You must first give your subordinates sufficient information of the situation and your plan, so that they may clearly understand their mission.
The better everyone understands the whole situation the better he can play his part. Unexpected things are always happening in war—a subordinate can act intelligently only if he knows and understands what his superior wants to do.
Always make your instructions definite and positive—vague instructions are sometimes worse than none.
Your order, your instructions, must be clear, concise and definite—everyone should know just exactly what he is to do.
A Few General Principles
953. The man who hunts deer, moose, tigers and lions, is hunting big game, but the soldier operating in the enemy's territory is hunting bigger game—he's hunting for human beings—but you want to remember that the other fellow is out hunting for you, too; he's out "gunning" for you. So, don't fail to be on the alert, on the lookout, all the time, if you do he'll "get the drop" on you. Remember what Frederick the Great said: "It is pardonable to be defeated, but never to be taken by surprise."
Do not separate your force too much; if you do, you weaken yourself—you take the chance of being "defeated in detail"—that is, of one part being defeated after another. Remember the old saying: "In union there is strength." Undue extension of your line (a mistake, by the way, very often made) is only a form of separation and is equally as bad.
While too much importance can not be attached to the proper use of cover, you must not forget that sometimes there are other considerations that outweigh the advantages of cover. Good sense alone can determine. A certain direction of attack, for instance, may afford excellent cover but it may be so situated as to mean ruin if defeated, as where it puts an impassable obstacle directly in your rear. And don't forget that you should always think in advance of what you would do in case of defeat.
What is it, after all, that gives victory, whether it be armies or only squads engaged? It's just simply inflicting on the enemy a loss which he will not stand before he can do the same to you. Now, what is this loss that he will not stand? What is the loss that will cause him to break? Well, it varies; it is subject to many conditions—different bodies of troops, like different timbers, have different breaking points. However, whatever it may be in any particular case it would soon come if we could shoot on the battlefield as we do on the target range, but we can not approximate it.
There are many causes tending to drag down our score on the battlefield, one of the most potent being the effect of the enemy's fire. It is cited as a physiological fact that fear and great excitement cause the pupil of the eye to dilate and impair accuracy in vision and hence of shooting. It is well established that the effectiveness of the fire of one side reduced proportionately to the effectiveness of that of the other.
Bear in mind then these two points—we must get the enemy's breaking point before he gets ours, and the more effective we make our fire the less effective will be his.
Expressed in another way—to win you must gain and keep a fire superiority.
This generally means more rifles in action, yet a fire badly controlled and directed, though great in volume, may be less effective than a smaller volume better handled.
The firing line barring a few exceptional cases, then, should be as heavy as practicable consistent with the men's free use of their rifles.
This has been found to be about one man to the yard. In this way you get volume of fire and the companies do not cover so much ground that their commanders lose their power to direct and control.
If it becomes necessary to hold a line too long for the force available, it is then better to keep the men close together and leave gaps in the line. The men are so much better controlled, the fire better directed, the volume the same, and the gaps are closed by the cross fire of parties adjacent.
 In the preparation of the first part of this chapter, extracts of words and of ideas, were made from a paper on Applied Minor Tactics read before the St. Louis convention of the National Guard of the United States in 1910, by Major J. F. Morrison, General Staff, U. S. Army.
 The word "mission" is used a great deal in this text. By your "mission" is meant your business, what you have been told to do, what you are trying to accomplish.
GENERAL PLAN OF INSTRUCTION IN MAP PROBLEMS FOR NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND PRIVATES—INSTRUCTION IN DELIVERING MESSAGES
(The large wall map to be used for this instruction can be obtained from the George Banta Publishing Co., Menasha, Wis., at a cost of $1.50.)
954. The noncommissioned officers and the privates of the squad, section, platoon or company are seated in front of the instructor, who, with pointer in hand, is standing near the map on the wall.
The instructor assumes certain situations and designates various noncommissioned officers to take charge of squads for the purpose of accomplishing certain missions; he places them in different situations, and then asks them what they would do. He, or the noncommissioned officer designated to perform certain missions, designates certain privates to carry messages, watch for signals, take the place of wounded noncommissioned officers, etc. For example, the instructor says: "The battalion is marching to Watertown (see Elementary Map in pocket at back of book) along this road (indicating road): our company forms the advance guard; we are now at this point (indicating point). Corporal Smith, take your squad and reconnoiter the woods on the right to see if you can find any trace of the enemy there, and rejoin the company as soon as you can. Corporal Jones, be on the lookout for any signals that Corporal Smith may make."
Corporal Smith then gives the command, "1. Forward, 2. March," and such other commands as may be necessary.
Instructor: Now, when you reach this point (indicating point), what do you see?
(Corporal Smith holds his rifle horizontally above his head.)
Corporal Jones: Captain, Corporal Smith signals that he sees a small body of the enemy.
Corporal Smith: Lie down. Range, 700. 1. Ready; 2. AIM; 3. Squad; 4. FIRE. 1. Forward; Double time; 2. MARCH, etc.
The noncommissioned officers and the privates who are thus designated to do certain things must use their imagination as much as possible. They must look at the map and imagine that they are right on the ground, in the hostile territory; they must imagine that they see the streams, hills, woods, roads, etc., represented on the map, and they must not do anything that they could not do if in the hostile territory, with the assumed conditions actually existing.
955. The general idea of this system of instruction is to make the noncommissioned officers and the privates think, to make them use common sense and initiative in handling men in various situations, in getting out of difficulties. By thus putting men on their mettle in the presence of their comrades and making them bring into play their common sense and their powers of resourcefulness, it is comparatively easy to hold the attention of a whole squad, section, platoon or company, for those who are not actually taking part in the solution of a particular problem are curious to see how those who are taking part will answer different questions and do different things—how they will "pan out."
956. Everything that is said, everything that is done, should, as far as practicable, be said and done just as it would be said and done in the field. The commands should be actually given, the messages actually delivered, the reports actually made, the orders and instructions actually given, the signals actually made, etc., just the same as they would be if the operations were real. Of course, sometimes it is not practicable to do this, and again at other times it would be advisable not to do so. If, for instance, in the solution of a problem there were a great many opportunities to give commands to fire, to make signals, to deliver messages, etc., and if these things were actually done every time, it would not only become tiresome but it would also delay the real work and instruction. Common sense must be used. Just bear this in mind: In the solution of map problems the noncommissioned officers and the privates are to be given proper and sufficient instruction in giving commands, making signals, sending and delivering messages, making reports, etc., the instructor using his common sense in deciding what is proper and sufficient instruction. In carrying out this feature of the instruction it would be done thus, for instance:
Instead of a platoon leader saying, "I would give the order for the platoon (two, three or four squads) to fire on them," he would say, for instance, "I would then give the command, 'AT LINE OF MEN. RANGE, 600. FIRE AT WILL,' and would continue the firing as long as necessary." Should the instructor then say, for instance, "Very well; the enemy's fire has slackened; what will you do now?" The platoon leader would answer, for instance, "I would signal: 1. By squads from the right; 2. RUSH."
Instead of saying, for instance, "I would advance my squad to the top of this hill at double time," the squad leader should say, "I would give the command: '1. Forward, double time; 2. MARCH,' and upon reaching the top of this hill, I would command, '1. Squad; 2. HALT,' cautioning the men to take advantage of cover."
Instead of saying, "I would signal back that we see the enemy in force," the squad leader should take a rifle and make the signal, and if a man has been designated to watch for signals, the man would say to the captain (or other person for whom he was watching for signals): "Captain, Corporal Smith has signaled that he sees the enemy in force."
