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Foot Marches

Many examples of successful marches exist throughout out the history of warfare.

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Foot Marches
FM 21-18

SSG Millington


Many examples of successful marches exist throughout out the history of warfare. An outstanding example during WW II was the grueling foot march during the Sicilian campaign from 20 to 21 July 1943, which was made by the 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Introduction Continue

The battalion was directed to move on foot across mountainous terrain from Aragona to San Stefano to participate in a coordinated attack against enemy forces in San Stefano. The battalion made this record braking 54 miles cross-country march in a record braking 33 hours.

Task Taught or Supported

Complete a 3 km road march.

Complete a 5 km road march.

Complete a 8 km road march.

Complete a 10 km road march.

Complete a 10 km road march.

Individual Task 1of 3

Report enemy information

Send radio message

Engage targets with an M16A2 rifle

Employ hand grenades

Practice preventive medicine

Move under direct fire

Move over, through or around obstacles

Individual Task 2of 3

React to indirect fire while dismounted

React to flares

Select temporary fighting positions

Camouflage yourself and individual equipment

Practice noise and light discipline

Put on, wear, remove, and store your M40A2 protective mask with hood.

Individual Task 3of 3

Recognize and react to chemical or biological hazard

React to nuclear hazard

Evaluate a casualty


Soldier report enemy forces.

Soldier properly engages targets with an M16A2 rifle.

Solder protects self using his M40A2 protective mask.

Solder reacts to nuclear hazard.

Personal Courage

Solder moves under direct fire.

Soldier moves over, through and around obstacles.

Soldier reacts to indirect fire.

Soldier reacts to flares.


Solder properly assumes a temporary fighting position.

Soldier practice noise, light and litter discipline.

Solder practice personal hygiene and field conditions.

Solder practices human waste disposal in field conditions.

Equipment for a Company 1of 2

Bayonet, M16A2 Rifle 240

Mask Protective M40A2 240

Rifle M16A2 240

Machine gun M60 4

Radio PRC 77 OR 119 6

Firing Adapters 240 / 4

Magazine, 30 Rounds 1200

Equipment for a Company 2of 2

Tool combination, M60 5

Battery Dry BA5590/U 16

Ammunition Requirements 1 of 3

CTG, 5.56 mm blank, M200 FM1 20

RM4 10

RM5 50

CTG, 7.62 mm blank M60 FM1 500

RM4 200

RM5 300

Ammunition Requirements 2 of 3

Grenade Hand Smoke HC FM1 4

RM4 2

RM5 2

Grenade Hand, CS M7 FM1 4

RM4 1

RM5 1

Ammunition Requirements 3 of 3

Simulator Projectile FM1 6

Ground Burst, M115A2 RM4 2

RM5 4

Simulator Booby Trap FM1 5

Flash, M117 RM4 2

RM5 3

Safety Requirements

Electrical Storms

Snake Bites

Heat Casualties

Cold Weather Injuries

Medical Support

Types of Foot Marches

Day March

Limited visibility

Forced March

Shuttle March

March Discipline

Noise Discipline


Commanders will designate the side of the roads troops will march on.

Rate of March

Distance between individuals.

Day 2-5 Meters / Night 1-3 Meters

Distance between elements

Day 100 Meters between Company / Platoons 50 meters

Limited visibility will decrease by 50%

Security Measures

Passive Measures

Includes the use of concealed routes and assemble areas and movements on protected routes, night marches, increased intervals between elements and dispersion when under attack using noise and light discipline

Active Measures

Includes the use of organic and attached weapons in accordance with the units air defense plan during marches scanning sectors of observations.

Field Sanitation

Field Water Supply

Disposal of Human Waste

Poison Plants

Insect Control

Water Discipline

All soldiers must hydrate before each march to aid sustainment during the movement.

Drink only treated water from approved sources.

Drink water often. Great quantity of water should be drank before, during and after.

Drink water slowly to prevent cramps or nausea.

Avoid spilling water and use it sparingly for bathing .

Personnel Hygiene

Personnel cleanliness.

Protection against the elements.

Protection against disease caring insects

Avoidance of the sources of disease .

Special protective measures.

Foot Care 1 of 2

Foot hygiene and sanitation are extremely important sense feet are enclosed in heavy rigid footwear during most working hours and are constantly in action. Foot care involves:

Good hygiene measure such as bathing frequently and using foot powder.

Wearing properly fitted footwear to allow for ventilation.

Foot Care 2 of 2

Wearing clean, dry, unmended, and properly fitted socks (preferably cushion soled) with seams and knots outside.

Trimming toenails every 2-3 weeks. Toenails should be cut short and square ( straight across)

Common Foot Trouble

Blisters and abrasions.

Treatment of blisters should be done by qualified persons. If one is not available, procedures outlined in FM 21-18 should be followed.

Feet perspiration

Athletes foot.


Special Care

Prior to the march.

Take preventive measures such as

Trimming toenails

wearing proper socks

alternating boots

During halts

During the halt lie down with the feet elevate. If time permits massage the feet apply foot powder, change socks, and medicate and protect blisters.

