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Extended Order Drills

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual

As soon as your progress in close order is sufficiently advanced, you

will be given extended order drill, which will teach you the formations

used in battle, and how a firing line is controlled. They are executed

at ease.

We should know the meaning of the two following terms: Base and Deploy.

Base. The element on which a movement is regulated. In company drill

it is usually the right or left
leading, rear, or center squad.

Deploy. To extend the front. The company deploys when it executes as


There are really only two conditions that we must consider in this

drill. The movements are very easy to

understand, but they require a lot of practice to prevent confusion.

First Case. Let us take the company in line at a halt. It is desired

to form a skirmish line to the front. 1. As skirmishers, guide right

(left or center), 2. MARCH.

At the preparatory command (i.e., as skirmishers, guide right) all the

corporals, except the corporal of the first squad, give the command, by

the left flank, the corporal of the first squad gives the command, as


At the command march, all squads, except the first squad, move to the

left, and when they have their proper intervals they are deployed to the

right (left) and on the line of the base squad by the corporals giving

the commands: As skirmishers, 2. MARCH. The corporal of the first squad

deploys his squad as soon as he has sufficient room (interval).

That's all there is to the first movement with some slight


Of course if the command had been as skirmishers, guide left, the base

squad would have been the left or fourteenth Squad instead of the first

squad, for when we speak of the right or left of a company, in the

deployments, the company being in line, we mean the right or left squads

of the company.

Another modification: Suppose the command had been as skirmishers, guide

center. In that case the base squad would be the center or seventh

squad. The base (seventh) squad deploys without moving to the right or

left. There is only one thing for the first six squads to do and that is

to move to the right. There is only one thing for the last seven squads

to do and that to move to the left.

We have considered the company so far to be at a halt; suppose that it

had been moving forward. The corporal of the base squad deploys his

squad as soon as he has sufficient interval, and then continues straight

to the front until the command: 1. Company, 2. HALT, is given by the

captain. The other corporals move their squads to the left front (or

right front), by commanding their squads, Follow me. They conduct their

squads on the shortest and easiest route to their places in the line and

then deploy their squads as they arrive in the general line.


The corporals should remember that they are not to step out from their

squads to conduct them to their proper places until the captain has

given the command march.

The corporals often fail to take sufficient intervals thus causing a


The company being at a halt, the corporals should remember to give by

the right or left flank instead of right or left face.