Instead of saying, "I would send a message back that there are about twenty mounted men just in rear of the Jones' house; they are dismounted and their horses are being held by horseholders," say, "Smith, go back and tell the captain (or other person) there are about twenty mounted men just in rear of the Jones' house. They are dismounted and their horses are being held by horseholders." Private Smith would then say to the captain (or other person), "Captain, Corporal Harris sends word there are about twenty men just in the rear of the Jones' house. They are dismounted and their horses are being held by horse holders."
957. For problems exemplifying this system of instruction, see Par. 1017.
The instruction may be varied a little by testing the squad leaders in their knowledge of map reading by asking, from time to time during the solution of the problem, such questions as these:
Captain: Corporal Smith, you are standing on Lone Hill (See Elementary Map), facing north. Tell me what you see?
Corporal: The hill slopes off steeply in front of me, about eighty feet down to the bottom land. A spur of the hill runs off on my right three-fourths of a mile to the north. Another runs off on my left the same distance to the west. Between these two spurs, down in front of me, is an almost level valley, extending about a mile to my right front, where a hill cuts off my view. To my left front it is level as far as I can see. A quarter of a mile in front of me is a big pond, down in the valley, and I can trace the course of a stream that drains the pond off to the northwest, by the trees along its bank. Just beyond the stream a railroad runs northwest along a fill and crosses the stream a mile and a half to the northwest, where I can see the roofs of a group of houses. A wagon road runs north across the valley, crossing the western spur of this hill 600 yards from Lone Hill. It is bordered by trees as far as the creek. Another road parallels the railroad, the two roads crossing near a large orchard a mile straight to my front.
Captain: Can you see the Chester Pike where the railroad crosses it?
Corporal: No, sir.
Corporal: Because the hill "62," about 800 yards from Lone Hill, is so high that it cuts off my view in that direction of everything closer to the spur "62" than the point in the Salem-Boling road, where the private lane runs off east to the Gray house.
Captain: Sergeant Jones, in which direction does the stream run that you see just south of the Twin Hills?
Sergeant: It runs south through York, because I can see that the northern end starts near the head of a valley and goes down into the open plain. Also it is indicated by a very narrow line near the Twin Hills which becomes gradually wider or heavier the further south it goes. Furthermore, the fact that three short branch streams are shown joining together and forming one, must naturally mean that the direction of flow is towards the one formed by the three.
Captain: Sergeant Harris, does the road from the Mason farm to the Welsh farm run up or down hill?
Sergeant: It does both, sir. It is almost level for the first half mile west of the Mason farm; then, as it crosses the contour marked 20 and a second marked 40, it runs up hill, rising to forty feet above the valley, 900 yards east of the Mason farm. Then, as it again crosses a contour marked 40 and a second marked 20, it goes down hill to the Welsh farm. That portion of the road between the points where it crosses the two contours marked 40, is the highest part of the road. It crosses this hill in a "saddle," for both north and south of this summit on the road are contours marked 60 and even higher.
Captain: Corporal Wallace, you are in Salem with a patrol with orders to go to Oxford. There is no one to tell you anything about this section of the country and you have never been there before. You have this map and a compass. What would you do?
Corporal: I would see from my map and by looking around me that Salem is situated at the crossing of two main roads. From the map I would see that one leads to Boling and the other was the one to take for Oxford. Also, I would see that the one to Boling started due north out of Salem and the other, the one I must follow, started due west out of Salem. Taking out my compass, I would see in what direction the north end of the needle pointed; the road running off in that direction would be the one to Boling, so I would start off west on the other.
Captain: Suppose you had no compass?
Corporal: I would look and see on which side of the base of the trees the moss grew. That side would be north. Or, in this case, I would probably not use a compass even if I had it; for, from the map, I know that the road I wish to start off on crosses a railroad track within sight of the crossroads and on the opposite side of the crossroads from the church shown on the map; also, that the Boling road is level as far as I could see on the ground, while the Chester Pike crosses the spur of Sandy Ridge, about a half mile out of the village.
Captain: Go ahead, corporal, and explain how you would follow the proper route to Oxford.
Corporal: I would proceed west on the Chester Pike, knowing I would cross a good sized stream, on a stone bridge, about a mile and a half out of Salem; then I would pass a crossroad and find a swamp on my right, between the road and the stream. About a mile and a half from the crossroad I just mentioned, I would cross a railroad track and then I would know that at the fork of the roads one-quarter of a mile further on I must take the left fork. This road would take me straight into Oxford, about a mile and three-quarters beyond the fork.
Captain: Sergeant Washington, do the contours about a half mile north of the Maxey farm, on the Salem-Boling road, represent a hill or a depression?
Sergeant: They represent a hill, because the inner contour has a higher number 42, than the outer, marked 20. They represent sort of a leg-of-mutton shaped hill about 42 feet higher than the surrounding low ground.
Variety and interest may be added to the instruction by assuming that the squad leader has been killed or wounded and then designate some private to command the squad; or that a man has been wounded in a certain part of the body and have a soldier actually apply his first aid packet; or that a soldier has fainted or been bitten by a rattlesnake and have a man actually render him first aid.
958. The privates may be given practical instruction in delivering messages by giving them messages in one room and having them deliver them to someone else in another room. It is a good plan to write out a number of messages in advance on slips of paper or on cards, placing them in unsealed envelopes. An officer or a noncommissioned officer in one room reads one of the messages to a soldier, then seals it in an envelope and gives it to the soldier to hand to the person in another room to whom he is to deliver the message. The latter checks the accuracy of the message by means of the written message. Of course, this form of instruction should not be given during the solution of map problems by the men. (For model messages, see par. 980.)
The same slips or cards may be used any number of times with different soldiers. A soldier should never start on his way to deliver a message unless he understands thoroughly the message he is to deliver.
THE SERVICE OF INFORMATION
(Based on the Field Service Regulations.)
959. Patrols are small bodies of infantry or cavalry, from two men up to a company or troop, sent out from a command at any time to gain information of the enemy and of the country, to drive off small hostile bodies, to prevent them from observing the command or for other stated objects, such as to blow up a bridge, destroy a railroad track, communicate or keep in touch with friendly troops, etc. Patrols are named according to their objects, reconnoitering, visiting, connecting, exploring, flanking patrols, etc. These names are of no importance, however, because the patrol's orders in each case determine its duties.
960. The size of a patrol depends upon the mission it is to accomplish; if it is to gain information only, it should be as small as possible, allowing two men for each probable message to be sent (this permits you to send messages and still have a working patrol remaining); if it is to fight, it should be strong enough to defeat the probable enemy against it. For instance, a patrol of two men might be ordered to examine some high ground a few hundred yards off the road. On the other hand, during the recent war in Manchuria a Japanese patrol of 50 mounted men, to accomplish its mission marched 1,160 miles in the enemy's country and was out for 62 days.
961. Patrol Leaders. (a) Patrol leaders, usually noncommissioned officers, are selected for their endurance, keen eyesight, ability to think quickly and good military judgment. They should be able to read a map, make a sketch and send messages that are easily understood. Very important patrols are sometimes lead by officers. The leader should have a map, watch, field glass, compass, message blank and pencils.
(b) The ability to lead a patrol correctly without a number of detailed orders or instructions, is one of the highest and most valuable qualifications of a noncommissioned officer. Since a commander ordering out a patrol can only give general instructions as to what he desires, because he cannot possibly forsee just what situations may arise, the patrol leader will be forced to use his own judgment to decide on the proper course to pursue when something of importance suddenly occurs. He is in sole command on the spot and must make his decisions entirely on his own judgment and make them instantly. He has to bear in mind first of all his mission—what his commander wants him to do.
Possibly something may occur that should cause the patrol leader to undertake an entirely new mission and he must view the new situation from the standpoint of a higher commander.
