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Field Physical Training
of the Soldier


^ N -





WASHINGTON, May 10, 1917.

1. The field physical training of the soldier will be carried
out in accordance with the directions laid down in this syllabus,
prepared by Capt. Herman J. Koehler, United States Army,
master of the sword, instructor in military gymnastics, etc.,
United States Military Academy.

2. A battalion inspector-instructor will be appointed for each
battalion under their command by the camp commanders. This
officer shall be responsible for this training in the battalion to
which he is assigned.

3. The syllabus is based upon the Manual of Physical Train-
ing for use in the Army, to which reference should be made in
case more detailed information is desired.

4. These directions will also apply to the training of officers
of or candidates for the Officers' Reserve Corps, except as re-
gards the time devoted daily to this instruction. Camp com-
manders in charge of the instruction of reserve officers and
candidates will take all necessary steps to have all those attend-
ing these camps thoroughly instructed in the principles, theory,
and the practical application of this training, as herein laid
down, so that every reserve officer will be qualified to impart
his instruction intelligently when he enters active service.

[2590795 A. G. O.].



Major General, Chief of Staff.


The Adjutant General.




SECTION I. General object 1-9

II. General scope 10-17

III. Instruction 18-23

IV. Hints to instructors 24-31

V. Commands 32

VI. Positions and formations 33-35

VII. General remarks 36-44

VIII. Lessons for recruits 45-56

IX. Field training of trained soldiers 57-61

X. Lessons for trained soldiers 62-65

XL Gymnastic contests 66-76






Efficiency of military establishments 1

Demands of modern warfare 2

Necessity for physical training 3

Object sought by this course 4

What course must embrace 5-9

1. Efficiency of Military Establishments. That the efficiency
of a military establishment is in a direct ratio to the physical
fitness of its individual units has never before been demon-
strated so forcibly as it has been during the present war.

The demands made upon those engaged in this conflict are so
far in excess of what was thought to be the limit of human
endurance, judged by a before-the-war standard, that it is al-
most impossible to conjecture even what that limit really is.

2. Demands of modern warfare. While modern warfare has
not hesitated to impress almost every known science into its
service for the purpose of overcoming man, the trained man has
up to the present time demonstrated his ability to hold his own
against the most terrible odds successfully ; and in the end it
will be discovered that it is the man, the carefully trained and
conditioned man, who alone can make victory possible.

3. Necessity for physical training. With these facts before
us it follows logically that the physical training, development,
and conditioning of those recruited for the military service
must be the first and most important concern of a nation at

4. Object sought by this course. The object, therefore, that
a course in physical training for recruits must aim to attain is
the development of every individual's physical attributes to the
fullest extent of their possibilities, so that he may enter upon
the duties his profession imposes with the utmost confidence In
his ability to discharge them successfully under any and all



5. What course must embrace. In order to accomplish this
object the course must embrace those means that will develop :

(a) General health and organic vigor.

(b) Muscular and nervous strength, endurance and forti-


(c) Self -reliance and confidence.

(d) Smartness, activity, alertness, and precision.

6. As the extent of the development of all the physical attrib-
utes is determined by health and vigor, these must be consid-
ered the basis of all physical training.

7. The possession of robust health and organic vigor is not,
however, sufficient for the field soldier; his profession requires
that he also possess more than the average amount of muscular
and nervous strength, endurance, and fortitude, against which
he may draw in times of stress.

8. With robust health and organic vigor as a basis, and with
the knowledge that he possesses an unusual amount of muscular
and nervous strength, he must be taught how to conserve the
former and how to use the latter to the best advantage. By
learning to do this he will unwittingly develop self-reliance and
confidence, which are, after all, physical qualities, since they
give to him the courage to dare because of the consciousness of
the ability to do.

