Manual of Military Training - Second, Revised Edition
by James A. Moss
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The cavalry is charged with the duty of reconnaissance, and is very useful in open country during the day.

Artillery is useful to outposts when its fire can sweep defiles or large open spaces and when it commands positions that might be occupied by hostile artillery.

Machine guns are useful to command approaches and check sudden advances of the enemy.

Engineers are attached to an outpost to assist in constructing entrenchments, clearing the field of fire, opening communication laterally and to the rear. The outpost should be composed of complete organizations. For example, if the outpost is to consist of one company, do not have some of the platoons from one company and the others from another, and if it is to consist of one battalion, do not have some of the companies from one battalion and others from another, etc.


1054. Subdivisions. As in the case of an advance guard, the outpost of a large force is divided into elements or parts, that gradually increase in size from front to rear. These, in order from the main body, are the reserve, the line of supports, the line of outguards, and the advance cavalry, and their formation, as shown by the drawing on the preceding page, may be likened to an open hand, with the fingers apart and extended, the wrist representing the main body, the knuckles the line of supports, the first joints the line of outguards, the second joints the line of sentinels and the finger tips the advance cavalry.

In case of attack each part is charged with holding the enemy in check until the larger element, next in rear, has time to deploy and prepare for action.

1055. Distances Between the Subdivisions. The distances separating the main body, the line of supports, the line of outguards, the line of sentries and the advance cavalry, will depend upon circumstances. There can be no uniformity in the distance between supports and reserves, nor between outguards and supports, even in the same outpost. The avenues of approach and the important features of the ground will largely control the exact positions of the different parts of the outposts. The basic principle upon which the distances are based, is: The distance between any two parts of the outpost must be great enough to give the one in rear time to deploy and prepare for action in case of attack, and the distance of the whole outpost from the main body must, in the case of small commands, be sufficiently great to hold the enemy beyond effective rifle range until the main body can deploy, and, in case of large commands, it must be sufficiently great to hold the enemy beyond effective artillery range until the main body can deploy.

It is, therefore, evident that the distances will be materially affected not only by the size of the main body, but also by the nature of the cover afforded by the ground.

The following is given merely as a very general guide, subject to many changes:

Distance to next element in rear.

Advance cavalry 2 to 6 miles Supports {Sentinels (furnished by outguard) 20 to 40 yds. (Generally {Outguards (furnished by support) 200 to 500 yds. two or {Support proper furnishes majority 400 to 800 yds. more) of patrols. Reserve (usually omitted in small commands) 1/2 to 2 miles

1056. Advance Cavalry. The advance cavalry is that part of the outpost sent out in front of all foot troops. It generally operates two to six miles beyond the outpost infantry, reconnoitering far to the front and flanks in order to guard the camp against surprise by artillery fire and to give early information of the enemy's movements.

After dusk the bulk of the cavalry usually withdraws to a camp in rear of the outpost reserve, where it can rest securely after the day's hard work and the horses can be fresh for the next day. Several mounted patrols are usually left for the night at junctions or forks on the principal roads to the front, from one to four miles beyond the infantry line of observation.

1057. Supports. The supports constitute a line of supporting and resisting detachments, varying in size from a half a company to a battalion. In outposts consisting of a battalion or more the supports usually comprise about one-half of the infantry. Supports are numbered numerically consecutively from right to left and are placed at the more important points on the outpost line, on or near the line on which resistance is to be made in case of attack.

As a rule, roads exercise the greatest influence on the location of supports, and a support will generally be placed on or near a road.

Each support has assigned to it a definite, clearly-defined section of front that it is to cover, and the support should be located as centrally as possible thereto.

1058. Outguards. The outguards constitute the line of small detachments farthest to the front and nearest to the enemy, and their duty is to maintain uninterrupted observation of the ground in front and on the flanks; to report promptly hostile movements and other information relating to the enemy; to prevent unauthorized persons from crossing the line of observation; to drive off small parties of the enemy, and to make temporary resistance to larger bodies. For convenience outguards are classified as pickets, sentry squads, and cossack posts. They are numbered consecutively from right to left in each support.

1059. A picket is a group consisting of two or more squads, ordinarily not exceeding half a company, posted in the line of outguards to cover a given sector. It furnishes patrols and one or more sentinels, double sentinels, sentry, squads, or cossack posts for observation.

Pickets are placed at the more important points in the line of outguards, such as road forks. The strength of each depends upon the number of small groups required to observe properly its sector.

1060. A sentry squad is a squad posted in observation at an indicated point. It posts a double sentinel in observation, the remaining men resting near by and furnishing the reliefs of sentinels. In some cases it may be required to furnish a patrol.

1061. A cossack post consists of four men. It is an observation group similar to a sentry squad; but employs a single sentinel.

At night, it will sometimes be advisable to place some of the outguards or their sentinels in a position different from that which they occupy in the daytime. In such case the ground should be carefully studied before dark and the change made at dusk. However, a change in the position of the outguard will be exceptional.

1062. Sentinels are generally used singly in daytime, but at night double sentinels will be required in most cases. Sentinels furnished by cossack posts or sentry squads are kept near their group. Those furnished by pickets may be as far as 100 yards away.

Every sentinel should be able to communicate readily with the body to which he belongs.

Sentinel posts are numbered consecutively from right to left in each outguard. Sentry squads and cossack posts furnished by pickets are counted as sentinel posts.

If practicable, troops on outpost duty are concealed and all movements made so as to avoid observation by the enemy; sentinels are posted so as to have a clear view to the front and, if practicable (though it is rarely possible), so as to be able, by day, to see the sentinels of the adjoining outguards. Double sentinels are posted near enough to each other to be able to communicate easily in ordinary voice.

Sentinels are generally on duty two hours out of six. For every sentinel and for every patrol there should be at least three reliefs; therefore, one-third the strength of the outguards gives the greatest number of men that should be on duty as sentinels and patrols at one time.

Skillful selection of the posts of sentinels increases their field of observation. High points, under cover, are advantageous by night as well as by day; they increase the range of vision and afford greater facilities for seeing lights and hearing noises. Observers with good field glasses may be placed on high buildings, on church steeples or in high trees.

Glittering objects on uniform or equipment should be concealed. It is seldom necessary to fix bayonets, except at night, in dense fog, or in very close country.

Reliefs, visiting patrols, and inspecting officers, approach sentinels from the rear, remaining under cover if possible.

1063. Reserve. The reserve forms a general support for the line of resistance. It is, therefore, centrally located near the junction of roads coming from the direction of the enemy, and in concealment if practicable.

Of the troops detailed for outpost duty, about one-half of the infantry, generally all of the artillery, and the cavalry not otherwise employed, are assigned to the reserve. If the outpost consists of less than two companies the reserve may be omitted altogether.

The arms are stacked and the equipments (except cartridge belts) may be removed. Roads communicating with the supports are opened.

When necessary, the outpost order states what is to be done in case of attack, designates places of assembly and provides for interior guards. Interior guards are posted in the camp of the reserve or main body to maintain order, and furnish additional security. Additional instructions may be given for messing, feeding, watering, etc. In the vicinity of the enemy or at night a portion of the infantry may be required to remain under arms, the cavalry to hold their horses (cinches loosened), and the artillery to remain in harness, or take up a combat position.

In case of alarm, the reserve prepares for action without delay, and word is sent to the main body. In combat, the reserve reinforces the line of resistance, and if unable to check the enemy until the arrival of the main body, delays him as much as possible.

The distance of the reserve from the line of resistance varies, but is generally about half a mile; in outposts of four companies or less this distance may be as small as 400 yards.

1064. Patrols. Instead of using outguards along the entire front of observation, part of this front may be covered by patrols only. These should be used to cover such sections of the front as can be crossed by the enemy only with difficulty and over which he is not likely to attempt a crossing after dark.

In daylight much of the local patrolling may be dispensed with if the country can be seen from the posts of the sentinels. However, patrols should frequently be pushed well to the front unless the ground in that direction is exceptionally open.

Patrols must be used to keep up connection between the parts of the outpost except when, during daylight, certain fractions or groups are mutually visible. After dark this connection must be maintained throughout the outpost except where the larger subdivisions are provided with wire communication.

The following patrols are usually sent out from the main bodies of the supports:

(a) Patrols of from three men to a squad are sent along the roads and trails in the direction of the enemy, for a distance of from one to five miles, depending on how close the enemy is supposed to be, whether or not there is any advance cavalry out, and how long the outpost has been in position. The extreme right and left supports send patrols well out on the roads to the flanks. These patrols generally operate continuously as soon as one returns from the front, or possibly even before it returns, another goes out in the same general direction to cover the same country. Frequently a patrol is sent out along a road to the front for two or three miles with orders to remain out until some stated time—for example, 4 P. M., dusk or dawn. It sends in important information, and remains out near the extremity of its route, keeping a close watch on the surrounding country.

An effort should always be made to secure and maintain contact with the enemy, if within a reasonable distance, in order that his movements or lack of movement may be constantly watched and reported on. The usual tendency is towards a failure to send these patrols far enough to the front and for the patrol leader to overestimate the distance he has traveled. A mile through strange country with the ever-present possibility of encountering the enemy seems three miles to the novice.