(c) More battles are lost through lack of information about the enemy than from any other cause, and it is the patrols led by noncommissioned officers who must gather almost all of this information. A battalion or squadron stands a very good chance for defeating a regiment if the battalion commander knows all about the size, position and movements of the regiment and the regimental commander knows but a little about the battalion; and this will all depend on how efficiently the patrols of the two forces are led by the noncommissioned officers.
962. Patrols are usually sent out from the advance party of an advance guard, the rear party of a rear guard, the outguards of an outpost, and the flank (extreme right or left) sections, companies or troops of a force in a fight, but they may be sent out from any part of a command.
The commander usually states how strong a patrol shall be.
963. Orders or Instructions—(a) The orders or instructions for a patrol must state clearly whenever possible:
1. Where the enemy is or is supposed to be.
2. Where friendly patrols or detachments are apt to be seen or encountered and what the plans are for the body from which the patrol is sent out.
3. What object the patrol is sent out to accomplish; what information is desired; what features are of special importance; the general direction to be followed and how long to stay out in case the enemy is not met.
4. Where reports are to be sent.
(b) It often happens that, in the hurry and excitement of a sudden encounter or other situation, there is no time or opportunity to give a patrol leader anything but the briefest instructions, such as "Take three men, corporal, and locate their (the enemy's) right flank." In such a case the patrol leader through his knowledge of the general principles of patrolling, combined with the exercise of his common sense, must determine for himself just what his commander wishes him to do.
964. Inspection of a Patrol Before Departure. Whenever there is time and conditions permit, which most frequently is not the case, a patrol leader carefully inspects his men to see that they are in good physical condition; that they have the proper equipment, ammunition and ration; that their canteens are full, their horses (if mounted) are in good condition, not of a conspicuous color and not given to neighing, and that there is nothing about the equipment to rattle or glisten. The patrol leader should also see that the men have nothing with them (maps, orders, letters, newspapers, etc.) that, if captured, would give the enemy valuable information. This is a more important inspection than that regarding the condition of the equipment.
Whenever possible the men for a patrol should be selected for their trustworthiness, experience and knack of finding their way in a strange country.
965. Preparing a Patrol for the Start. The patrol leader having received his orders and having asked questions about anything he does not fully understand, makes his estimate of the situation (See Par. 950.) He then selects the number of men he needs, if this has been left to him, inspects them and carefully explains to them the orders he has received and how he intends to carry out these orders, making sure the men understand the mission of the patrol. He names some prominent place along the route they are going to follow where every one will hasten if the patrol should become scattered.
For example: An infantry company has arrived at the town of York (See Elementary Map). Captain A, at 2 P. M., calls up Corporal B and three men of his squad.
Captain A: Corporal, hostile infantry is reported to be at Oxford. Nothing else has been heard of the enemy. The company remains here tonight. You will take these three men and reconnoiter about two miles north along this road (indicates the Valley Pike) for signs of a hostile advance in this direction.
Stay out until dusk.
Corporal C has been sent out that road (points east along the county road).
Send messages here. Do you understand?
Corporal B: Yes, sir; I am to—(here he practically repeats Captain A's orders, the three men listening). Is Corporal C to cover that hill (points toward Twin Hills)?
Captain A: No; you must cover that ground. Move out at once, corporal. (Corporal B quickly glances at the men and sees that they have their proper equipment.)
Corporal B (to his men): You heard the captain's orders. We will make for that hill (points to Twin Hills). Jones, I want you to go 150 yards in advance of me; Williams, follow me at 100 yards; Smith, you'll stay with me. Jones, you'll leave this road after crossing the creek and march on that clump of trees. I want both you and Williams to be on the alert and watch me every minute for signals. In case we become scattered, make for that hill (points to Twin Hills).
Private Jones: Corporal, shall I keep 150 yards from you or will you keep the correct distance?
Corporal B: You keep the correct distance from me. Forward, Jones.
Of course, the patrol leader makes all these preparations if he has time; but, as we have said before, there will be a great many occasions when he is required to start out so promptly that he will not have any time for the inspection described and he will have to make an estimate of the situation and give his detailed orders to the members of his patrol as they start off.
966. Co-ordination Before Departure. Every member of a patrol should notice for himself the direction taken and all landmarks that are passed, and every man should keep his eyes and ears open all the time. Before leaving an outpost position or other place to which it is to return, the patrol commander should "co-ordinate" himself—he should see where he is with respect to certain mountains, high buildings and other prominent objects, and after the patrol has left, he should frequently turn his head around and see what the starting point looks like from where he is. This will help him to find his way back without difficulty.
THE PRINCIPLES OF PATROLLING
967. Paragraphs 967 to 1015 describe the methods of leading a patrol—the points a patrol leader should fully understand. In other words, they state the principles of patrolling. When you first study this chapter, simply read over these principles without trying to memorize any of them. Whenever one of the principles is applied in the solution of any of the problems on patrolling given in this book you will generally find the number of the paragraph which states that principle enclosed in brackets. Turn back and study the paragraph referred to until you thoroughly understand its meaning and you feel sure that you know how to apply that principle whenever the occasion might arise in actual patrolling. Try to impress its common sense meaning (never the mere words) on your mind, so that when a situation arises requiring the sort of action indicated in the principle, YOU WILL NOT FAIL TO RECOGNIZE IT.
968. Formation of Patrols.
(a) Figure 1 gives some examples of various ways of forming patrols. These are merely examples for the purpose of giving a general idea of the arrangement of the men. In practice common sense must dictate to the patrol leader the best formation in each case.
(b) In very small patrols the leader is usually in advance where he can easily lead the patrol, though not always (See E, Figure 1.) The distance between men depends upon the character of the country and the situation. In L, Figure 1, it might be anywhere from 150 to 400 yards from the leading man to the last, the distance being greater in level or open country. Some such formation as G, Figure 1, could be used in going through high brush, woods, or over very open country.
(c) The men must be so arranged that each man will be within signaling distance of some member of the patrol and the escape of at least one man, in case of surprise, is certain.
It must be remembered that the patrol may have to march a long distance before it is expected that the enemy will be encountered, or it may have a mission that requires it to hurry to some distant point through very dangerous country. In such cases the patrol will probably have to follow the road in order to make the necessary speed, and it will not be possible for flankers to keep up this rate marching off the road. The formation in such cases would be something like those shown in F, II and O.
Marching off the road is always slow work, so when rapidity is essential, some safe formation for road travel is necessary, as in F, L and O.
If, from the road the country for, say one-half mile on each side, can be seen, there is absolutely no use in sending out flankers a few hundred yards from the road. Use common sense.
969. Rate of March. (a) Patrols should advance quickly and quietly; be vigilant and make all practicable use of cover. If rapid marching is necessary to accomplish the mission, then little attention can be paid to cover.
(b) Returning patrols, near their own lines, march at a walk, unless pressed by the enemy. A patrol should not, if possible, return over its outgoing route, as the enemy may have observed it and be watching for its return.
970. Halts. A patrol should be halted once every hour for about ten minutes, to allow the men to rest and relieve themselves. Whenever a halt is made one or two members of the patrol must advance a short distance ahead and keep a sharp lookout to the front and flanks.
971. Action Upon Meeting Hostile Patrol. If a patrol should see a hostile patrol, it is generally best to hide and let it go by, and afterwards look out for and capture any messenger that may be sent back from it with messages for the main body. And when sent back yourself with a message, be careful that the enemy does not play this trick on you—always keep your ears and eyes open.
972. Scattered Patrols. A scattered patrol reassembles at some point previously selected; if checked in one direction, it takes another; if cut off, it returns by a detour or forces its way through. As a last resort it scatters, so that at least one man may return with information.
