Rifle Drill:

 GEWEHR, AB!  (Rifle, Down)

ge-VAIR, ab!  

GEWEHR, AB ! (Rifle, down)  ge-VAIR, ab !

When ordered to “Angetren” (Fall in), always stand at “Order Arms” and at “Attention” with heals together and toes out at a slightly less than 90-degree angle.  The weapon is held on the right side with butt plate on the ground next to the right foot.  The lower end of the butt plate should be aligned with the right toe of your boot.  Right hand fingers should be extended and joined, grasping the rifle at the top barrel band with knuckles facing the front, elbow slightly out from the side.  Left arm in the “Attention” position with palm of hand on upper thigh and elbow slightly out from the side.

Note: men with weapons other than the rifle should fall in as follows:

1. Maschinenpistole / Sturmgewehr – Gewehr, Umhangen (sling arms, right shoulder).
2. Machinengewehr – Weapons grounded with bipod on right side of gunner.
3. Granatwerfer – Mortar is placed directly in front of the last man in the mortar team.
4. Panzerfaust or Schreck – Grounded on the right side of gunner with the front end forward.
5. Ammunition Boxes – Grounded to the bearer’s right side with the latched end forward and the end of the box even with the muzzle end of the machine gun.
 DAS GEWEHR, ÜBER!  (The Rifle, Up)

das ge-VAIR, oober!  

DAS GEWEHR, UBER ! (The rifle, up)  das ge-VAIR, oober !

The German army shouldered the rifle to the left shoulder instead of to the right unlike many other armies of the world.  From the “Ab” (order) position, the weapon is brought directly in front of the body with the right hand just below the chin and the left hand catching the rifle just below the right.  The weapon is approximately one foot from the chest and in line with the tunic buttons.  The bolt of the rifle is facing to the soldier’s right and the left side of the weapon is toward the body.  To move the weapon to the left shoulder, the right hand drops to the bolt, rotates the rifle 90 degrees counterclockwise while simultaneously moving the left hand to the butt of the stock and raising the weapon onto the left shoulder.  The trigger guard should be at just about the armpit.  When the weapon is correctly placed on the left shoulder, the heel of the butt is pulled in against the side of the body just below the belt of the tunic, and the left elbow is slightly out from the body.  The weapon should appear nearly vertical to the body.  At the moment the weapon is in place, the right hand is dropped sharply to the right side, returning to the “Attention” position.

Note: when this command is given, the following weapon in addition to the rifle is affected:

1. Maschinengewehr – Left shoulder arms with pistol grip resting on chest and left hand supporting butt stock as with the rifle.
2. All other weapons and boxes remain where they are positioned.
(Attention! Present the, Rifle)

akh’-tung! Pray-sen-TEERT, das ge-VAIR!  

ACHTUNG !  PRASENTIERT DAS – GEWEHR ! (Attention! Present the, rifle)  akh’-tung! Pray-sen-TEERT, das ge-VAIR !

This command was only given when the soldier was at “Left Shoulder Arms.”  At the command bring the right hand up to the comb of the stock with fingers extended and joined, and simultaneously rotate the butt of the weapon with the left hand 90 degrees in a clockwise motion.  This will place the right side of the weapon facing away from the body and the left against the body.  Rotate the weapon another 90 degrees clockwise with the right hand which was on the comb of the stock and at the same time release the butt of the stock with the left hand.  Move the left hand up along the left side of the stock and grasp the weapon next to the lower sight.  The left hand should have fingers extended and joined with knuckles facing away from the body and the thumb pointing up along the left side of the weapon.  Simply straighten the extended and joined four fingers of the right hand just below the trigger guard, leaving the thumb up under the bolt next to the body.  Weapon location should be directly over the left breast pocket parallel to the body with trigger guard facing away from the body.  The top barrel band should be level with and centered on the left eye.

 DAS GEWEHR, ÜBER! from “Present Arms”  (The Rifle, Up)

das ge-VAIR, oober!  

