Drill commands

Drill commands

Drill commands are generally used with a group that is marching, most often in military foot drill or marching band. All branches of the military use drill commands.


Command voice

Drill commands are best given when the person has an excellent command voice. A command voice is characterized by DLIPS: Distinctness, Loudness, Inflection, Projection, and Snap.[1]

Common drill commands

United Kingdom and Australia

Each of the three services in the United Kingdom has its own drill manuals. Most commands are the same across all three services, but there are significant differences in the way movements are carried out.[2]

United States

More in-depth explanations may be found by reading something similar to the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual (MCDC) used by the Navy and Marines or Air Force Manual (AFMAN) or a Drill and Ceremonies Manual. [1] [2] [3] Different branches of the Armed Forces have some difference in drill commands, or may not have a drill command that other branches use.

  • "Fall out" - Individuals drop out of formation. By custom, officers usually take a single step backward with their left foot. Non-commissioned personnel take a step back with the left foot, then with their right, and then perform an about face.
  • "[formation], ATTENTION" - Individuals snap to the position in which they are standing straight, looking forward, and not moving. When called while in "Forward March" the formation will begin to march in cadence.The command "Route Step (forward),March" is given when there is no need to stay in step.

"Drill and Ceremony: HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FM 3-21.5 (FM 22-5)" contains most of the US Army and US Air Force drill commands, mostly different from the USMC's and the Navy's.

  • "Present, ARMS" - Individuals execute a hand or rifle salute and hold it until given the command "order arms"
  • "Order, ARMS" - Individuals bring their hand or rifle back down to their side.
  • "Open ranks, MARCH" - Movement in which each row (rank) spreads out from another row.
  • "Close ranks, MARCH" - Movement in which the formation is restored to its normal interval.
  • "Dress right, DRESS" - Movement in which individuals except those on the extreme left side raise their left arms parallel to the ground and lock their heads to the far right in order to get the proper distance from each other. This is maintained until the command: "Ready, FRONT." At which point, the individuals return to the position of attention.
  • "Parade, REST" - Individuals spread their feet about 12 inches while bringing both of their arms behind their back interlocking their hands. The back of the left hand rests against the back. The back of the right hand rests on the palm of the left, with the left thumb locked over the right hand and the right thumb locked over the left thumb. If armed, individuals put their left hand behind their back, extending their rifle while the butt remains on the ground by their right foot.
  • "Stand at, ease" - Individuals perform the command of parade rest, but their eyes and head follow the person in charge.
  • "At ease" - Individuals are permitted light movement given their right foot does not leave the ground; they are not allowed to talk.
  • "Rest" - Individuals are permitted light movement and may also engage in quiet conversation as long as their right leg is planted on the ground. Can also be expressed by the command "Relax"
  • "Forward, MARCH" - Individuals begin marching, from the left foot and a 30-inch step (Army) or 24-inch step (Air Force) at 120 steps per minute.
  • "Company/Platoon/Squad/Detail, HALT" or in the Air Force, "Wing/Group/Squadron/Flight, HALT"- Used to stop a unit (formation) from marching by calling it either on the right or left foot.
  • "By The Right Flank, MARCH" - The whole formation turns 90 degrees and continues to march.
  • "Right, FACE" - A command given from a halt towards a formation to turn 90 degrees to the right or left as one unit
  • "About, FACE" - A turn 180 degrees facing the opposite direction, executed to the right.
  • "Uncover, TWO" - All persons using the right hand grab their cover on "Recover" and remove the cover on "TWO". (Not used in the Marine Corps.)
  • "COVER" - Used to align to the person in front of them in formation, when used after the command "Uncover, TWO", all persons replace their cover and remain holding their cap with their right hand until "TWO" is given where they return to the position of attention.
  • "Right (left) step, MARCH" - Individuals take side steps to the right (left).
  • "Column Half Right(Called on the right foot), MARCH" - A 45-degree pivot to the right (left) while marching.
  • "Right Oblique, MARCH" - Every individual executes a 45-degree pivot to the right while marching.
  • "Column right (called on the right foot), MARCH" - A movement in which the entire formation executes a series of turns depending on their position. The goal of this movement is to get the entire formation to turn to the right (left) while keeping the same people in the same positions known as column formation.
  • "Rear, MARCH" - A turn 180 degrees while marching, also executed to the right.
  • "Change step, MARCH" - Individuals execute a movement in order to get on step with the formation.
  • "Route step" - Individuals walk normally without being in step. Often used on long marches or when crossing a bridge to avoid creating harmonic rhythms.
  • "Extend to the left, MARCH" - A movement in which the formation widens [Usually used during PT]. "Extend Rank, MARCH" in the Marine Corps.
  • "Close Ranks, MARCH" - A movement in which the formation narrows in width.
  • "Mark time, MARCH" - Marching in place.
  • "Half step, MARCH" - Marching at half the distance, often bringing the upper leg parallel to the ground. 15-inch Steps.
  • "Double time, MARCH" - Marching at twice the cadence of "Forward March;" 100 to 180 steps per min. something of a light jog. The unit is still required to keep in step.
  • "Right shoulder, ARMS" - The rifle is placed on the right shoulder. The right hand holds the butt of the rifle and the forearm is parallel to the ground, also keeping a 90-degree angle between the forearm and arm.
  • "Left shoulder, ARMS" - Same as right shoulder arms except on the left side.
  • "Port, ARMS" - The rifle is carried diagonally in front of the body by both hands.
  • "Counter-column, MARCH" - The platoon is ordered to reverse direction while marching or from the halt. The columns neatly turn in on themselves and at the end of the movement the entire marching column has reversed direction. Also known as "circle counter", or "counter march".
  • "Route step, MARCH" - The formation is not required to march in step, but are required to stay aligned.