At night the patrols generally confine their movements to the roads, usually remaining quietly on the alert near the most advanced point of their route to the front.

The majority of such patrols are sent out to secure information of the enemy—reconnoitering patrols—and they avoid fighting and hostile patrols, endeavoring to get in touch with the enemy's main force. Other patrols are sometimes sent out to prevent hostile detachments from approaching the outposts; they endeavor to locate the hostile patrols, drive them back, preventing them from gaining any vantage point from which they can observe the outpost line. These are called combat patrols and have an entirely different mission from reconnoitering patrols.

(b) Patrols of from two men to a squad, usually two men, are sent from the support around the line of its outguards, connecting with the outguards of the adjacent supports, if practicable. These are "visiting patrols," and they serve to keep the outguards of a support in touch with it and with each other; to keep the commander of a support in touch with his outguards and the adjacent supports; and to reconnoiter the ground between the outguards. Since a hostile force of any size is practically forced to keep to the roads, there are rarely ever any supports and very few outguards posted off the roads, the intervals being covered by patrols, as just described.

When going out a patrol will always inform the nearest sentinel of the direction it will take and its probable route and hour of return.

1065. Detail for Patrols. Since for every patrol of four men, twelve are required (3 reliefs of 4 men each), the importance of sending out just enough men and not one more than is actually needed, can readily be understood. As fast as one visiting patrol completes its round, another should usually be sent out, possibly going the rounds by a slightly different route or in the reverse direction. The same generally applies to the reconnoitering and combat patrols, though frequently they are sent out for the entire day, afternoon or night, and no 2d and 3d relief is required. Three reliefs are required for the sentinel or sentinels at the post of the supports, so care should be taken to establish but one post, if it can do all that is required. It should not be considered that every man in the support should be on duty or on a relief for an outguard, a patrol or sentinel post. There should be as many men as possible in the main body of a support (this term is used to distinguish this body from the support proper, which includes the outguards and their sentinels) who only have no duty other than being instantly available in case of attack.

1066. Flags of Truce. Upon the approach of a flag of truce, the sentry will at once notify the commander of the outguard, who will in turn send word to the commander of the outpost and ask for instructions. One or more men will advance to the front and halt the party at such distance as to prevent any of them from overlooking the outposts. As soon as halted, the party will be ordered to face in the opposite direction. If permission is given to pass the party through the outpost line, they will be blindfolded and led under escort to the commander of the outpost. No conversation, except by permission of the outpost commander, is to be allowed on any subject, under any pretext, with the persons bearing the flag of truce.

1067. Entrenchments and Obstacles. The positions held by the subdivisions of an outpost should generally be strengthened by the construction of entrenchments and obstacles, but conditions may render this unnecessary.

1068. Concealment. Troops on outpost must keep concealed as much as is consistent with the proper performance of their duties; especially should they avoid the sky line.

1069. Detached Posts. In addition to ordinary outguards, the outpost commander may detail from the reserve one or more detached posts to cover roads or areas not in general line assigned to the supports.

In like manner the commander of the whole force may order detached posts to be sent from the main body to cover important roads or localities not included in the outpost line.

Detached posts may be sent out to hold points which are of importance to the outpost cavalry, such as a ford or a junction of roads; or to occupy positions especially favorable for observation, but too far to the front to be included in the line of observation; or to protect flanks of the outpost position. Such posts are generally established by the outpost commander, but a support commander might find it necessary to establish a post practically detached from the rest of his command. They usually vary in strength from a squad to a platoon. The number and strength of detached posts are reduced to the absolute needs of the situation.

1070. Examining Posts. An examining post is a small detachment, under the command of an officer or a noncommissioned officer, stationed at some convenient point to examine strangers and to receive bearers Of flags of truce brought in by the outguards or patrols.

Though the employment of examining posts is not general in field operations, there are many occasions when their use is important; for example: When the outguards do not speak the language of the country or of the enemy; when preparations are being made for a movement and strict scrutiny at the outguards is ordered: at sieges, whether in attack or defense. When such posts, are used, strangers approaching the line of observation are passed along the line to an examining post.

No one except the commander is allowed to speak to persons brought to an examining post. Prisoners and deserters are at once sent under guard to the rear.

1071. Cavalry Outpost. Independent cavalry covering a command or on special missions, and occasionally the advance cavalry of a mixed command, bivouac when night overtakes them, and in such cases furnish their own outposts. The outposts are established, in the main, in accordance with the foregoing principles, care being taken to confine outpost work to the lowest limits consistent with safety. No precaution, however, should be omitted, as the cavalry is generally in close proximity to the enemy, and often in territory where the inhabitants are hostile.

The line of resistance is occupied by the supports, the latter sending out the necessary outguards and patrols. Each outguard furnishes its own vedettes (mounted sentinels), or sentinels. Due to the mobility of cavalry, the distances are generally greater than in an outpost for a mixed command. An outguard of four troopers is convenient for the day time, but should be doubled at night, and at important points made even stronger. The sentinels are generally dismounted, their horses being left with those of the outguards.

Mounted cavalry at night can offer little resistance; the supports and outguards are therefore generally dismounted, the horses being under cover in rear, and the positions are strengthened by intrenchments and obstacles. By holding villages, bridges, defiles, etc., with dismounted rifle fire, cavalry can greatly delay a superior force.

There should always be easy communication along the line of resistance to enable the cavalry to concentrate at a threatened point.

A support of one squadron covers with its outposts a section rarely longer than two miles.

As such a line is of necessity weak, the principal reliance is placed on distant patrolling. If threatened by infantry, timely information enables the threatened point to be reinforced, or the cavalry to withdraw to a place of safety. If there is danger from hostile cavalry, the roads in front are blocked at suitable points, such as bridges, fords, defiles, etc., by a succession of obstacles and are defended by a few dismounted men. When compelled to fall back these men mount and ride rapidly to the next obstacle in rear and there take up a new position. As the march of cavalry at night is, as a rule, confined to roads, such tactics seriously delay its advance.

In accordance with the situation and the orders they have received, the support commanders arrange for feeding, watering, cooking, resting and patrolling. During the night the horses of the outguards remain saddled and bridled. During the day time cinches may be loosened, one-third of the horses at a time. Feeding and watering are done by reliefs. Horses being fed are removed a short distance from the others.

Independent cavalry generally remains in outpost position for the night only, its advance being resumed on the following day; if stopped by the enemy, it is drawn off to the flanks upon the approach of its own infantry.


1072. The outpost is posted as quickly as possible, so that the troops can the sooner obtain rest. Until the leading outpost troops are able to assume their duties, temporary protection, known as the march outpost, is furnished by the nearest available troops.

Upon receipt of the halt order from the commander of the main column, the outpost commander issues the outpost order with the least practicable delay.

The halt order, besides giving the necessary information and assigning camp sites to the parts of the command, details the troops to constitute the outpost, assigns a commander therefor, designates the general line to be occupied, and, when practicable, points out the position to be held in case of attack.

The outpost order gives such available information of the situation as is necessary to the complete and proper guidance of subordinates; designates the troops to constitute the supports; assigns their location and the sector each is to cover; provides for the necessary detached posts; indicates any special reconnaissance that is to be made; orders the location and disposition of the reserve; disposes of the train if the same is ordered to join the outpost; and informs subordinates where information will be sent. In large commands it may often be necessary to give the order from the map, but usually the outpost commander will have to make some preliminary reconnaissance, unless he has an accurate and detailed map.

Generally it is preferable for the outpost commander to give verbal orders to his support commanders from some locality which overlooks the terrain. The time and locality should be so selected that the support commanders may join their commands and conduct them to their positions without causing unnecessary delay to their troops. The reserve commander should, if possible, receive his orders at the same time as the support commanders. Subordinates to whom he gives orders separately should be informed of the location of other parts of the outpost.

1073. After issuing the initial orders, the outpost commander inspects the outpost, orders the necessary changes or additions, and sends his superior a report of his dispositions.

The reserve is marched to its post by its commander, who then sends out such detachments as have been ordered and places the rest in camp or bivouac, over which at least one sentinel should be posted. Connection must be maintained with the main body, the supports, and nearby detached posts.

The supports march to their posts, using the necessary covering detachments when in advance of the march outpost. A support commander's order should fully explain the situation to subordinates, or to the entire command, if it be small. It should detail the troops for the different outguards and, when necessary, define the sector each is to cover. It should provide the necessary sentinels at the post of the support, the patrols to be sent therefrom, and should arrange for the necessary intrenching.

In posting his command the support commander must seek to cover his sector (the front that he is to look after) in such manner that the enemy can not reach, in dangerous numbers and unobserved, the position of the support or pass by it within the sector intrusted to the support. On the other hand, he must economize men on observation and patrol duty, for these duties are unusually fatiguing. He must practice the greatest economy of men consistent with the requirements of practical security.

As soon as the posting of the support is completed, its commander carefully inspects the dispositions and corrects defects, if any, and reports the disposition of his support, including the patrolling ordered, to the outpost commander. This report is preferably made by means of a sketch.

