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A full-fledged sham fight, on an idea known to the commanding officer, barely outlined to a few officers, and with little or no explanation to company commanders and enlisted men, gives little in the way of any real knowledge to the men. As most officers rise from the ranks, every reason exists to have system and method govern all tours of duty, to gain the practical instruction and knowledge of service conditions to be acquired from peace manœuvres.

Each principle of action, offensive and defensive, the prudent movement of troops that lead up to their tactical disposition, the proper method to advance in open or close country, and a judicious use of the natural advantages of the ground, — can be best mastered by being understood beforehand, by rank and file, that the field work prove a profitable object lesson. The general idea should be issued for the information of all concerned.

Cut-and-dried perfunctory parade movements are out of place in the field. Something should be left to the fertility of commanders; and, as the end and aim of manoeuvres are to broaden experience to handle men skilfully under somewhat similar conditions in actual hostilities, every move has a bearing on every other move. When an error is made, an opening is given, and the initiative of action on such chance of war falls to the senior officers in command of the fraction in immediate opposition. While strictly following the general idea, he must draw on his own resources to make the most of any opportunity.

The main feature should be transmitted to company officers, to be explained to their men on the blackboard in armories, the precise position to be occupied by any company not being stated, but the salient points made clear, that there be an intelligent comprehension of what is intended, and the field operations leave their due impress on all. The interest of the men will be secured, and they will know for what they are being manoeuvred, before reading in extenso in the newspapers the day after.

Officers will be set to thinking, rendered keen to develop their individuality, and prepared to grasp their orders and execute them with the originality in detail properly left to them.

The battalion commanders will study their units, and, with more reliable knowledge of their companies, can, the more quickly and effectively respond to the orders they receive.

The commanding officer will find his idea better handled, and there will be an end to aimless marching and countermarching, or what is even worse, no marching and an utter standstill, from misconception of his plan at some crisis in the


The necessary preliminary details give the staff an opportunity for practical work.

Carried out on such lines, the day will be well spent. There would be much to attract officers of other organizations, and there should be no difficulty to secure competent umpires. The State would get a full equivalent for the real outlay, which is now too often barren of adequate results.

While in some cases the idea has been worked up carefully, it is seldom impressed upon the men, as a preparatory study before the day of execution. It is frequently very elaborate, a campaign condensed into a few hours, with the inevitable lack of perspective, and, by an effort to include a great deal, fails of digestion.

To get at simpler procedure that will accomplish the most in the end, the following memorandum is issued by the department, based on the most reliable data at hand bearing on this subject:

General Rules Governing Field Manœuvres.

1. The general idea will be issued in season to be understood by the whole command.

2. Special instructions in greater detail for commanders of fractions of the command will be issued in the form of orders, which should be short, clear, free from ambiguity, and strictly in the form which would be followed in real service.

3. Whenever practicable, orders are to be in writing; staff and orderly officers to write out orders given them, and have them verified; any verbal order to be repeated before the bearer starts on its delivery.

4. Reports to be in writing, whenever practicable, with the signature of sender, place, hour and date.

5. With a little practice, maps can be drawn, and simplify reports of the nature of the ground and position of the opposing forces. These need not be pretentious, but, roughly drawn to a scale, they convey more valuable information than a lengthy report, which unduly consumes time in reading as well as preparation.

6. Written reports, orders, signal or telegraphic messages to be preserved and handed to the senior umpires at the conclusion of the manoeuvres.


7. Opposing forces to be in the uniform of the State. Different orders of dress may be worn, or some distinguishing mark adopted, and made known to all participants.

8. Battalion commanders to be assured by reports of captains

(based upon personal examination) that all the ammunition issued, or in reserve for issue, is blank, particular care being taken to avoid armory ammunition.

9. Infantry not to approach nearer to one another than one hundred yards in the open, or fifty yards in enclosed country. No firing to be allowed nearer than one hundred yards.


Bayonets never to be fixed.

11. Infantry, or dismounted cavalry halted, will only fire at any one body of troops advancing a sufficient number of rounds to denote its position. Credit will be given as if a sustained fire were kept up.


The success of a peace manoeuvre is not necessarily the mere expenditure of ammunition. Random fire is most reprehensible. It is a contest distinctly for points.

13. Firing must be conducted upon principles which would govern in hostilities, and the men taught to save their cartridges. Fire, to be effective, must be judicious. The utmost discipline must be maintained; an occasional volley will pull a company together, and do away with the senseless fusilade of some overzealous recruit.

14. Due regard must be paid citizens, and needless firing on travelled streets or near residences avoided.

In Action.