9. Smartness, activity, alertness, and precision are all phys-
ical expressions of mental activity, and as such they are the
powers that guide and control the physical forces to the best ad-
vantage. They also make for personal pride and self-respect and
discipline, the voluntary, intelligent, coordinated, and equal sub-
ordination of every individual unit, through which alone the
objects of the mass can be achieved.




Scope of activities 10

Setting-up exercises 11

Lessons to be progressive 12

Conditioning and concluding exercises 13

Rifle exercises 14

Bayonet training 15

Vaulting and obstacle course 16

Athletics, games and contests 17

10. Scope of activities. The scope of field physical training is
necessarily limited to those activities that can be indulged in
without the aid of any appliances, or with the aid of such
appliances as may be improvised, and, finally, with such as the
equipment of the soldier provides.

These means embrace:

1. Setting-up exercises.

2. Marching and exercising in marching.

3. Double timing and exercises in double timing.

4. Jumping.

5. Rifle exercises.

6. Bayonet exercises.

7. Vaulting and overcoming obstacles.

8. Athletic games and contests.

11. Setting-up exercises. The setting-up exercises are to be
considered the basis for all other activities. Their importance
can not be overestimated, as by means of them alone it is
possible to effect an all-round development impossible by any
other means, while their disciplinary value is almost as great
as their physical value.

In the prescribed course only those exercises have been in-
cluded whose value from a physiological and military point of
view is unquestioned.

12. Lessons to be progressive. The lessons are progressive,
each one being complete in itself with respect to the results
they are intended to produce. Exercises for all parts of the
body are included, arms, neck, shoulders, trunk, and legs are
employed in every lesson, for the purpose of every lesson is
the harmonious development of the entire body. Thus each
lesson contains a disciplinary feature; a repetition of the
various starting positions, the " manual of arms " of physical

97492 17 2 9


training; an introductory arm movement; and in the order
named, leg exercise, trunk exercise, turning; leg exercise;
trunk exercise, dorsal ; shoulder exercise ; trunk exercise,
lateral ; arm exercise ; trunk exercise, abdominal ; balancing
exercise, and a breathing exercise. This sequence is adhered
to in general in every lesson.

13. Conditioning and concluding exercises. Following the set-
ting-up exercise, and in the order named, such general condition-
ing exercises as Marching, Jumping, Double timing, Gymnastic
contests, and the Concluding or restorative exercises should be

14. Rifle exercises. Rifle exercises have for their object the
development of " handiness " with the piece, which is dependent
upon the strength of the muscles of the arms, shoulders, upper
chest, and back. Only those described on page 134 of the
Manual of Physical Training are recommended for recruit

15. Bayonet training. Bayonet training, aside from its mili-
tary value, is a most important adjunct to the physical train-
ing course, as it not only calls into play every muscle of the
body, but makes for alertness, agility, quick perception, decision,
aggressiveness, and confidence. The instruction in bayonet
training should be carried out in accordance with the Bayonet
Training Manual.

16. Vaulting and obstacle course. Vaulting and overcoming
obstacles are exercises of application, and should be practiced
upon such appliances, bars, fences, etc., as may be readily im-

17. Athletics, games, and gymnastic contests. Athletics,
games, and contests should be considered recreational and only
such athletics, games, or contests in which it is possible to
employ large numbers at the same time and in which the
element of personal contact predominates should be practiced.
(See Manual of Physical Training, pp, 301-313.)




Instruction material 18

Morning period 19

Afternoon period 20

Endurance exercises 21

Officer in charge of instruction 22

Number of men to be instructed 23

18. Instruction material. The instruction material of the
field physical training for recruits should be divided into two
daily periods, each of an hour's duration, and the course should
be completed in three months.

The morning period should begin an hour and a half after
breakfast, and the afternoon period should end a half hour before

19. Morning period.

1. Disciplinary exercises. Two minutes, including starting
positions. These are composed of going from at ease or rest to
the position of attention and the facings. When these are fol-
lowed by a few snappy executions of the starting positions, the
mind of the recruit is concentrated upon the work to follow.

