Basic training instructions of WWII an Illustrated Guide:

In WWII, giving basic training to soldiers was a massive and unparalleled undertaking. In 1939, the year Hitler’s Armies invaded Poland, the American military numbered 334,000 Army, Navy and Marine Corps Personnel. Lacking funds and operating outdated and obsolete equipment, the military, under the direction of President Roosevelt, soon underwent a series of changes to modernize, expand and prepare America for war.  By 1945, the American military had swollen to a staggering 12,209,238 servicemen and women and had become a dominating world superpower.

basic training

Army Instruction

The US Army, the largest of the services, counted 8,267,958 men and women under its command in 1945, 2,253,182 of them serving in the Army Air Forces.

Soldiers in the Army worked in a wide range of specialties, ranging from the dangerous branches of Infantry, Armored and Artillery to the less risky services of Finance, Transportation and Quartermaster.

Due to the severe time constraints of war, basic training was often cut short. This combined with the huge influx of personnel requiring training sometimes lead to fatal consequences. From 1942-1945 nearly 15,000 Army Air Force Flying cadets were killed in stateside training accidents. In 1944, the Army, due to severe losses in manpower after the Battle of the Bulge, reduced its rifleman training course from 17 weeks down to 6 weeks, sending soldiers to fight on the front line who had little experience with army tactics and weapons.

Aware of these flaws, and realizing that many of its instructors had little classroom teaching experience prior to entering the service, the Army wrote and distributed manuals on teaching, hoping to boost their instructor’s ability to pass on valuable knowledge to their students in the shortest time possible.

Below is a selection of illustrations from the April 19, 1943 edition of the War Department’s Technical Manual on Army Instruction. Whether you are teaching Army basic training or are just in need of brushing up your public speaking skills, we hope they will come in handy.

basic training

Army Instruction



basic training

basic training

He deserves the best possible training

basic training

Army instruction provides a short road to combat success



basic training

Stages of instruction

basic training

Illustrating a subject

basic training

WHICH ROAD WILL HE HAVE TO TAKE? Arrangement of teaching materials

basic training

Comparison of objectives

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The instructor’s bull’s-eye



basic training

Wrong and right classroom arrangement

basic training

Favorable and unfavorable outdoor teaching locations

basic training

Appearance is important

basic training

Mannerisms to be avoided

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Mannerisms to be avoided – Continued



basic training

The instructor should avoid being to technical

basic training

An instructor should be a good speaker

basic training

A discussion may confuse students if it is not summarized



basic training

An actual performance is the best test

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The instructor must correct errors before students form habits that impair efficiency

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