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A military parade is a formation of soldiers whose movement is restricted by close-order manouvering known as drilling or marching. The military parade is now almost entirely ceremonial, though soldiers from time immemorial up until the late 19th century fought in formation. Massed parades may also hold a role for propaganda purposes, being used to exhibit the apparent military strength of one's nation.
- 1 History
- 2 Rationale
- 3 Four directions
- 4 Common parade commands
- 4.1 Alignment commands
- 4.2 Rest positions
- 4.3 Marching with weapons/saluting
- 4.4 Forming the parade for the march past/pass in review
- 4.5 Compliments and Saluting
- 4.6 Compliments on the March
- 4.7 Colour commands
- 4.8 Turning motions
- 4.9 Turning motions at the march
- 4.10 Marching motions
- 5 Melee weapons and unarmed combat
- 6 Musket drill
- 7 Cavalry drill
- 8 Other drills
- 9 Modern era
- 10 See also
- 11 References
The terminology comes from the tradition of close order formation combat, in which soldiers were held in very strict formations as to maximise their combat effectiveness. Formation combat was used as an alternative to mêlée combat, and required strict discipline in the ranks and competent officers. As long as their formations could be maintained, regular troops could maintain a significant advantage over less organised opponents. Military parades are not to be confused with military show of force.
Although the firepower of breechloading rifles and machine guns long ago rendered close formations in battle suicidal, modern armies still use parades for ceremonial purposes or in non-combat environments for their efficiency, ease of organization and encouragement of discipline. Roughly synonymous are "drill" and "march". The English word "drill" is of Middle Dutch origin, dating from the 16th century drill of the Dutch army of prince Maurice of Orange, which was widely copied throughout Europe at the time.[why?]
In ancient times, drilling increased in importance when men stopped fighting as individuals and began to fight together as units. Drilling as a vital component of a war machine further increased with the increases in the size of armies, for example when Phillip II of Macedon disciplined his army so they could swiftly form the phalanxes that were so critical to his successes as a general. Military drilling later was used by the Roman Army to maximise efficiency and deadliness throughout their long history. After the fall of the empire, and the Dark Ages set in Europe, most feudal lords more heavily relied on peasant levies and their wealthy knights to fight their wars, the knights for the most part reverting to fighting as individuals. Massed military drilling was used mostly by only the foremost armies and nations, such as the Normans.
The U.S. drill is based on the contributions of Baron von Steuben, a Prussian Army officer who served in the Continental Army. During the winter quarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, von Steuben taught a model company of 100 soldiers musket drill. These soldiers, in turn, taught the remainder of the Continental Army.
The oldest, largest and most famous regular military parade in Europe is the Bastille Day Military Parade which is held each 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, during France's national day celebrations.
A military drill is memorizing certain actions through repetition until the action is instinctive to the soldiers being drilled. Complex actions are broken down into simpler ones which can be practised in isolation so when the whole is put together the desired results are achieved. Such is necessary for a fighting force to perform at maximum efficiency in all manner of situations. However, depending on the army and the drills it adopts, drilling may destroy flexibility and initiative in exchange for predictability and cohesion.
Recruits in most modern militaries are taught drill to teach them how to work and move as a team. In addition, formations are still used in riot control, where mêlée combat is still the norm.
Parades consist of four directions:
The Advance is the primary direction of movement, regardless of which direction the soldiers are actually facing (similar to a ship's bow.) On a parade square, the advance is determined by the position of the dais or flags. When these are not present, the direction of the drill commander is the advance.
The Retire is opposite to the advance, against the primary direction of movement (similar to a ship's stern.)
The Left is to the left of the Advance (similar to a ship's port.)
The Right is to the right of the Advance (similar to a ship's starboard.)
If the Advance is changed, then all other directions are changed to be based on the new Advance.
There is only one person in charge of a parade at a time. Changing this person is very ceremonious. This is to make it obvious to the soldiers who is currently in command and therefore to whom to pay attention.