2. Starting positions. One minute, going from one to another
with accuracy, snap, and speed.

3. Setting-up exercises. Twenty minutes.

As stated before, these are the most important of the training
course. Every movement must be executed with greatest accu-
racy, precision, and smartness. Proper posture must constantly
be insisted upon, and in order to develop an intelligent responsive-
ness attention should be called to the object of each movement
and also to the muscles that are being employed.

Each movement of every exercise should be performed sepa-
rately at a command, that is indicative of the movement, and
held while corrections are made. This static execution, after a
few repetitions, should then be followed by performing the exer-
cises in response to commands given in a regular cadence, which,
however, should be so divided that the men have an opportunity
to maintain each position momentarily before moving into the
next. Finally, in order to relax the muscles that were employed



and to inculcate rhythm and coordinated mass movement and
develop flexibility, the exercises should be repeated rhythmically
several times.

4. Marching and exercises while marching. Five to eight min-
utes. The object of these exercises is the development of proper
poise and carriage while marching.

The leg and trunk exercises prescribed will develop supple-
ness, strength, and endurance, while the arm exercises are in-
tended to develop coordination. The military gait is described
on page 88 of the Manual of Physical Training. In marching
or while standing, except when at attention, the toes should be
turned straight to the front.

5. Jumping. Five to eight minutes.

When indulged in as a gymnastic exercise, where a series of
moderate jumps are taken in succession, it is essentially a leg
and heart developing exercise of moderate severity. When used
athletically it necessarily becomes more severe.

The men must be taught to take-off with either foot.

For military purposes it should be used as a medium to teach
men to overcome such obstacles as are likely to present them-
selves in the field. See page 193 of the Manual of Physical

Jumping exercises should be developed gradually, and in the
beginning -form and precision, rather than distance, should be
constantly insisted upon. As the men become more proficient,
they may be caused to extend themselves gradually.

6. Double timing^ Five minutes.

There is no exercise that will develop condition, vigor, and
endurance as double timing at a moderate rate of speed. In
the service men will be taught how to double at the least
physical expenditure, so that in case of an emergency they will
be able to cover considerable distances and arrive at their des-
tination fit. Toes should be turned straight to the front while
double timing.

The exercises described in this course are intended to lay the
foundation for future efficiency ; the leg exercises on the double
are intended to develop flexibility and mobility, the heels should
therefore be kept clear of the ground.

Breathing should always be carried on through the nostrils.

The difference between the military double, running and the
so-called flexion run, should be explained. See Manual of Train-
ing, pages 310 and 311.

Endurance runs should form part of the afternoon period,
instructors being cautioned to proceed cautiously and train the
men carefully. The regulation speed and stride prescribed by
the Drill Regulations is recommended.

7. Gymnastic contests. Ten minutes. Every lesson should
terminate with one or more of the contests described on pages

8. Concluding exercises are intended to diminish the heart
action and restore normal respiration.


20. Afternoon period. The afternoon period should be de-
voted to

1. Bayonet training, 30 minutes.

2. Games and contests, 30 minutes, alternating daily with

(1) Bombing practice, 20 minutes.

(2) Conditioning exercises, double timing to develop
endurance; vaulting and overcoming obstacles, 15

(3) Rifle exercise, 10 minutes.

21. Endurance exercises. For endurance running a regular
measured course should be laid out, and an obstacle course of
about 100 yards should ue provided, the obstacles in the course
to consist of a (1) 5-foot shallow ditch ; (2) a row of low 2$-foot
hurdles; (3) a bar fence with a top bar adjustable from 3 to
4 feet; (4) a sand-bag wall 4i feet high; (5) a shallow ditch 8
feet wide; (6) a 7-foot wall; (7) an elevated balance run 48
feet long; (8) a 2-foot hurdle.

Intervals between the obstacles to be 12 yards. Other ob-
stacles may be introduced; if natural obstacles are available,
they should be utilized.