By day the outpost will stack arms and the articles of equipment, except the cartridge belt and canteen, will be placed by the arms. At night the men will invariably sleep with their arms and equipment near them.

In addition to the sentinel posted over the support, a part of the support, say one-third or one-fourth, should always be awake at night.

Each outguard is marched by its commander to its assigned station, and especially in the case of a picket, is covered by the necessary patrolling to prevent surprise.

Having reached the position, the commander explains the situation to his men and establishes reliefs for each sentinel, and, if possible, for each patrol to be furnished. Besides these sentinels and patrols, a picket must have a sentinel at its post.

The commander then posts the sentinels and points out to them the principal features, such as towns, roads, and streams, and gives their names. He gives the direction and location of the enemy, if known, and of adjoining parts of the outpost.

He gives to patrols the same information and the necessary orders as to their routes and the frequency with which the same shall be covered. Each patrol should go over its route once before dark.

Each picket should maintain connection by patrols with the outguards on its right and left.

1074. Intercommunication. It is most important that communication should be maintained at all times between all parts of the outpost, and between the outpost and the main body. This may be done by patrols, messengers, wire or signal.

The commander of the outpost is responsible that proper communication be maintained with the main body, and the support commanders keep up communication with the outguards, with the adjoining supports and with the reserve. The commander of a detached post will maintain communication with the nearest outguard.

1075. Changes for the Night. In civilized warfare, it is seldom necessary to draw the outpost closer to the main body at night in order to diminish the front; nor is it necessary to strengthen the line of observation, as the enemy's advance in force must be confined to the roads. The latter are therefore strongly occupied, the intervening ground being diligently patrolled.

In very open country or in war with savage or semi-civilized people familiar with the terrain, special precautions are necessary.

1076. Relieving the Outpost. Ordinarily outposts are not kept on duty longer than twenty-four hours. In temporary camps or bivouac they are generally relieved every morning. After a day's advance the outpost for the night is usually relieved, the following morning when the support of the new advance guard passes the line of resistance. In retreat the outpost for the night usually forms the rear guard for the following day, and is relieved when it passes the line of observation of the new outpost.

Outguards that have become familiar with the country during the day time should remain on duty that night. Sentinels are relieved once in two hours, or oftener, depending on the weather. The work of patrols is regulated by the support commander.

Commanders of the various fractions of an outpost turn over their instructions and special orders, written and verbal, to their successors, together with the latest information of the enemy, and a description of the important features of the country. When practicable the first patrols sent out by the new outposts are accompanied by members of the old outpost who are familiar with the terrain. When relieved the old outguards return to their supports, the supports to the reserve and the latter to the main body; or, if more convenient, the supports and reserves return to the main body independently, each by the shortest route.

When relieved by an advance guard, the outpost troops ordinarily join their units as the column passes.

Evening and shortly before dawn are hours of special danger. The enemy may attack late in the day in order to establish himself on captured ground by intrenching during the night; or he may send forward troops under cover of darkness in order to make a strong attack at early dawn. Special precaution is therefore taken at those hours by holding the outpost in readiness, and by sending patrols in advance of the line of observation. If a new outpost is to be established in the morning it should arrive at the outpost position at daybreak, thus doubling the outpost strength at that hour.


Problem No. 1 (Infantry)

1077. Lieutenant (to two squads of his company): Two battalions of our regiment have camped by Baker's Pond (Elementary Map) for the night. It is now 3 P. M. on a rainy day in August. The enemy is thought to be about five miles to the south of us. Our platoon is the left support of the outpost and is stationed at the road fork on the Chester Pike, by the Mason house. The Twin Hills-Lone Hill ridge is taken care of by other troops. Corporal Baker, where do you think I should place outguards?

Corporal Baker: One at the junction of the Mills farm lane and the Chester Pike, and one at the steel railroad trestle over Sandy Creek.

Lieutenant: Those positions are both too far from the support, almost a half mile, but they cover the two main avenues of approach and there is no good place for a position nearer the support. A position farther north of the Mill's farm lane would have its view obstructed by the wall and trees along the lane and the wall would be a bad thing to leave unoccupied such a short distance to your front. So in this case, in spite of the excessive distances from the support, I think the two positions are well chosen. Each should be an outguard of a squad, for in the day time, in addition to furnishing a sentinel to observe to the front, they should have some power of resistance, particularly at the trestle. At night they should each have one double sentinel post. This requires three reliefs of two men each, which, with the corporal, only leaves one extra man, who can be used as a messenger.

Corporal Baker, I order you to take your squad and post it as Outguard No. 1, at the junction of this (Chester) pike and that farm lane (Mills farm) in front. Corporal Davis' squad will be Outguard No. 2, at the railroad trestle over there (pointing). Friendly troops will be on the ridge to the east of your position. Your meals will be cooked here and sent to you.

Explain how you post your squad.

Corporal Baker: I order Smith to double time 150 yards to the front and act as point for the squad. I then march the squad down to its position, keeping Smith about 200 yards in front until I have arranged everything. I then post Brown under cover of the trees along the lane where he can look down the road as far as possible and I tell him, "Brown, you are to take post here, keeping a sharp lookout to the front and flanks. The enemy is thought to be about five miles south (pointing) of us. This is the Chester Pike. That creek over there is Sandy Creek. Salem is about a mile and three-quarters down this pike in that (S. E.) direction. York is a mile and a half in that (S. W.) direction. Our troops are on that ridge (Twin Hills) and a squad is at the trestle over there. It is Outguard No. 2. You are in Outguard No. 1. You know where we left our platoon. It is our support. Signal Smith to come in." I then have the squad pitch their shelter tents along the northern side of the wall, where they will be hidden to view from the front by the trees along the lane and the wall. I want the men to get shelter from the rain as soon as possible. I then instruct the men of the squad, in the same manner that I did Brown; I notice the time, and detail Davis as second relief and Carter as third relief for Brown's post.

I then direct two men to take all the canteens and go over to that farm (Mills) and fill them, first questioning the people about the enemy and about the country around here. I also direct these two men to get some straw or hay for bedding in the shelter tents, and instruct them to return with as little delay as possible.

I wait until they return and order two other men to go down to the cross roads, question the people there, look the ground over and return here. I caution them not to give any information about our force or the outguard. I would see that the sentinel's position was the best available and that the men had as comfortable quarters as possible, without being unduly exposed to view and without interfering with their movements in case of attack. They would keep their rifles at their sides at all times and not remove their equipments. After dark I put two men on post at the same time. To do this I arrange three reliefs of two men each. They are posted in pairs for two hours at a time.

If no patrol from the support appeared within a half hour after I first took position I would send a messenger back to you to see if everything was all right and tell you what I had done.

Lieutenant: I think the two men sent to the crossroads should have been started out before sending anyone to the Mills house as this was a more important point. The Field Service Regulations state that outguards do not patrol to the front, but what you did was entirely correct. You were securing yourself in your position and should be familiar with your immediate surroundings. You should have told the crossroads patrol to determine how much of an obstacle Sandy Creek was. I suppose you assumed the swamp was impassable.

The sentinel in this case is, I suppose, across the lane from the outguard about ten or fifteen yards in advance. After dark the double sentinel post should be posted on the pike about thirty yards in advance of the outguard.

Very frequently it would not be wise to put up your shelter tents on outguard. But here, considering the rain and the protection the trees and wall furnish, it was wise to do so.

The noncommissioned officer in charge of an outguard should be very precise in giving his orders and in making his arrangements, details, etc. The discipline must be strict; that is, the men must be kept under absolute control, so that in case of sudden attack there will be no chance of confusion and the outguard commander will have his men absolutely in hand and not permit any independent action on their part. This is often not the case, owing to the familiar relations that usually exist in our army between a corporal and the members of his squad.

We will not have time to go into the arrangements for Outguard No. 2 other than to say that the conditions there are somewhat different from those Corporal Baker has had to deal with. The outguard should be posted on the west bank of Sandy Creek and the sentinel at the southeastern end of the trestle. A skirmish trench should be dug down the western slope of the fill west of the creek, and extended across the track by throwing up a parapet about two and one-half feet high, slightly bent back towards the northeast so as to furnish cover from fire from the east bank of the creek, north of the trestle. The shelter tents could be pitched as "lean tos" against the western slope of the fill, and hidden by bushes and branches of trees.

(Note: The details of commanding this outguard, its action in case of attack, what should be done with a passing countryman, etc., can be profitably worked out in great detail.)

Problem No. 2

1078. Lieutenant (to six squads): We will take the same situation as we had in Problem 1, with squad outguards as before.

Sergeant Adams, you have command of the platoon and have sent out the two outguards. Explain your arrangements for the support.

Sergeant Adams: I have the men fall out by squads and rest on the side of the road while I look the ground over. I then tell Sergeant Barnes, "You will have immediate charge of the guard, cooking, visiting patrols, etc., here at the support. Detail three men from Corporal Evan's squad as first, second and third relief for the sentinel over the support Post your sentinel at the road fork and give him the necessary instructions as to the outguards, the adjacent support which is on this road (pointing west) on top of that ridge, etc. I will give you further instructions later." I then fall in the remainder of the support (one sergeant, one cook, four corporals and twenty-seven privates, three squads being intact and one man on duty as sentinel) and have shelter tents pitched under cover of the orchard and Mason house. While this is being completed I select a line for a trench, about thirty-five yards long, behind the fence on the east and west road and extending east of the Chester Pike about fifteen yards, slightly bent back towards the northeast. No trench in the road. I then say to Sergeant Foss, "Take Graves' squad and construct a shelter trench along this line (indicating) having the parapet concealed. Cut the fences so as to furnish easy access."