The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bundeswehr, use a basis of commands for all three service branches. The Army (Deutsches Heer) and Air Force (Luftwaffe) use the same commands; the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) has a number of additional commands for duty on a ship. The German "Guards Battalion" of the Federal Department of Defense ("Wachbataillon" beim Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) also have additional commands for honorary duties (Protokolldienst). The Wachbataillon commands mentioned below are only an excerpt of the latter's regulations.

The basic commands are usually divided into two parts, the announcement that a command is to follow(Ankündigungskommando) and the executory command (Ausführungskommando). The entire process is called Kommandosprache (lit. "command language"). These are the basic commands, the Ausführungskommando is in bold:

  • Kompanie/Zug/Gruppe/Abteilung, stillgestanden - (lit. company/platoon/group/squad, stand still) The soldier (or respective detail, announcement usually with the attached number or name, e.g. 8. Kompanie) is to stand at Attention.
  • Achtung - (lit. Attention) Similar to the above, but soldier(s) are to turn their front either towards the soldier calling the command or a superior who is being reported to. Therefore not used in formation, in contrast to stillgestanden, but as means of preparation for either disciplining of subordinates, forming formation or reporting to a superior (e.g. upon entering a room of subordinates or as supervisory authority). Often divided into syllables to create the executory command, sometimes even with attached prefix (3. Gruppe, Ach-tung).
  • Richt Euch - (lit. line yourselves up) The formation, bar the very right 3 Men turn their heads to the right to align themselves.
  • (Die) Augen gerade-aus - (lit. eyes straight ahead) The formation returns their heads to face front.
  • Kompanie/Zug/Gruppe/Abteilung, Rührt Euch - (lit. move yourselves) The Soldier (or respective detail) stands at ease by joining their hands behind their back, right hand resting against the back, right thumb locked over left wrist and moving their right foot approximately 20 cm - 30 cm to the right. If armed, the individual's left hand is kept at the thigh, the rifle remains being strapped on the right shoulder unless ordered otherwise beforehand (additional Wachbataillon command, see below).
  • Kompanie/Zug/Gruppe/Abteilung, habt acht - (lit. be alert or fig. have respect) Soldier (or the respective detail) assumes a posture mixed between Rührt euch and Stillgestanden: The hands, fingers outstretched but touching another, stay on the sides of the thighs as in Stillgestanden, right foot assumes Rührt euch position. Used by the Wachbataillon during special ceremonies, yet included in the general honorary duties regulations.
  • Das Gewehr über - (lit. rifle across) Rifle is either taken from the shoulder and set down at the left foot or taken from that position to be thrown over the right shoulder and locked in place, therefore a combination of the American Shoulder/Order, arms (Wachbataillon command).
  • Achtung, präsentiert das Gewehr - (lit. attention, present rifle) Rifle salute (Wachbataillon command).
  • Gewehr ab - (lit. rifle, down) Rifle is brought down to the side of the left foot, equivalent to the American Order, arms (Wachbataillon command).
  • Rechts/Links um - (lit. right/left around) Right/Left Face, 90°, left heel serves as the pivot.
  • Abteilung kehrt - (lit. squad, turn) About face, 180°, left heel serves as pivot. Squad/Abteilung is not meant to address a specific number of individuals.
  • Im Gleichschritt Marsch - (lit. in step, march) The soldiers march in step, beginning with the left foot at approx. 114–116 steps a minute. Fingers are outstretched, thumb pressed flat against the hand. As the arms swing, hands are brought up to a point just below the navel, about a hand width away from the stomach.
  • Ohne Tritt Marsch - (lit. without step, march) Marching without being in step, suitable for long marches and bridges etc.
  • Links/Rechts schwenkt Marsch - (lit. wheel left/right ) Used to indicate the beginning of a left/right-turn motion of the whole formation in half step (up to 180°), with the pivot at the point indicated by Marsch. As the three soldiers at the very front reach the desired angle, gerade (lit. straight) is called, on which the turn is completed and the formation keeps walking in that direction. Once the whole formation has passed the pivot, aus (here, lit. on or ahead, thus straight ahead) lets it return to full step.
  • Rechts/Links ran - (lit. [move] near [the] right/left) Similar to the British Right/Left incline but called and executed while marching. Suitable for giving additional way to traffic passing in a narrow road, etc., otherwise rarely used.
  • Abteilung (called on left foot), halt - Formation halts by taking two last steps after "Halt" and pulling the right foot towards the left, ending up in Stillgestanden. Close to the British Halt.
  • Zur Meldung/Zum Ein(Aus-)marsch der Truppenfahne, Augen rechts - (lit. for the report/for the entrance(procession) of colours, eyes right) usually followed by the report to a superior by the commander of the formation, followed by the soldiers turning their heads freely to watch the colours being carried to their predestined place of the formation or away from it. Subsequently followed by Augen geradeaus. Platoon leaders and above within formation salute with heads turned/turning; in case of colours being carried, all soldiers of the rank of Sergeant and above outside formation do so as well while keeping their front towards (thus, if necessary, following) the flag(s). In both cases, hands are brought down on Augen geradeaus.
  • Zur Meldung/Zum Einmarsch der Truppenfahne die Augen links - the article die is used to indicate that the command links (left) is to follow.
  • Wegtreten - (lit. step away) Dismissed/Fall out, introduced by an About face/Abteilung kehrt.
  • Antreten - (lit. step up) Fall in.


During the British Raj the Indian Armed Forces essentially used the English drill commands. Soon after independence, the drill commands were Indianised. The official language of the armed forces is Hindi and thus Hindi words were used where ever possible. Some of the state police units however still continue to use English drill commands.