During parades, unless explicitly told otherwise, soldiers have restricted movement, meaning they can move only exactly when they are told, and then doing only exactly what they are told to do. In most stances, any movement at all is disallowed and is held to such an extent as to have soldiers fainting on parade, although fainting under any conditions short of plural hours standing still in the hot sun is considered a sign of medical disability.
American usage allows the service member to be at four states of alert:
- Attention: standing straight, eyes forward, chest out, knees straight but not locked, feet together at a 45-degree angle.
- Parade Rest: A modified position of attention in which the left foot is moved to shoulder width (typically measured as exactly 12 inches) and the hands are placed in the small of the back with the right hand placed inside the left with all fingers together and pointing rigidly straight (exception: U.S. Air Force usage is modelled after Commonwealth practice - see below).
- Stand At Ease: Same as Parade Rest, but the soldier may look at the speaker.
- At Ease: The service member is allowed to move around all but the right foot, but must remain silent.
- Rest: Service member may talk, smoke (if command authorized) and may move as long as their right pivot foot remains grounded.
Commonwealth of Nations countries allow four states of alert:
- Attention: standing straight, eyes forward, heels together, feet at a 30-degree angle (540 mils). The hands are held in tight fists with the thumbs aligned with the seam of the trousers.
- At Ease: a modified position of attention in which the left foot is moved to shoulder width and the hands are placed behind the back with arms fully extended. The right hand is placed inside the left. U.S. military usage is "Parade Rest."
- Stand-Easy: Legs remain in the At Ease position, arms are brought to the sides to a more natural standing position. Member may relax their muscles and make minimal movements. U.S. usage is "At Ease," however a common mistake in U.S. military practice confuses "At Ease" with "Rest" (below).
- Relax: Legs remain at position at ease, member may make more significant movements or look around. Members may not move the feet. If the troops are not being addressed by a commander, they are generally allowed to talk quietly. U.S. usage is "Rest."
Common parade commands
- Fall In. Have designated troops move into an already existing formation on the parade square and/or ground.
- Fall Out. Have designated troops wheel out and to the right of their formation, then halt facing the parade commander to be dismissed.
- Dis -Miss. Telling designated units to leave the parade square and stop drilling.
- [Parade Size]/Parade, [Parade Size], Atten-Tion (Shun) (U.S.: Atten - Tion (Shun)). Have the soldiers uniformly adopt the Attention position, the most constrictive position (with feet together), but the only position from which soldiers can actually be made to move. In the United States military, the position is defined as heels together, feet at a 45-degree angle, arms straight, palms inward with fingers naturally curled, thumbs along the seams of trousers, shoulders square and head erect, looking forward. In the Royal Navy, the order "Shun" is replaced with the order "Ho". For Example, the most common usage is "Guard Ho!" With a small pause between words.
- Right Dress, - all personnel in front row and right side column except the right marker take one step forward, pause, and only the front rank bring up their right arms parallel to the ground. At the same time, all members of the formation snap their heads so they are facing right. After this, they pause, and then shuffle back to a new position, where their hand is extremely close to the soldier's shoulder on their right, unless otherwise specified (Elbow Dressing, Shoulder Dressing). Some Armies, e.g. the Australian Army, will raise the left arm (the right arm holding the service weapon).
- Left Dress, - all personnel in front row and left column except the left marker take one step forward, pause, and only the front rank bring up their left arms parallel to the ground. At the same time, all members of the formation snap their heads so they are facing left. After this, they pause, and then shuffle back to a new position, where their hand is extremely close to the soldier's shoulder on their right, unless otherwise specified (Elbow Dressing, Shoulder Dressing).