I then say to Corporal Evans, "Take three men from your squad and, as a reconnoitering patrol, cross the trestle there (pointing), and follow that road (pointing to the Boling-Salem road) into Salem, reconnoitering that village. Then take up a position on that ridge (pointing to Sandy Ridge) and remain out until dusk. Send me a message from Sandy Ridge with a sketch and description of the country."

I assume that Corporal Evans is familiar with the information about the enemy, the location of our outguards, etc.

Selecting five men from Corporal Geary's squad and the remaining man of Corporal Evans' squad (three having been detailed for sentinel duty, and three sent out on patrol duty with Corporal Evans), I turn them over to Sergeant Barnes, saying, "Here are six men to furnish three reliefs for a visiting patrol of two men. Have this patrol visit Outguard No. 2 and cross the trestle, going south down the east bank of the creek; thence recross the creek at the road bridge, visiting Outguard No. 1; thence across to the adjacent outguard of the support on our left, which is somewhere on that ridge (pointing to the Twin Hills-Lone Hill Ridge); and thence to the starting point. Have them locate that support on their first trip. You can reverse the route and make such minor changes from time to time as you think best. Report to me after they have completed the first round. Make arrangements for sending supper to the outguards. Take two men from Corporal Jackson's squad to carry it out. Be careful that the cook fire is not visible. I am going out to visit Outguard No. 1 and then No. 2. You will have charge until I return."

The men have stacked arms in front of the tents and have removed all equipment but their belts.

I would now visit the outguards, taking a man with me, and see if they are properly located. I would instruct the outguard commanders as to what to do in case of attack, in case strangers approach, point out their line of retreat in case of necessity, etc. I would make a sketch of the position and send it, with a description of my dispositions, to the commander of the outpost.

Lieutenant: Your arrangements and dispositions appear satisfactory. You should have been more prompt in sending Corporal Evans out with his patrol. Why didn't you send a patrol towards York, or south along the Chester Pike?

Sergeant Adams: I considered that the support on my right would cover that ridge (Twin Hills-Lone Hill), and that the route I laid out for Corporal Evans would cover the Chester Pike and the country east of Sandy Creek at the same time, thus avoiding the necessity for two patrols.

Lieutenant: That seems reasonable, but you should have given some specific orders about reporting on the width, depth, etc., of Sandy Creek, which might prove a very valuable or dangerous obstacle. You can readily see how quickly a command becomes broken up and depleted in strength, and how important it is to make only such detachments as are necessary. It looks as if your outguards might have been made smaller considering the size of your platoon (6 squads), but I think the squad outpost is so much better than one not composed of a complete unit, that it is correct in this case. With Corporal Evans' patrol of three men, the visiting patrol requiring six men, the sentinel post requiring three men, Sergeant Barnes, and the two outguards, you have thirty men actually on duty or detailed for duty, out of fifty-one. Of course, the men constituting the outguards, the man detailed for the visiting patrol and support sentinel, have approximately two hours on duty and four hours off duty, so they get some rest. Furthermore, you should have a three-man patrol watching the crossroads at Salem during the night, Corporal Evans' patrol having returned. This patrol should be relieved once during the night, at a previously stated hour, which means six more men who do not get a complete night's rest.

Sergeant Adams: Isn't Salem rather far to the front to send a patrol at night?

Lieutenant: Yes, it is, but unless you touch the crossroads there you would have to have two patrols out, one near Maxey's farm and one on the Chester Pike. As it is you are leaving the road from York to the crossroads in front of Outguard No. 1 uncovered, but you should find that this is covered by a patrol from the adjacent support. The cross roads in front of Outguard No. 1 is the natural place for a stationary, night patrol, but it is so close to the outguard that the benefit derived from a patrol there would be too small to justify the effort.

(Note: Further details of the duties of this support can be gone into. The messages should be written, and patrols carried through their tour of duty with the resulting situations to be dealt with; the sentinels tested as to their knowledge of their duties, etc. Also note carefully the manner in which the support commander uses his noncommissioned officers for carrying out his intentions, and thus avoids the most objectionable and inefficient practice of dealing directly with the privates.)

Problem No. 3 (Infantry)

1079. (See Fort Leavenworth map in pocket at back of book.)


A Blue force, Companies A and B, 1st Infantry, under Captain A, in hostile country, is covering the Rock Island Bridge and camped for the night, April 20-21, on the south slope of Devin ridge (rm'). The enemy is moving northward from Kansas City (30 miles south of Leavenworth). At 3:30 P. M. Captain A receives a message from Colonel X at Beverly (2 miles east of Rock Island Bridge, (qo')), stating that two or three companies of hostile infantry are reported five miles south of Leavenworth at 2:30 P. M. No enemy is west of Leavenworth. Captain A decides to place one platoon on outpost.

Required, 1. Captain A's order.

Answer. Verbally: "Two or three Red companies were five miles south of Leavenworth at 2:30 P. M. today. No enemy is west of Leavenworth. We will camp here. 1st Platoon, 'A' company, under Sergeant A, will form the outpost, relieving the advance guard (2d Platoon Co. A). The line, Pope Hill (sm')—Rabbit Point (tn') will be held. Detached posts will be placed on Hill 880, west of Merritt Hill (rl'), and on Engineer Hill (ql'). In case of attack the outpost line will be held.

"The baggage will be at the main camp.

"Messages will reach me on Devin Ridge (rm')."

Issued verbally to officers and Sergeant A.

Required, 2. Give verbatim (word for word) the order issued by Sergeant A.

Answer. "Two companies of the enemy were five miles south of Leavenworth at 2:30 P. M. today. Our camp is to be here. This platoon will be the outpost on the line, Rabbit Point (im')—Pope Hill (sm').

"The right support, 1st section, less 1 squad, under Sergeant B, will take position north of Pope Hill and cover the following front: the ravine (XIX—Merritt Hill) west of Grant avenue to the ravine about midway between Grant Avenue and Rabbit Point (tn').

"The left support, 2d section, less 1 squad under Sergeant H, will take position on north slope of Rabbit Point and will cover the following front: The ravine midway between Grant Avenue and Rabbit Point to Missouri River.

"Corporal D, you will take the eight men of your squad and form a detached post on Engineer Hill (qk').

"Corporal E, take your squad and form a detached post on Hill 880 west of Merritt Hill (rl').

"If attacked hold your front. Each support and detached post will entrench.

"Send messages to me at right support."

The outpost moves out, each support and detached post separately, without throwing out covering patrols, because the advance guard is now holding the front. There is no reserve.

Required, 3. What does Sergeant A do now?

Required, 4. What does Sergeant B do as soon as he reaches Pope Hill?

(Note: During the remainder of the afternoon one man up in a tree on Grant Avenue will be the only observing post necessary for this support. At night an outguard would be placed on Grant Avenue with continuous patrols along the front, because the open ground furnishes easy approach to the enemy. A post of four men might also be placed on the bridge over Corral Creek (um').)

Required, 5. The location of supports and the main body of detached post on Engineer Hill.

Required, 6. What patrolling would be done from the left support?



(Establishing the Outpost)

1080. We will now apply some of the general principles of outposts (see Par. 1051) to a company taking up its position on the line of outposts.

Let us suppose that our battalion has been detailed for outpost duty.

In order to understand more fully the duties and functions of the company commander, we will first consider what the major does. To begin with, he and the battalion will have been detailed for outpost duty before the march was completed, and he will have been told, amongst other things, what is known of the enemy and also what is known of other bodies of our own troops, where the main body will halt, the general position to be occupied by the outpost, and what the commander intends doing in case of attack.

The major verbally designates, say, two companies, as the reserve, and the other two companies, including our own, as the support. He places the senior officer of the reserve companies in command of the reserve and tells him where he is to go, and he indicates the general line the outpost is to occupy and assigns the amount of front each of the other companies is to cover. The limits of the sector so assigned should be marked by some distinctive features, such as trees, buildings, woods, streams, etc., as it is important that each company should know the exact limits of its frontage. He tells the company commanders what he knows of the enemy and of our own troops so far as they affect the outposts, he indicates the line of resistance and how much resistance is to be afforded in case of attack, states whether intrenchments and obstacles are to be constructed, gives instructions about lighting fires and cooking, and states where he can be found.

Upon receiving his orders from the major, the company commander, with a proper covering detachment, moves to the locality allotted him and as he arrives upon the ground he is to occupy, he sends out, as temporary security, patrols or skirmishers, or both, a short distance in front of the general position the outguards will occupy, holding the rest of the company back under cover. If practicable, the company commander should precede the company and make a rapid examination of the ground. He then sends out observation groups, varying in size from four men to a platoon, generally a squad, to watch the country in the direction of the enemy. These groups constitute the outguards, and are just sufficient in number to cover the front of the supports, and to connect where necessary with the outguards of adjoining supports.

