The video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert features a song titled Hell March by Frank Klepacki, which includes a voice sample of an unidentified military officer.

The sample appears to originate in the Series 1000 Sound Effects Library, originally released on reel-to-reel tape in 1979 and on compact disc in 1983, and may also have appeared in Network Sound Effects Library. Series 1000 is described as a collection of sound effects from the 1960s and 1970s, although it does include audio clips from at least as far back a WWII. The sample in question is from Series 1000 Sound Effects Library CD 1019, titled Drill, Military - Footsteps, Orders Being Shouted, Marching, Soldiers 03.

The sample begins with a military officer giving a command, followed by a group of soldiers marching at a pace of around 100 steps per minute. It's not clear what language the officer is speaking, and I'm not sure which modern militaries or parade groups march at this pace (e.g. a quick march of 120 steps per minute seems common). The sample Soldiers 02 sounds like the same officer, and this sample with drums may possibly be from the same event.

A great deal of speculation has been made online regarding what the officer is saying, but most of this is not useful. The most common answers are either complete guesses (i.e. "It sounds to me like he's saying..."), or repeating popular guesses made by others online (most commonly "die Waffen legt an" - I'm very skeptical of this one, since a search for "die Waffen legt an" site:de reveals few results and they're all talking about the video game). In an interview, the song's composer admits that he also does not know what the officer is saying. To be clear, I'm not interested in guesses or summaries of other people's guesses found online.

Regarding these samples, then:

  1. What military, group, or event are these samples (Soldiers 02, Soldiers 03) a recording of?
  2. What is the officer actually saying in these samples?
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    @SamuelRussell The question is trying to identify a sound recording of a military march. I've seen questions similarly trying to identify military photographs. Apr 13, 2022 at 15:04
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    @MarkJohnson Are there sources which support that any military uses "legt an" as a command to start a march? My concern is that this is yet another subjective hearing rather than an identification. I've also heard "quick march", which is consistent with the 100 steps/min. Apr 13, 2022 at 15:19
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    @QuadraticWizard,LangLangC I would also agree that these audios are a potpourri creation considering that the same voice uses 2 different languages, the German version of which would not be used by the military or police in this context. Apr 14, 2022 at 10:31
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    I hadn't heard the original samples (without the music) before. Now that I have, I don't think that's German in the first place. I've done a round or two around the parade ground getting all the commands in the book yelled at me, and while I understand how people could believe to hear a "legt an!" here, it 1) doesn't sound right, and b) makes zero sense in the context even of an exhibition parade. I think "trying to hear" German here is a red herring. There's so many other languages around, it doesn't have to be either English or German.
    – DevSolar
    Jul 27, 2023 at 10:14
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    @MarkJohnson I know it's been a long time since your comment, but I feel it needs correcting -- it's definitely not "present arms" in German (that would be "Präsentiert das Gewehr").
    – DevSolar
    Sep 7, 2023 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


"Die Waffen legt an!" in context means "Aim your weapons now"... to understand: when an army officer shouts to it's soldiers during either an official march or at an army cadence or drill he can shout that as like an order to raise the gun in a certain manner... but also when someone gets executed by shooting like for some war prisoner back in WW2... the execution bataillon or however it is called will be standing in a row to shoot the person who gets killed. The officer will then shout something like "Die Waffen legt an!" Or only "legt an" (meaning raise your weapons now... then "Zielt!" (means "aim!") and finally "Feuern!" (Meaning "Fire!")...so yeah this sample has a real gruesome and sad back ground... you must know that a verb alone with only a "!" is considered like an order in German language. However I am no language teacher and the context is quite hard to explain so I hope I was able to explain this here a bit as best as I can ^^... just in case I am German living in Munich ^^ I hope that helps

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    Jul 26, 2023 at 20:12
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    Not sure this answers the question.
    – MCW
    Jul 27, 2023 at 9:52
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    "Aim your weapon" is not a command an officer would give during a parade a drill. "Fire" is a command given at a shooting range, never during a parade. That scares innocent bystanders somewhat.
    – Jos
    Sep 7, 2023 at 1:45

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