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Arm Signals

The following arm signals are prescribed. In making signals either arm
may be used. Officers who receive signals on the firing line repeat
back at once to prevent misunderstanding.

Forward, MARCH. Carry the hand to the shoulder; straighten and hold the
arm horizontally, thrusting it in the direction of march.

This signal is also used to execute quick time from double time.

HALT. Carry the hand to the shoulder. Thrust the hand upward and hold
the arm vertically.

Double time, MARCH. Carry the hand to the shoulder; rapidly thrust the
hand upward the full extent of the arm several times.

Squads right, MARCH. Raise the arm laterally until horizontal; carry it
to a vertical position above the head and swing it several times between
the vertical and horizontal positions.

Squads left, MARCH. Raise the arm laterally until horizontal; carry it
downward to the side and swing it several times between the downward and
horizontal positions.

Squads right about, MARCH (if in close order) or, To the rear, MARCH (if
in skirmish line). Extend the arm vertically above the head; carry it
laterally downward to the side, and swing it several times between the
vertical and downward positions.

Change direction or Column right (left), MARCH. The hand on the side
toward which the change of direction is to be made is carried across the
body to the opposite shoulder, forearm horizontal; then swing in a
horizontal plane, arm extended, pointing in the new direction.

As skirmishers, MARCH. Raise both arms laterally until horizontal.

As skirmishers, guide center, MARCH. Raise both arms laterally until
horizontal; swing both simultaneously upward until vertical, and return
to the horizontal; repeat several times.

As skirmishers, guide right (left), MARCH. Raise both arms laterally
until horizontal; hold the arm on the side of the guide steadily in the
horizontal position; swing the other upward until vertical, and return
it to the horizontal; repeat several times.

Assemble, MARCH. Raise the arm vertically to its full extent and
describe horizontal circles.

Range or Change Elevation. To announce range, extend the arm toward the
leaders or men for whom the signal is intended, fist closed; by keeping
the fist closed battle sight is indicated;

by opening and closing the fist, expose thumb and fingers to a number
equal to the hundreds of yards;

to add 50 yards describe a short horizontal line with forefinger.

To change elevation, indicate the amount of increase or decrease by
fingers as above; point upward to indicate increase and downward to
indicate decrease.

What range are you using? or What is the range? Extend the arms toward
the person addressed, one hand open, palm to the front, resting on the
other hand, fist closed.

Are you ready? or I am ready. Raise the hand, fingers extended and
joined, palm toward the person addressed.

Commence firing. Move the arm extended in full length, hand palm down,
several times through a horizontal arc in front of the body.

Fire faster. Execute rapidly the signal Commence firing.

Fire slower. Execute slowly the signal Commence firing.

Swing the cone of fire to the right, or left. Extend the arm in full
length to the front, palm to the right (left); swing the arm to right
(left), and point in the direction of the new target.

Fix bayonet. Simulate the movement of the right hand in Fix bayonet.

Suspend firing. Raise and hold the forearm steadily in a horizontal
position in front of the forehead, palm of the hand to the front.

Cease firing. Raise the forearm as in suspend firing and swing it up and
down several times in front of the face.

Platoon. Extend the arm horizontally toward the platoon leader; describe
small circles with the hand.

Squad. Extend the arm horizontally toward the platoon leader; swing the
hand up and down from the wrist.

Rush. Same as double time.

Use of the platoon and squad signals. The signals platoon and squad are
intended primarily for communication between the captain and his platoon
leaders. The signal platoon or squad indicates that the platoon
commander is to cause the signal which follows to be executed by platoon
or squad.

You will observe that in no case is the right hand or the left hand
specified. The officer may either face the company or have his back
toward it.

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Previous: Signals And Codes

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