DAS GEHEHR, UBER ! from Present the rifle (The rifle, up)  das ge-VAIR, oober !

After “Present Arms,” the soldier is ordered to the “Left Shoulder Arms” position.  It is done in near reverse order.  Release the left hand and move it back down to the butt of the stock while simultaneously rotating the weapon 180 degrees, counterclockwise, with the right hand still on the comb of the stock.  With the left hand on the butt of the stock and the right hand as a guide, place the weapon back on the left shoulder.  When the rifle is in place, bring the right hand sharply back to the side in the position of “Attention.”

 GEWEHR, AB! from “Left Shoulder Arms”  (Rifle, Down)

ge-VAIR, ab!  

GEWEHR, AB ! from left shoulder arms (rifle, down)  ge-VAIR, ab !

This command is given while at “Das Gewehr, Über” (Left Shoulder Arms).  It enables the soldier to bring the rifle from the left shoulder and place the butt of the rifle on the ground.  At the command, simultaneously drop the left arm, rotate the rifle to the right and grasp and top barrel band with the right hand.  Then, release the rifle stock with the left hand and simultaneously swing the rifle to the right, with the right forearm parallel to the ground.  The last movement is to place the butt of the rifle onto the ground, even with the toe of the right foot.

 GEWEHR, UMHÄNGEN!  (Rifle, Hang)

ge-VAIR, oom-haehng-en!  

This command is only given when weapons are at “Ab” (order arms).  At the command, the sling is loosened and the weapon is slung over the right shoulder.  The right hand should hold the sling up near the right breast pocket with the thump running up the inside of the sling and the elbow should be pulled into the side.

Note: when this command is given, the following weapons in addition to the rifle are affected:


1. Maschinengewehr – Slung over right shoulder, barrel up, and bipod folded.

2. Granatwerfer – Carried on the right side of the soldier by the base plate.


General Formation & March Commands:

 ANTRETEN (Fall in, not at attention)


ANTRETEN (Fall in, not at attention) AHN-tray-ten !

This is not a command, per se. The term more refers to the “state of being formed up”. One could say for example, without using the formal commands, “Okay, everybody, head outside and antretenn.” Or, auf Deutsch, “Jedermann, antreten drausen in fünf Minuten!” (“Everyone form up outside in five minutes!”) Remember, the formal command to form up uses “Angetreten!” and is preceeded by the type of formation desired (ie. “Gruppe! In Linie zu einem Gliede — Angetreten!”) However, you are correct that when asked to form up using the word “antreten”, the men can be at the “Rührt Euch” position. For example, every morning for Appell at 0700 Uhr, the men will automatically make their way outside and “antreten” at ease while waiting for their Kompaniechief.



STILLGESTANDEN ! (Attention)  SHTILL-ge-Shtan-din !

Body rigid, heels together, and toes at slightly LESS than 45-degree angle of each other, hands with palms flat against upper thighs, elbows out slightly from the body, and eyes front.  Movement on this command is on the first syllable of “Still” and the feet should be coming together by the syllable “stand”.

An example of a formation with the soldiers at “Stillgestanden,” the men are aligned abreast of their Gruppenführer, who is on the formation’s right, hands down at their sides, palms flat against the upper thighs, and elbows slightly away from the body.  Feet are together at the heels, and toes at slightly LESS than 45-degree angles.  Immediately behind the1.Gruppe is the out line of the 2.Gruppe, who falls in directly behind.

Important: when you speak of the right or the left of formation, you are speaking as if you are standing within the formation.  The officer or NCO giving commands must take this into consideration before executing movement.  For example, if the NCO gives “Rechts Um!” it would be the formation’s right in which he is commanding them to turn, not toward his right.

 ANGETRETEN!  (Fall in at a position of attention)


ANGETRETEN ! (Fall in at a position of attention)  AHN-ge-tray-ten !