The company commander next selects a defensive position on the general line of resistance, from which not only can he command the approaches, but where he can also give assistance to the adjoining supports; he then gives instructions in regard to the intrenchments and obstacles, after which he makes a more careful reconnaissance of the section assigned him; corrects the position, of the outguards, if necessary; gives them instructions as to their duties in case of attack or when strangers approach their posts; tells them the number (if any) of their post, the number of the outguard and support and the numbers of the adjoining outguards and supports; points out lines of retreat in case they are compelled to fall back to the support, cautioning the men not to mask the fire of the support; he tells them the names of all villages, rivers, etc., in view, and the places to which the wagon roads and the railroads lead; selects, if necessary, places for additional posts to be occupied at night and during fog; sees that suitable connections are made between him and the adjoining outguards, and between his support and the adjoining supports; and questions subordinate commanders to test their grasp of the situation and knowledge of their duties, and on returning to the support he sends a report with a sketch to the outpost commander, showing the dispositions made.

After the line of observation has been established, the support stacks arms and the men are permitted to remove their equipments, except cartridge belts. One or more sentinels are posted over these supports, and they guard the property and watch for signals from the outguards. Fires are concealed as much as possible and the messing is done by reliefs. Mounted messengers ordinarily do not unsaddle; they rest, water and feed as directed.

After the major has received reports from both company commanders, he will himself visit the outguards and supports and make such changes as he may deem necessary, immediately after which he will submit to the commander of the troops a written report, accompanied by a combined sketch showing the positions of the different parts of the outpost. The major might begin his inspection of the line of outguards before receiving the reports of the company commanders.

In training and instructing the company in outpost work, it is always best to send out a few patrols and scouts an hour or two in advance, with definite instructions as to what they are to do, and have them operate against the company as hostile scouts and patrols. If the rest of the company know that patrols and scouts are operating in their front, and will try to work their way through the outpost line, they will naturally take a keener interest in their work. Exercises of this kind create a feeling of rivalry between the scouts and patrols, who, on the one hand, are trying to work their way through the line of outposts, and the outguards and patrols, who, on the other hand, are trying to prevent them from so doing. It makes the work much more human.



1081. The general principles of patrolling are explained in Par. 959; so we need not repeat them here.

Many of the principles of scouting are, in reality, nothing but the fundamentals of patrolling, and the main function of scouting, reconnoitering, is also the function of a certain class of patrols. So, we see that scouting and patrolling are inseparably connected, and the importance of training the members of the company in the principles of scouting is, therefore, evident.

1082. Requisites of a good Scout. A man, to make a good scout, should possess the following qualifications:—

Have good eyesight and hearing; Be active, intelligent and resourceful; Be confident and plucky; Be healthy and strong; Be able to swim, signal, read a map, make a rough sketch, and, of course, read and write.

1083. Eyesight and Hearing. To be able to use the eye and the ear quickly and accurately is one of the first principles of successful scouting. Quickness and accuracy of sight and hearing are to a great extent a matter of training and practice. The savage, for instance, almost invariably has quick eyesight and good hearing, simply from continual practice.

Get into the habit of seeing, observing, things—your eyesight must never be resting, but must be continually glancing around, in every direction, and seeing different objects. As you walk along through the country get into the habit of noticing hoof-prints, wheel-ruts, etc., and observing the trees, houses, streams, animals, men, etc., that you pass.

Practice looking at distant objects and discovering objects in the distance. On seeing distant signs, do not jump at a conclusion as to what they are, but watch and study them carefully first.

Get into the habit of listening for sounds and of distinguishing by what different sounds are made.

1084. Finding your Way in a strange Country. The principal means of finding one's way in a strange country are by map reading, asking the way, the points of the compass and landmarks.

Map Reading. This, of course, presupposes the possession of a map. The subject of map reading is explained in Pars. 1859 to 1877.

Asking the Way. In civilized countries one has no trouble in finding his way by asking, provided, of course, he speaks the language. If in a foreign country, learn as soon as you can the equivalent of such expressions as "What is the way to ——?" "Where is ——?" "What is the name of this place?," and a few other phrases of a similar nature. Remember, however, that the natives may sometimes deceive you in their answers.

Points of the Compass. A compass is, of course, the best, quickest and simplest way of determining the directions, except in localities where there is much iron, in which case it becomes very unreliable.

For determining the points of the compass by means of the North Star and the face of a watch, see Par. 1096.

The points of the compass can also be ascertained by facing the sun in the morning and spreading out your arms straight from the body. Before you is east; behind you, west; to your right, south; to your left, north.

The points of the compass can be determined by noting the limbs and bark of trees. The bark on the north side of trees is thicker and rougher than that on the south side, and moss is most generally found near the roots on the north side. The limbs and branches are generally longer on the south side of the trees, while the branches on the north are usually knotty, twisted and drooped. The tops of pine trees dip or trend to the north.

1085. Lost. In connection with finding your way through strange country, it may be said, should you find you have lost your way, do not lose your head. Keep cool—try not to let your brains get into your feet. By this we mean don't run around and make things worse, and play yourself out. First of all, sit down and think; cool off. Then climb a tree, or hill, and endeavor to locate some familiar object you passed, so as to retrace your steps. If it gets dark and you are not in hostile territory, build a good big fire. The chances are you have been missed by your comrades and if they see the fire, they will conclude you are there and will send out for you. Also, if not in hostile territory, distress signals may be given by firing your rifle, but don't waste all your ammunition.

If you find a stream, follow it; it will generally lead somewhere—where civilization exists.

The tendency of people who are lost is to travel in a circle uselessly.

Remember this important rule: Always notice the direction of the compass when you start out, and what changes of direction you make afterwards.

1086. Landmarks. Landmarks or prominent features of any kind are a great assistance in finding one's way in a strange country. In starting out, always notice the hills, conspicuous trees, high buildings, towers, rivers, etc. For example, if starting out on a reconnaissance you see directly to the north of you a mountain, it will act as a guide without your having to refer to your compass or the sun. If you should start from near a church, the steeple will serve as a guide or landmark when you start to make your way back.

When you pass a conspicuous object, like a broken gate, a strangely shaped rock, etc., try to remember it, so that should you desire to return that way, you can do so by following the chain of landmarks. On passing such landmarks always see what they look like from the other side; for, that will be the side from which you will first see them upon the return, trip.

The secret of never getting lost is to note carefully the original direction in which you start, and after that to note carefully all landmarks. Get in the habit of doing this in time of peace—it will then become second nature for you to do it in time of war.

It may sometimes be necessary, especially in difficult country, such as when traveling through a forest, and over broken mountains and ravines, for you to make your own landmarks for finding your way back by "blazing" (cutting pieces of bark from the trees), breaking small branches off bushes, piling up stones, making a line across a crossroad or path you did not follow, etc.

1087. Concealment and Dodging. Both in scouting and patrolling it must be remembered not only that it is important you should get information, but it is also fully as important that the enemy should not know you have the information—hence, the necessity of hiding yourself. And remember, too, if you keep yourself hidden, not only will you probably be able to see twice as much of what the enemy is doing, but it may also save you from being captured, wounded or killed.

Should you find the enemy has seen you, it is often advisable to pretend that you have not seen him, or that you have other men with you by signaling to imaginary comrades.

As far as possible, keep under cover by traveling along hedges, banks, low ground, etc. If moving over open country, make your way as quickly as possible from one clump of trees or bushes to another; or, from rocks, hollows or such other cover as may exist, to other cover. As soon as you reach new cover, look around and examine your surroundings carefully.

Do not have about you anything that glistens, and at night be careful not to wear anything that jingles or rattles. And remember that at night a lighted match can be seen as far as 900 yards and a lighted cigarette nearly 300 yards. In looking through a bush or over the top of a hill, break off a leafy branch and hold it in front of your face.

In selecting a tree, tower or top of a house or other lookout place from which to observe the enemy from concealment, always plan beforehand how you would make your escape, if discovered and pursued. A place with more than one avenue of escape should be selected, so that if cut off in one direction you can escape from the other. For example, should the enemy reach the foot of a tower in which you are, you would be completely cut off, while if he reached a house on whose roof you happened to be, you would have several avenues of escape.

Although trees make excellent lookout places, they must, for the same reasons as towers, be used with caution. In this connection it may be remarked unless one sees foot marks leading to a tree, men are apt not to look up in trees for the enemy—hence, be careful not to leave foot marks. When in a tree, either stand close against the trunk, or lie along a large branch, so that your body will look like a part of the trunk or branch.

In using a hill as a lookout place, do not make the common mistake of showing yourself on the skyline. Reach the top of the hill slowly and gradually by crouching down and crawling, and raise your head above the crest by inches. In leaving, lower your head gradually and crawl away by degrees, as any quick or sudden movement on the skyline is likely to attract attention. And, remember, just because you don't happen to see the enemy that is no sign that he is not about. At maneuvers and in exercises soldiers continually make the mistake of exposing themselves on the skyline.

At night confine yourself as much as possible to low ground, ditches, etc. This will keep you down in the dark and will enable you, in turn, to see outlined against the higher ground any enemy that may approach you.

