A.C.W.S.
Ltd (UK)
ACWS Ltd

SCHOOL OF THE COMPANY

ORGANISATION OF A COMPANY

COMPANY IN LINE OF BATTLE
2nd Platoon 1st Platoon  
     
C4 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 C3 C2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 C1 Cap
2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 S1
         
  S2 L1   L3   S3     S4   L2   S5  
       
4th Section 3rd Section 2nd Section 1st Section
Key to Company Formation Diagrams
Cap Captain
L1 1st Lieutenant
L2 2nd Lieutenant
L3 3rd Lieutenant
S1 1st Sergeant
S2 2nd Sergeant
S3 3rd Sergeant
S4 4th Sergeant
S5 5th Sergeant
C1 1st Corporal
C2 2nd Corporal
C3 3rd Corporal
C4 4th Corporal
1 Number One Privates
2 Number Two Privates

A Company varies in number from 50 to 100 rank and file. A Captain, two or more Lieutenants, from four to six Sergeants, and as many Corporals, are attached to every company. The captain and lieutenants are the Officers, and the sergeants and corporals the Non-Commissioned Officers of the company.

The captain is responsible for the instruction, discipline, general efficiency, and moral tone of the company.

The lieutenants assist the captain in the maintenance of discipline, and in the instruction.

The company is divided into two equal parts, which are designated as the First and Second Platoon, counting from the right; and each platoon is, in like manner, divided into two Sections.

The company is formed into two ranks in the following manner: the corporals on the right and left of platoons, according to height; the tallest corporal and the tallest man from the front file on the right, the next two tallest men from the second file, and so on to the last file, which is composed of the shortest corporal and the shortest man.

The odd and even files, Numbered as One, Two, in the company, from right to left, form groups of four men, who, when they act as light troops, are designated Comrades in Battle.

The officers and non-commissioned officers of the company are posted in the following manner:

  • The Captain on the right of the company, touching with the left elbow.
  • The First Sergeant, in the rear rank, touching with the left elbow, and covering the captain. In the manoeuvres he is designated Covering Sergeant, or Right Guide of the company.
  • The remaining officers and sergeants are posted as file-closers, in the rank of File Closers, two paces behind the rear rank.
  • The First Lieutenant, opposite the centre of the fourth section.
  • The Second Lieutenant, opposite the centre of the first platoon.
  • The Third Lieutenant, opposite the centre of the second platoon.
  • The Second Sergeant, opposite the second file from the left of the company. In the manoeuvres he is called the Left Guide of the company.
  • The Third Sergeant, opposite the second file from the right of the second platoon.
  • The Fourth Sergeant, opposite the second file from the left of the first platoon.
  • The Fifth Sergeant, opposite the second file from the right of the first platoon.
  • The Corporals are posted in the front rank, on the right and left of platoons.

1. TO FORM COMPANY

FALL IN - COMPANY

The corporals and privates fall in at ORDER ARMS in one rank facing right, dressing on the right hand corporal in order of height, the tallest on the right.

FRONT

The second sergeant places himself on the left of the company as its Left Guide.

IN TWO RANKS, FORM COMPANY - LEFT FACE - MARCH

On LEFT FACE, the whole company faces to the left, except the left guide and the man on the left, who stand fast.

On MARCH, the whole of the men who have faced to the left, step off together; the second man, counting from the left, places himself in the rear rank, behind the man next to the left guide, and faces to the front; the two following men will, in like manner, on closing up, form the next file, the third man in the front, and the fourth in the rear rank behind him, and all the other men come successively to form files, two deep, to the right of those already formed.

When this manoeuvre is complete, the officers take their posts.

When the company is in good discipline, the files may be formed in two ranks at once, each man having his proper number in the company.

FRONT. LEFT DRESS. FRONT.

On DRESS the designated guide (left/right) stands fast. Others turn eyes to him and dress up. In each rank elbows should touch. There should be a thirteen-inch gap between ranks (a forearm's length). Eyes stay turned until FRONT.

