2nd Battalion the Border Regiment

NOTE: -- At the outbreak of the Great War, there was apparently no offical field manual for the British Army. The following rifle excercise has been excerpted from Rifle Exercises Simplified... (Angus & Robertson, LTD Sydney), that was published in 1915. The illustrations are also from this work and show a soldier dressed both in standard British and Australian military attire.  
RIFLE EXERCISES
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GENERAL RULES

1. Recruits, before they commence the rifle exercises, are to be taught the names of the different parts of the rifle and the care of arms.

2. The rifle exercises will not be performed at inspections, and will only be practiced by units larger than a squad for purposes of ceremonial.

3. Instruction in the rifle exercises should be combined with aiming and firing instruction.
Squad drill with arms should be practiced occasionally in extended order to accustom recruits to handle their arms steadily and correctly when separated from their comrades.

4. The recruit having been thoroughly instructed in the rifle exercises by numbers, will be taught to perform them in quick time, the words of command being given without the numbers, and executed as detailed in the following sections, with a pause of one beat of quick time between each motion.

5. Squads drilling with rifles will be practiced in the different marches and variations of step described in the foregoing sections.
The disengaged arm will be allowed to swing naturally as described for marching in quick or double time without arms.
 
FALLING IN WITH ARMS AT THE ORDER.

The recruit will fall in as described in squad drill, with the rifle held perpendicularly at his right side, the butt on the ground, its toe in line with the toe of the right foot. The right arm to be slightly bent, the hand to hold the rifle at or near the band, back of the hand to the right, thumb against the thigh, fingers together and slanting towards the ground.


When each man has got his dressing he will stand at ease.

TO STAND AT EASE FROM THE ORDER.

Stand at --Ease. Keeping the legs straight, carry the left foot about 12 inches to the left so that the weight of the body rests equally on both feet. At the same time incline the muzzle of the rifle slightly to the front with the right hand, arm close to the side, the left arm to be kept in the position of attention.

Note. -- The procedure is the same with or without bayonets fixed.

 


THE ATTENTION FROM STAND AT EASE.

Squad-- Attention. The left foot will be brought up to the right and the rifle returned to the order.
 
THE SLOPE FROM THE ORDER.

Slope Arms --One. Give the rifle a cant upwards with the right hand, catching it with the left hand at the back-sight and the right hand at the small of the butt, thumb to the left, elbow to the rear.


Two. Carry the rifle across the body, and place it flat on the left shoulder, magazine outwards from the body. Seize the butt with the left hand, the first two joints of the fingers grasping the upper side of the butt, the thumb about one inch above the toe, the upper part of the left arm close to the side, the lower part horizontal, and the heel of the butt in line with the centre of the left thigh.

Three. Cut away the right hand to the side.

THE PRESENT FROM THE SLOPE.

Present Arms--One. Seize the rifle with the right hand at the small, both arms close to the body.

Two. Raise the rifle with the right hand perpendicularly in front of the centre of the body, sling to the left; at the same time, place the left hand smartly on the stock, wrist on the magazine, finger pointing upwards, thumb close to the forefinger, point of the thumb in line with the mouth; the left elbow to the close of the butt, the right elbow and butt close to the body.

Three. Bring the rifle down perpendicularly close in front of the centre of the body, guard to the front, holding it lightly at the full extent of the right arm, fingers slanting downwards, and meet it smartly with hand immediately behind the back-sight, thumb pointing towards the muzzle; at the same time place the hollow of the right foot against the left heel, both knees straight. The weight of the rifle supported by the left hand.

 
THE SLOPE FROM THE PRESENT.

Slope Arms --One. Bring the right foot in line with the left and place the rifle on the left shoulder as described in the second motion of the slope from the order.

Two. Cut away the right hand to the side.
 
TO FIX BAYONETS FROM THE ORDER.

Fix Bayonets --One. Seize the handle of the bayonet with the left hand, knuckles to the front, thumb and fingers to the rear; at the same time push the muzzle of the rifle sharply forward and turn the head and eyes to the right, the right-hand man looking to the left.

Two. Taking the time from the right-hand man, draw the bayonet, turning the point upwards and keeping the elbow down. Place the handle on the bayonet standard, with the ring over the stud on the nose-cap, pressing it home to the catch. Body and head to be erect.

Three. Taking the time from the right-hand man (who will raise his disengaged arm to the full extent and in line with the shoulder), bring the rifle to the order; at the same time cut away the left hand to the side, turning the head and eyes to the front.

Note. -- On the word Fix, the right-hand man of the unit will take three paces forward, resuming his place in line when the third motion is completed.

UNFIXING BAYONETS.