At night especially, but also during the day, the enemy will expect you along roads and paths, as it is easier to travel along roads and paths than across country and they also serve as good guides in finding your way. As a rule, it is best to use the road until it brings you near the enemy and then leave it and travel across country. You will thus be able better to avoid the outposts and patrols that will surely be watching the roads.

Practice in time of peace the art of concealing yourself and observing passers-by. Conceal yourself near some frequented road and imagine the people traveling over it are enemies whose numbers you wish to count and whose conversation you wish to overhear. Select a spot where they are not likely to look for you, and which has one or more avenues of escape; choose a position with a background that matches your clothes in color; keep quiet, skin your eyes; stretch your ears.

A mounted scout should always have wire cutters when operating in a country where there are wire fences.

1088. Tracking. By "tracking" we mean following up footmarks. The same as the huntsman tracks his game so should we learn how to track the enemy. One of the first things to learn in tracking is the pace at which the man or horse was traveling when the track was made.

A horse walking makes pairs of footmarks, each hind foot being close to the impression of the forefoot. At a trot the tracks are similar, but the pairs of footmarks are farther apart and deeper, the toe especially being more deeply indented than at the walk. At a canter there are two single footmarks and then a pair. At a gallop the footmarks are single and deeply indented. As a rule, the hind feet are longer and narrower than the forefeet.

In case of a man walking, the whole flat of the foot comes equally on the ground, the footmarks usually about 30 inches apart. If running, the toes are more deeply indented in the ground, and the footmarks are considerably farther apart than when walking. Note the difference between footmarks made by soldier's shoes and civilian's shoes, and those made by men and those made by women and children.

Study the difference between the tracks by a gun, a carriage, an escort wagon, an automobile, a bicycle, etc., and the direction in which they were going.

In addition to being able to determine the pace of tracks, it is most important that you should be able to tell how old they are. However, ability to do this with any degree of accuracy, requires a vast amount of practice. A great deal depends on the kind and the state of the ground and the weather. For example, if on a dry, windy day you follow a certain track over varying ground, you will find that on light sandy soil, for instance, it will look old in a very short time, because any damp earth that may have been kicked up from under the surface will dry very quickly to the same color as the rest of the surface, and the edge of the footmark will soon be rounded off by the breeze blowing over the dry dust. The same track in damp ground will look much fresher, and in damp clay, in the shade of trees, a track which may be a day old will look quite fresh.

The following are clues to the age of tracks: Spots of rain having fallen on them since they were made, if, of course, you know when the rain fell; the crossing of other tracks over the original ones; the freshness or coldness of the droppings of horses and other animals (due allowance being made for the effect of the sun, rain, etc.), and, in the case of grass that has been trodden down, the extent to which it has since dried or withered.

Having learned to distinguish the pace and age of tracks, the next think to do is to learn how to follow them over all kinds of ground. This is a most difficult accomplishment and one that requires a vast amount of practice to attain even fair proficiency.

In tracking where it is difficult to see the track, such as on hard ground, or in the grass, note the direction of the last foot-print that you can see, then look on ahead of you a few yards, say, 20 or 30, in the same direction, and, in grass, you will probably see the blades bent or trodden, and, on ground, you will probably see stones displaced or scratched—or some other small sign which otherwise would not be noticed. These indistinct signs, seen one behind the other, give a track that can be followed with comparative ease.

If you should lose the track, try to find it again by placing your handkerchief, hat, or other object on the last footmark you noticed, and then work around it in a wide circle, with a radius of, say, 30, 50, or 100 yards, choosing the most favorable ground, soft ground, if possible. If with a patrol, only one or two men should try to find the onward track; for, if everyone starts in to find it, the chances are the track will be obliterated with their footmarks. In trying to find the continuation of a track this way, always place yourself in the enemy's position, look around the country, imagine what you would have done, and then move out in that direction and look for his tracks in soft ground.


In order to learn the appearance of tracks, get a suitable piece of soft ground, and across this have a man walk and then run, and have a horse walk, trot, canter and gallop. The next day make similar tracks alongside the first ones and then notice the difference between the two. Also, make tracks on ordinary ground, grass, sand, etc., and practice following them up. Finally, practice tracking men sent out for the purpose. The work will probably be very difficult, even disheartening at first, but you will gradually improve, if you persevere.

Above all things, get into the habit of seeing any tracks that may be on the ground. When out walking, when going through exercises at maneuvers, and at other times, always notice what tracks are on the ground before you, and study them.

The following exercises in scouting and patrolling afford excellent practice and training:

1089. The Mouse and Cat Contest. 1. A section of country three or four miles square, with well-defined limits, is selected. The boundaries are made known to all contestants and anyone going outside of them will be disqualified.

2. Two patrols of eight men each are sent out as "mice." They occupy any positions they may wish within the boundaries named, and conceal themselves to watch for hostile patrols.

3. Half an hour later two other squads, wearing white bands around their hats, or having other distinguishing marks, are sent out as "cats" to locate, if possible, and report upon the position of the "mice."

4. An hour is fixed when the exercise shall end, and if within the given time the "cats" have not discovered the "mice," the "mice" win.

5. The "cats" will write reports of any "mice" patrols they may see.


1. An umpire (officer or noncommissioned officer) goes with each patrol and his decisions as to capture and other matters are the orders of the company commander. The umpires must take every possible precaution to conceal themselves so as not to reveal the position of the patrols with which they are.

Each umpire will carry a watch, all watches being set with that of the company commander before the exercise commences.

2. Any "cat" patrol coming within 50 yards of a "mouse" patrol, without seeing the "mice," is considered captured.

3. When the time is up, the umpires will bring in the patrols and report to the company commander.

1090. Flag-Stealing Contest. 1. A section of country of suitable size, with well-defined limits, is selected, the boundaries being made known to the contestants.

2. The contestants are divided into two forces of about 20 men each, and each side will establish three Cossack posts along a general line designated by the company commander, the two positions being selected facing each other and being a suitable distance apart. The men not forming part of the Cossack posts will be used as reconnoitering patrols.

3. About three quarters of a mile in rear of the center of each line of outposts four flags will be planted, in line, about 30 yards apart.

4. The scouts and patrols of each force will try to locate the outposts of the other force, and then to work their way around or between them, steal the flags and bring them back to their own side. They will endeavor to prevent the enemy from doing the same.

5. One scout or patrol will not carry away more than one flag at a time, and will have to return to their side safely with the flag before they can come back and capture another.

6. Scouts may work singly or in pairs. Any scout or patrol coming within 80 yards of a stronger hostile party, or Cossack post, will be considered as captured, if seen by the enemy, and if carrying a captured flag at the time, the flag will not count as having been captured. Of course, if a scout or patrol can pass within 80 yards of the enemy without being discovered, it may do so.

7. An umpire (officer or noncommissioned officer) will be with each Cossack post, each patrol, and at the position of the flags.

8. The hour when the exercise ends will be designated in advance and at that hour the umpires will bring in the Cossack posts and patrols. The same requirements regarding watches obtains as in the Mouse and Cat Contest.

9. At the conclusion of the contest the commander of each side will hand in to the company commander all sketches and reports made by his men.

10. Points will be awarded as follows:

Each flag captured, 5.

For each sketch and hostile report of the position of a Cossack post, 3.

For each report of movements of a hostile patrol, 2.

The side getting the greatest number of points will win.

11. Umpires may penalize the contestants for a violation of the rules.

The same contest may be carried out at night, substituting lighted Japanese lanterns for the flags.


[13] The best book on scouting that the author has ever seen, is Baden-Powell's "Aids to Scouting," which was consulted in the preparation of this chapter.



1091. Importance. Because of the long range and great accuracy of modern fire arms, there has been in recent years a marked increase in the practice of night operations, such operations being of common occurrence not only for massing troops under cover of darkness in favorable positions for further action, but also for actually assaulting positions.

Read carefully pars. 464, 496, 498, 523, 524, 580-590.


1092. Night movements are amongst the most difficult operations of war, and, therefore require the most careful, painstaking and thorough training and instruction of troops in all matters pertaining thereto. The history of night fighting shows that in most cases defeat is due to disorganization through panic. It is said that in daylight the moral is to the physical as three is to one. That being the case, it is hard to say what the ratio is at night, when a general atmosphere of mystery, uncertainty and fear of surprise envelops the operations, and, of necessity affects the nerves of the men. The vital importance, therefore, of accustoming troops as much as we can in peace to the conditions that will obtain in night fighting, cannot be overestimated. The following outline shows the subjects in which individual and collective instruction and training should be given:


1093. General. The first thing to be done is to accustom the soldier to darkness and to teach him to overcome the nervousness which is natural to the average man in darkness.

The best way to do this is to begin by training him in the use of his powers of vision and hearing under conditions of darkness, which are strange to him. The company should be divided into squads for this instruction.

