Regimental Badge

65th (2nd Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot

Regimental Badge


P A R T   V.



I. Object of Light Infantry Movements

The duties of troops employed as light infantry in the field, are both varied and important; to them the safeguard of the camp is usually entrusted, and by them, the cantonments of the army are protected from the sudden or unexpected approach of the enemy. When the army is in motion, the light infantry recconnoitre the country in its front, feel for the enemy, or clear the way for the columns when advancing, and protect them from being too closely pressed upon or harassed when retreating; they conceal and cover the movements and manoeuvres of the line, watch the motions of the enemy, and ascertain the nature of the ground and country in advance of the main body ; upon their efficiency, the General often very much depends for the necessary information to enable him to regulate and direct his columns

II. All Regiments to be instructed in Light Infantry Movements

Although certain regiments are styled "light infantry", every corps of infantry, without exception, must be fully instructed in this important branch of its duty.

III. Division of Light Troops

When a regiment is employed as light infantry, it is usually divided into three parts - skirmishers, supports and reserve; but it may frequently be deemed advisable to cover the movements of a line with skirmishers and supports, or skirmishers only.

IV. Relative Strength of Skirmishers, Supports and Reserve

The supports should always be composed of numbers equal to the line of skirmishers; thus each company that is extended should have a company to support it. The reserve should be at least one third part of the whole body.

2.   If a single company is detached to skirmish at a distance from the main body, not more than half of the men should ever be sent forward to skirmish at a time; the other half must remain formed in support.

V. Relative Duties of Skirmishers, Supports and Reserve

1.   The movements of the skirmishers must depend in a great measure on the positions and movements of the enemy. Care must be taken that the skirmishers protect and overlap the flanks of the main body they are intended to cover.

2.   It is the duty of the supports to assist and support the skirmishers in every way. The movements of the former must therefore correspond with those of the latter. Each support should be, as nearly as possible, in rear of the centre of its own skirmishers. The reserve is the point on which both supports and skirmishers may rally. It will also send relief tothem when necessary; it should therefore be placed as nearly as possible in rear of the cnetre of the formation.

3.   When the skirmishers are sent out to a distance, the field officers must take care that they are always so situated as to protect, in the most effectual manner, the front and flanks of the main body.

VI. Relative Distances

The distance of supports from skirmishers, and reserves from supports, must depend on circumstances and the nature of the ground. The supports should always be in the most convenient position to assist the skirmishers, without being unnecessarily exposed to fire. For instance, when skirmishers have ascended a bank or hill, and are halted on the summit, it is evident that the supports may approach close to them, without being exposed to fire; but, on a plain, they must necessarily be kept at a greater distance; the same remark applies to the reserve. As a general rule, on a plain the distance between skirmishers and supports should be about 200 yards; between supports and reserves, about 300 yards; between the reserve and main body, 500 yards.

VII. Cover

1.   When under fire, skirmishers, whether halted or in motion, must take advantage of all cover, and although they are not required to preserve their distances and dressing while doing so, they must, when advancing or retiring, take care that they never get in front of each other, and that they never retain their places of cover so long as to interfere either with therr own fire or that of their comrades.

2.   Officers commanding supports must, with due regard to the assistance they should afford to the skirmishers, take advantage of all inequalities of ground and other objects affording cover to protect their men, and should make them lie down when cover can be obtained by so doing; they must examine the ground well, and select positions that will protect them from cavalry, in case of attack, without preventing the skirmishers from forming upon them.

3.   The officer commanding the reserve should also keep his men under cover when practicable; but, as the reserve is not immediately under fire, his attention should principally be directed to the selection of positions, favourable to the relief and assistance of the skirmishers and supports, with due regard to the protection of the main body.

4.   When in the presence of cavalry, the reserve should be kept in column; but under fire of artillery, it should be deployed into line.

VIII. Time of Movement

Light infantry movements will usually be performed in quick time, except:

which will be in double time.

When more than usual rapidity is required in other movements, the men may be directed to double by word of command or bugle sound. Although 150 steps are taken in a minute in the ordinary double time, in light infantry movements the speed may be increased when necessary, as will be the case when skirmishers close on files that are moving at the double.

IX.Points of Direction

All lines of skirmishers move by their centre, except when inclining to a flank, in which case, they move by the flank to which they are inclining.

X. How Arms are carried

The skirmishers and supports will move with trailed arms, except in close column of sections, or in close files, when they will move as directed in Part II., Section 32 and Part III., Sections 1 and 2, No. 3. Reserves armed with long rifles will move with sloped arms and unfixed bayonets; those with short rifles, with trailed arms and unfixed swords.

XI.Officers and Connecting Links

1.   When a company is extended, the captain should generally be at a convenient distance in rear of the centre; supernumeraries must be placed at equal distances along the rear of the line of skirmishers, the lieutenant being always near the outer flank of a flank company. When a company is in support, the captain should be in its proper front, whether it is advancing or retiring, he will thus lead his company when it advances, and follow it when it retires. The supernumeraries of a support will be in the rear as usual. The officers of a reserve will always be placed as in column, right in front.

2.   A non-commissioned officer, or more, if necessary, may frequently be sent out with advantage from a support, to keep up the connexion with its skirmishers. Non-commissioned officers may also be sent out from the reserve to keep up the connexion between it and each support; these men will be called connecting links.

XII.Words of Command and Bugle Sounds

1.    Light infantry movements must in general be regulated by word of command. Commands must be repeated by the captains and every supernumerary belonging to the line of skirmishers. The connecting links may be employed, when necessary, to pass words of command, or convey intelligence backwards and forwards between the reserve and supports, and between the supports and skirmishers. When on account of the distance, or from noise or wind, the voice cannot be distinctly heard, the connecting links should run up and deliver their orders to the officers for whom they are intended, and then resume their places.

2.    Calls on the bugle may occasionally be necessary as substitutes for the voice, but as they are liable to be misunderstood, and as they reveal intended movements to the enemy, who will soon become acquainted with them, they should seldom be used, unless for purposes of drill.

3.    Bugle sounds must be as few and as simple as possible. None but the following sounds must ever be used in light drill:

4.    One G sounded (hear note) on the bugle denotes the right of the line. Two G's the centre. Three G's the left.

5.    The G's preceding any sound denote the part of the line to which it applies. For instance; two G's before the Extend, signifies to extend from the Centre. One G followed by the Close, to close to the Right. One G followed by the Incline, to incline to the right. Three G's, followed by the Wheel, to wheel to the left.

Click on each music score below to hear the call.


Extend - Click to hear tune


Close - click to hear tune


Advance - Click to hear tune


Retire - Click to hear tune


Halt - click to hear tune

The Halt annuls all previous sounds except the Fire.


Commence Firing - Click to hear tune


Cease Firing - Click to hear tune


Assemble - click to hear tune


Incline - click to hear tune


Wheel - click to hear tune

The calls IX. and X. must be preceded by the distinguishing G's.


Alarm - Click to hear tune


Quick Time - Click to hear tune


Double - Click here to hear tune


Lie Down - Click to hear tune


Rise - Click to hear tune

6.    Every regiment should have a well marked and simple regimental call.

7.    The Advance or the Retire sounded when inclining to the flank, indicates that the original direction is to be resumed.

8.    When moving by sound of bugle, men will wait till the bugle has ceased before they move.

9.    When THE FIRE is combined with any other call, it should always be the last sounded, for if the men commenced firing they would not hear the second call.

10.    The commanding officer's bugle will generally be found sufficient in light infantry drill; repeated sounds only create confusion and delay.

11.    Bugle sounds do not apply to bodies of troops in reserve.


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Updated 14 June, 2007