From: MQG.GGZLIBDI
 Attachment: BattleDo.ctr
       Date: 9/22/97 10:36 AM

                              FRONT LINE LEADERS"


                               MARINE CORPS EMBLEM

                                 Reprinted by

                          UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
                       MARINE AIR-GROUND TRAINING AND
                               EDUCATION CENTER
                                 MARINE CORPS
                          COMBAT DEVELOPMENT COMMAND
                         QUANTICO, VIRGINIA 22134-5050

                          UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
                               Education Center
                Marine Corps Development and Education Command
                           Quantico, Virginia  22134

                              10 November 1981

     Originally published by the 3d Marine Division for its front line 
leaders, and subsequently distributed Corps-wide as an official training 
during World War II by LtGen A. A. Vandegrift, Commandant, U. S. Marine 
this pamphlet contains in pure form the formula for positive combat 
leadership. The essence of its fundamentals applies both on and off the 
of battle to all leaders, at all times, regardless of rank, specialty, or 
assignment.  I commend these truths to your careful study.  Failure to 
them can cost your professional creditability in peacetime, and, in war, the 
lives of those dependent upon your leadership.

                                 D. M. TWOMEY
                       Major General, U. S. Marine Corps

                               "BATTLE DOCTRINE
                              FRONT LINE LEADERS"
                                                             Page       Page

Forward                                                                    6

Introduction                                                    1          7


     This forceful restatement of the fundamental principles of troop 
leadership, supplemented by rules based on combat experience in the Solomon 
Islands Area was prepared by the Third Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.  
It is worthy of careful study by every Marine who is or may be charged with 
the leadership of other Marines in battle.

                           (Signed) A. A. VANDEGRIFT


     The Senior Commander of a force plans the battle in its broader sense 
is responsible for ultimate success or failure. However, once a subordinate 
unit has been committed to action, he must, for the time being, limit his 
activities to providing the necessary support and insuring the coordination 
all components.  Regardless of how well conceived the Senior Commander's 
may be, it can be nullified if his front line platoons are incapable of 
carrying out the mission assigned.

     The conduct of the front line rests with company commanders, and their 
platoon and squad leaders.  The front line leader must plan and execute his 
own battle. He must know his enemy, his own men, and must aggressively 
all of his weapons in coordinated fire and movement.  He must personally 
his unit to success. The paramount importance of front line leadership 
be overestimated.

     1.  The prime factor in a successful fighting unit is ESPRIT DE CORPS.  
This needs no explanation.  It simply means that no Marine ever lets another 
Marine down.  The expression, "A Squad of Marines," has for over a hundred 
years been synonymous with such other expressions as "coiled rattlesnake,"  
"concentrated dynamite," "powder keg," etc.  Its meaning has been 


     2.  Of almost equal importance to a fighting unit is DISCIPLINE.  This 
applies to all activities at all times.  It must never be relaxed, 
particularly during times of hardship, discomfort, or danger. It spells the 
difference between a "Mob" and a "Unit." Discipline is obtained mainly 
diligence of the leader in insisting that things be done "right," and added 
the judicious daily application of rewards and punishments.  Justice, 
consistency, firmness, and respect are the roots of discipline.  Men like to 
serve in a well-disciplined unit.  Mob methods disgust them.

     3.  Be neat in your person; habitually wear your insignia of rank on 
uniforms and have all your subordinates do the same.  Insignia may be dulled 
or blended just before entering close combat--but not before.

     4.  Exercise and display absolute loyalty toward a superior, 
when he is absent.  This is not only morally correct, it is the only sure 
footing in any military organization.  It also enhances your personal 
among your subordinates.

    5.  Refrain from "blowing up" under stress or when irritated.

    6.  Always show enthusiasm - it is infectious.

    7.  Never allow yourself to be unduly rushed or stampeded. There is 
usually ample time for considered judgment, even during battle. Dignity and 
poise are invaluable assets to a leader.


     8.  In the field, practice the habit of making daily inspections (using 
the "sample" method) and insist on: (1) clean weapons, (2) presence of arms, 
ammunition, mess gear, helmets and other items of individual equipment, (3) 
care of the feet, (4) alertness while on watch.  See that rewards and 
punishments are promptly awarded.

     9.  At the front, visit all of your men frequently--talk to them--be 
they know what you want them to do at all times, and where you can be found.

     10. Do not get your unit lost--nothing destroys confidence quicker.

     11. As a general rule do not call for volunteers to do a dangerous or 
distasteful job.  Pick out the individuals yourself and assign them to the 
clearly and in the presence of others.

     12.  Give your orders positively and clearly at all times.  Avoid 

     13.  Never allow cruelty, it undermines the natural courage and 
of the perpetrator.  Be respectful to the dead--even the enemy dead. Bury 
dead quickly.