- Inwards Dress, used when a parade is formed up in two or more groups with Colours, Guidons, or Banners on parade. This is used so that dressing is off the colours. The formations to the left of the Colour Party will dress to the right and the formations to the right of the Colour Party will dress to the left. All personnel to the right of the Colours in front row and left column except the left marker take one step forward, pause, and only the front rank bring up their left arms parallel to the ground. At the same time, all members of the formation snap their heads so they are facing left. All personnel to the left of the colours in front row and right side column except the right marker take one step forward, pause, and only the front rank bring up their right arms parallel to the ground. At the same time, all members of the formation snap their heads so they are facing right. Some Armies, i.e. the Australian Army, will raise the left arm (the right arm holding the service weapon). After this, they pause, and then shuffle back to a new position, where their hand is extremely close to the soldier's shoulder on their left or right (depending on the direction of dressing), unless otherwise specified (Elbow Dressing, Shoulder Dressing).
- Eyes Front, following Right/Left/Inwards Dress, the front rank snaps their arms down and faces forward, while all other ranks simply face forward.
- Dress Right, DRESS - all personnel in the unit except the soldiers at the far left bring up their left arms parallel to the ground and at the same time snap their heads so they are facing right. The person on the far right will keep his head straight. After this, they pause, and then shuffle back to a new position, where their hand is extremely close to the soldier's shoulder on their left. If the command is preceded by "At Close Interval", the left arm is bent at the elbow rather than parallel to the ground. If the command is preceded by "At Double Interval", both arms are extended. "Dress Left" reverses the instructions (Right arm up, look left).
- Ready, FRONT - all personnel snap their arms down and faces forward.
- COVER - used after any movement is halted to realign the formation. All personnel in the formation except the squad leaders make short, choppy steps to align themselves with their squad leaders, then come to attention.
- Stand at Ease (U.S.: PARADE REST). Have the soldiers adopt the more relaxed position At Ease position, with feet shoulder width apart, hands clasped behind back but with upper body half still in position of attention (chest out, shoulders back). This is typically used when soldiers must wait a short duration, ready to adopt the position of attention e.g. if waiting for an Officer to arrive for an inspection. Changing from At Ease to Attention and back again, or the converse, is standard when the command of a parade is transferred (typically between the commanding officer and his Sergeant-Major), since command of a formation is not actually transferred until the new commander makes a command. There is no talking allowed at Parade Rest; personnel must come to the position of attention before speaking.
- Stand at Ease (U.S.) This is the same as Parade Rest, except that soldiers are expected to turn their heads to look at whoever is addressing them. This should not be confused with At Ease.
- Stand Easy. (U.S.: AT EASE) Have the soldiers adopt the next easiest stance, where hands are still clasped behind the back, however the soldiers can relax their upper bodies (the shoulders can be slacked) and quietly speak. This is often, but not always, followed by an implicit 'Relax' ('Rest'). This is typically used when being addressed/lectured for a long period of time where the positions of attention or at ease would be too painful/uncomfortable to hold.
- Relax (U.S.: REST) The only parade instruction given in an ordinary voice, rather than the raised, emphatic parade voice. This is the only position that actually offers soldiers freedom of movement. Soldiers are typically allowed to move other than moving their feet, though, when it is given by a high-ranking officer, soldiers typically move a minimal amount after a bit of stretching.
Marching with weapons/saluting
- Shoulder/Slope Arms: Although Left and Right Shoulder Arms are both valid commands, left is assumed if it is unstated. Soldiers must be at attention to shoulder weapons. This is typically done through a throw rather than a carry. British and Commonwealth parade commands call this as "Slope Arms". The command of "Shoulder Arms" in the Commonwealth and Britain, is done when a rifle is brought on the left or right sides by the shoulder. In US ceremonies, if the soldiers have the weapons at the order, then it is brought up and carried on the right shoulder, and all shoulder commands must specify the shoulder, and may be performed while marching in step.
- Port Arms: The weapon is brought out in front of the soldier, and held by the right hand on small of the butt, or equivalent, and the left hand about the forestock, or equivalent. Usually for preparation of Feu De Joie/Fire of Joy for Parades. In the United States, Port Arms is the required carry position for marching at double time.
