Maneuver of the month (February):
"On the right by file into line, march": Paragraph 148 of Hardeeís school of the company
This is used when the company is in a column of fours right in front, to get us into a battle line facing to our right.
Why do it?
"Right in front" means that the right of the company is marching in front, with the first corporal guiding behind the first sergeant, which is the usual way we march in a column of fours.
From a column of fours, itís easy to form a battle line facing left: The command is: Halt! Front!
Itís easy to form facing to the front: "By company into line, march!"
But what if the enemy appears on our right? Thatís what "On the right by file into line" is for.
Note that there is an "on the left by file into line" which is to be used when the company is marching left in front (with the second sergeant guiding).
Weíre marching in a column of fours. The command is "On the right by file into line!"
1. The first sergeant immediately turns right and double times ahead and stops on his guide position, which will probably be the left flank of the neighboring company. If the battalion is present, the company commander may move out ahead of him and with him.
2. At the command "March" the "rear rank men doubled" (that is, the two men on the right of each four) will mark time.. This lets the men who belong in the front rank get ahead of them. The rear rank men marking time is key to doing this maneuver! If they drop the ball, we all look foolish!
3. The "front rank men doubled", that is the two men on the left of each four, continue to march forward until they pass beyond the first sergeant. Then they turn to the right, directly toward the places they occupy in line of battle.
When they arrive two paces behind the line of battle, the number two man will shorten his step and oblique to his left for a step, to cross behind the number one man, and fall in on his left.
Each pair of #1 and #2 men do this in succession, so as to fall into line to the left of the two who were marching ahead of them.
4. The "rear rank men doubled" who marked time in paragraph two above, have now let the Ďfront rank men" get ahead of them. They will wait "until four men of the front rank are established on the line of battle" (which essentially means marking time for two steps). So now the rear rank men have space to move in.
They will resume marching, and will turn right and march into line in the same manner as the front rank men are still doing, as instructed in paragraph 3 above. This means that the #2 man will cross behind his #1 in the same manner.
What about "On the left by file into line"?
To do "on the left by file into line" we would start marching left in front; the second sergeant as left guide, is in front of the right man in the first four.
We want the RIGHT men in each four to end up in the front rank, and the LEFT men in each four need to end up in the rear rank.
In this case:
1. The second sergeant, who would be guiding, would double time to the left and stop where the left of the company is to be.
(If we are the left flank company of the battalion, marching left in front means we are in the lead. So this means he will NOT be next to any other company, and itís probable the colonel or major will designate his spot. If they donít the company commander should; otherwise the second sergeant gets to pick our ground.)
2. On the command of execution, "March", the left men in each four will mark time to let the right men in each four (who are the front rank men in line of battle) get ahead of them.
3. The right men in each four will turn left, the #1 will oblique right to cross behind the #2, and they will fall into line of battle next to the second sergeant, and dress on him. Each successive pair will fall in to their right, forming the line of battle,
4. The men who are marking time, will do so for two steps to let the front rank men get ahead of them, and will then turn left and fall into the second rank in the same manner.