IN EACH RANK - COUNT TWOS

The right file corporal and his rear file count ONE, the next file TWO and the third ONE, etc. The Company is then divided into Platoons and Sections, taking care that the first platoon is always composed of an even number of files. If necessary file corporals take Post and the Company counts off again.

2. TO OPEN RANKS

TO THE REAR, OPEN ORDER - MARCH

On REAR the left and right guides take four steps to the rear and dress. On MARCH, the rear rank takes four steps to the rear and dress on the left. The MANUAL OF ARMS and INSPECTION ARMS are usually performed in this formation.

3. TO CLOSE RANKS

CLOSE ORDER - MARCH

On MARCH the rear rank march forward and dress on their file leader.

4. TO ADVANCE IN LINE OF BATTLE

FORWARD MARCH

On MARCH, the Company sets off on the LEFT foot (this rule is general). The cadence may be called by officers or NCO's thus: TO THE STEP as the LEFT foot should touch the ground. Alternatively: ONE - TWO - ONE, again as the LEFT foot touches the ground.

LEFT/RIGHT OBLIQUE - MARCH

On MARCH each man turns 45 degrees left/right and continues to march in this direction, maintaining his dressing until the order FORWARD - MARCH is given. The men will then FRONT and continue forwards, dressing left/right as ordered.

GUIDE LEFT/RIGHT - MARCH

On MARCH, the left and right guides march in the direction indicated. The men follow, maintaining their dressing. This order is given to clear small obstacles, make minor adjustments to the line, etc.

5. TO MARCH IN RETREAT

RIGHT ABOUT - MARCH

On MARCH, the Company performs an ABOUT - FACE and continues to march in the opposite direction.

6. TO MARCH BACKWARDS

BACKWARDS - MARCH

On MARCH, the Company steps off backwards, being careful to maintain its dressing. For long marches, or over rough ground, the rear rank may be ordered to grasp the belts of the front rank. In desperate circumstances, the front rank may be ordered to load and fire on the move.

7. TO WHEEL FROM THE HALT

RIGHT WHEEL - MARCH

On MARCH, the right guide pivots on the spot, the Company turns heads to the LEFT and touch elbows to the RIGHT. The left guide marches at the normal step, the rest of the Company adjusting the step to suit. The wheel continues until either of the following:

  • HALT: the Company halts and dresses on the pivot guide;
  • FORWARD - MARCH: the Company marches forward dressing on the right guide.

LEFT WHEEL - MARCH

On MARCH, the left guide pivots on the spot, the Company turns heads to the RIGHT and touch elbows to the LEFT. The right guide sets the normal pace. At the HALT, the Company dresses on the pivot guide, on the MARCH on the left guide.

Wheels may also be made on the Centre File or any designated file. On MARCH, the relevant men will march BACKWARDS, conforming to the principle of the wheel.

8. TO WHEEL ON THE MARCH

RIGHT WHEEL - MARCH

On MARCH, the right guide begins the wheel taking nine-inch steps. The men turn their heads AND touch elbows to the LEFT. The left guide marches at the normal step, the rest of the Company adjusting the step to suit. The wheel continues until either of the following:

  • HALT: the Company halts and dresses right;
  • FORWARD - MARCH: the Company marches forward dressing right.

LEFT WHEEL - MARCH

On MARCH, the left guide takes nine-inch steps. The men turn their heads AND touch elbows to the RIGHT and the right guide marches at the normal step. At the HALT and the MARCH, the Company dresses left.

9. TO MARCH BY THE FLANK

RIGHT - FACE - FORWARD - MARCH

On FACE, Number Ones face right and stand fast, Number Twos face right and step forward and to the right of the Number Ones, thus forming files of FOUR men elbow to elbow. The intervals this leaves between ranks must be maintained when the Company is on the MARCH and when it comes to the HALT.

FRONT

On FRONT, Number Ones face left and stand fast; Number Twos face left and step forward and to the left of the Number Ones, thus regaining their place in the LINE OF BATTLE.