Occasionally it is advisable for the leader to conceal his patrol and continue the reconnaissance with one or two men; in case of cavalry the leader and men thus detached should be well mounted. If no point of assembly was previously agreed upon, it is a good general rule to reassemble, if possible, at the last resting place.
973. Return by Different Route. A patrol should always make it a rule to return by a different route, as this may avoid its being captured by some of the enemy who saw it going out and are lying in wait for it.
974. Guard Against Being Cut off. When out patrolling always guard against being cut off. Always assume that any place that affords good cover is held by the enemy until you know that it is not, and be careful not to advance beyond it without first reconnoitering it; for, if you do, you may find yourself cut off when you try to return.
975. Night Work. Patrols far from their commands or in contact with the enemy, often remain out over night. In such cases they seek a place of concealment unknown to the inhabitants, proceeding thereto after nightfall or under cover. Opportunities for watering, feeding and rest must not be neglected, for there is no assurance that further opportunities will present themselves. When necessary the leader provides for subsistence by demand or purchase.
976. Civilians: In questioning civilians care must be taken not to disclose information that may be of value to the enemy. Strangers must not be allowed to go ahead of the patrol, as they might give the enemy notice of its approach. Patrol leaders are authorized to seize telegrams and mail matter, and to arrest individuals, reporting the facts as soon as possible.
977. Patrol Fighting. (a) A patrol sent out for information never fights unless it can only get its information by fighting or is forced to fight in order to escape. This principle is the one most frequently violated by patrol leaders, particularly in peace maneuvers. They forget their mission—the thing their commander sent them out to do—and begin fighting, thus doing harm and accomplishing no important results.
(b) A patrol sent out to drive off hostile detachments has to fight to accomplish its mission. Sometimes a patrol has orders both to gain information and to drive back hostile patrols. In this case it may be proper to avoid a fight at one moment and to seek a fight at another. The patrol leader must always think of his mission when deciding on the proper course to follow, and then use common sense.
978. Signals. The following should be clearly understood by members of a patrol:
Enemy in sight in small numbers: Hold the rifle above the head horizontally.
Enemy in force: Same as preceding, raising and lowering the rifle several times.
Take cover: A downward motion of the hand.
Other signals may be agreed upon before starting, but they must be simple and familiar to the men; complicated signals must be avoided. Signals must be used cautiously, so as not to convey information to the enemy.
The patrol leader should see that all his men thoroughly understand that whenever they are away from the center of the patrol they must look to the nearest man for signals at least once every minute. It should never be necessary for the patrol leader to call to a man in order to get his attention. All movements of men at a distance should be regulated by signals and the men should constantly be on the lookout for these signals.
979. Messages. (a) The most skillful patrol leading is useless unless the leader fully understands when to send a message and how to write it.
(b) A message, whether written or verbal, should be short and clear, resembling a telegram. If it is a long account it will take too much time to write, be easily misunderstood, and if verbal, the messenger will usually forget parts of it and confuse the remainder.
(c) Always state when and where things are seen or reported. If haste is required, do not use up valuable moments writing down the day of the month, etc. These data are essential as a matter of future record for formal telegrams and should be put in patrol messages only when time is abundant, but never slight the essential points of information that will give valuable help to your chief. Always try to put yourself in his place—not seeing what you see and read your message—and then ask yourself, What will he want to know?
(d) The exact location of the enemy should be stated; whether deployed, marching or in camp, his strength, arm of the service (cavalry, infantry or artillery), and any other detail that you think would be valuable information for your chief. In giving your location do not refer to houses, streets, etc., that your chief in the rear has no knowledge of. Give your direction and distance from some point he knows of or, if you have a map like his, you can give your map location.
(e) Be sure your message is accurate. This does not mean that something told you should not be reported, but it should be reported, not as a fact, but as it is—a statement by somebody else. It is well to add any information about your informant, such as his apparent honesty, the probability of his having correct information, etc.—this may help your chief.
(f) A message should always end with a short statement of what you are going to do next. For example: "Will remain in observation," "Will continue north," "Will work around to their rear," etc. Time permitting, the bearer of a verbal message should always be required to repeat it before leaving.
(g) The following is a reproduction of a message blank used in field service. The instructions on the envelope are also given. A patrol leader will usually be furnished with a pad of these blanks:
The heading "From" is filled in with the name of the detachment sending the information, as "Officer's Patrol, 7th Cav". Messages sent on the same day from the same source to the same person are numbered consecutively. The address is written briefly, thus, "Commanding Officer, Outpost, 1st Brigade". In the signature the writer's surname only and rank are given.
This blank is four and a half by eight inches, including the margin on the left for binding. The back is ruled in squares and provided with scales for use in making simple sketches explanatory of the message. It is issued by the Signal Corps in blocks of forty with duplicating sheets. The regulation envelope is three by five and one fourth inches and is printed as follows:
980. 1. Verbal. "Four hostile infantrymen one mile north of our camp, moving south. I will continue north."
2. Verbal. "About one hundred hostile infantrymen two miles north of our camp at two o'clock, marching south. Will observe them."
3. Verbal. "Long column of troops marching west in Sandy Creek Valley at two o'clock. Will report details later."
4. Verbal. "Just fired on by cavalry patrol near Baker's Pond. Will work to their rear."
Patrol from Support No 2. Lone Hill, 26 Mch. 11, 8-15 A. M., No. 1.
C. O., Support No. 2.
See hostile troop of cavalry halted at x-roads, one mile S. of our outguards. Nothing else in sight. Will remain here in observation.
6. Written (very hurriedly).
Lone Hill, 8-30, No 2.
C. O., Support No. 2.
Column of about 300 hostile cavalry trotting north towards hostile troop of cavalry now halted at x-roads one mile south of our outguards. Will remain here.
Patrol from 5th Inf., S. E. corner Boling Woods, 3 Apl. 11, 2-10 P. M., No. 2.
Adjutant, 5th Inf., near Baker House.
Extreme right of hostile line ends at R. R. cut N. E. of BAKER'S POND. Entrenchments run S. from cut along crest of ridge. Line appears to be strongly held. Can see no troops in rear of line. Will reconnoiter their rear.
8. Written (from cavalry patrol far to front).
Patrol from Tr. B, 7th Cav., Boling, 14 June, 12, 10 A. M., No. 3.
To C. O., Tr. B, 7th Cav., S. on Chester Pike.
No traces of enemy up to this point. Telegraph operator here reports wires running north from Boling were cut somewhere at 8-30 A. M. Inhabitants appear friendly. Will proceed north.
9. Written (from cavalry patrol far to front).
Patrol from Tr B, 7th Cav., Oxford, 8 July, 12, 10-15 A. M., No. 2.
To C. O., 1st Sq. 7th Cav., On Valley Pike, S. of York.
Bearer has canteen found in road here, marked "85 CAV.—III CORPS." Inhabitants say no enemy seen here. They appear hostile and unreliable. No telegraph operator or records remain here. Roads good macadam. Water and haystacks plentiful. Will move rapidly on towards CHESTER.
Patrol from Support No. 3, On Ry. 3/4 mi. N. of County Road, 2 Aug. 12, 9-15 P. M., No. 1.
C. O., Support No. 2, Near Maxey House.
R. R. crosses creek here on 80-foot steel trestle. Hostile detachment is posted at N. end. Strength unknown. Creek 5 ft. deep by 60 ft. wide, with steep banks, 5 ft. high. Flows through meadow land. Scattered trees along banks. R. R. approaches each end of trestle on 10-foot fill. R. R. switch to N. E. 700 yds. S. of bridge. (See sketch on back.) I will cross creek to N. of bridge.
981. A message should be sent as soon as the enemy is first seen or reported. Of course, if the enemy is actually known to be in the vicinity and his patrols have been seen, etc., you must by all means avoid wasting your men by sending them back with information about small hostile patrols or other things you know your chief is already aware of and did not specifically tell you to hunt for.