  • Line Ban - Fall In
  • Line Thod - Fall out
  • Savdhan - Attention
  • Hilo Matt - Stand Still or Don't Move
  • Vishram - Stand at-ease
  • Aaram Se - Stand easy (but no talking or shifting from the current place)
  • Sajj-Dahine Sajj - Dress-Right Dress
  • Sajj-Bah(y)en Sajj - Dress-Left Dress
  • Khuli Line chal-Open order march
  • Nikat Line chal-Close order march
  • Salami Shastr - Present Arms. The English words "General Salute" is used, but "National Salute" has been replaced with Rashtriya Salute
  • Baaju Shastr - Order Arms
  • Bagal Shastr - Shoulder Arms. On this command rifles are thrown up using the right hand. It is caught by using both the left hand, and the right. The rifle would be in an elevated position, so that the soldier can put a finger into the trigger guard, and hold the rifle firmly. The left hand is then snapped to the left side.
  • Bayen Shastr-Port Arms
  • Oonch Bayen Shastr-High Port Arms. Rifles are held above the head.
  • Shok Shastr - Mourn Arms
  • Ulte Shastr - Reverse Arms. The rifles are held tightly under the left arms with the barrel facing backwards. The soldier's right hand would be used to hold the barrel steady at the back. Used when escorting funeral caskets/gun carriages etc.
  • Dahine/Bhah(y)e Mud - Right/Left Turn
  • Tham - Halt
  • Tez Chal - Quick march. For breaking into quick time from slow time, the command would be Tez Chal Mein... Tez Chal..
  • Dheere Chal - Slow march. For breaking into slow time from quick time, the command would be Dheere Chal Mein... Dheere Chal..
  • Daudke Chal - Super quick time, or running
  • Parade Teeno-teen mein dahine/baye chalega... - Move to the right/left in columns of threes. This command is given just before the orders to actually execute the turn.
  • Kooch kar - Take charge. Usually given when a senior officer wants some one junior to him to take charge of the parade/company/troop. On hearing this command, the junior officer would take a step forward, salute and then about turn to the men on parade.
  • Parade par - On Parade. Usually given during parades, when certain officers/JCOs/NCOs who would be standing as a separate group, is to march up to stand in front of the troops coming under them.
  • Hoshiar - Stand to. This command is essentially used at the quarter guard when the sentry senses any danger (or is ordered by the duty officer/JCO to test the alertness of the guard). The sentry is to shout out thrice Guard Hoshiar, and within this time period the members of the quarter guard are to run out of the guard room and occupied their pre-determined positions.
  • Visarjan - Dismiss
  • Dahine Dekh - Eyes right
  • Ba(h)yen Dekh - Eyes left
  • Saamne Dekh - Eyes front


The English commands are very similar to British Drill commands while the French commands are generally translations of the English command. The Canadian Forces sometimes call weapon drill in French while march commands are called in English. This is done at units such as trades schools where both English and French are used. Unilingual English units and unilingual French units generally use their own language for all commands. Detailed information on Canadian Drill can be found in The Canadian Forces Manual of Drill and Ceremonial.

Standard English Commands

  • Attention - Standing at attention with hands down seams of pants
  • Stand at Ease - Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hands behind back
  • Stand Easy - Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hands are generally in front of the person, however they are allowed to be moved momentarily
  • To the (Front, Left, Right) Salute - Salute to the (front, left, right)
  • Right Turn - Turn 90 degrees to the right
  • Left Turn - Turn 90 degrees to the left
  • About Turn - Turn 180 degrees to face the opposite direction (always turning to the right)
  • Right Incline - Turn 45 degrees to the right
  • Left Incline - Turn 45 degrees to the left
  • Dismissed - Turn 90 degrees to the right and march (off the parade square or until three paces)
    Note that this commands may only be called while those being commanded are at attention.
  • By the (Left, Centre, or Right) Quick march - Marching in quick time (120 beats per minute), arms swing waist high.
  • By the (Left, Centre, or Right) Easy march - Marching in quick time but with hands checked by sides.
  • By the (Left, Centre, or Right) Slow march - Marching in slow time (60 beats per minute), arms checked at sides.
  • By the (Left, Centre, or Right) Double march - Marching in double time (180 beats per minute), bend arms at the elbow and swing naturally from the shoulder.


