The history of the military shows that Armies have participated in some form of drill across the world. Historically the primary purpose of the drill is to prepare the soldiers for a battle. The drill has helped the commanders to be able to move their forces quickly from a given point to another. It helped them to have a battle formation that resulted to them having maximum firepower. In most regions, the procedures that are undertaken concerning drill tend to be the same with the tactical maneuvers that are used while in the battlefield.
In 1775, when the Army was fighting for the existence and independence of the country the leaders of the nation faced a significant problem of organizing the troops who were already on the battlefield. The Army that was formed during this time had little control, organization, teamwork, and discipline. The soldiers endured hardship such as the lack of clothing, equipment, funds, and rations. This lasted for three years under the leadership of General George Washington. It contributed significantly to their loss to the superior British forces. The loss and hardship that the troops endured were due to lack of a military atmosphere in the country.
On 23rd February General Washington with the help of Benjamin Franklin who was the American Ambassador to France enlisted the aid of Baron Friedrich Von Steuben who was a Prussian officer. After seeing the bad condition that the European army was undergoing, he immediately wrote the drill movements and regulations while at Valley Forge. Von Steuben selected 120 individuals from the line and taught them about the drill he had formulated. It made them to be more disciplined and started to respond to the command that was given without delay. The discipline made them to be more alert, pay more attention to detail and recognize the need of urgency whenever it arises. Through the mastery of the art of drill, the American soldiers started to work as a team, and they began to have a sense of pride in their unit and themselves.
The drill enabled the troops to be orderly and able to make different formations on the battle field. The chain of command, organization, and control got improved as every individual had a particular role and task to do within the formation. The 120 men were later distributed to teach drill in the entire Army. It made the army to be more efficient and effective in their performance. In 1779 Von Steuben who was a Major General and Inspector General of the Army wrote the first Army field manual to enhance continuity and uniformity within the Army. The regulations that guide the United States troops are referred to as the Blue book.
The drill rules that were formulated by Von Steuben were not changed for 85 years. Most of the drill procedures and terms are still active to date. The only noted difference is that during the time of the American revolutionary the troops would march 76 steps per minute, unlike today which is 120 steps per minute. The drill has become more efficient as compared to the past due to the increased technology. It has enabled them to attack their enemies in a short time as the weapons and equipments they are using have improved and with the help of the drill, the Army have been able to employ new tactical concepts.
In conclusion, the drill helps the Army to achieve various objectives such as confidence, paying attention to detail, pride, become disciplined and work as a team. The drill has helped the commanders to be in a position of moving their forces from one point to another and organize them while on the battlefield in a formation that will result to maximum firepower to emerge victoriously.
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