- Present Arms: The soldiers bring their weapons to the front of their bodies, and move adjust their right foot position. Soldiers without weapons use a salute appropriate for their headdress. Often officers can salute on behalf of their troops, and any such ambiguity will be discussed with the troops beforehand. This, in the case of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, is often used with the precautionary General/Commander's Salute or Royal/Presidential/Prime Minister's Salute, when appropriate. In U.S. usage, all soldiers salute, except if he or she is holding a weapon. Guidons and organizational colors are dipped to 90 degrees above the ground (but not touching the ground, but in the Commonwealth it is common practice). The U.S. national colors are never dipped (it is also the case in Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Spain) but the British or Commonwealth national colors are dipped to the ground when the salute is performed. This command is used whenever saluting during ceremonial inspections in Germany, France, Russia, Poland, Spain, Italy, Serbia and Ukraine, and eyes are pointed to either the left, on the front, or the right to the direction of the honors being paid. The command for recovery is "Shoulder/Slope Arms!" or "Order Arms!" depending on the situation.
- Order Arms: If the soldiers are carrying a weapon which can be ordered they will lower it so that is resting on the ground, touching the outer toes of the right boot, and being supported by a slightly bent right arm. Usually given in Shoulder/Slope Arms or Present Arms position.
- Ground Arms: The soldier takes a full pace forward, bending their knees, so the right leg is parallel to the floor below the knee, and at the same time leaning forward and laying their rifles down to the ground (ejection port up). They then take the appropriate pause time, then stand up into attention.
- Trail Arms: Same as Order Arms but with hands holding on the rifle above the ground.
- Sling Arms: If the soldiers have a "sling" (strap) on their rifles, then this command can be called. The soldiers will loosen the sling so they can now have their rifles strapped around their shoulders.
- High Port, Arms: This is a higher variant of Port Arms, with both arms holding the weapon high.
- Fire of Joy, load weapons: This command is used in parades such as the National Day Parade in Singapore, and Trooping the Colour. The soldier will load the rifle with the blank round in preparation of the Feu de joie, French for Fire of Joy in parades. This is called in Polish as the Salwa Honorowa or Honor Volley.
- Fix Bayonets: In US ceremonies, whenever the bayonets are to be fixed to the weapons, this command is called out. In times, the accompanying bugle call for it is used before the order is done. The troops pull out their bayonets from their uniforms and attach them to the weapon.
- Draw Sabres: used to draw the sabres.
- Return Sabres: used to return the sabres.
- Present Sabres: used for officers to salute using their sabres.
- Shoulder/Slope Sabres: used for officers to slope the sabre in their left hand shoulder.
- Order Sabres: the sabre is lowered to the ground after presenting or sloping.
Forming the parade for the march past/pass in review
- Pass in Review - used in the US to denote the start of the march past segment of parades. When this command is said the parade prepares in readiness for the march past. It is also used as a way for a newly assigned commander to inspect the troops he/she commands.
- Parade, in close order, left/right dress - in the UK, this command is used to commence dressing of parade units in close order
- Company, in close order, form three/four ranks - in the UK, this command is used to form companies into three or four ranks of personnel each
- Staff behind me, (forward) march - in the US, this command is used by the parade commander to form his parade staff in readiness for the march past/pass in review segment of parades
Compliments and Saluting
Saluting on the march
In the Commonwealth countries, the following saluting on the march commands are ordered with a preparatory command of 'Saluting on the march...'. For example, 'Saluting on the march, to the front Salute' and always called on the left foot.
- To the front Salute or Salute: The parade is halted and the right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. This is lowered and then repeated again, followed by an about turn and a resume in marching (off the left foot). The timing is: "Call, Check, Halt, 2, 3, Up, 2, 3, Down, 2, 3, 4, 5, Up, 2, 3, Down, 2, 3, About, 2, 3, In, 2, 3, Left, Right, Left!" It is one of, if not the longest drill movement in the military.
In British Corps, the drill movement for saluting to the front is the following. One, two, three, one.
- To the Right Salute: The right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. It is generally to a count of "Up, two, three, four, five, down, swing!"