     14.  Be prompt and accurate in making reports.  Send back information 
least once each hour during an action.  The commanding officer can't help 
unless he knows your situation.


     15.  If anything goes wrong, do not be too quick to blame our 
aviation, engineers, supply services, or any other organization.  They can 
depended upon always to do all they can with the information and means at 
hand.  They, too, have a job which requires courage and determination, and 
they are doing their best to back you up.

     16.  Take active charge of all activities on the front which lie within 
your sphere of responsibility.

     17.  A front-line Marine demands little from his leader, namely:  (1) a 
clear conception of what he is expected to do, (2) ammunition, (3) drinking 
water, (4) rations, (5) medical service, and eventually (6) cigarettes and 
mail.  These items must be your continuous concern.

     18.  Always arrange for the comfort of your men before you do your own.

     19.  Maintain your leadership.  Nothing is more humiliating to a 
leader than to see his men naturally turning to a subordinate for direction 
times of danger.

     20.  Arrange continuously for your men to get as much rest as the 
situation will allow.  Avoid unnecessary harassments, such as "standing by." 
Unless your unit is on the move, or unless you or the enemy are actually 
attacking, you can usually arrange for at least two-thirds of your men to 
sleep at night.


     21.  Do not tolerate any evidences of self-pity in your men.  It makes 
any difficult situation worse.

     22.  Keep to yourself alone any concern you may have as to your general 
situation, and do not let it be reflected in your countenance or actions.   
Remember that all situations look critical at times.

     23.  Encourage common decency--do not tolerate vulgarity or filthy 
language in your presence.

     24.  Insist on carrying out all rules for field sanitation, even in the 
front lines.

     25.  Do not encourage rumors--they are usually disturbing--most of them 
are entirely without foundation.  Find out for yourself and be the first to 
tell your men the truth.

     26.  Win a reputation for moving your outfit promptly.  Depart and 
on time.

     27.  Be "time and space" conscious.  By practice, know the average time 
it takes: (1) to issue your orders, (2) to assemble your unit, (3) to move 
a hundred yards over varied types of terrain, (4) to deploy it for battle.  
Always have your watch set at correct time.

     28.  Keep your men informed as to the enemy situation and your plans.  
Devise and execute plans for taking prisoners.


     29.  Offensive tactics, briefly summarized, may be stated as follows: 
Hold the attention of your enemy with a minimum force, then quickly strike 
suddenly and hard on his flank or rear with every weapon you have, then rush 
him when his fire slackens.  Any plan that accomplishes this will usually 
if it is driven home quickly.  Be slow to change a plan--the reason for the 
change should be obvious.

     30.  Remember that supporting arms seldom destroy--they paralyze 
temporarily.  Take quick advantage of their support before the enemy "comes 
to." Act suddenly.

     31.  In a surprise meeting of small forces, hit the enemy immediately 
while he is still startled; don't let him get set, be persistent, and "keep 
him rolling."

     32.  Be prepared always.  Anticipate your action in case of an 
Ask yourself what you would do immediately in case the enemy should suddenly 
appear.  If you have to hesitate in your answer, you are not sufficiently 
prepared.  Keep thinking, and at all times be one jump ahead of the 

     33.  Never permit men to remain inactive under machine gun fire.  Give 
orders quickly.

     34.  Do not permit the slightest rearward movement of any individual 
while under heavy fire, except to get wounded out, or when openly directed 
you. It is usually best to go forward, or dig in until the fire ceases.


     35.  Always endeavor to confront your enemy with a superior volume of 
accurate fire.  This may be accomplished at any given point by means of 
maneuver and coordination of the fire of all weapons.  Use every weapon you 
have--they are all especially effective if used together.

     36.  A great and successful troop leader said that there comes a point 
every close battle when each commander concludes that he is defeated.  The 
leader who carries on, wins.

     37.  It has been recently observed that an enemy often slackens or 
his fire right at the time he appears to be getting the upper hand.  He then 
simply crouches in his hole.  This means that he cannot sustain a fire 
Stick to your plan and hit him harder.

     38.  Positions are seldom lost because they have been destroyed, but 
almost invariably because the leader has decided in his own mind that the 
position cannot be held.

     39.  Beware of daylight withdrawals.  They may appear logical in a 
classroom but they are always dangerous in practice.  In a tight spot hold 
at least until nightfall.

     40.  Nothing on this earth is so uplifting to a human being as victory 
battle; nothing so degrading as defeat.

     41.  "Battles are won during the training period."


                                                  28232 MCDEC QUANTICO VA.

Enclosure: Battle Doctrine For Front Line Leaders
Format: L

These items and much more can be found at The Marine Corps Research Center (MCRC)

Page Construction by
hadduck Enterprises
All Rights Reserved - 1998