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Battle Drill


From Infantry Training: Part VIII--Fieldcraft, Battle Drill, Section and Platoon Tactics (1944)

104. The object of this drill is to show the soldier diagrammatically how the section fights, and exactly what every man in the section team has to do. It also relates the discipline of the parade ground to the discipline required in the field. The soldier should be practised in the tactical application of the drill at an early stage so that he can understand the value of the drill.

105. The following points should be noted:--

  1. All movements are carried out at the double, once the section is under effective fire.
  2. Rifles will be trailed until the section comes under fire, when they will be canted in the left hand.
  3. On the command "Halt", the action is to halt, order arms, and stand at ease.
  4. "Fire" is represented by standing at attention with the rifle at the order. "Cease fire" by standing at ease again.
  5. "Enemy" is represented by a flag in the middle of the parade ground. It is presumed that the section locates the enemy immediately it comes under effective fire.
  6. Distance between men throughout will be 5 yds. they will fall in at 5-yd. intervals.

106. Before the drill begins, the section will be fallen in in line in the centre of one end of the parade ground at right angles to the flag and numbered as for battle drill in the following order by the instructor:--

Section commander, No. 1 rifleman, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6 rifleman, second-in-command, No. 1 Bren, No. 2 Bren. The section moves with the Bren group in rear, so that the section is less likely to be checked when it comes under effective fire.

The instructor then points out the enemy and tells the section commander how many bounds he is to make before the assault.

Drill No. Word of command given by Word of command Action taken and by whom
1 Sec. comd. Number--standing load--move to the right--right turn--observe--prepare to advance--first bound, there--advance Section number as for battle drill from right to left--right turn--turn and face direction in which they observe:--
Riflemen, odd numbers to right, even numbers to left. No. 2 Bren about turn. Remainder continue to face front. All face front and advance in step in quick time.
2 Instr. Under effective fire.
3 Sec. comd. Rifle group--stop. Enemy flag 400. Rifle group fire when you see target. Bren group there. Rifle group come up at double on either side of section comd. and shout: "Down crawl observe sights fire." Bren group halt on "Under effective fire."
4 2 I/C Bren group follow me. Bren group halt--enemy--left (or right)--400 covering fire. Doubles with group to place indicated, which will be a short bound on one or other flank of rifle group. Group halts and turns left or right: 2 I/C shouts "Down crawl observe sights fire." NOTE: This is the action when first coming under fire. Thereafter fire will be opened on definite orders only.
5 Sec. comd. Rifle group--stop. We will kill all enemy in that post. Right (or left) flanking. Rifle group follow me. Halt. Enemy left (or right) 200 covering fire. Group moves round rear of Bren group to bound. If more than one bound has been ordered by instructor this will be short of 3 o'clock to post, as 3 O'clock is assault position in right flanking. Halt. Left (or right) turn and shout:--"Down crawl observe sights fire." (See note for drill 4).
6 2 I/C Bren group--stop. Right (or left) flanking--follow me. Group--right turn on "flanking" and follow 2 I/C round rear of rifle group to receive orders for his next position.
7 Sec. comd. (as Bren group pass behind him.) We assault from here. Bren group there (points to 10 or 2 O'clock to post: or if another bound is to be made--Bren group next bound there). 2 I/C leads Bren group to bound as indicated.
8 2 I/C Bren group halt--enemy left (or right) 200 covering fire. Halt--left (or right) turn and shout: "Down crawl observe sights fire." (See note for drills 4 and 5).
9 Sec. comd. (if moving to his assault position, otherwise drills 5-8 are repeated, less the intention in Drill 5). Rifle group stop. Right (or left) flanking--follow me. Halt--left (or right) turn. We assault from here--fix bayonets-- Group--right (or left) turn and follow sec. comd. on token move in order not to assault from position in which they have been firing. Sec. comd. moves to centre of section and rifle group dress out to 5-yard intervals. Fix bayonets.
10 Sec. comd. Prepare to assault--assault--bullets--bullets--charge. Rifle group to high port and push forward safety catches--group moves forward in line. On the command "bullets" all fire from the hip and return to high port. On command "charge" group come to the on-guard position.
11 2 I/C Bren groups prepare to fire rapid as rifle group prepare to assault, then when rifle group assault. Rapid fire--Bren group--stop (as soon as rifle group cross post) cover consolidation. Bren group turns about and remains at attention on "consolidation."
12 Sec. comd. Consolidate--follow me. Sec. comd. leads group in single file and halts them so as to form half arrowhead facing axis. Man on opposite flank to sec. comd. faces flank. No. 2 rifleman faces about.
13 2 I/C Bren group consolidate--left (or right) turn, follow me. halt--left (or right) turn. Bren group follow 2 I/C in single file to complete arrowhead on sec. comd. No. 2 Bren faces flank.
14 Sec. comd. (without waiting for Bren group). Rifle group--unfix bayonets. Rifle group unfix.
15 Sec. comd. (when Bren group arrive) Section as for battle drill re-number 2 I/C takes over. Section number. 2 I/C moves to take charge of section. Sec. comd. reports "ammunition, casualties and intelligence" to instructor and returns. 2 I/C moves back to his original position.
16 Sec. comd. Advance will continue on original axis--first bound there--advance. Section advances at fast walk rifles again at trail, shaking out into original order. Instructor halts them for criticism. Before repeating the drill, the instructor should fall out No. 1 Bren, for instance, the man fallen out moves to rear and the section move up and renumber immediately.

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