- This is done while looking to the right, except the right marker, who must stay looking to the front, to keep the flight, squad, platoon, etc. staying straight.
- To the Left Salute: The right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. It is generally to a count of "Up, two, three, four, five, down, away!"
- This is done while looking to the left, except the left marker (as they are the front most of the saluting flank), who must stay looking to the front, to keep the flight, squad, platoon, etc. staying straight.
In the United States, the command for saluting on the march is "Eyes, RIGHT/LEFT." The parade leader and other officers execute the hand salute, while everyone but the right file or left file in either case turns their heads to the right." The command for recovery is "Ready, FRONT." If the command does not have rifles, they will salute if given the command present ARMS. The arms will be lowered back to their normal position on the commands Order ARMS. They can also salute if given the command Hand SALUTE. The salute is raised when the parade leader finishes saying "salute", and is lowered in after being held for the same amount of time elapsed between the words "hand" and "salute."
Compliments on the March
- Eyes Right: The parade turn their heads to the right after a check pace. The parade leader salutes while looking in the direction they gave.
- This is done while looking to the right, except the right marker, who must stay looking to the front, to keep the flight, squad, platoon, etc. staying straight.
- Eyes Left:Similar to the Eyes Right except the parade looks to the left.
- This is done while looking to the left, except the left marker, who must stay looking to the front, to keep the flight, squad, platoon, etc. staying straight.
Saluting at the halt (static)
- To the front Salute or Salute: The right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. It is generally to a count of "Up, two, three, down!"
- To the Right Salute: The right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. It is generally to a count of "Up, two, three, down!"
- To the Left Salute: The right arm is raised so the forearm is placed at a 90° angle, while pointing at the temple. It is generally to a count of "Up, two, three, down!"
In the United States, salutes at a halt are given on the command "Hand Salute". They are lowered in the same amount of time elapsed between the two words. The command "present arms" will cause the command to salute if the command is not given rifles for the ceremony, but the salute will be held until they are ordered to lower it with the command "order arms".
- Advance in Review Order: This is used to pay final compliments to the reviewing officer. On the command: ADVANCE IN REVIEW ORDER, BY THECENTRE, QUICK...MARCH, the unit being reviewed advances 15 paces and halts automatically before presenting arms to the reviewing officer. It is usually employed by the British Army and the Canadian Army.
Marching with colours
- Let Fly the Colours: The colours are normally held in a semi-taut position. This is a simple, ceremonial letting fly and catching of the colours.
- Slant Colours: The colours are normally kept upright, but this can represent a problem both when dealing with standard doors. This slants the colours forward sufficiently to negate this, and they are brought back up afterwards.
- Slope/Shoulder Colours: The normal method for carrying colours can be tiresome for the bearer. This has the colours taken out of their frogs and sloped over the right shoulder at about 45°.
Colour commands at the halt (static)
- Order Colours: Essentially the same as Order Arms, except used exclusively for the Colour Party.
- Carry Colours: This is equivalent to Shoulder Arms. The right arm lifts the colours up so they line up with the body's centre line, with the right arm held in front of the soldier, at mouth level parallel to the ground. It is caught and guided into its frog with left hand, which is then returned to its side.
- Change colours: This is used when the senior flag officer decides that he/she and the other flag holding members, have held their flags for a long time, and that their arms are tired, so, when the command "Change - colours!" is given, the flag holders put their arms in line with the flag, their other hand on top of their first hand and move the first hand down to attention, so that the other hand is now at the first hands' original position.
Turning motions at the march
- Right Turn (U.S.:Column right, MARCH): A 90° turn to the right done by rotating on the right heel and left ball. The cautionary and executive are both called on the left foot. The left leg is then brought up to be parallel to the ground (although exceptions are made for kilted regiments) and slammed into the ground in the position of attention. This motion is done at a particular fixed point.
