Chapter 2. Marching


7Length of pace and time in marching

1. Length of pace. – In slow and in quick time the length of a pace is 30 inches. In stepping out it is 33 inches, in double time, 40 ; in stepping short, 21 ; and in the side pace, 12 inches.

2. Time. – In slow time 70 paces are taken in one minute. In quick time 120 paces, equal to 100 yards, are taken in a minute.

In double time 180 paces, equal to 200 yards a minute are taken. The time of the side pace is the same as for quick time.

3. Marching in slow time will be practiced only in the early stages of recruits’ training, and when required for ceremonial purposes.

4. The recruit will be practiced in changing the cadence of the pace, without halting, on the commands “Break into double ( quick or slow) time – Double ( quick or slow) march.”

5. Distances of 100 and 200 yards will be marked on the drill ground, and all ranks practiced in keeping correct time and length of pace.

8. Position in marching

1. In marching, the soldier will maintain the position of the head and body as directed in Sec. 2. He must be well balanced on his limbs. In slow time his arms and hands must be kept steady by his sides. In quick time the arms, which should be as straight as their natural bend will allow, should swing naturally from the shoulder. Hands should be kept closed but not clenched.

2. The leg should be swung forward freely and naturally from the hip joints, each leg as it swings forward being bent sufficiently at the knee to enable the foot to clear the ground. The foot should be carried straight to the front, and, without being drawn back, placed firmly upon the ground with the knee straight, but so as not to jerk the body.

3. Although several recruits may be drilled together in a squad with intervals, they must act independently, precisely as if they were being instructed singly. They will thus learn to march in a straight line, and to take a correct pace, both as regards length and time, without reference to the other men of the squad.

4. Men will retain their direction in marching by conforming to the movements of their troop leader ( or directing man in a smaller unit). To enable them to do this without unduly fixing their eyes upon him and while generally looking to their front, they will be practiced in estimating the true front and marching in the proper direction.

The eyes will be fixed on some distant object straight to the front. Then some object in the foreground in the same straight line as the distant object will be observed, and the two objects being taken in the foreground when necessary.

Each recruit will take up on his own direction on this line, and after marching a certain distance divergencies can be checked.

9. Marching in quick and slow time

1.The quick march.


The squad will step off together with the left foot, in quick time, observing the rules in Sec. 8.

2. The slow march.

The executive word of command will be Slow – March. The men will step off and march as described for the Quick march, but in slow time, and keeping the arms and hands steady at the sides, thumbs to the front. Each leg will be brought forward in one even motion and will be straightened as it comes to the front with the toes pointed downwards and placed on the ground before the heel.

3. The Halt.


A pace of 30 inches will be completed with the left foot and the right foot brought up in line with it. At the same time the right hand will be cut smartly to the side.

 4Stepping out.


The moving foot will complete its pace, and the soldier will lengthen the pace by three inches, leaning forward a little, but without altering the time.

This step is used when a slight increase of speed, without an alteration of time, is required ; on the command Quick – March the normal length of pace will be resumed..

5Stepping short.


The foot advancing will complete its pace, after which the pace will be shortened by nine inches until the command Quick – March is given, when the normal length of pace will be resumed.

6Marking time.


The foot then advancing will complete its pace, after which the time will be continued without advancing, by raising each foot alternately about six inches, keeping the feet almost parallel with the ground, the knees raised to the front, arms steady at the sides, and the body steady. On the command For- ward , the pace at which the men were moving will be resumed.

In slow time the feet should be raised twelve inches when marking time, the ball of the foot being immediately below the point of the knee, toes pointing downwards.

7Stepping back from the halt.


Step back the named number of paces of 30 inches straight to the rear, commencing with the left foot, keeping the arms still to the sides.

Stepping back should not exceed four paces.

 10. Changing step.

1. When on the march.


The advancing foot will complete its pace, and the ball of the rear foot will be brought up to the heel of the advanced one, which will make another step forward so that the time will not be lost, two successive steps being taken with the same foot.

2. When marking time.


Make two successive beats with the same foot.

11.Marching in double time.

1. The double march.


Step off with the left foot and double on the toes with easy swinging strides, inclining the body slightly forward, but maintaining the correct carriage. The feet must be picked up cleanly from the ground at each pace, and the thigh, knee, and ankle joints must work freely and without stiffness. The whole body should be carried forward by a thrust from the rear foot without unnecessary effort. The heels must not be raised towards the seat, but the foot carried straight to the front and the toes placed lightly on the ground. The arms should swing easily from the shoulders, sufficiently clear of the body to allow the full freedom for the chest, and should be bent at the elbow, the forearm forming an angle of about 135 degrees wi9th the upper arm (i.e., midway between a straight arm and a right angle at the elbow), fists slightly clenched, backs of the hands outwards. The shoulders should be kept steady and square to the front and the head erect.

2. The halt.


As in Sec. 9,3 , at the same time cutting away the hands to the position of attention.

3. Marking time.


Act as in Sec. 9,6 , the arms and hands being carried as when marching in double time, but without swinging the arms.

12.The side step.

1. Closing to the right ( or left).


Each man will carry his right foot 12 inches direct to the right, and instantly close his left foot to it, thus completing the pace ; he will proceed to take the next pace in the same manner. Shoulders to be kept square, unless on rough or broken ground. The direction must be kept in a straight line to the flank.

2. The halt.


On the command Halt, which will be given when the number of paces has not been specified, the men will complete the pace they are taking, and remain steady.

Soldiers should not usually be moved to a flank by the side step more than 12 paces.

13.Turning when on the march.

1. RIGHT (or LEFT ) – TURN.

On the command Right ( or Left ) – Turn the left ( or right) foot will be brought forward until it is just in front of the right  (or left ) foot and each man will then turn smartly in the required direction using his left (or right ) foot.

The turn to the right must be made on the left foot and to the left off the right foot.


Complete the pace with the right foot, then commence the turn with the left , the turn being completed in three beats of the time in which the soldier is marching. Having completed the turn about, the soldier will at once move forward, the forth pace being a full one and taken with the right foot.


On the command In- cline , as in para 1, but make a turn of 30 degrees in the required direction.

4. Turnings and changes on the march should always be preceded by a cautionary word of command, e.g., The squad will advance – Break into slow time, etc..

 14.Dismissing with or without arms.



The squad will turn to the right, salute, and, after a pause, equal to two paces in quick time, break off quietly, and leave the parade ground in quick time.

i. If the squad is carrying rifles, arms will be sloped before the squad is dismissed. But on wet days to avoid damaging the uniform with wet rifles, troops will be dismissed at the order.

ii. If no officer is on parade the men will not salute before they break off.