The course should be wide enough to accommodate a platoon
at one time, allowing about 5 feet per man.

By starting the men at 25-yard intervals a whole company
may be engaged at one time, a single course being sufficient for
an entire battalion or even a regiment.

22. Officer in charge of instruction. The direction of this
training should be placed in charge of a battalion inspector-
instructor, who shall train the company officers and the platoon
leaders so that they may be able to impart this instruction
intelligently to the men of their command.

23. Number of men to be instructed. As a rule this training
should not be imparted to any unit greater than a platoon. For
disciplinary reasons and in order to weld the company into a
compact, alert, and quick unit, and, lastly to create a spirit of
enthusiasm, which can not be accomplished by any other means
as effectually as by this, the whole company should be drilled
as a unit at least once a week.

When the men become proficient a whole battalion may occa-
sionally be drilled together.





Instructors must be conscientious 24

Drill must be made attractive 25

Exercise the means, not the end 26

Respiration while exercising 27

Time for physical drills 28

"Before reveille" drills : 29

Uniform to be worn 30

Instruction to be an inspiration 31

24. Instructors must be conscientious. Instructors must go
at this work conscientiously ; they must be well prepared and
in every way qualified to conduct this work successfully, for in
no profession does the individuality and the ability of an in-
structor count for as much as in the military, and particularly
in this phase of it.

Instructors must therefore always be an example to the men ;
be stripped and ready for action and prepared not only to
describe an exercise minutely and clearly but to perform it

25. Drill must be made attractive. The drill should be made
as attractive as possible. It should act as an exhilarant, and
this will not result if the mind, which exerts more influence
upon the body than any extraneous influence, is not employed,
for it is impossible to brighten a man's physical faculties if his
mental faculties are being dulled, and vice versa.

26. Exercise the means, not the end. It should be borne in
mind constantly that the exercises are the means and not the
end, and that it is the application of an exercise rather than the
exercise itself that brings results. Whenever a doubt arises in
an instructor's mind as to the effect of an exercise, or the con-
dition of a man, he should always err on the side of safety.
Underdoing is rectiflable; overdoing is often not.

27. Respiration while exercising. Every exercise should, if
possible, be accompanied by an uninterrupted act of respiration ;
inhalation, whenever possible, should accompany that part of
an exercise that tends to elevate and extend the thorax, while
exhalation should accompany that part of an exercise that tends
to exert a pressure on the chest walls.

28. Time for physical drills. Exercises should never be in-
dulged in immediately before or after a meal; digestion is


of primary importance at such times. An hour and a half
should elapse after meals before engaging in any strenuous
exercises, and, if possible, such exercises should terminate an
hour or at least a half hour before eating.

29. " Before reveille " drills. " Before reveille exercises " are
not recommended ; if indulged in at all, they should never go
beyond a few arm stretchings and relaxed trunk-bending ex-
ercises ; just exertion enough to mildly accelerate circulation.

30. Uniform to be worn. The uniform to be worn will de-
pend upon the season of the year and the weather conditions.
During the summer undershirts, loosely laced breeches, and
tennis shoes may be worn; during the colder months flannel
olive drab shirts and the ordinary shoe should be prescribed.
The leggins will not be worn.

After exercising the underclothing should be immediately
removed ; and if it is impossible to bathe, the body should be
thoroughly rubbed dry with a coarse towel.

31. Instruction to be an inspiration. Finally, instructors must
constantly be an inspiration to the men, for only by giving
themselves up without stint can they expect to be successful.




Kinds of commands, and how given 32

32. Kinds of commands, and how given. There are two kinds,
preparatory and executive.

The preparatory command describes and specifies what is
desired and the executive command calls what has been de-
scribed into action.

Preparatory commands are usually printed in ordinary, or
italic, type, and executive commands in CAPITALS.

Thus : 1. Arms forward, 2. RAISE.