If you have properly determined in your own mind what your mission is then you will have no trouble in deciding when to send messages. For example, suppose your orders are "To reconnoiter along that ridge and determine if the enemy is present in strength," and you sight a patrol of eight men. You would waste no time or men sending back any message about the patrol, for your mission is to find out if strong bodies of the enemy are about. But suppose that while working under the above orders you located a hostile battalion of infantry—a large body of troops. In this case you would surely send a detailed message, as your mission is to determine if the enemy was present in strength.
Again, suppose that while moving towards the ridge indicated by your chief in his orders, you saw his force suddenly and heavily fired on from a new and apparently unexpected quarter, not a great distance from you, but not on the ridge referred to. You know or believe none of your patrols are out in that neighborhood. In this case you should realize instantly, without any order, that your mission had changed and you should hasten to discover the size and position of this new enemy and send the information back to your chief, first notifying him of your intended change of direction.
Never forget your mission in the excitement of leading your own little force.
982. Absence of the Enemy. It is frequently just as important to send a message to your chief that the enemy is not in a certain locality as it is to report his actual whereabouts. You must determine from your mission when this is the case. For example, if you were ordered "To patrol beyond that woods and see if any hostile columns are moving in that direction," and on reaching the far side of the woods you had a good view of the country for some distance beyond, it would be very important to send a message back telling your chief that you could see, say, one-half mile beyond the woods and there was no enemy in sight. This information would be of the greatest importance to him. He might feel free to move troops immediately from that vicinity to some more dangerous place. You would then continue your reconnaissance further to the front.
Suggestions for Gaining Information About the Enemy
983. Enemy on the March. (a) The patrol should observe the march of the column from a concealed position that hostile patrols or flankers are not apt to search (avoid conspicuous places). Always try to discover if one hostile detachment is followed by another—if what can be seen appears to be an advance guard of a larger body not yet in view. The distance between the detachments, their relative size, etc., is always important.
(b) Estimating Strength of Column. The strength of a column may be estimated from the length of time it takes to pass a selected point. As infantry in column of squads occupies half a yard per man, cavalry one yard per horse and artillery in single file twenty yards per gun or caisson (ammunition wagon), a selected point would be passed in one minute by 175 infantry; 110 cavalry (at a walk); 200 cavalry at a trot and 5 guns or caissons. If marching in columns of twos, take one-half of the above figures.
(c) Dust. The direction of march, strength and composition (infantry, cavalry or artillery) of a column can be closely estimated from the length and character of the cloud of dust that it makes. Dust from infantry hangs low; from cavalry it is higher, disperses more quickly, and, if the cavalry moves rapidly, the upper part of the cloud is thinner; from artillery and wagons, it is of unequal height and disconnected. The effect of the wind blowing the dust must be considered.
(d) Trail of Column. Evenly trodden ground indicates infantry; prints of horseshoes mean cavalry and deep and wide wheel tracks indicate artillery. If the trail is fresh, the column passed recently; if narrow, the troops felt secure and were marching in column of route; if broad they expected an action and were prepared to deploy. A retreating army makes a broad trail across fields, especially at the start.
Always remember that the smallest or most insignificant things, such as the number of a regiment or a discarded canteen or collar ornament, may give the most valuable information to a higher commander. For example, the markings on a discarded canteen or knapsack might prove to a general commanding an army that a certain hostile division, corps, or other force was in front of him when he thought it had not been sent into the field. The markings on the canteen would convey little or no meaning to the patrol leader, but if he realized his duty he would take care to report the facts. Cavalry patrols working far ahead of the foot troops should be most careful to observe and report on such details.
(e) Reflection of Weapons. If brilliant, the troops are marching toward you, otherwise they are probably marching away from you.
Enemy in Position. (a) If an outpost line, the patrol locates the line of sentinels, their positions, the location and strength of the outguards and, as far as possible, all troops in rear. The location of the flanks of the line, whether in a strong or weak position, is of the utmost importance. Places where the line may be most easily penetrated should be searched for and the strength and routes of the hostile patrols observed.
As outposts are usually changed at dawn this is the best time to reconnoiter their positions.
(b) A hostile line of battle is usually hard to approach, but its extent, where the flanks rest and whether or not other troops are in rear of these flanks, should be most carefully determined.
Information as to the flanks of any force, the character of the country on each flank, etc., is always of the greatest importance, because the flanks are the weakest portions of a line. In attacking an enemy an effort is almost always made to bring the heaviest fire or blow to bear on one of his flanks. Naturally all information about this most vulnerable part of an enemy is of great importance.
984. Prisoners. When a patrol is ordered to secure prisoners they should be questioned as soon as captured, while still excited and their replies can in a way be verified. Their answers should be written down (unknown to them) and sent back with them as a check on what they may say on second thought.
Prisoners should always be questioned as to the following points: What regiment, brigade, division, etc., they belong to; how long they have been in position, on the march, etc.; how much sickness in their organization; whether their rations are satisfactory; who commands their troops, etc. Always try to make the prisoners think the questions are asked out of mere curiosity.
985. Camp Noises. The rumble of vehicles, cracking of whips, neighing of horses, braying of mules and barking of dogs often indicate the arrival or departure of troops. If the noise remains in the same place and new fires are lighted, it is probable that reenforcements have arrived. If the noise grows more indistinct, the troops are probably withdrawing. If, added to this, the fires appear to be dying out, and the enemy seems to redouble the vigilance of the outposts, the indications of retreat are strong.
986. Abandoned Camps. (a) Indications are found in the remains of camp fires. They will show, by their degree of freshness, whether much or little time elapsed since the enemy left the place, and the quantity of cinders will give an indication of the length of time he occupied it. They will also furnish a means of estimating his force approximately, ten men being allowed to each fire.
(b) Other valuable indications in regard to the length of time the position was occupied and the time when it was abandoned may be found in the evidence of care or haste in the construction of huts or shelters, and in the freshness of straw, grain, dung or the entrails of slaughtered animals. Abandoned clothing, equipments or harness will give a clue to the arms and regiments composing a retreating force. Dead horses lying about, broken weapons, discarded knapsacks, abandoned and broken-down wagons, etc., are indications of the fatigue and demoralization of the command. Bloody bandages lying about, and many fresh graves, are evidences that the enemy is heavily burdened with wounded or sick.
987. Flames or Smoke. If at night the flames of an enemy's camp fires disappear and reappear, something is moving between the observer and the fires. If smoke as well as flame is visible, the fires are very near. If the fires are very numerous and lighted successively, and if soon after being lighted they go out it is probable the enemy is preparing a retreat and trying to deceive us. If the fires burn brightly and clearly at a late hour, the enemy has probably gone, and has left a detachment to keep the fires burning. If, at an unusual time, much smoke is seen ascending from an enemy's camp, it is probable that he is engaged in cooking preparatory to moving off.
If lines of smoke are seen rising at several points along a railway line in the enemy's rear, it may be surmised that the railroad is being destroyed by burning the crossties, and that a retreat is planned.
988. Limits of vision. (a) On a clear day a man with good vision can see:
At a distance of 9 to 12 miles, church spires and towers; At a distance of 5 to 7 miles, windmills; At a distance of 2-1/2 miles, chimneys of light color; At a distance of 2,000 yards, trunks of large trees; At a distance of 1,000 yards, single posts; At 500 yards the panes of glass may be distinguished in a window.
(b) Troops are visible at 2,000 yards, at which distance a mounted man looks like a mere speck; at 1,200 yards infantry can be distinguished from cavalry; at 1,000 yards a line of men looks like a broad belt; at 600 yards the files of a squad can be counted, and at 400 yards the movements of the arms and legs can be plainly seen.