For the Gruppe, this is actually proceeded by one of the following:

“Gruppe — In linie zu einem Gliede — Angetreten!” – for a single LINE, men stand side by side

“Gruppe — In linie zu zwei Gliedern — Angetreten!” – for two LINES, one line behind the other

“Gruppe — In Reihe — Angetreten!” – for a single ROW, men stand one behind the other

“Gruppe — In Doppelreihe — Angetreten!” – for a double ROW, front to back, one beside the other

“Gruppe — In Marschkolonne — Angetreten!” — column of three ROWS, men stand front to back

The Gruppenführer (Squad Leader) establishes the right side of the formation and the rest fall in to his left or rear (depending on the formation) in a straight line.  The soldiers stand at “Stillgestanden.”  The body is rigid, heels together, and toes at slightly LESS than 45-degree angle of each other, hands with palms flat against upper thighs, elbows out slightly from the body, and eyes front. 

 (Zug, Gruppe, etc…) – RICHT EUCH! (Dress right dress)

risht OYch!  

(zug, Gruppe, etc…) RICHT EUCH !  (Dress right dress)  risht OYch !

While at attention, snap the head sharply to the right, and dress (align body and feet) off the Flügelmann (right marker) with short, sharp shuffles of the feet. The Flügelmann is the rightmost, front man, and he does not turn his head. (If there are men behind him, they do not turn their heads either). The Gruppenführer would only be the Flügelmann if theZugführer (Platoon Leader) was calling the formation, otherwise it is always the front, right man.

When shuffling into position, move to the state known as Tuchfühlung (literally, cloth touching) where the cloth of your elbow is every so slightly touching the cloth of the man to your right. Do not press into the man beside you. DO NOT move your arms, or raise your hands, or make a fist. 1940s German drill does NOT use “elbow dressing” where the right arm is raised (this is post-war).

As soon as you are dressed off the Flügelmann, remain at the position of attention and keep the eyes to the right. Men in the second and third Linie (rank) must also be able to move their eyes to the man in front of them and align their body with his. Await the “Augen — Geradeaus!” command.

 AUGEN — GERADEAUS! (Ready, front)

OW-gen ge-rah-deh – OWS!  

 AUGEN – GERADEAUS ! (Ready, front)  OW-ge-rah-deh-OWS !

From the eyes right position, sharply bring the head forward.

 RÜHRT EUCH! (At ease)

Rooehrt oych!  

RUHRT EUCH ! (At ease)  Rooehrt ouch !

At the command, the feet are moved to shoulder width apart, left foot slightly forward of the right, rest weight on the right leg, arms hanging down to the sides with hands relaxed.  Speak only if permission is given.

 RECHTS — UM! (Right face)

Reschts — um!  

RECHTS – UM ! (Right face)  Rescht — um !

Rotate to the right by turning on the right heel while turning and pushing to the right with the ball of the left foot.  After facing is completed, bring left foot in line with the right, assuming the position of attention.  Do not leave a pause between the turn and the bringing forward of the foot, rather executing them as a single movement, one flowing directly into the other.


 LINKS — UM! (Left face)

links — um!  

LINKS — UM ! (Left face)  links — um !

Rotate to the left by turning on the left heel with the ball of the right foot.  After the facing movement is completed, bring the right foot in line with the left, assuming the position of attention.  Do not leave a pause between the turn and the bringing forward of the foot, rather executing them as a single movement, one flowing directly into the other.


 KEHRT — UM! (About face)

kayert — um!  

KEHRT — UM !  (About face)  kayert — um !

This command is for the individual soldier only. It is used for practice, or for small formations such as an Ehrenwach(honor guard) and such. When turning around a formation from Gruppe to Kompanie, use the “Ganze Abteilung — Kehrt!” command instead

At the command, rotate to the left by turning on the left heel with the ball of the right foot 180 degrees.  After the facing movement is completed, bring the right foot in line with the left, assuming the position of attention (basically a left face, but all the around).