The tone of the command should always be animated, dis-
tinct, and of a loudness proportioned to the number of men for
whom it is intended.

Instructors should cultivate a proper command, as its value
as a tributary to the success of any military drill can not be

After an exercise has been described, its various movements
or parts should be performed at executive words, which indi-
cate not only the movement that is desired but the manner of
the execution. Thus: 1. Trunk forward, 2. BEND, 3. RE-
COVER (or RAISE), here the word betid is drawn to indicate
moderately slow execution ; the recovery being a little faster,
the word recover should be spoken to indicate it.

The word RECOVER should always be used to bring the
men back to the original position.

If it is desired to continue an exercise, the command EXER-
CISE should be used and the cadence or rythm should be in-
dicated by words or numerals. If numerals are used, they
should equal the number of movements composing the exercise.
Thus an exercise of two movements will be repeated at one,
two; one of four movements will require four counts, etc.

The numeral or word preceding the command HALT should
always be given with a rising inflection in order to prepare the
men for the command halt.

Thus : 1. Thrust arms forward, 2. EXERCISE, one, two, one,
two, one, HALT.

If any movement oj 5 any exercise is to be performed with
more energy than the others, the word or numeral corresponding
to that movement should be emphasized.




Position of attention 33

Position of rest and at ease 34

Formations 35

33. Position of attention. This is the position an unarmed,
dismounted soldier assumes when in ranks or whenever the com-
mand attention is given.

In the training of anyone nothing equals the importance of
a proper posture; it is the very foundation upon which the
entire fabric of any successful course in physical training must
be founded.

Instructors must persist in the development of this position
until the men assume it from habit.

At the command 1. Company (Squad, etc.), 2. ATTENTION,
the following position is assumed :

1. Heels together and on a line.

If the heels are not on a line, the hips, and some-
times even the shoulders, are thrown out of line.

2. Feet turned out equally, forming an angle of 45.

If the feet are not turned out equally, the result
will be the same as above.

3. Knees extended without stiffness.

Muscles should be contracted just enough to keep
the knees straight.

4. The trunk erect upon the hips, the spine extended

throughout its entire length ; the buttocks well forward.

The position of the trunk, spine, and buttocks is
most essential. In extending the spine the men must
feel that the trunk is being stretched up from the waist
until the back is as straight as it can be made.

In stretching the spine the chest should be arched
and raised, without, however, raising the shoulders or
interfering with 'natural respiration.

5. Shoulders falling naturally and moved back until they

are square.

Being square, means having the shoulder ridge and
the point of the shoulder at right angles to a general
anterior-posterior plane running through the body.
They should never be forced back of this plane but
out rather in line with it.
97492 17 3 17


C. Arms hanying nnturnlln, thumbs against the seams of
the trousers, fingers extended, and back of hand turned

The arms must not be forcibly extended nor held
rigidly ; if they are, a compensating faulty curve will
occur in the lumbar region.

7. Head erect, chin raised until neck is vertical, eyes fixed

upon some object at their own height.

Every tendency to draw the chin in must be counter-

8. When this position is correctly assumed, the men will

be taught to incline the body forward until the weight
rests chiefly upon the balls of the feet, heels resting
lightly upon the ground.

When properly assumed, a vertical line drawn from
the top of the head should pnss in front of the ear,
shoulder, and thighs, and find its base at the balls
of the feet.

Every tendency toward rigidity must be avoided;
all muscles are contracted only enough to maintain
this position, which is one of coordination, of physical
and mental alertness, that makes for mobility, ac-
tivity, and grace.

34. Position of rest and at ease. When men are standing at
rest or at ease they must be cautioned to avoid assuming any
position that will nullify the object of the position of Attention.
Standing on one leg, folding arms, allowing shoulders or head
to droop forward, must be discountenanced persistently until
the men form the habit of resting with feet separated but on
the same line, hands clasped behind the back head, shoulders,

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