(c) The larger, brighter or better lighted an object is, the nearer it seems. An object seems nearer when it has a dark background than when it has a light one, and closer to the observer when the air is clear than when it is raining, snowing, foggy or the atmosphere is filled with smoke. An object looks farther off when the observer is facing the sun than when he has his back to it. A smooth expanse of snow, grain fields or water makes distances seem shorter than they really are.
Suggestions for the Reconnaissance of Various Positions and Localities
989. Cross roads should be reconnoitered in each direction for a distance depending on how rapidly the patrol must continue on, how far from the main road the first turn or high point is, etc. The main body of the patrol usually remains halted near the crossroads, while flankers do the reconnoitering.
990. Heights. In reconnoitering a height, if the patrol is large enough to admit of detaching them, one or two men climb the slope on either flank, keeping in sight of the patrol, if possible. In any case, one man moves cautiously up the hill, followed by the others in the file at such distance that each keeps his predecessor in view.
991. Defiles. On approaching a defile, if time permits, the heights on either side are reconnoitered by flankers before the patrol enters. If the heights are inaccessible or time is urgent, the patrol passes through, in single file at double time. The same method is adopted in reconnoitering a railroad cut or sunken road.
992. Bridges and Fords. At a bridge or ford, the front of the patrol is contracted so as to bring all the men to the passage. The leading patrolers cross first and reconnoiter the far side to prevent the possibility of the enemy surprising the main body of the patrol as it is crossing the bridge. The patrol then crosses rapidly, and takes up a proper formation. A bridge is first examined to see that it is safe and has not been tampered with by the enemy.
993. Woods. The patrol enters a wood in skirmishing order, the intervals being as great as may be consistent with mutual observation and support on the part of the members of the patrol. On arriving at the farther edge of the wood, the patrol remains concealed and carefully looks about before passing out to open ground. When there is such a growth of underbrush as to make this method impracticable, and it is necessary to enter a wood by a road, the road is reconnoitered as in case of defile, though not usually at double time.
994. Enclosures. In reconnoitering an enclosure, such as a garden, park or cemetery, the leading patrolers first examine the exterior, to make sure that the enemy is not concealed behind one of the faces of the enclosure. They then proceed to examine the interior. Great care is taken in reconnoitering and entering an enclosure to avoid being caught in a confined or restricted space by the enemy.
995. Positions. In approaching a position, but one man advances (one is less liable to be detected than two or more), and he crawls cautiously toward the crest of the hill or edge of the wood or opening of the defile, while the others remain concealed in the rear until he signals them to advance.
996. Houses. When a house is approached by a patrol, it is first reconnoitered from a distance, and if nothing suspicious is seen, it is then approached by one or two men, the rest of the party remaining concealed in observation. If the patrol is large enough to admit of it, four men approach the house, so as to examine the front and back entrances at the same time. Only one man enters the door, the others remaining outside to give the alarm, should a party of the enemy be concealed in the house. The patrol does not remain in the vicinity of the house any longer than necessary, as information relative to its numbers and movements might be given to the enemy, if a hostile party should subsequently visit the place. Farmhouses are searched for newspapers and the inhabitants questioned. If necessary to go up to a building, wood or hill, where an enemy is likely to be concealed, run for the last couple of hundred yards, having your rifle ready for instant use, and make for some point that will afford you cover when you get close up. In the case of a building, for instance, you would make for one of the corners. Such a maneuver would probably be disconcerting to anyone who might be lying in wait for you, and would be quite likely to cause them to show themselves sooner than they intended, and thus give you a chance to turn around and get away. If they fired on you while you were approaching at a run, they would not be very likely to hit you.
997. Villages. (a) In approaching a small village one or two men are sent in to reconnoiter and one around each flank, but the main body does not enter until the scouts have reported. In small patrols of three to six men so much dispersion is not safe and only one section of the village can be reconnoitered at a time.
(b) If the presence of the enemy is not apparent, the patrol enters the village. A suitable formation would be in single file at proper distance, each man being on the opposite side of the street from his predecessor, thus presenting a more difficult target for hostile fire and enabling the men to watch all windows.
(c) If the patrol is strong enough, it seizes the postoffice, telegraph office and railroad stations, and secures all important papers, such as files of telegrams sent and received, instructions to postmasters, orders of town mayor, etc., that may be there. If the patrol is part of the advance guard, it seizes the mayor and postmaster of the place and turns them over to the commander of the vanguard with the papers seized.
(d) While searching a village sentinels are placed at points of departure to prevent any of the inhabitants from leaving. Tall buildings and steeples are ascended and an extensive view of the surrounding country obtained.
(e) At night a village is more cautiously approached by a small party than by day. The patrol glides through back alleys, across gardens, etc., rather than along the main street. If there are no signs of the enemy, it makes inquiry. If no light is seen, and it seems imprudent to rouse any of the people, the patrol watches and captures one of the inhabitants, and gets from him such information as he may possess.
(f) The best time for the patrol to approach a village is at early dawn, when it is light enough to see, but before the inhabitants are up. It is dangerous in the extreme for a small patrol to enter a village unless it is certain that it is not occupied by the enemy, for the men could be shot down by fire from the windows, cellarways, etc., or entrapped and captured. As a rule large towns and cities are not entered by small patrols, but are watched from the outside, as a small force can not effectively reconnoiter and protect itself in such a place.
Facts Which Should Be Obtained by Patrols Regarding Certain Objects
998. Roads. Their direction, their nature (macadamized, corduroy plank, dirt, etc.), their condition of repair, their grade, the nature of crossroads, and the points where they leave the main roads; their borders (woods, hedges, fences or ditches), the places at which they pass through defiles, cross heights or rivers, and where they intersect railroads, their breadth (whether suitable for column of fours or platoons, etc.).
999. Railroads. Their direction, gauge, the number of tracks, stations and junctions, their grade, the length and height of the cuts, embankments and tunnels.
1000. Bridges. Their position, their width and length, their construction (trestle, girder, etc.), material (wood, brick, stone or iron), the roads and approaches on each bank.
1001. Rivers and Other Streams. Their direction, width and depth, the rapidity of the current, liability to sudden rises and the highest and lowest points reached by the water, as indicated by drift wood, etc., fords, the nature of the banks, kinds, position and number of islands at suitable points of passage, heights in the vicinity and their command over the banks.
1002. Woods. Their situation, extent and shape; whether clear or containing underbrush; the number and extent of "clearings" (open spaces); whether cut up by ravines or containing marshes, etc.; nature of roads passing through them.
1003. Canals. Their direction, width and depth; condition of tow-paths; locks and means of protecting or destroying them.
1004. Telegraphs. Whether they follow railroads or common roads; stations, number of wires.
1005. Villages. Their situation (on a height, in a valley or on a plain); nature of the surrounding country; construction of the houses, nature (straight or crooked) and width of streets; means of defense.
1006. Defiles. Their direction; whether straight or crooked; whether heights on either side are accessible or inaccessible; nature of ground at each extremity; width (frontage of column that can pass through).
1007. Ponds and Marshes. Means of crossing; defensive use that might be made of them as obstacles against enemy; whether the marshy grounds are practicable for any or all arms.
1008. Springs and Rivulets. Nature of approaches; whether water is drinkable and abundant.
1009. Valleys. Extent and nature; towns, villages, hamlets, streams, roads and paths therein; obstacles offered by or in the valley, to the movement of troops.
1010. Heights. Whether slopes are easy or steep; whether good defensive positions are offered; whether plateau is wide or narrow; whether passages are easy or difficult; whether the ground is broken or smooth, wooded or clear.