In Finnish military drill, commands are twin parted: valmistava (precautionary/readying) and käskevä (executive). When ordering a formation, the commanding soldier (officer or assigned drill supervisor) gives a precautionary command so the soldiers know what formation they need to fall into. At the executive order they fall in the specified formation. An example being Kahteen riviin... (into two lines) JÄRJESTY (form). A command can be terminated by calling LEPO (At ease). At järjesty the soldiers align themselves in the specified number of rows, with the kulmamies (cornerman) at an arms length from the one who gave the order. When a formation is formed they ojentaa (extend), so as to make sure the lines and rows are in perfect order: Soldiers are an arms length apart from each other, as the first row extends their left arm onto the right shoulder of the one next to them and turn their heads to the cornerman. The men behind the cornerman extend their left arm forward to the shoulderblade of the man in front of them. The cornerman checks the straightness of the lines/rows, lowering his arm and turning his head forward when ready. At this the soldiers turn their heads forward and lower their arm when the one next to them has done so, forming a wave. When an extension is order e.g. OJENNUS (extension) the cornerman keeps his head forward while the rest of the formation extends. At the command katse eteen - PÄIN (eyes - FRONT) the formation lowers theirs arms and turns their heads forward simultaneously. A variant of järjesty used is ryhmity (group), at which the unit ordered runs into formation. When ordering from one formation to another, mars (march) is used as the executive order (mars mars would mean "double time!", an order to run). To have the attention of a unit, the commanding officer shouts e.g. yksikkö! (unit). At this the unit in question stands in attention, facing towards the one who has their attention.

  • ASENTO - Stand in attention. Often called as STOO.
  • LEPO - At ease
  • OJENNUS - Extension. The kulmamies keeps his head forward while the rest of the formation extends.
  • Katse eteen/vasempaan/oikeaan - PÄIN - Dress ranks, Eyes forward/left/right. Order to turn the heads of the formation front/left/right. Katse oikeaan - PÄIN (eyes - RIGHT) is also used in parades to instruct marching soldiers to salute (and look at) the receiving officer of the parade, even if he/she was on the left side.
  • Käännös vasempaan/oikeaan - PÄIN - Left/right turn. order to turn 90 degrees left/right.
  • Täyskäännös vasempaan - PÄIN - About turn. Order to turn 180 degrees (the soldiers always turn left at this command, as the one giving orders can NEVER be behind them).
  • (Kahteen/kolmeen/neljään/etc) riviin - JÄRJESTY - Fall in. Order to form a rank (row). The first section contains the number of ranks: riviin (into a single rank), kahteen riviin or paririviin (into two ranks), kolmeen riviin (into three rank). JÄRJESTY is often called as STY.
  • (Kahteen/kolmeen/neljään/etc) jonoon - JÄRJESTY - Fall in. Order to form a file (line). The first command contains the number of files: jonoon (into a single file), kahteen jonoon (into two files), kolmeen jonoon (into three files).