Unfix Bayonets --One. Keeping the heels closed, place the rifle between the knees, guard to the front, and grasp the handle of the bayonet with the right hand, knuckles to the front, thumb of the left hand on the bayonet bolt spring; draw the rifle into the body with the knees, and press the spring. Raise the bayonet about 1 inch, and at the same time turn the head and eyes to the left.

Two. Taking the time from the left-hand man, raise the bayonet off the bayonet standard, drop the point to the left side, ring to the rear, and, raising the right hand, seize the scabbard with the left hand and guide the bayonet into it.

Three. Taking time from the left-hand man (who will look inwards and raise his right arm), force the bayonet home, and bring thee right hand to the band.

Four. Taking the time from the left-hand man, cut away the left hand to the side and return to the order, turning the head and eyes to the front.

Note.--On the word Unfix, the left-hand man of the unit will take three paces forward, resuming his place in line when the fourth motion is completed.

 

INSPECTION OF ARMS.

For Inspection, Port--Arms. Cant the rifle, muzzle leading, with the right hand smartly across the body, guard to the left and downwards, the barrel crossing opposite the point of the left shoulder, and meet it at the same time with the left hand close behind the back-sight, thumb and fingers round the rifle, the left wrist to be opposite the left breast, both elbows close to the body.

Turn the safety catch completely over to the front with the thumb or forefinger of the right hand. Pull out the cut-off if closed, first pressing it downwards with the thumb, then siexe the knob with the forefinger and thumb of the right hand, turn it sharply upwards and draw back the bolt to its full extent, then grasp the butt with the right hand and immediately behind the bolt, thumb pointing to the muzzle.

Note.--A squad, before being inspected, will receive the command, Rear Rank, One Pace Step Back ˝ March.

TO EASE SPRINGS AND COME TO THE ORDER.

Ease--Springs. From the position described above, work the bolt rapidly backwards and forwards until all cartridges are removed from the magazine and chamber (*This precaution will also be adopted if magazines are not charged) allowing them to fall to the ground, then close the breech, press the trigger, close the cut off by placing the right hand over the bolt and pressing the cut off inwards, turn the safety catch over to the rear, and return the hand to the small.

 

OR, IF THE MAGAZINE IS CHARGED.

Lock--Bolt. Close the breech, then turn the safety catch over to the rear, and return the hand to the small

Order Arms--One. Holding the rifle firmly in the left hand, seize it with the right hand at the band.

Two. As in the second motion of the order from slope.

Three. As in the third motion of the order from the slope.

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR INSPECTING ARMS.

1. When arms are inspected at the port only, as in inspecting a section on parade, the officer or non-commissioned officer will see that the exterior of the rifle is clean andfree from rust; that the magazine and action are clean and in good order; that the sights are at zero; and that no parts are loose or damaged. He will here and there examine the bore of a rifle to see that it has been cleaned and oiled and is free from obstructions.

2. Each soldier, when the officer has passed the file next to him, will without further word of command, ease springs, order arms, and stand at ease.

When the inspection is completed, the squad will be closed and the squad commanderÝs command Close Ranks ˝ March, when the rear rank will take one pace forward.

 

TO EXAMINE ARMS.

Examine--Arms. Both ranks, being at the port, will come to the position for loading with the muzzle so inclined as to enable the officer to look through the barrel, the thumb-nail of the right hand being placed in front of the bolt to reflect light into the barrel.
The soldier, when the officer has passed the next file to him, will, without further word of command, ease springs, order arms, and stand at ease.

Notes.--(1). If it is necessary to examine arms, the men, when the position of for inspection, port arms, will be cautioned to remain at the port. Ranks will be closed on the squad commanderÝs command Close Ranks ˝ March, when the rear rank will take one pace forward when the examination has been completed.

(2). In ordering arms from the examine, the first motion is to seize the rifel with the right hand between the back-sight and the band, at the same time bringing the left foot back to the right. With the second motion the rifle will be brought to the order, the left hand being cut away to the side.

 

TO TRAIL ARMS FROM THE ORDER,
AND VICE VERSA.

1. Trail--Arms. By a slight bend of the right arm give the rifle a cant forward and seize it at the point of balance, bringing it at once to a horizontal position at the side at the full extent of the straight arm, which should hang easily from the shoulder, fingers and thumb round the rifle.

2 Order--Arms. Raise the muzzle, catch the rifle at the band, and come to the order.
Note.--The trail is not to be used in close order drill. It will be used when required for movements in the field in both close and extended order.

THE SHORT TRAIL.

No word of command. Raise the rifle about 3 inches from the ground, keeping it otherwise in the position of the order.
If standing with ordered arms, and directed to form fours, to close to the right or left, to step back, or to take any named number of paces forward, men will come to the short trail.

