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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)


Section III


General					4-10
Ship routine				4-11
Time available for troop training	4-12
Troop schools on board ship		4-13
Size of classes				4-14	
Example of instr. assign. (rifle)	4-15
Subjects covered			4-16
Essential training			4-17

4-10. General-a. The relative value of training conducted aboard ship depends on the necessity for the training. The more an organization is in need of training, the more it will profit from every hour devoted to such training. The more advanced an organization is in its training, the more difficult it is to prepare a profitable schedule that can be carried into effect on board. It must be remembered that one of the main features of a system of instruction is the prevention of idleness and resultant discontent. A schedule that allows practically no time for relaxation, however, is always to be avoided.

b. The total time available for instruction is a factor to be considered wheu formulating the training schedule. Some organizations will be on board only during the period spent enroute to the scene of operations and will disembark immediately upon arrival thereat. Other organizations (sometimes callecl "floating" battalions) may be quartered on board for varying periods of time, possibly for several months.

c. The thoroughness of the instruction will be dependant upon the, skillful planning of schedules, the ability of the instructors, the time allotted for each subject, and the facilities available.

4-11. Ship routine.-a. Any training to be conducted on board ship must be fitted into the ship's routine. The troop commander is in command of the troops on board, but the commanding officer of the ship is responsible for all the activities on board. The troop activities must not interfere with the normal routine of the ship,without specific permission of the commanding officer of the ship. Usually, the ship's routine will include breakfast at 0730, inspection of quarters at 0830, quarters at 0900, dinner at 1200, and supper at 1700. Friday is normally given over to field day, with Saturday morning reserved for inspection of living spaces and personnel by the commanding officer. As a result, training is limited to 4 full days per week.

b. Mess facilities on board ship are usually limited. Troops will probably eat cafeteria style, using their individual mess equipment. Normally 1 hour will be ample time for the troops to be served and to complete any meal. This includes sufficient time for them to procure their mess gear, be served, wash their mess gear, and stow it.

c. Working parties will be required for serving the food, work in the galley, and handling stores. In order that interference with training may be reduced to a minimum, it is desirable that a complete unit, such as a platoon or company, be detailed daily for such duty. The duty should be assigned to troop units in rotation.

d. Emergency drills will also interfere with the schedule of training. These drills are an important part of the ship's routine. They include abandon ship, collision, fire, and fire and rescue drills. Everyone on board will participate in these drills.

4-12. Time available for troop training.-The time available for which definite schedules for troop training may be made up is limited to two daily periods, 0900 to 1130 and 1300 to 1600, a total of 5 1/2 hours. Since only 4 full days per week can be definitely scheduled, the weekly schedule is limited to 22 hours of instruction. If Friday may be used for training, another 5 1/2 hours will be available.

4-13. Troop schools on board ship.-a. Classes are organized to cover instruction in such subjects as may best prepare each member of a command to become a more proficient member of his combat team. Due to lack of space and facilities, the establishment of troop schools, employing the group method of instruction, is the accepted method for shipboard training. Classes covering essential subjects are organized for officers, noncommissioned officers (including selected privates) and privates.

b. Formations are usually limited to assemblies for quarters and inspections. At such formations, it is often possible to carry out exercises such as the manual of arms, setting-up exercises, and physical drill under arms.

4-14. Size of classes.-Training on board ship is generally attended by a number of distracting and annoying features such as seasickness, wet paint, scrubbing of decks, heat, etc. It is, therefore, desirable that classes be organized in small groups. Groups of 20 are the largest that one able instructor can be expected to handle efficiently. In the instruction of groups in the mechanics of the several types of weapons, care should be taken to avoid assigning too many individuals to a single weapon. Not more than two men should be assigned to one automatic rifle and not more than three to a machine gun. A man learns very little about the mechanics of a weapon by watching someone else assemble and disassemble the weapon. He must have the weapon in his own hands and perform the work himself as it is only through this method that he attains proficiency.

