Platoon Commander Checklists (1917)
British Tactical Notes, Edited and Prepared at the War College, Washington, December, 1917
Questions a Platoon Commander Should Ask Himself Before An Attack
1. Do I know exactly what objectives have been allotted (a) to my platoon, (b) to my company, (c) to my battalion? Have I a map showing them?
2. Have I explained them to my N.C.O.s and men? And have I given my N.C.O.s a sketch plan of the platoon's objective?
3. Do my N.C.O.s and men understand exactly what formation the platoon is adopting for this attack and the various duties each one of them has to perform? How am I using my Lewis gun?
4. Do I know the bearings both of the left and of the right of my objective?
5. Do I know, and do my N.C.O.s and men know, the names of the units on my flanks?
6. Do I understand the barrage lines and timing of lifts in the artillery program?
7. Have I impressed upon my men the great importance of keeping close up to our own barrage?
8. Is my watch synchronized?
9. Do I understand all orders sufficiently to be able to take command of the company if my company commander gets knocked out?
10. Have. I told my platoon sergeant and N.C.O.s everything I can to enable them to carry on if I get knocked out?
11. Are all my N.C.O.s and men properly equipped according to orders?
12. Do I know who have (a) wire cutters, (b) Very pistols and lights?
13. Have (a) bombs, (b) flares been issued to each man, and orders about their carriage and use properly explained?
14. Do I know and does my orderly know (a) the best way to company headquarters now; (b) how to find my company commander during and after the attack; (c) where battalion headquarters is, and, if it is moving, at what stage and to what place?
15. Have I warned my men to shoot or bayonet anyone giving the order "Retire"?
16. Have I told them that slightly wounded men must carry back their equipment, and that men must on no account weaken the line by taking back wounded?
17. Do the stretcher bearers know their way to the advanced dressing station and the arrangements made for getting away wounded?
18. Do I know what to do with prisoners?
19. Have I detailed the patrol to be pushed out as soon, as the objective has been gained, and explained to it exactly what to do?
20. Do my men understand the necessity of establishing touch with units on my flanks, or, if on gaining obur objective we are not in touch, of establishing blocks immediately?
21. Do I understand that to consolidate a well-defined target exposes my men to heavy shelling afterwards? Have I thought out where and how it is best to consolidate the objective I am about to attack?
22. Do all my men know which are up and which are down communication trenches?
23. Do I know and have I explained to my N.O.O.s the arrangements for supply of water, S.A.A., bombs, sandbags, wire, etc.?
24. Have I made all possible arrangements for any special work required from my platoon after the objective has been gained?
25. What is the S.O.S. signal?
Questions a Platoon Commander Should Ask Himself When the Objective Has Been Gained
1. Am I and my men where they were meant to be?
2. Have I reported my position and the situation generally?
3. Are flares being lit when called for by the contact aeroplane?
4. Is my platoon reorganized to resist counter attack? 5. Am I doing all I can to consolidate the position and am I consolidating in the best place?
6. Am I in touch with units on my flanks? If not, are blocks being established as quickly as possible?
7. Is the Lewis gun disposed to the best advantage? Does it cover a block?
8. Has the patrol been pushed out as I arranged?
9. Am I making the best use of my scouts and snipers?
10. What is the enemy doing? Am I doing all in my power to find out, and to let my company commander have the information as quickly as possible?
11. What special orders did I receive? Was I ordered to dig any part of a communication trench? If so, are the men told off for the work working at it?
12. Can I put up anything as a guide to our position for the artillery?
13. Do I appreciate that if my present position is unhealthy it is likely to be much worse if I try to withdraw?
14. Do I understand that bold and energetic action makes for success?