Military step (rhythmic step, cadenced step), troop movement on foot at the same cadence and same pace, as opposed to the route step, with each man of the formation moving at his convenience. The military step permits orderly movement of closed masses in a small space, but it is strenuous and is therefore only used for drilling, parades, battlefield evolutions etc., whereas the route step (»ohne Tritt«, without step, in German) is used for marching long distances. Greeks and Romans attached great importance to the military step, which fell into oblivion in the Middle Ages and was not reintroduced until the middle of the 18th century. See Drilling.
Source: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6. Auflage 1905–1909