4-15. Assignment to classes.-a. An example of the assignment of the personnel of a rifle company to the several classes of a troop school on board ship is as follows:

Class				Supervision Attendance
Automatic rifle--------- Company, 2 per squad ( 1S), plus instructors.
Machine gun-------------                  Do.
Grenades ---------------                  Do.
scout ------------------                  Do.
Signal -----------------Company, 3 from co. hdqtrs. and 3 per platoon hdqtrs. (12 ), plus instructors.
Communication --------- Battalion, 2 per company ( cp. "Signal" and pvt. "Agent" ) (S).

b. Classes organized as shown above are of a convenient size. Qualified instructors are assigned to each group, the number of assistants depending upon the type of instruction and the availability of qualified personnel, The name of the class indicates the subject in which that class receives the major part of its instruction. However, each class receives instruction in such other subjects as may be considered necessary.

c. An example of a day's schedule for the automatic rifle class is as follows:

  • 0930-1030 Functioning of automatic rifle. Lieutenant, first platoon, senior instructor.
  • 1045-1130 Stoppages of automatic rifle. Lieutenant, first platoon, senior instructor.
  • 1300--1330 Bayonet training. Lieutenant, bayonet instructor, a rifle company officer designated by the battalion commander, senior instructor. He coordinates all bayonet instruction within the battalion.
  • 1345-1430 Tactics, street fighting. Company commander, instructor. Scout class joins for this period.
  • 1445-153 First aid, application of tourniquets. Battalion surgeon, senior instructor.
  • 1545-1600 Talk, racial characteristics of country of destination. Company commander, senior instructor. Entire company assembles for this period.

d. Division of personnel of machine gun and howitzer units into groups for class instruction is effected similarly to the outline shown for the rifle company in paragraph 4-15, a. The daily schedules for the different classes are made up in a manner similar to the example shown for the automatic rifle class in paragraph 4-15, c.

4-16. Subjects covered. -a. Paragraph 4-1, c, lists a number of subjects that are suitable for shipboard instruction. Deficiencies in training of the troops on board, as influenced by the tactical situation likely to be encountered, will govern the selection of subjects that are to be stressed. Having determined the training needs of the several units, the subjects to be stressed may be selected and schedules prepared accordingly.

b. In addition to the subjects listed in paragraph 4--1, c, the following subjects are particularly important and should be emphasized enroute to the theater of operations.

(1) Information of the country of destination; its people, language, topography, political and military situation.
(2) Enemy tactics likely to be encountered. Tactics to be adopted by our own troops.
(3) Relations with inhabitants of the country of destination.

4-17. Essential training.- a. Newly organized units will often include men who are only partially trained in handling their weapons. After formation of the unit, there may be only a short period for instruction prior to embarkation. In some cases, there will be no time for any instruction whatsoever. While enroute to the country of destination, troop schools should aim to acquaint every man with the mechanics, technique, firing, and technical employment of the weapon with which he is armed, thus increasing his value to his organization as a member of the combatt team. Permission may be readily secured from the commanding officer of the ship to fire the various infantry weapons from the deck while the ship is under way. Targets may consist of articles floating at sea or articles thrown overboard (tins and boxes from the galley). For safety. shooting is conducted only from the stern of the ship. If there are no articles available to be used as targets, "white-caps" may be used as aiming points.

b. Instruction in tactics should be sufficiently adequate to give all enlisted personnel a knowledge of scouting, patrolling, security measures, and troop leading problems, appropriate to their rank. Methods of Instruction include sketches on blackboards (the best method), chalk sketches on the deck, and matches laid out on deck. The instructor explains the situation (diagram or sketch) and asks different men for their decisions and reasons for their decisions. Initiative and discussion should be encouraged. In small wars situations, the noncommissioned officer and private are often faced with problems requiring decision and subsequent immediate execution.

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