1094. Vision. Take several men to ground with which they are familiar. Have them notice the different appearance which objects present at night; when viewed in different degrees of light and shade; the comparative visibility of men under different conditions of dress, background, etc.; the ease with which bright objects are seen; the difference between the visibility of men standing on a skyline and those standing on a slope. Post the men in pairs at intervals along a line which the instructors will endeavor to cross without being seen. The instructors should cross from both sides, so as to compel observation in both directions. Have a man (later, several) walk away from the rest of the men and when he is about to disappear from view, halt him, and estimate the distance. Send a man (later, several) outside the field of vision, to advance on the rest of the men. Halt him when he enters the field of vision and estimate the distance. Send a number of men outside the limit of vision and then let them advance on the rest of the men, using cover and seeing how near they can approach unobserved.

1095. Hearing. Place a number of men a few yards apart and make them guess what a noise is caused by, and its approximate position. The rattle of a meat can, the movement of a patrol, the working of the bolt of a rifle, the throwing down of accouterments, low talking, etc., may be utilized. Take special pains to impress upon the men the penetrating power of the human voice, and the necessity of preserving absolute silence in night operations. Have blank cartridges fired and teach the men to judge their direction and approximate distance away.

1096. Finding Bearings. Show the men how to determine the points of the compass from the North Star. The Big Dipper constellation looks like this:

The North Star is on the prolongation of a line joining the two "pointing" stars, and at above five times the distance between the two stars. At another time have those same men individually locate the North Star. Using this star as a guide, practice the men moving in different directions, by such commands as, "Smith, move southeast." "Jones, move northwest," etc.

To test a man's ability to keep a given direction when moving in the darkness, choose a spot from which no prominent landmarks are visible, advance toward it accompanied by a man, from a distance not less than 200 paces. While advancing the soldier must take his bearings. On arriving at the spot chosen the instructor will turn the soldier around rapidly two or three times and then have him continue to advance in the same direction as before. No prominent landmarks should be visible from the starting point.

1097. Moving in the Dark. Form four or five men in line with about one pace interval, the instructor being on one of the flanks. Place some clearly visible mark, such as a lantern, for the instructor to march on. Impress upon the men the importance of lifting their feet up high and bringing them to the ground quietly and firmly, and of keeping in touch with the guide and conforming to his movements without sound or signal. The pace should be slow and frequent halts should be made to test the promptness of the men in halting and advancing together. As the line advances, each man will in turn take his place on the flank and act as guide. The light on which the men are marching should be hidden from view at intervals, in order to test the ability of the men to maintain the original direction. Later on, the number of men in a line may be increased considerably. The rougher the ground, the darker the night and the longer the line, the slower must the pace be and the more frequent the halts. After passing an obstacle men instinctively line up parallel to it, and consequently if the obstacle does not lie at right angles to the line of advance, the direction will be lost; so, be sure to guard against this.

1098. Night Fencing. Practice the men in charging in the dark against a white cloth or the dummy figure of a man. In the beginning have the figure in a fixed place, but later have the soldier charge seeking the figure, and not knowing just exactly where it is beforehand.

1099. Night Entrenching. It is frequently necessary in time of war to dig trenches at night in front of the enemy, and while this work is easy in the moonlight, it is very difficult in the dark. Bear in mind the following points:

1. The tendency is to make the trench too narrow; hence, guard against this.

2. Be careful not to throw the earth too far or too near.

3. Do not strike your neighbor's tools in working.

4. Do not use the pick unless necessary, because it makes considerable noise.

5. Do not scrape the tools together in order to get off the dirt; use a chip of wood or the toe of the shoe.

6. Make as little noise as possible in digging and handling your tools.

7. If discovered by the enemy's searchlights, do not become excited or confused; simply lie down.

8. If attacked by the enemy, do not get rattled and throw your tools away—put them in some fixed place where they can be found again.

1100. Equipment. At first the men should be taken out without arms, but later on they should be trained to work in full equipment. Teach every man what parts of his equipment are likely to make a noise under special circumstances, such as lying down, rising, crossing obstacles, etc., and instruct him how to guard against it. Bayonets should always be fixed, but in order to avoid accidents the scabbard should be left on them.

From the beginning of the training continually impress upon the men that it is absolutely criminal to fire without orders during a night operation and that the bayonet is the only weapon he can use with advantage to himself and safety to his comrades.

1101. Night Firing. As a rule men fire too high in the dark. They must, therefore, be cautioned not to raise the rifle above the horizontal, or incline the upper part of the body to the rear. When the firing is stopped be sure to turn on the safety-lock. Experience during the Russo-Japanese War taught the Japanese the kneeling position is the most suitable for horizontal firing. The following method, to be conducted in daytime, may be employed in training the soldier to hold his rifle parallel to the ground while firing in the dark:—Have each soldier, kneeling, close his eyes and bring his rifle to the position of aim, barrel parallel to the ground. With the rifle in this position, let him open his eyes and examine it. Then have this done by squad, by command. When they become proficient in this movement, have them close their eyes and while the eyes are closed, put up a target and have them practice horizontal firing, opening their eyes each time after pulling the trigger and then examining the position of the piece.


At first practice squads, then the platoons and later the company in simple movements, such as squads right and left, right and left oblique, etc., gradually leading up to more complicated ones in close and extended order, such as right and left front into line, advancing in platoon and squad columns, charging the enemy, etc. As far as possible the movements should be executed by simple prearranged signals from the unit commanders. The signals, which must not be visible to the enemy, may be made with a white handkerchief or a white flag, if the night be not too dark; with an electric flashlight, a dark lantern or luminous disk. The light of the flashlight or lantern must be screened, so it cannot be seen by the enemy. The following signals are suggested:

To advance: Raise vertically the lantern or other object with which the signal is made.

To halt: Lower and raise the object several times.

To lie down: Bring the object down near the ground.

To form squad columns: Move the object several times to the right and left.

To form platoon columns: Describe several circles.

As skirmishers: Move the object front to rear several times.

1102. Night Marches. In acting as an advance guard to a column, the company would send out a point a few yards ahead, which would be followed by the rest of the company. Three or four scouts should be sent out a hundred yards or so ahead of the point. They should advance at a quick pace, keeping in the shadow on the side of the road, being constantly on the alert, using their ears even more than their eyes. They will halt to listen at crossroads and suspicious places, and move on again when they hear the company approaching. Should the enemy be discovered, one of the scouts will return to warn the advance guard—the others will conceal themselves and watch. Under no circumstances must the scouts ever fire, unless it be for the purpose of warning the company and there is no other way of doing so. The diagram on the opposite page is suggested as a good formation for a company acting as advance guard at night. A company marching alone would move in the same formation as when acting as advance guard, except that it would protect its rear with a few scouts. Of course, the nature of the country and proximity and activity of the enemy, will determine the best formation to be used, but whatever the formation may be, always remember to cover well your front, rear and flanks, with scouts, whose distance away will vary with the light and nature of the country. Don't forget that protection in rear is very important.

The men must be warned against firing, smoking, talking, striking matches, making noise, etc. They should also be informed of the object in view, direction of the enemy, etc.

In night marches the rests should not exceed five minutes; otherwise, many men will fall asleep.


Careful training in outpost duty at night is very harassing, but, in view of its importance, should not be neglected. This instruction should be given with the greatest thoroughness, strictness and attention to detail.

1103. Sentries Challenging. In challenging sentries must be careful to avoid any noise that would disclose their position. In fact, challenging by voice should be reduced to a minimum by arranging a system of signals by which the officers of the day, patrols, etc., can be recognized. The following signals, any one of which may be decided upon, which would be made first by the sentry and then answered by the approaching party, are suggested: Clap the hands together twice; strike the ground twice with the butt of the rifle; strike the butt of the rifle twice with the hand; whistle softly twice. The replying signal would be the same as the sentry's signal, except that in case of the use of the butt of the rifle, an officer would reply by striking twice on his revolver holster. After repeating the signal once, if it is not answered, the sentry will challenge with the voice, but no louder than is necessary. In case of a patrol only one man will advance to be recognized after the signal has been answered. The sentry must always allow persons to approach fairly near before challenging.

1104. Sentries Firing. Anyone who has been through a campaign knows how nervous green sentries are, and how quick they are about firing. During the beginning of the Philippine Campaign the author heard of several cases where sentries fired on fire-flies several hundred yards away. Never fire unless it be absolutely necessary to give an alarm, or unless you can clearly distinguish the enemy and are fairly certain of hitting him. In the French Army in Algeria, there is a rule that any sentry who fires at night must produce a corpse, or be able to show by blood marks that he hit the person fired at. If he can do neither, he is punished for giving a false alarm.

1105. Marking of Route from Outguards to Supports. The route from the support to the outguards, and from pickets to their sentries, should, if necessary, be clearly marked with scraps of paper, green sticks with the bark peeled off, or in any other suitable way.

1106. Readiness for Action. The supports should always be ready for action. The men must sleep with their rifles beside them and in such places that they will be able to fall in promptly in case of attack. Some men have a way of sleeping with their blankets over their heads. This should not be allowed—the ears must always be uncovered. The commander, or the second in command, with several men, should remain awake. When the commander lies down he should do so near the sentry, which is always posted over the support.


1107. Connections. It is of the greatest importance that proper connection be maintained between the different parts of a command engaged in night operations. It is astonishing with what facility units go astray and how difficult it is for them to find their way back where they belong.

