbers is right.
The front rank men should walk straight to the front and their rear rank
men should cover them accurately.
Being at distances, to assemble the squad: 1. Assemble, 2. MARCH.
No. 1 of the front rank stands fast; the other numbers move forward to
their proper places in line.