15. Railways are only to be crossed by regular bridges and crossings.

16. It is optional with a commanding officer to make such For instance, roads may constructive obstacles as he may see fit. be tentatively closed, certain fords regarded as impassable and bridges as destroyed; but in all such instances placards will be affixed, and umpires, field officers or officers of independent commands, promptly notified.

17. That no time may be lost, the commanding officer will establish such time limit as will govern umpires in their decision as to the turning points in the manœuvres.

18. If patrols or bodies of scouts meet each other, neither If of can advance, and the umpire will decide which is to retire. unequal strength, the weaker is to fall back, unless the umpire consider its superior leading should entitle it to advance.

19. After any issue at arms, the umpire will decide which side has made its point; the successful force will occupy the ground, while their opponents retreat out of sight, and are not re-formed within five hundred yards. Hostilities are renewed upon announcement by the umpires.

20. Attention must be paid to the possibilities of movement in action. Men cannot fire accurately when winded, and the effective condition of troops must be taken into account, as well as their tactical position.

21. Strict fire discipline and the economical use of ammunition are to be enforced. Only five rounds should be carried by the men, with the balance in reserve, to practically illustrate how it would be served out in action. Beyond the experience gained, there will be less aimless firing.

22. Signalling parties are liable to be ruled out of action if beyond the limit of protection by their own troops.

Of Umpires.

23. Unless there be umpires to properly disqualify such troops as would be hors de combat in actual hostilities, the lesson of peace manœuvres leaves slight impress. Valuable as the experience of umpiring is in and of itself, it is most valuable to facilitate peace manoeuvres, and, by noting good points as well as glaring defects, enables such a report to be made as will insure the best results in the way of general improvement. Without some such impartial verdict, good work and bad work stand on the same footing, the efficiency of the regiment remains the efficiency of individuals; however, unless a command is well linked together, it is bound to * fall to pieces in real action.

24. Umpires should wear a broad white band on the right arm above the elbow; for umpires the breadth will be four inches and for assistant umpires two inches. All other neutrals in uniform will wear a white band on left arm.

25. Except to escape collision, umpires are not to give any orders to troops. They may, acting within these regulations, rule troops or guns out of action, or incapable of movement, and inform the officer in command accordingly, but are not to order advance or retirement. In order that the troops may not lose instruction, they should seldom be placed out of action for more than half an hour.

26. In their decisions the umpires must be guided by the considerations which follow: (a) the relative force engaged on each side and in immediate reserve; (b) in the attack, the strength of a position, the nature of the ground to be passed over, the plan of attack and its preparation; (c) on the defensive, the disposition of the troops and arrangements for counter-attack; (d) handling and fire discipline of the troops on either side, the number of rounds that could be fired, the accuracy of the sighting and the manner in which the fire was delivered.

27. Before the operations of a day begin, umpires will be furnished with copies of the "special ideas" of both sides, which are to be considered strictly confidential. Officers in command of forces will inform the senior umpire what instructions they have given, and what they propose to do.

28. The senior umpire on each side is responsible for the distribution of the other umpires. Umpires and their assistants are to meet the senior umpires of their side before the commencement of operations, when practicable. Before the troops move away from their places of assembly they are to be allotted to the several bodies with which they are to act, and will accompany them. As far as practicable, one umpire should be detailed to watch each separate portion of the troops, but their action must extend to all troops in their vicinity.

29. Umpires, when with troops not in movement, should be careful to keep as much out of sight of the force in opposition as the nature of the ground will allow.

30. Orders from umpire staff are to be regarded as the orders of the umpire-in-chief, and are to be carried out without discussion. A decision once given can only be altered by the senior umpire of one side.

31. The umpires on the spot will decide questions for all arms, without reference to their effect on the general course of the manœuvres. When senior umpires are on the spot, other umpires should obtain their approval before giving important decisions.

32. When there is a prospect of collision, the umpires from each side should meet. After discussion on the tactical situation, based on the strength and position of the two sides, they decide which is to retire. In the absence of an umpire attached to one of the sides, the one belonging to the other side must make his decision alone.

33. Umpires are to note down the exact time when each prominent feature takes place, to make a final and complete verbal report at the end of the day. They should at once inform the chief umpire of decisions which materially affect the operations of the day. They will report any hesitation to comply with their orders.

34. In the same way the commanders of troops are to report these decisions to their senior officers, and communicate them to the troops on either flank.

35. Mounted officers will be ruled out of action if within three hundred yards of hostile firing.

36. A flank may turn either a good position or earthworks, and troops outnumbered and outflanked must usually retire.

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