  • Opetusavoneliöön - MARS - Open Square March. Order to form an open square where the trainees face inside the square. Usually used in exercises, so the trained unit could better see what the trainer wishes to show and teach them.
  • Opetusavoriviin - MARS - Open Order March. Order for the ranks of the formation to space apart. This command is preceded by instructions on how far apart the ranks are (e.g. Rivien väliset etäisyydet 10 askelta. Ensimmäinen rivi ottaa 20 askelta, toinen rivi 10. [Distance between rows, ten paces. First row takes 20 paces, second takes ten]). This formation is used in training, when the training officer has subtrainers at his disposal, who teach each row individually.
  • Taakse - POISTU - Dismiss. Order to run (not walk) ten paces back at the best possible speed. Can be ordered for other directions. The length of the run can be controlled by stating the destination or the amount of paces. The soldiers must run to their destination. The POISTU is often called as STU. Unlike the American and British commands of dismiss, the soldiers ordered to dismiss are always to run, never walk.
  • Tahdissa - MARS - Forward March. Order to march in pace.
  • Tahditta (or Ilman tahtia) - MARS - Order to march out of pace. This command is usually given when crossing a bridge or if the marching unit is for some reason incapable of marching in pace.
  • Tahtiin - Mars - Unit marching out of pace begins marching in pace.
  • Juoksuun - Mars - Order to run in formation.
  • Käyntiin - Mars - Order to return to walking speed.
  • Paikallaan - MARS - Mark Time. Order to march at place without advancing.
  • Kaarto oikeaan/vasempaan (tahdissa/) - MARS - Order to wheel either to right or left. The kulmamies stays put and the unit begins to pivot around him until the command Eteen - PÄIN is given. Tahdissa or Ilman tahtia is given if the unit is standing still before the command is issued.
  • Eteen - PÄIN - Order to halt wheeling and to continue marching to the direction where the unit is heading. The kulmamies will start to march forward and the others will follow him.
  • Mars - MARS - Double march. The soldiers will run. Used when soldiers are not in formation.
  • Oikeaan - MARS - Right incline. The soldiers march inclining 45 deg to right. Called while marching.
  • Tielle - MARS - Left incline. The soldiers march incliing 45 deg to left. Called while marching.
  • Osasto - SEIS [Yks Kaks] - Halt. The unit will halt their move, taking two steps and ending in attention.
  • Eteen - VIE - Present arms. Soldiers bring rifles to the rifle salute.
  • Olalle - VIE - Shoulder arms. Soldiers bring rifles back to their shoulders.
  • Jalalle - VIE - Stand arms. Soldiers bring rifles to their side with the rifle butt on ground. Not used with RK62.
  • Selkään - VIE - Carry arms. Soldiers bring their rifles to their back with strap diagonally from left shoulder to right hip.
  • Lakki - PÄÄSTÄ - Off Caps. Soldiers take their headgear off and present them at their belt buckle.
  • Lakki - PÄÄHÄN - On Caps. Soldiers put their headgear back to their heads.