Suggestions for Patrols Employed in Executing Demolition
(Destruction or blocking of bridges, railroads, etc.)
1011. Patrols never execute any demolition unless specifically ordered to do so. Demolition may be of two different characters: Temporary demolition, such as cutting telegraph wires in but a few places or merely burning the flooring of bridges, removing a few rails from a track, etc., and permanent demolition, such as cutting down an entire telegraph line, completely destroying bridges, blowing in tunnels, etc. Only temporary demolition will be dealt with in this book.
1012. Telegraph Line. To temporarily disable telegraph lines, connect up different wires close to the glass insulators, wrap a wire around all the wires and bury its ends in the ground (this grounds or short circuits the wire), or cut all the wires in one or two places.
1013. Railroads. To temporarily disable railroads remove the fish plates (the plates that join the rails together at the ends) at each end of a short section of track, preferably upon an embankment, then have as many men as available raise the track on one side until the ties stand on end and turn the section of track so that it will fall down the embankment; or, cut out rails by a charge of dynamite or gun cotton placed against the web and covered up with mud or damp clay. Eight to twelve ounces of explosive is sufficient. Or blow in the sides of deep cuts or blow down embankments. Bridges, culverts, tunnels, etc., are never destroyed except on a written order of the commander-in-chief.
1014. Wagon Road. (a) Bridges can be rendered temporarily useless by removing the flooring, or, in the case of steel bridges, by burning the flooring (if obtainable, pour tar or kerosene on flooring), particularly if there is not time to remove it.
Short culverts may sometimes be blown in.
A hastily constructed barricade across a bridge or in a cut of trees, wagons, etc, may be sufficient in some cases where only the temporary check of hostile cavalry or artillery is desired.
(b) The road bed may be blocked by digging trenches not less than thirty feet wide and six feet deep, but as this would take a great deal of time patrols would rarely be charged with such work.
1015. Report on Return of Patrol. On returning the patrol leaders should make a short verbal or written report, almost always the former, briefly recounting the movements of the patrol, the information obtained of the enemy, a description of the country passed over and of friendly troops encountered. Of course, this is not practicable when the situation is changing rapidly and a returning patrol is immediately engaged in some new and pressing duty.
Model Reports of Patrol Leaders
1016. 1. Verbal.
Patrol Leader (Corporal B): Sir, Corporal B reports back with his patrol.
Captain A: I received two messages from you, corporal. What else did you discover?
Corporal B: That was a regiment of infantry, sir, with one battalion thrown out as advance guard. The main body of two battalions went into bivouac at the crossroads and the advance guard formed an outpost line along the big creek two miles south of here.
Captain A: Give me an account of your movements.
Corporal B: We followed this main road south to the creek, where we avoided a mounted patrol moving north on the road at 1-45 P. M., and then reconnoitered the valley from a ridge west of the road. We followed the ridge south for half a mile to a point where we could see a road crossing the valley and the main road at right angles, three miles south of here. There we halted, and at 2:20 what seemed to be the point and advance party (about forty men) of an infantry advance guard appeared, marching north up this road, the head at the crossroad. I then sent you message No. 1 by Private Brown.
In fifteen minutes three companies had appeared 600 yards in rear of the advance party, and I could see a heavy, low column of dust about one-half mile further to the rear. Message No. 2 was then sent in by Privates Baker and Johnson, and to avoid several hostile patrols, I drew off further to the northwest.
The advance guard then halted and established an outpost line along the south of the creek, two miles from here. The cloud of dust proved to be two more battalions and a wagon train. These two battalions went into bivouac on opposite sides of this road at the crossroads and sent out strong patrols east and west on the crossroad. Five wagons went forward to the outpost battalion and the reserve built cook fires.
As Private Rush, here, was the only man I had left, we started back, sketching the valley, ridge and positions of the main body and outpost. Here is the sketch, sir. The fields are all cut crops or meadow.
We sighted two foot patrols from the outpost, moving north about a mile from here, one following the road and one further east.
I did not see any of our patrols.
That is all, sir.
Report of Sergeant Wm. James' Patrol of Five Men
Support No. 1, Outpost of 6th Inf., Near Dixon, 22 Aug. 12, 2-30 to 5 P. M.
The patrol followed the timber along the creek for one mile S. from our outguards and leaving the creek bottom moved 1/2 mile S. E. to the wooded hill (about 800 ft. high), visible from our lines.
From this hill top the valley to the east (about one mile wide) could be fairly well observed. No signs of the enemy were seen and a message, No. 1, was sent back by Private Russel.
A wagon road runs N. and S. through the valley, bordered by four or five farms with numerous orchards and cleared fields. Both slopes of the valley are heavily wooded.
The patrol then moved S. W., until it struck the macadam pike which runs N. and S., through our lines. Proceeding S. 400 yds. on this pike to a low hill a farmer, on foot, was met. Said he lived one mile further S.; was looking for some loose horses; that four hostile cavalrymen, from the east, stopped at his farm at noon, drank some milk, took oats for their horses, inquired the way to Dixon and rode off in that direction within fifteen minutes. He said they were the first hostiles he had seen; that they told nothing about themselves, and they and their horses looked in good condition. Farmer appeared friendly and honest.
The patrol then returned to our lines following the pike about two miles. Road is in good condition, low hedges and barbed wire fences, stone culverts and no bridges in the two miles. Bordering country is open and gently rolling farming country and all crops are in. A sketch is attached to this report. None of our patrols was seen.
Respectfully submitted, Wm. James, Sergeant, Co. A, 6th Infy.
Problem in Patrol Leading and Patrolling
1017. In studying or solving tactical problems on a map you must remember that unless you carefully work out your own solution to the problem before looking at the given solution, you will practically make no progress.
It is best, if your time permits, to write out your solutions, and when you read over the given solutions, compare the solution of each point with what you thought of that same point when you were solving the problem, and consider why you did just what you did. Without this comparison much of the lasting benefit of the work is lost.
In some of these problems both the problem and solutions are presented in dialogue form so as to give company officers examples of the best method of conducting the indoor instruction of their men in minor tactics. It also gives an example of how to conduct a tactical walk out in the country, simply looking at the ground itself, instead of a map hanging on the wall. The enlarged Elementary Map referred to in Par. 954, is supposed to be used in this instruction as well as in the war games.
Problem No. 1. (Infantry)
1018. The Elementary Map (scale 12 inches to the mile) being hung on the wall, about two sergeants and two squads of the company are seated in a semicircle facing it, and the captain is standing beside the map with a pointer (a barrack cleaning rod makes an excellent pointer).
Captain: We will suppose that our company has just reached the village of York. The enemy is reported to be in the vicinity of Boling and Oxford (he points out on the map all places as they are mentioned). We are in the enemy's country.
Corporal James, I call you up at 3 P. M. and give you these orders: "Nothing has been seen of the enemy yet. Our nearest troops are three miles south of here. Take four men from your squad and reconnoiter along this road (County Road) into the valley on the other side of that ridge over there (points to the ridge just beyond the cemetery), and see if you can discover anything about the enemy. Report back here by 5 o'clock. I am sending a patrol out the Valley Pike." Now, Corporal, state just what you would do.
Corporal James: I would go to my squad, fall in Privates Amos, Barlow, Sharp and Brown; see that they had full canteens; that their arms were all right; that they were not lame or sick and I would have them leave their blanket rolls, haversacks and entrenching tools with the company. (Par. 964.)
I would then give these orders (Par. 963); "We are ordered out on patrol duty. Nothing has been seen of the enemy yet. Our nearest troops are three miles south of here. We are ordered to reconnoiter along this road into the valley on the other side of that ridge, and see if we can discover anything about the enemy. Another patrol is going up the Valley Pike. Reports are to be sent here. In case we are scattered we will meet at the woods on the hill over there (indicates the clump of trees just west of Mills' farm).