- Left Turn (U.S.:Column left, MARCH): A 90° turn to the left, done by rotation on the right ball and the left heel. The right leg is then brought up to be parallel to the ground and slammed down into attention. This motion is done at a particular fixed point.
- About Turn (U.S.:To the rear, MARCH): A 180° turn to the right, done as an exaggerated version of the right turn. United States units do not make exaggerated gestures with the legs or arms.
- Right Flank MARCH or Right turn, it is still the same even on the march for some countries: All members marching execute 90° turn to the right done by rotating on the right heel and left ball.
- Left Flank MARCH or Left turn, it is still the same even on the march for some countries: All members marching 90° turn to the left, done by rotation on the right ball and the left heel.
- Right Incline (U.S.:Column half-right, MARCH), is a half turn to the right, usually used when a flight, squad, platoon, etc. is not in its proper alignment. All members marching turn by 45° to the right, done by rotation on the left ball and the right heel.
- Left Incline (U.S.:Column half-left, MARCH), is a half turn to the left, usually used when a flight, squad, platoon, etc. is not in its proper alignment. All members marching turn by 45° to the left, done by rotation on the right ball and the left heel.
- Right Wheel, is a turn to the right, differentiated from a Right Turn in that the order of march remains the same.
- Left Wheel, is a mirror of the Right Wheel.
Turning motions at the halt (static)
- Right Face: The body is rotated on the heel of the right foot and then the left heel is brought forward to meet the right heel in the position of attention.
- Left Face: A mirror image of Right Face.
- About Face: The right toe is brought back to behind the left heel; the body pivots on the right toe and left heel 180°.
- Half-Left Face: Exactly the same as a left face, but one turns only 45°.
- Half-Right Face: Exactly the same as a right face, but one turns only 45°.
- Right Turn: The body is rotated 90° to the right members shall bend the left knee, straighten it in double time and smartly place the left foot beside the right to assume the position of attention.
- Left Turn: A mirror image of Right Turn.
- About Turn: The body is rotated 180° in a clockwise direction, knees locked. Members shall bend the left knee, straighten it in double time and smartly place the left foot beside the right to assume the position of attention.
- Right Incline: Exactly the same as a right turn, but one turns only 45°.
- Left Incline: Exactly the same as a left turn, but one turns only 45°.
- Quick March: The standard pace is typically 116 beats/minute with a 30in. step. There is also a Rifleman's Pace, 140 beats/minute and a Highland Pace, 110 beats/minute (typically done with a kilt.) The pace is based on the individual regiments, the pace given by the commander, and the speed of the band's rhythm. The way the march is performed depends on the regiment's nationality.
- Slow March: This is a ceremonial pace, used for funerals and when a unit's colours are marched out in front of the troops. The standard pace is 65 beats per minute.
- Half Step March or Cut the pace:
- This is a U.S. march pace. It is at the same tempo as Quick Time, but instead of 30 inches, the step is 15 inches.
- There is also a Canadian and Commonwealth version of this, used for when the front file/rank is getting too far ahead of the rest of the flight, squad, or platoon, it means that front file/rank should make their steps smaller, to allow for the rest of the flight, squad, or platoon, to get back into proper dressing.
- Double March: This is essentially a moderate jog at approximately 180 paces per minute. It creates a travel speed of approximately double that of Quick Time, designed to be used even when carrying heavy burdens. This is often erroneously used to describe a sprint or an ordinary run. The U.S. command is "Double Time, MARCH."
- Easy March: This is an unrestricted march at approximately Quick Time. This is designed for field marches and other rough conditions, though is not used in combat areas. The U.S. command is "Route Step, MARCH." In the Canadian Forces the command "March at, EASE" is given while the unit is on the march. It can not be given from the halt.
- Mark Time: This is essentially a stationary march with the knees coming up parallel to the ground or the foot dangling six inches off of the ground. This is designed to maintain the time of large parades when portions need no forward speed.
- Step For -Ward or Forward or Forward, March: This causes troops marking time to resume a normal march.