Special Care Continue

After the march

When the march is over, repeat care of feet, wash and dry socks, and dry boots. Medicate blisters, abrasions, corns, and calluses. Inspect painful feet for sprains and improperly fitted boots and socks.


During a march halts are inverse routinely to rest personnel and adjust equipment. They are regulated by SOP or by the movement order.

15 minute halt after first 45 minutes of marching after that 10 minutes for every 60 minutes is required.

Soldiers should remove or loosen their gear or lie down with their feet elevated for optimum relaxation if situation permits. Security must be first considered.

Halts Continue

During schedule halts local security to include at least one OP for each platoon is immediately established. OP`s should not be established outside the range of small arms and should be retrievable so that the unit is ready to move at a moment notice. When unscheduled halts and actions occur, the first priority is to establish security and to have each unit form a hasty perimeter.

Attack During a Halt

During the halt, local security has to be established by the unit, if the security element / observation post (OP) is fired upon, they return fire.

The main body will take cover in their assigned sectors.

Artillery Attack

If the unit is attacked by indirect fire during the foot march, the unit in contact continues to move quickly through the barrage.

If the unit is attacked by indirect fire during the foot march, the unit not in contact attempts to bypass the impact area.


In the kill zone increase speed, fight through, and report the ambush.

Based on the commanders orders, conduct a hasty attack or establish a blocking position.

Units not in the kill zone on order will either conduct a hasty attack or aid in extracting the ambush unit through assault by fire or direct assault on the ambush position.


The first action on suspected chemical attack is to mask and give warning.

If possible (based on the mission and situation) the unit should by pass the known or suspected contaminated area.

Cross or go Through NBC Area

Use MOPP Level 4

Avoid moving through or under brush.

Stay on hard surface roads.

Cover as much as equipment as possible

Avoid low areas.

Avoid vehicle tracking to reduce secondary contamination

Decrease speed.

Increase vehicle intervals.

If You Must Cross An NBC Area

Wear regular wet weather gear with a scarf or handkerchief over nose and mouth.

Avoid disturbing road dust.

If possible dampen hardtop and dirt roads to prevent contaminated dust.

Ensure that the IM-174 Radiacmeter is use by the unit march.

Booby Traps

If trap is spotted, halt the column.

Bypass or go over the trap as directed by the squad leader or platoon leader.

Night Movements

Move around thick underbrush, dense woods, and ravines.

Note: Move as quickly as circumstances allows, but avoid running if possible.

Keep all lights concealed.

Watch and feel for trip wires.

Distance between soldiers depends on blackness of the night.

Avoid Danger Areas

Open areas

Roads and trails

Native villages

Enemy positions

Mine fields


Ground Flares

Aground flare set off nearby usually means the enemy has seen out or suspects your presence.

If caught in the light of a ground flare, move quickly out of the light.

Keep moving until you are well away from the area.

Aerial Flares

May be fired from mortars, artillery, or hand held projectors.

If you set off a flare, or hear one fired, get down while it is rising and conceal yourself before it burst.

If in the light freeze in place until it burns out.

If in open area crouch low or hit the ground.

Commanders Duties

Before the march- issues warning order

During the march- Marches at the head until the SP the moves to a point for best supervision.

During Halts- Supervise establishments of security, foot inspections, water discipline, sanitation, safety,and adjustment of loads.

After the March- Before the completion moves to the head and moves the company into the AA.

Executive Officer Duties

Assist the commander

Takes command if commander not present.

Supervises the pace setter.

Post and supervises company traffic guards and guides.

Platoon Leader

Before: Informs the Platoon Inspects Uniforms Equipment

During: Prescribe distance, compliance of march discipline, controls straggling, and grants permission to fall out, scanning assigned sectors

Halts: Clear the roads, establish security, enforces march discipline, checks conditions of the soldiers, and time

After- PLT moves to assigned areas, supervise the SQD LDR in their duties, foot inspections, medical attention.

Squad Leader

Before: provides detailed instructions, inspects boots, socks, prepares a medical kit.

During: marches at the head, proper distance, scanning, rate of march, enforces march discipline.

At Halts: assist the platoon leader.

After: squad sectors, reports condition of soldiers, prepares and continue missions.

Pace Setter

Experienced soldier

carry the same load

4 – 10 meters at head of column

maintain rate of march

106 steps per min / 30 in step / 4 kph

Should be medium height, normal strides


Lead or direct the unit

Given detailed instructions

Given strip map

Accompany the lead element

Traffic Guards

Placed 50 meters to front and rear

Slow or stop oncoming or passing traffic

Places at road intersection and other critical locations.

Stop traffic while column passes and act as guides

Use flashlights or lanterns at night to control traffic


Individual Task

Duty, Personal Courage, Integrity


Safety Requirements

Types of Foot Marches

March Discipline

Security Measures

Summary Continued

Water Discipline

Personnel Hygiene

Foot Care

Special Care


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