 WEGTRETEN! (Fall out)


WEGTRETEN ! (Fall out)  VAYG-tre-tin

The informal equivalent of “Antreten”, and not a command. Not to be confused with the formal “Weggetreten” command.

For the parade square, use the formal “Weggetreten” command as follows:

“Gruppe — Nach links — Weggetreten!” (Group — To the left — Dismissed!) which would consist of a turn to the left, three steps in step, then a break up of the formation. This command could be proceeded with “Nach rechts” (to the right) or “Nach rückwärts” (to the rear) as needed. Can also be used with rifles at “Gewehr ab” but never at “Gewehr über”.


 AUGEN — RECHTS! (Eyes right)

OW-gen — Reschts!  

AUGEN — RECHT ! (Eyes right)  OW-gen — Reschts !

At the command, the head and eyes snap to the right without moving the body.  Hold this position until ordered to “front.” 

If the eyes are to be moved right for an inspection, the command is “Zur Meldung — Augen — Rechts!” at which point everyone, INCLUDING the Flügelmanner, turn their eyes to the right. As the inspecting officer approaches, each man keeps his “nose on the man” by following the passing of the officer with his head. When the officer is directly in front of each man, that man counts five more steps from the officer before he snaps his head to the front. This is only for inspection. Otherwise, “Augen — Rechts” position is held until “Augen — Geradeaus” is given.


 Die AUGEN — LINKS! (Eyes left)

dee OW-gen — links!  

Die AUGEN — LINKS ! (Eyes left)  dee OW-gen — links !

Same as for “Augen, rechts” except to the left.


 (Zug, Gruppe, etc…) – MARSCH! (Platoon, Squad, etc…, march)

… – marsh!  

(Zug, Gruppe, etc…) MARSCH ! (Platoon, Squad, etc.., march)  … – march !

This command needs to be proceeded with one of two commands:

“Gruppe — Im Gleichschritt — Marsch!” (Group — In step — March!)
“Gruppe — Ohne Tritt — Marsch” (Group — Without step — March!)

At the Gruppe level, Reihe and Doppelreihe are usually without step. Marschkolonne is usually in step.

At the command, the soldier steps off with the left foot, taking a full step.  Note that hands must be flat, and swung up to the belt buckle, then naturally allowed to fall back. German marching steps are long at 80cm (32 inches) at the cadence is 114 steps per minute. The Abstand (front to back spacing) is also 80cm between men.


 OHNE TRITT – MARSCH! (Route step, march)

Ohneh trit – marsh!  

OHNE TRITT – MARSCH ! (Route step, march) Ohneh trit – marsh !

Already covered above in Marsch!, since it is one of two types of marching..  This command is used when terrain is encountered that is impractical for marching in step.


 IM LAUFSCHRITT – MARSCH! (Double-time, march)

Im lauf-shritt – marsh!  

IM LAUFSCHRITT – MARSCH ! (Double-time, march)  Im lauf-shritt – marsh !

March at twice the speed.


 (Zug, Gruppe, etc…) – HALT! (Platoon, Squad, etc…, halt)

… – halt!  

(Zug, Gruppe, etc…) – HALT ! (Platoon, Squad, etc…, stop !)  …- halt !

The halt is ALWAYS called on the right foot, and there is ALWAYS just one more step with the left foot before bringing the now trailing right into line.


 RECHTS — UM! (Right turn)

Reschts — um!  

RECHTS — UM ! (Right turn)  Reschts — um !

This same command, when used during the march, is called on the foot of the direction to be turned. (ie. if the man is to turn right, the “Rechts” command is given on the right foot). Several more steps may be taken (usually three to five, but could be more), before the execution command is given on the same foot, after which one more step is taken before the turn as shown in the drawing.


 LINKS — UM! (Left turn)

links — um!  

LINKS — UM ! ( Left turn)  links — um !

See description above for details.