FIXING BAYONETS ON THE MARCH.

Fix--Bayonets. 1. When at the slope seize the rifle with the right hand at the point of balance and bring it to the trail, with the muzzle sloping upwards in front of the right breast. Draw and fix the bayonet with the left hand. Bring the rifle to the slope.

2. When at the trail raise the muzzle of the rifle and proceed as above described.

 

TO CHANGE ARMS WHEN AT THE SLOPE.

Change Arms -- One. Seize the butt of the rifle with the right hand, back of the hand up, at the same time slipping the left hand up to the small.

Two. Carry the rifle, turning the magazine outwards, on to the right shoulder, bringing it well to the front, so as to clear the head.

Three. Cut the left hand to the side.

Note. -- To change arms from the right to left shoulder act as above, reading left for right, and right for left.

 

TO CHANGE ARMS FROM THE TRAIL.

Change Arms--One. Bring the rifle to a perpendicular position in front of the right shoulder, magazine to the front, upper part of the arm close to the side, forearm horizontal, hand in line with the waist-belt.

Two. Pass the rifle across the front of the body, catching it with the left hand at the point of balance, at the same time cutting the right hand smartly to the side. In this position the rifle is to be held perpendicularly and opposite the left shoulder, magazine to the front, upper part of the left arm close to the side, left forearm horizontal, hand in line with the waist-belt.

Three. Lower the rifle to the full extent of the left arm at the trail.

 

TO SLING ARMS FROM THE ORDER.

Sling--Arms. The sling of the rifle having been loosened to the full extent, the soldier will pass his head and right arm between the sling and the rifle, muzzle upwards, rifle hanging diagonally across the back.

Note. --The rifle is carried slung by dismounted signalers, and drivers leading pack animals.

 

TO GROUND ARMS AND TAKE UP ARMS, FROM AND TO THE ORDER.

Ground--Arms. Place the rifle gently on the ground at the right side, magazine to the right, muzzle pointing in the same direction as the right foot. The right hand will be in line with the toe as it places the rifle on the ground. Then return smartly to the position of attention.

Take Up -- Arms. Bend down, take up the rifle, and return to the order.

PILING ARMS.

Pile Arms--One. The squad being in two ranks at the order, the rear rank will take a pace forward and turn the barrels of their rifles towards the front rank. The front rank will turn about and place the butts of their rifles between their feet.

Two. The odd numbers of the front rank will incline the muzzles towards those of the even numbers, barrels downwards, slipping the right hand to the nose cap; the odd numbers will then seize the rifles of the even numbers with the left hand in the same manner and hold up the piling swivels of both rifles with the forefingers and thumbs, crossing the muzzles to bring the swivels together. The even numbers will drop the right hand to the side.

Three. The even numbers of the rear rank, holding their rifles sling upwards at the band, will incline the muzzles forward, and with the left hand will link swivels through the crossed muzzles of the front rank, raising their butts as high as necessary to do so. The odd numbers of the front rank will now turn the barrels of their rifles towards the event numbers of the rear rank, who will then place the heels of their butts 6 inches to the right of the toe of the right foot so as to make the pile secure.

Four. The odd numbers of the rear rank will lodge their rifles against the pile, and will then drop their hands to the[ir] side.

Stand--Clear. Ranks will step back one pace and turn to the right flank.

 

UNPILING ARMS.

Stand--To. Ranks will turn inwards and take a pace forward.

Unpile Arms--One. The whole will seize their rifles at the band.

Two. Swivels will be unlinked, by raising and inclining the butts inwards, and rifles brought to the order.
Three. The left-hand man of the front rank will raise his disengaged arm. When he sees that the whole are ready he will drop his arm, when the front rank will turn about and the rear rank will step back a pace.

Note. ˝ In piling arms on parade, the command FallˇOut will be given after Stand ˝ Clear. On again falling in, the men will place themselves as they stood before falling out.

 

PAYING COMPLIMENTS WITH ARMS.

1. When a soldier, carrying a rifle, passes or addresses an officer he will do so at the slope, and will salute by carrying the right hand smartly to the small of the butt, forearm horizontal, back of the hand to the front, fingers straight. He will salute on the third pace before reaching him, and will cut the hand away on the third pace after passing him.

2. In passing an officer the soldier will always turn his head towards him in the same manner as when unarmed.

3. A soldier, if halted when an officer passes, will turn towards him and stand at the order.

GUARDS AND SENTRIES.

1. Guards, including reliefs, rounds and patrols, will march with sloped arms and bayonets fixed.

2. Sentries are to walk with their arms at the slope. Sentries when saluting will halt, turn to the front, and, except when presenting arms, carry the right hand to the small of the butt as directed above.