COLUMN OF FOURS FROM THE RIGHT FACE
 
Cap S1  
  C1 2 1 2   S5
1 2 1 2  
1 2 1 2 L2
1 2 1 2  
1 C2 1 2 S4
C3 2 1 2 S3
1 2 1 2  
1 2 1 2 L3
1 2 1 2 L1
1 C4 1 2 S2

LEFT - FACE - FORWARD - MARCH

On FACE, Number Twos face left and stand fast; Number Ones face left and step forward and to the right of the Number Ones. Files and intervals are maintained as in the right face.

FRONT

On FRONT, Number Twos face right and stand fast; Number Ones face right and step forward and to the right of the Number Twos.

10. TO MARCH BY THE FLANK (WITHOUT DOUBLING)

IN TWO RANKS - RIGHT/LEFT FACE

On FACE, both ranks face on the spot.

FRONT

On FRONT, both ranks FRONT on the spot.

11. TO CHANGE DIRECTION BY FILE

BY FILE RIGHT/LEFT - MARCH

On RIGHT/LEFT, the guide doubles to the designated turning point. On MARCH, the first file wheel ninety degrees to the right/left of the guide as they pass him and march on. All following files march up to the same point and wheel likewise.

COUNTER MARCH - BY FILE RIGHT/LEFT - MARCH

Proceed as above, wheeling 1800 on the guide.

12. TO FORM LINE OF BATTLE TO THE RIGHT

ON THE RIGHT - BY FILE - INTO LINE - MARCH

On MARCH, the right guide doubles six paces to the right. The rear rank files mark time as the front rank files march on. The first front rank file wheel right and the Number One crosses in front of the Number Two before dressing on the right guide. Successive front rank files repeat this as they reach their place in the line. When four front rank men are in the line the rear rank will march on and wheel into the line in the same way, covering off with the front rank.

ON THE LEFT - BY FILE - INTO LINE - MARCH

On MARCH, the right guide doubles to the left, and the men wheel to the left.

13. TO FORM LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FRONT

BY COMPANY INTO LINE - MARCH

On MARCH, the right guide continues to march forward (or to guide left/right if ordered). The men double left oblique until they reach their position in the line of battle, when they FRONT and take up the pace from the right guide, shouldering arms and dressing up on the march.

14. TO MARCH BY THE FLANK WHILE ON THE MARCH IN LINE OF BATTLE

BY THE RIGHT/LEFT FLANK - MARCH

On MARCH, the men execute a Company left/right face and continue to march on in columns of fours.

15. TO REFORM LINE OF BATTLE WHILE MARCHING BY THE FLANK

BY THE RIGHT/LEFT FLANK - MARCH

On MARCH, the men execute a Company right/left 'front' and march on in line of battle.

16. TO FORM TWO RANKS FROM FOUR RANKS WHILE MARCHING BY THE RIGHT FLANK

IN TWO RANKS - UNDOUBLE FILES - MARCH

On MARCH, Number Ones march on ahead, Number Twos shorten step and march left oblique to place themselves behind Number Ones. The rear rank then march left oblique to close up with the front rank. When marching by the left flank, the Number Twos march on and the Number Ones march right oblique.

17. TO FORM ONE RANK FROM TWO RANKS WHILE MARCHING BY THE RIGHT FLANK

SINGLE FILE - MARCH

On MARCH, the Front Rank march on ahead, the Rear Rank shorten step and march left oblique to place themselves behind the front rank men. When marching by the left flank the Rear Rank march on and the Front Rank march right oblique.

18. TO REFORM COLUMN OF FOURS FROM TWO RANKS WHILE MARCHING BY THE RIGHT FLANK

IN FOURS DOUBLE FILES - MARCH

On MARCH, Number Ones march on ahead, the Rear Rank Ones oblique one pace to the right. Number Twos then step up to the right of the Number Ones to reform the column of fours. When marching by the left flank, Number Twos march on and the Number Ones step up to the left of the Number Twos.

19. TO FORM TWO RANKS WHILE MARCHING BY THE RIGHT FLANK IN SINGLE FILE

IN TWO RANKS DOUBLE FILES - MARCH

On MARCH, the Front Rank Ones and Twos march on ahead, the Rear Rank Ones and Twos lengthen step and march right oblique to form two ranks. When marching by the left flank, the Rear Rank numbers march on ahead and the Front Rank march left oblique.