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Practise March Or Hike

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual

The manoeuver practice march will be the most instructive, the most

pleasant, and one of the hardest periods of your service. You will

return from it proud of the hardships you have undergone and capable of

speaking with authority on many practical matters pertaining to

soldiering. You will be able to amuse yourself and your friends with

reminiscences of the many incidents which you will never forget. It is

during the
ractice march that you will put into practical use the

tactical principles and battle formations of which, up to that time, you

will have heard at lectures, or which you will have executed in a

mechanical manner at drill. You will return from each march with a

knowledge of many practical points on camp sanitation, of the pleasures

and hardships incident to manoeuver warfare, and of the manner in which a

soldier adapts himself to changing conditions, all of which cannot be

learned from books or lectures.

The practice march demands a large expenditure of physical and mental

energy; however, the hardships are greatly exaggerated by the old

soldiers. To make up a set of equipment, to assist in cleaning up camp

and loading trucks, to march and fight for a distance of ten or twelve

miles while carrying a heavy pack on the back and a nine-pound gun on

the shoulder, and upon reaching camp to pitch your tent, make up your

bed, do some fatigue work, and probably some guard duty in addition, all

in one day, is a hard physical strain on the average man. By obeying

implicitly the advice of your company commander, you will greatly lessen

the hardships incident to a practice march, and by disobeying it you

may possibly undergo the mortification of having to drop out of ranks

and be jeered at by the passing column. The following suggestions, if

followed implicitly, will lessen the hardship of the hike.