The Singapore Armed Forces (plus the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force) use a unified system of drill commands across all three service branches. Formal commands are issued in Malay with informal conversation conducted in English. All drills are performed with feet stomping unless specifically instructed to perform "silent drills". Malaysia follows a nearly identical system of commands.

  • Sedi-A - Stand at Attention. Elbows locked, eyes stare forward, chin up. No movement.
  • Ke-kanan lu-rus- Face to the right, straighten the dressing
  • Senang di-RI - Stand at Ease. Legs placed shoulder width apart, hands behind backs, right hand over left hand, fingers straightened. Eyes still forward, looking up, no talking.
  • Rehatkan Di-ri - Stand Easy
  • Begerak Ke-kanan/kiri, bertiga-tiga, Ke-kanan/kiri, Pu-sing - Move to your right/left, three by three, right/left turn. "Kiri" and "Kanan" stand for left and right respectively. They are interchangeable in commands. "Bertiga-tiga" is also given in context, depending on how many rows deep the formation is. Three by three stands for the standard formation depth of three rows. "Dalam dua/empat barisan" would be used for two and four rows respectively.
  • Keblakang pu-sing- about turn at 180 degrees
  • Diam - To freeze at wherever you are and stop talking.
  • Ma-JU - Forward
  • Dari kiri/kanan, perlahan ja-lan - by the left/right, slow march
  • Dari kiri/kanan, cepat ja-lan- by the left/right, quick march
  • Dari tengah, perlahan/cepat Ja-lan - by the center, slow/quick march
  • Berhen-TI- halt
  • Hentak kaki, cepat hen-TAK- Quick Mark time
  • Hentak kaki, perlahan hen-TAK - slow mark time
  • Hormat senja-TA- Present, Arms. Salutes are given to:
The President of Singapore - Hormat Presiden
The Prime Minister of Singapore - Hormat Perdana Menteri
Cabinet Ministers - Hormat Menteri
visiting dignitaries
Military Colours of the SAF/SPF/SCDF - Hormat Kepada Panji Panji
unit commanders - Hormat Panglima
All those commands for salutes are shouted before giving the command to present arms.
  • Sendang, senja-TA - Slope Arms
  • Rusok, senja-TA - Shoulder Arms
  • Turun, senja-TA - Order Arms
  • Tatang, senja-Ta - Port Arms
  • Julang, senja-Ta - High Port Arms
  • Kiri/Kanan be-LOK- Left/Right Wheel.
  • Dari Kanan/Kiri/Belakang, BILANG - number off from the right/left/rear.
  • Ke-kiri/kanan, pu-SING- Left/Right Turn.
  • Pandang kekiri/kekanan pan-DANG - Eyes Left/Right