1108. Preparation. It matters not what the nature of the night operation may be, the most careful preparation is necessary. Success often depends upon the care and thoroughness with which the plans are made.

All possible eventualities should be thought of and provided for as far as praticable. The first thing to do is to get as much information as possible about the ground to be covered and the position of the enemy, and care must be taken to see that the information is accurate. Reconnaissance must be made by night as well as by day; for, ground looks very different at night from what it does during the day.



1109. The following, from the Engineer Field Manual, together with the elements of field engineering covered in Chapter XI, on Obstacles, will give the company officer a good, working knowledge of those parts of field engineering for which he is most likely to have need.


1111. Dimensions and guard rail. A roadway 9 ft. wide in the clear should be provided to pass infantry in fours, cavalry two abreast, and military wagons in one direction; a width of 6 ft. will suffice for infantry in column of twos, cavalry in single file, and field guns passed over by hand.

The clear width of roadway of an ordinary highway bridge should not be less than 12 ft. for single track, or 20 ft. for double track.

The clear head room in ordinary military bridges should not be less than 9 ft. for wagons and cavalry; for highway bridges not less than 14 ft.

Ramps at the ends of a bridge, if intended for artillery, should not be steeper than 1 on 7. For animals, slopes steeper than 1 on 10 are inconvenient.

If the bridges are high, hand rails should be provided. A single rope may suffice, or it may have brush placed upon it to form a screen.

A guard rail should be provided along each side of the roadway, near the ends of the flooring planks. In hasty bridges it may be secured by a lashing or lashings through the planking to the stringer underneath. Otherwise it may be fastened with spikes or bolts.

1112. Spar bridges.—This name is applied to bridges built of round timbers lashed together. Intermediate points of support are provided by inclined frames acting as struts to transmit weight from the middle of the bridge to the banks. The single-lock and double-lock bridges with two and three spans of 15 ft., respectively, are the ones of most utility.

The first step in constructing a spar bridge is to measure the gap to be bridged and select the position of the footings on either bank. Determine the distance from each footing to the middle point of the roadway if a single-lock, or the two corresponding points of a double-lock bridge. Next determine and mark on each spar except the diagonals the places where other spars cross it. The marking may be done with chalk, or with an ax. If possible a convenient notation should be adopted. As, for example, in marking with chalk, a ring around the spar where the edge of the crossing spar will come, and a diagonal cross on the part which will be hidden by the crossing spar.

A simple way to determine the length of spars is the following: Take two small lines somewhat longer than the width of the gap, double each and lash the bights together. Stretch them tightly across the gap so that the lashing comes at the middle as at A, Fig. 8. Release one end of each and stretch it to the footing on the same side as indicated by the dotted lines. Mark each line at the footing C or C', and at the position chosen for the abutment sill, B or B'. Cut the lashing and take each piece of rope to its own side. The distances AB and AB' are the lengths between the transoms, and with 2 ft. added give the length of road bearers required. The distances AC and AC' are the lengths of struts from butt to top of transom, and with 3 ft added, give the total length of spars required.

For a double lock bridge, a piece of rope of a length equal to the length of the middle bay replaces the lashing. If the banks are not parallel, a measurement should be taken on each side of the bridge.

If desired, a section of the gap may be laid down on the ground in full size and the lengths of spars determined by laying them in place. This method, though given as standard by all authorities, requires more time and more handling of material than the other and gives no better results.

The construction of a frame is shown in Fig. 1, and the system of marking in Fig. 2. The arrangement of frames to form a single lock bridge is shown in Figs. 3 and 4, and a double lock bridge in Fig 6.

1113. Construction of single-lock bridges, Figs. 3, 4, and 5.—Suitable for spans of 30 ft. or less. The two frames lock together at the center of the span; their slope must not be more than 4 on 7. The bridge can be erected by two or three noncommissioned officers and 20 men, one-half on each side of the gap. Heavy spars require more men.

The footings at A and B must be firm, horizontal if possible, and at right angles to the axis of the bridge. In a masonry pier they may be cut out. In firm soil a simple trench will suffice. In yielding soil a plank or sill must be laid in the trench. The frames are made of such length as to give a slight camber to the bridge, which may be increased to allow for probable settlement of the footings. The inside dimension of one frame is made slightly greater than the outside dimension of the other, so that one frame may fall inside of the other when hauled into position. For a 9 ft. roadway the standards of the narrow (inside) frame should be 9 ft. 6 ins. apart at the transom and 10 ft. 6 ins. at the ledger, in the clear, and the other (outside) frame 1 ft. 6 ins. wider throughout.

A frame is constructed on each bank. The standards are laid on the ground in prolongation of the bridge, butts toward the bank. The ledgers are lashed on above and the transoms beneath the standards at the positions marked. The diagonal braces are lashed to the standards, two butts and one tip above the latter, and to each other. Before the braces are lashed the frame must be square by checking the measurements of the diagonals.

If necessary, pickets for the foot and guy ropes are driven, the former about 2 paces from the bank and 4 paces on each side of the axis of the bridge; the latter about 20 paces from the bank and 10 paces on each side of the axis. The foot ropes, CC, Fig. 5, are secured by timber hitches to the butts of the standards and the back and fore guys, DD and EE, to the tips the fore guys are passed across to the opposite bank. The guys of the narrow frame should be inside the guys and standards of the wide frame.

The frames are put into position one after the other, or simultaneously if there are enough men. A man is told off to each foot rope and one to each back guy to slack off as required, two turns being taken with each of these ropes around their respective pickets. The other men raise the frame and launch it forward, assisted by the men at the fore guys, until the frame is balanced on the edge of the bank. The frame is then tilted until the butts rest on the footing, by slacking off the foot ropes and hauling on the fore guys, Fig. 5. After the head of the frame has been hauled over beyond the perpendicular, it is lowered nearly into its final position by slacking off the back guys. When the two frames are in this position opposite each other, the narrow frame is further lowered until its standards rest upon the transom of the other. The wider (outer) frame is then lowered until the two lock into each other, the standards of each resting upon the transom of the other.

The center or fork transom, Figs. 3 and 4, is then passed from shore and placed in the fork between the two frames. This forms the central support to receive a floor system of two bays, built as already described.

The estimated time for construction of such a bridge is about one hour if the material is available and in position on both sides of the stream. The construction of the roadway requires about twenty minutes; forming footings in masonry about one hour.

1114. Construction of double-lock bridge, Fig. 6.—Suitable for spans not exceeding 45 ft., and consisting of two inclined frames which lock into a connecting horizontal frame of two or more distance pieces, with cross transoms, dividing the gap to be bridged into three equal bays of about 15 ft. The force required is two or three noncommissioned officers and 25 to 50 men; the time for construction, except roadway, about two and one-half hours; extra time to be allowed for difficult footings.

The width of gap is measured, the position of footings determined, and the length of standards from butt to transom determined and marked as before.

The inclined frames in this case are built of equal widths, launched as before, and held by guys just above their final position. Two stringers are launched out from each bank to the main transom. The distance pieces, Fig. 6, are put into position inside the standards, using tackle if necessary, and the road transoms are placed and lashed to the distance pieces at the places marked. Both frames are now lowered until they jam.

1115. Roadway of spar bridge.—For infantry in fours crowded the transoms should have a diam. of not less than 9 ins. for a span of 15 ft. Five stringers 2 ft. 3 ins. c. to c., and 6 ins. diam. at the tip will suffice. If the sticks vary in size, the larger ones should be notched down on the transom so as to bring the tops in the same plane. The stringers should be long enough to overlap the transoms, and should be lashed together at each tip. The floor is held down by side rails over the outside stringers and lashed to them. If lumber can not be obtained, a floor may be made, of small spars, the interstices filled with brush, and the whole covered with loam or clay; Figs. 7 and 9.

Corduroy Roads

1116. Corduroying is done by laying logs crosswise of the road and touching each other. The result will be better if the logs are nearly of the same size. The butts and tips should alternate. If the logs are large the spaces may be filled with smaller poles. The bottom tier of logs should be evenly bedded and should have a firm bearing at the ends and not ride on the middle. The filling poles, if used, should be cut and trimmed to lie close, packing them about the ends if necessary. If the soil is only moderately soft the logs need be no longer than the width of the road. In soft marsh it may be necessary to make them longer.

The logs may be utilized as the wearing surface. In fact this is usually the case. They make a rough surface, uncomfortable for passengers and hard on wagons and loads, but the resistance to traction is much less than would be expected, and the roughness and slightly yielding surface make excellent footing for animals. Surface corduroy is perishable and can last but a short time. In marshes, where the logs can be placed below the ground-water level, they are preserved from decay, and if any suitable material can be found, to put a thin embankment over them, a good permanent road may be made.

Any tough, fibrous material may be used to temporarily harden the surface of a road. Hay or straw, tall weeds, corn and cane stalks have been used to good advantage. Such materials should be laid with the fibers crosswise of the road, and covered with a thin layer of earth, thrown on from the sides; except in sand, when it is better to dig a shallow trench across the road, fill it with the material and then dig another trench just in front of and in contact with the first and throw the sand from it back onto the material in the first trench, etc.

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