The orders for the exercise movements may be standardized by first giving the name of the movement, “Arms Cross,” and then adding the words: “Ready—Cross!” to indicate the second or executive part of the command. For example: “Arms Cross. Ready—Cross!” the men taking the “cross” position at the last word. In this way the members of the squad are first warned as to just what they are expected to do; then, at the executive word, they all act together. The leader should see to it that the over-eager men do not anticipate the executive command.
The only purely military formation used in this manual is that of the squad. Nowadays, when military training is so universal, the meaning of the term is well known; there is sure to be some one in the company who can supply the necessary information about forming the squad and the simple movement of “Squads Right.” To put it into untechnical language, it may be said that the squad consists of eight men, lined up four abreast in two ranks. The men should be arranged in order of height, the tallest being No. 1, front rank. No. 4 of the front rank acts as corporal of the squad.
[Illustration: Eyes right!]
“Squads Right” looks like a complicated maneuver when studied according to the diagrams in the manuals, but it is not particularly difficult in practice. Its use is to get the company out of the double line formation into a column of four men abreast, the usual marching formation. At the executive command, “March!” No. 1 front rank acts as the pivot, and makes a right-angled turn to the right, marking time in that position until the three other men in the front rank have executed a right-oblique movement and have come up on the new line. The rear-rank men follow suit, but Nos. 2 and 1 have to turn momentarily to the left in order to get behind the front-rank pivot men—to put it more simply, they follow No. 2 in single file.
It sounds confusing, but any old National Guardsman can explain the movement in very short order. So soon as “Squads Right” has been completed the whole column takes up the march without further word of command.
All steps and marchings executed from a halt (except Right or Left Step) begin with the left foot.
The length of the full step in “Quick (or ordinary) time” is 30 inches, measured from heel to heel, and the cadence is at the rate of 120 steps to the minute.
The length of the full step in “Double Time” is 36 inches; the cadence is at the rate of 180 steps to the minute.
At the warning command, “Forward!” shift the weight of the body to the right leg, left knee straight. At the command, “March!” move the left foot forward 30 inches from the right; continue with the right and so on. The arms swing freely.