A while ago I looked over a document detailing old German drill, particularly with the rifle. I wondered what this drill could have been good for in the first place.
Its roots were in those drills which enabled musketeers and other users of blackpowder muzzleloaders to load and shoot at equal intervals for a maximized rate of salvo fire of a line - 17th century drills.
Its (now extinct) manual of arms remnants in the Wehrmacht were certainly no good for combat, though maybe for instilling discipline initially. This again was likely superfluous after the paramilitary training the recruits had gone through before already.
I did remember an old gem, though: Sometime in the early Federal Republic of Germany, a German bureaucrat was sent to East Africa to finally pay out the auxiliary troops of the First World War there, the "Askaris". The problem was how to identify the actual veterans?
As Wikipedia puts it (with source given):
"Only a few claimants could produce the certificates given to them in 1918; others provided pieces of their old uniforms as proof of service. The banker who had brought the money came up with an idea: as each claimant stepped forward he was handed a broom and ordered in German to perform the manual of arms. Not one of them failed the test."
|Askari monument in Tanzania|
There's no leadership solution to be found in drill, but maybe seemingly senseless manual of arms drills are exactly what's needed to form disciplined, orderly infantry in Africa and Central Asia, particularly if foreign trainers are involved?
There were some leaps in here, not a conclusive chain of evidence or even only arguments. Yet one might consider to use old and successful recipes the next time one attempts to help a semi-broken government to raise effective security forces.
The leadership problem is going to be the tougher one, of course.