Topic: Drill and Training
"Old Military Customs Still Extant," by Major C.T. Tomes, D.S.O., M.C., Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. LXX, February to November, 1925
General Sir David Dundas, GCB
(1735 – 1820)
Ceremonial Drill is not merely a collection of movements designed for the improvement of discipline and to test the steadiness of the men in the ranks. Our modern "Infantry Training" deserves a little study.
There is the "Advance in Review Order," which is nothing more than a rehearsal of the attack for the benefit of the reviewing General. Arms are presented at the close as a sign that the movement is completed. It used to be the last of eighteen complicated manoeuvres performed by a battalion when tested as to its preparedness for war. In this process was included an advance in line, a volley fired obliquely to the right, another to the left, a further advance and two volleys to the front, officers and colours then took post, the whole moved forward fifty paces and the inspection concluded with a Royal Salute. The last movement is now all that remains.
(From a related note: The Chairman; The Hon. J.W. Fortescue, C.V.O.: —The eighteen manoeuvres did not come in till 1781, and were invented by David Dundas in the first drill-book issued for the whole Army written by a private individual and sanctioned by authority. Everybody had his own drill book before that and did what was right in his own eyes. The eighteen manoeuvres became famous because officers considered that they were the beginning and end of their duties. You remember the remark Sir John Moore made to Dundas: "Your drill book would have done a great deal of good if it had not been for those damned eighteen manoeuvres;" whereupon Dundas replied: "Blockheads do not understand. That is the danger of making a drill book.")