- "Hormat ke hadapan, hor-MAT!" - Saluting to the front at a halt. This is then followed by a subsequent about turn. -

  • Skuad, Keluar-BARIS- Squad, fall out
  • Bersurai - Dismiss

As for sizing these are the commands that need to be executed (these are in fact nearly identical to the British 'form up' commands);

  • Yang Tinggi Ke Kanan, Rendah ke Kiri, Dalam Satu Barisan Paras - Fall out. Then arrange yourselves from right to left, from the tallest to shortest.
  • Dari Kanan, Angkat satu Dan Dua Bilang - from the right, shout 1 and 2.
  • Nombor Ganjil Satu Langkah Kehadapan, Nombor Genap Satu Langkah Ke Belakang, Gerak- Odd number move 1 step forward, even numbers move 1 step backward, march.
  • Orang di Sebelah Kanan Diam. Nombor Ganjil Bergerak Ke Kanan, Nombor Genap Bergerak Ke Kiri. Barisan, Ke Kanan Dan Ke Kiri Pu-SING - The right person stay put. Odd number turn to their right while even numbers turn to their left.
  • Jadikan Tiga Barisan, cepat jalan - March to for 3 rows.


In the Irish Defence Forces, Foot and Arms Drill is usually given in the Irish language. All soldiers are trained in foot and arms drill in Irish, and usually don't give a second thought as to the translations of the various commands. Although Irish is taught throughout primary and secondary education in the Republic, very few recruits or cadets in any of the three services are fully bilingual, less still use Irish as a first language.

Irish is the primary language when a body of soldiers is on the square, but in cases where live ammunition is used or where gun drill for live ammunition practice or deployment is being carried out, English commands are used to ensure that the order is fully understood. Examples of this substitution would be - Mounting the guard or artillery gun drill. Because foot and arm drill commands are passed down by word of mouth through training, the Irish commands have become distorted from their original pronunciations. In the same way that has occurred in the British Army (the subject of many parodies with screaming Sergeant Majors), words of command lose their defined pronunciation; examples being Aire (Arra) which often becomes Ahha and Cle (Kley) which is sometimes distorted to Hey or Huy.

A list of Irish Commands follows.

Meitheal ----- Party
Gasra ----- Section
Buíonn ----- Platoon
Complacht ----- Company
Cathlain ----- Battalion
Paráid ----- Parade
Rang ----- Rank
Aire ----- Attention
Seasáig ar Áis ----- Stand at Ease
Ar Socracht ----- Stand Easy
Le Heathraimh Ó Dheis-Deasaíg ----- With Intervals-Right Dress
Ó Dheis-Deasaíg ----- Right-Dress
Dearcaig Fó Dheis (Clé) ----- Eyes Right (Left)
Dearcaig Romhaibh ----- Eyes Front
Ag Iompó ----- Turning (precedes the following commands)
Deas Iompaíg ----- Right Turn
Clé Iompaíg ----- Left Turn
Iompaíg Thart ----- About Turn
Leathdeas Iompaíg ----- Half Right Turn
Leathchlé Iompaíg ----- Half Left Turn
Do Réir Dheis (Clé) ----- By the Right (left)
Go Mear Máirseáil ----- Quick March
Go Mall Máirseáil ----- Slow March
Clúdaíg ----- Cover (replace head dress)
Díclúdaíg ----- Uncover (remove head dress)
Stad ----- Stop
Greadaíg Fuibh ----- Mark Time
Ar Aghaidh ----- Forward
Dhá Choiscéim Ar Aghaidh Máirseáil ----- Two paces forward March
Dhá Choiscéim Ar Ais Máirseáil ----- Two paces Backward March
Oscail Na Ranga Máirseáil ----- Open Ranks March
Dún Na Ranga Máirseáil ----- Close Ranks March
Ar Sodar Máirseáil ----- Double March
Luigh Isteach ----- Fall In
Luigh Amach ----- Fall Out
Scaipig ----- Dismissed (Mounting or dismounting the guard)

