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Rules For Deployments

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual

The command guide right (left or center) indicates the base squad for

the deployment; if in line it designates the actual right (left or

center) squad; if in column the command guide right (left) designates

the leading squad, and the command guide center designates the center

squad. After the deployment is completed, the guide is always center

without command, unless otherwise ordered.

At the preparatory
ommand for forming skirmish line, from either column

of squads or line, each squad leader (except the leader of the base

squad, when his squad does not advance) cautions his squad, follow me or

by the right (left) flank, as the case may be; at the command march, he

steps in front of his squad and leads it to its place in line.

Having given the command for forming skirmish line, the captain, if

necessary, indicates to the corporal of the base squad the point on

which the squad is to march; the corporal habitually looks to the

captain for such directions.

The base squad is deployed as soon as it has sufficient interval. The

other squads are deployed as they arrive on the general line; each

corporal halts in his place in line and commands or signals, as

skirmishers march; the squad deploys and halts abreast of him.

If tactical considerations demand it, the squad is deployed before

arriving on the line.

Deployed lines preserve a general alignment toward the guide. Within

their respective fronts, individuals or units march so as best to secure

or to facilitate the advance but the general and orderly progress of

the whole is paramount.

On halting, a deployed line faces to the front (direction of the enemy)

in all cases and takes advantage of cover, the men lying down if


The company in line or column of squads may be deployed in an oblique

direction by the same commands. The captain points out the desired

direction; the corporal of the base squad moves in the direction

indicated; the other corporals conform.

To form skirmish line to the flank or rear the line or the column of

squads is turned by squads to the flank or rear and then deployed as


The intervals between men are increased or decreased as described in the

School of the Squad, adding to the preparatory command, guide right

(left or center), if necessary.