Melee weapons and unarmed combat
The most familiar form of melee weapon and unarmed combat drill in the modern world is the Kata and the Hyung in Eastern martial arts. However, there were once similar drills in the martial training of warriors in all cultures worldwide. They all had exactly the same purpose, to make instinctive an appropriate reaction to an attack or opening by conditioning the mind and body, through repeated and constant repetition of a series of actions (building up muscle memory). Probably one of the last survivors of such drills in the Western martial tradition are the reaction drills and rhythm exercises in the modern sport of fencing.
The 18th century musket, as typified by the Brown Bess, was loaded and fired in the following way:
- Upon the command "Prime and load". The soldier will bring the musket to the priming position, with the pan opened.
- Upon the command "Handle Cartridge". The soldier will draw a cartridge. Cartridges consist of a spherical lead bullet wrapped in a paper cartridge which also holds the gunpowder propellant. The bullet is separated from the powder charge by a twist in the paper.
- The soldier should then bite off the top of the cartridge (the end without the bullet) and hold it closed with the thumb and index finger.
- Upon the command "Prime". The soldier should pour a small pinch of the powder from the cartridge into the priming pan. He should then close the frizzen so that the priming powder is trapped.
- Upon the command " 'Bout" (About). The butt of the musket is then dropped to the ground by the left foot with the trigger guard facing to the rear and the soldier having just poured the rest of the powder into the barrel. Once all of the powder is poured into the barrel, the soldier should have stuffed the paper and the ball into the barrel, the paper acts as wadding to keep the gunpowder in the barrel and also packing it down.
- Upon the command "Draw ramrods". The soldier should draw his ramrod from below the barrel. First forcing it half out before seizing it backhanded in the middle, followed by drawing it entirely out, while simultaneously turning it to the front and placing it one inch into the barrel.
- Upon the command "Ram down the cartridge". He should then use the ramrod to firmly ram the bullet, wadding, and powder down to the bottom followed by tamping it down with two quick strokes.
- Upon the command "Return ramrods". The ramrod is then returned to its hoops under the barrel. Then the musket is returned to the shoulder arms position.
- Upon the command "Make Ready". The musket is brought to the recover position (held vertically in front of the body with the trigger guard facing forward) and the cock (hammer) is drawn back to the full-cock position.
- Upon the command "P'sent" (Present). The musket is brought up to the firing position in anticipation of the command "Fire".
- Under battle conditions, many of these commands were combined for speed and efficiency. On the command "Prime and Load" troops would, without further order, carry out all movements up to and including "Make Ready". Because of the size of the companies and the general noise of battle, these commands could be and were often communicated through specialized drum beatings.
- This process was drilled into troops until they could do it by instinct and feel. The main advantage of the British Redcoat was that he trained at this procedure almost every day. The standard for the British Army was the ability to load and fire three rounds per minute. A skilled unit of musketeers was often able to fire four rounds per minute.
Cavalry drill had the purpose of training cavalrymen and their horses to work together during a battle. It survives to this day[update], albeit in a much diminished form, in the modern sporting discipline of dressage. The movements sideways or at angles, the pirouettes, etc., were the movements needed for massed cavalrymen to form and reform and deploy. Of the proponents of classical dressage from which modern dressage evolved, probably the best known[original research?] are the Lipizzaner Stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Musical Ride gives an inkling of what massed cavalry drill at speed would have looked like.
Other tasks may be broken down into drills, for example weapons maintenance, the British army used the rhythmic, poetic almost, "naming of parts" as a memory aid in the teaching and learning of how to strip, cleaning and reassembly of the service rifle.
Drill is today used to demonstrate discipline and cohesion in a modern militant force. Large military parade's are today held on major holidays and military events around the world. Military parades are commonly associated with autocratic dictatorships and are considered to be tools of propaganda. Today, military parades include all aspects of military drill, from an Exhibition drill of precision drill teams and military bands, as well as and exhibition of military weapons such as a mobile column, a naval parade, and a fly past by the country's air force.
- Paul Lockhart, The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2008)
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