Chun Mall Chéim Athraigh Go Mall Máirseáil --- Break into Slow Time, Slow March
Chun Mear Chéim Athraigh Go Mear Máirseáil --- Break into Quick Time, Quick March
Ar Dheis(Chlé) i Line Teigh --- On the Right Form a Line
Athraíg Treo Fó Dheis (Chlé) Deas Chasaigh --- Change Direction Right (Left) Right (Left) Wheel
Cúirtéis ----- Salute
Ó Dheis, Comhraigh ----- From the Right, Number
Socair ----- Steady
Mar a Bhí ----- As you Were

Arms Drill

Gaeilge ----- English

Tairgig Airm ----- Present Arms
Iompraígh Airm ----- Carry Arms
Chun Cigireachta Taispeánaig Airm ----- For Inspection Port Arms
Bogaig Tuailimí ----- Ease Springs
Tógaig Airm ----- Pick Up Arms
Garda ----- Guard
Lucht Dualgas ----- Security Duty
Lódáil ----- Load
Lámhach ----- Fire
Réidh ----- Ready
Dílódáil ----- Unload
Aisiompaíg Airm ----- Reverse Arms
Ar Airm Aisiompaithe Lúig ----- Rest on Arms Reversed

Using this, the order for a platoon of soldiers to go from the halt to a quick march would be

"Rachaidh an Buionn cun cionn, de reir dheis, go mar marseaill" etc.

Public displays of foot and arms drill by the Defence Forces are not common but are not unusual. A guard of honour is usually detailed by the Defence Forces to act on state occasions, and occasions of local importance, especially those where the President is present, or where the Defence Forces have specific interest. Examples of those events televised would be the 1916 Rising commemorations and the National Day of Remembrance. Units of the Defence Forces also march in the annual St Patricks Day Parade in the towns or cities where they are stationed, a tradition which they have continued on overseas postings.

Foot and arms drill commands are taught using a formulaic method known as the Screed. Drill instructors are usually of the rank of corporal, and ability to teach drill movements by the screed is one of the skills which must be attained prior to promotion to this rank. The Screed usually begins "Taking you a stage further in your foot/arms drill I will now teach you the ....... Irish word of command ......." and includes instructor demonstrations and time set aside for soldiers in the recruit sections to practice the movement in pairs on the square. Although this system is meant to teach movements correctly and quickly, and set a standard of foot and arms drill throughout the forces, it is not favoured by many drill instructors who see it as too rigid, promoting an atmosphere of mindless obeyance which fails to produce good soldiers who can think for themselves.

For practical and historical reasons, the foot and arms drill of the Irish Army remains similar to that of the British Army.

Russian Federation

Russian drill commands are similar to the German military commands of old, with the latter addition of Soviet military drill. These commands are commonly heard nowadays during the Victory Day parades every May 9, but are heard during parades and ceremonies of the various national military, police and civil defense units, and youth uniformed and cadet organizations.

Some principal commands without weapons:

  • "СТАНОВИСЬ" (stanavis') or "СМИРНО" (smirna) - standing straight, looking forward and not moving.
  • "ВОЛЬНО" (vol'na) - loosening any one leg in the knee but not stepping aside and not talking.
  • "Напра-ВО" (napra-VO), "Нале-ВО" (nale-VO), "Кру-ГОМ" (kru-GOM) - while standing or marching, turning 90 degrees to the right, 90 degrees to the left, and 180 degrees executed to the LEFT.
  • "Строевым шагом — МАРШ" (stroyevym shagom - MARSH) - start parade march.
  • "Шагом — МАРШ" (shagom - MARSH) - start route march.

See also


External links

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