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Tent Pitching

Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual Advanced Training

On the hike the camp will be laid out daily in advance by a staff

officer. The company being halted and in line, the company commander

gives the order: FORM FOR SHELTER TENTS.

The first sergeant and right guide fall in on the right of the company.

The blank files in the squads have to be filled by men from the file

closers, and the remaining guides and file closers form on the left

flank or at such places
as may be designated by the company commander.

The company commander next gives the order: 1. Take interval, 2. To the

left, 3. MARCH, 4. Company, 5. HALT.

At the second command (to the left) the rear rank men march backward

four steps of fifteen inches each and then halt.

At the command MARCH, all face to the left and the leading man of each

rank steps off. The remaining men step off in succession, each following

the preceding man at four paces. The rear rank men march abreast of

their file leaders.

The company commander gives the command HALT when all have gained their

intervals. At this command all halt and face to the front, dressing to

the right. The more quickly you dress and establish the line of tents,

the more quickly you will be relieved of those heavy packs. This is the

time to brace up and give the company commander your support by giving

him your attention. If you cover in file accurately as you take interval

you will often be accurately aligned upon halting.

The next command is: PITCH TENTS. At this command each man steps off

obliquely to the right with the right foot (about thirty inches) and

lays his rifle on the ground, butt to the rear and near the toe of the

right foot, muzzle to the front, barrel to the left. He then steps back

to his original position. During this process of grounding the rifle,

the front rank man must keep his left foot strictly in its position.

Each front rank man then draws his bayonet from the scabbard and sticks

it in the ground by the outside of his right heel. Now in order to

insure the bayonet being properly aligned, thus producing a straight

line of tents, the company officers (first and second lieutenants),

sometimes are required to align the line of bayonets while the men are

unslinging and opening their equipment. The equipment is then unslung

and laid on the ground. The packs are opened and the shelter half and

pins removed therefrom. Each man spreads his shelter half, small

triangle to the rear, on the ground that the tent is to occupy, the

rear-rank man's shelter half being on the right. Then the front-and

rear-rank men button the halves together, the rear-rank man's half on

top. The guy loops at each end of the lower half are then passed

through the button holes provided in the lower and upper halves; next

the whipped end of the guy rope is passed through both guy loops and

secured; this is done at both ends of the tent, the rear-rank man

working at the rear and the front-rank man at the front.

Each front-rank man then inserts the muzzle of his rifle under the

front end of the tent and holds the rifle upright, sling to the front,

heel of the butt on the ground beside the bayonet. The rear-rank man

comes to the front of the tent and pins down the two front corners on

the line of bayonets, stretching the sides of the tent taut. He then

inserts a pin in the loop of the front guy rope and drives it in the

ground at such a distance in front of the rifle as to hold the rope

taut. Then both men proceeding to the rear of the tent, each pins down a

corner, stretching the sides and rear of the tent taut before driving

the pin in. The rear-rank man next inserts an intrenching tool or a

bayonet, in its scabbard, under the rear end of the tent, the front rank

man pegging down the end of the guy rope. The rest of the pins are then

driven by both men, the rear-rank man working on the right.

The front flaps of the tent are not fastened down, but thrown back on

the tent.

In pitching the tent, it is absolutely necessary that the front-and

rear-rank men work together. Team work is essential.

When the camp site is small, it is necessary that each

company pitch its tents in two lines facing each other.

The following illustration shows the arrangement of the articles of the

equipment when they are laid out for inspection. During the inspection,

each man stands at attention in front of the corner pin of his own

shelter half on a line with the front guy rope pin, unless ordered to

the contrary.