"I will go ahead. Amos, follow about fifty yards behind me. Barlow, you and Sharp keep about 100 yards behind Amos, and Brown will follow you at half that distance. All keep on the opposite side of the road from the man ahead of you." (Par. 968.)
Captain: All right, Corporal, now describe what route you will follow.
Corporal James: The patrol will keep to the County Road until the crest of the ridge near the stone wall is reached, when what I see in the valley beyond will decide my route for me.
Captain: How about the woods west of the stone walls?
Corporal James: If I did not see anyone from our patrol on the Valley Pike reconnoitering there, I would give Barlow these orders just after we have examined the cemetery, when the patrol would have temporarily closed up somewhat: "Barlow, take Sharp and examine that little woods over there. Join us at the top of this hill." I would then wave to Brown to close up and would proceed to the hill top.
Captain: Barlow what do you do?
Private Barlow: I would say, "Sharp, out straight across for that woods. I will follow you." I would follow about 100 yards behind him. When he reached the edge of the woods I would signal him to halt by holding up my left hand. After I had closed up to about fifty yards I would say to him, "Go into the woods and keep me in sight." I would walk along the edge of the woods where I could see Sharp and the corporal's patrol on the road at the same time.
Captain: That is all right, Barlow. Corporal, you should have instructed Amos or Brown to keep close watch on Barlow for signals.
Corporal James: I intended to watch him myself.
Captain: No, you would have enough to do keeping on the alert for what was ahead of you. Now describe how you lead the patrol to the top of the hill, by the stone wall.
Corporal James: When I reached the crest I would hold up my hand for the patrol to halt and would cautiously advance and look ahead into the valley. If I saw nothing suspicious I would wave to the men to close up and say, "Amos, go to that high ground about 250 yards over there (indicates the end of the nose made by the 60-foot contour just north of the east end of the stone wall), and look around the country." I would keep Brown behind the crest, watching Barlow's movements.
Captain: Now, Corporal, Amos reaches the point you indicated and Barlow and Sharp join you. What do you do?
Corporal James: Can I see the Steel Bridge over Sandy Creek?
Captain: No, it is three-fourths of a mile away and the trees along the road by Smith's hide it. You can see the cut in the road east of the bridge and the Smith house, but the crossroads are hidden by the trees bordering the roads. You see nothing suspicious. It is a clear, sunny afternoon. The roads are dusty and the trees in full foliage. The valley is principally made up of fields of cut hay, corn stubble and meadow land.
Corporal James: Does Private Amos give me any information?
Captain: No, he makes you no signals. You see him sitting behind a bush looking northwest, down the valley.
Corporal James: I would say, "Barlow, head straight across to where that line of trees meets the road (indicates the point where the lane from Mills' farm joins the Chester Pike). Sharp, keep about fifty yards to my right rear." I would follow Barlow at 150 yards and when I had reached the bottom land I would wave to Amos to follow us.
Captain: How about Brown?
Corporal James: I had already given him his orders to follow as rear guard and he should do so without my telling him.
Captain: Amos, what do you do when you see the corporal wave to you?
Private Amos: I would go down the hill and join him.
Captain: No, you could do better than that. You are too far from the corporal for him to signal you to do much of anything except stay there or join him. You should join him, but you should not go straight down to him. You should head so as to strike the Mills' Lane about 100 yards east of the house and then go down the lane, first looking along the stone wall. In this way you save time in reconnoitering the ground near the Mills' farm and protect the patrol against being surprised by an enemy hidden by the line of trees, or the wall along the lane. You are not disobeying your orders but just using common sense in following them out and thinking about what the corporal is trying to do.
Now, Corporal, why didn't you go to the Smith house and find out if the people there had seen anything of the enemy?
Corporal James: You said we were in the enemy's country, sir, so I thought it best to avoid the inhabitants until I found I could not get information in any other way. I intended first to see if I could locate any enemy around here, and if not, to stop at houses on my return. In this way I would be gone before the people could send any information to the enemy about my patrol.
Captain: Barlow reaches the Chester Pike where the Mills' lane leaves it. You are about 150 yards in his rear. Sharp is 50 yards off to your right rear, Amos 100 yards to your left rear and Brown 50 yards behind you. Just as Barlow starts to climb over the barbed wire fence into the Chester Pike you see him drop down on the ground. He signals, "Enemy in sight." Tell me quickly what would you do?
Corporal James: I would wave my hand for all to lie down, and I would hasten forward, stooping over as I ran, until I was about twenty yards from him, when I would crawl forward to the fence, close by him. Just before I reached him I would ask him what he saw.
Captain: He replies, "There are some hostile foot soldiers coming up this road."
Corporal James: I would crawl forward and look.
Captain: You see three or four men, about 500 yards north of you, coming up the Chester Pike. They are scattered out.
Corporal James: I would say, "Crawl into the lane, keep behind the stone wall, watch those fellows, and work your way to that farm" (indicates the Mills' farm). I would start towards the Mills' farm myself, under cover of the trees along the lane and would wave to the other men to move rapidly west, towards the hills.
Captain: Why didn't you try to hide near where you were and allow the hostile men to pass?
Corporal James: There does not seem to be any place to hide near there that a patrol would not probably examine.
Captain: What is your plan now?
Corporal James: I want to get my patrol up to that small woods near the Mills' farm, but I hardly expect to be able to get them up to that point without their being seen. In any event, I want them well back from the road where they can lie down and not be seen by the enemy when he passes.
Captain: You succeed in collecting your patrol in the woods without their being seen, and you see four foot soldiers in the road at the entrance to the land. One man starts up the lane, the others remaining on the road.
Corporal James: I say, "Brown, go through these woods and hurry straight across to York. You should be able to see the village from the other side of the woods. Report to the captain that a hostile patrol of four foot men is working south up the valley, two miles northeast of York. We will go further north. Repeat what I have told you." (Par. 979.)
Captain: Why didn't you send this message before?
Corporal James: Because we were moving in the same direction that the messenger would have had to go, and, by waiting a very few minutes, I was able to tell whether it was a mere patrol or the point of an advance guard.
Captain: Do you think it correct to send a messenger back with news about a small patrol?
Corporal James: Ordinarily it would be wrong, but as nothing has been seen of the enemy until now, this first news is important because it proves to the Captain that the enemy really is in this neighborhood, which it seems to me is a very important thing for him to know and what my mission required me to do. (Par. 981.)
Captain: What are you going to do now, Corporal?
Corporal James: We have traveled about two miles and stopped frequently, so it must be about 4 o'clock. It is one and one-third miles back to York, where I should arrive about 5 o'clock. It would take me twenty-five minutes to go from here to York, so I have about thirty-five minutes left before 5 o'clock. This will permit me to go forward another mile and still be able to reach York on time. It is two-thirds of a mile to the Mason farm, and if the hostile patrol appears to be going on, I will start for that point. Did anyone at the Mills' farm see us?
Captain: No, but tell me first why you do not go along this high ground that overlooks the valley?
Corporal James: Because our patrol that started out the Valley Pike is probably near Twin Hills and I want to cover other country. The orchard at Mason's would obstruct my view from the hills.
Captain: The hostile patrol goes on south. Describe briefly your next movements.
Corporal James: I lead my patrol over to Mason's and, concealing two of the men so that both roads and the house can be watched, I take one man and reconnoiter around the farm yard and go up to the house to question the inhabitants. (Par. 996.)
Captain: You find one woman there who says some other soldiers, on foot, passed there a few minutes ago, marching south. She gives you no other information about the enemy or country.
Corporal James: I would send Amos over to see how deep and wide Sandy Creek is (Par. 1001.) When he returned I would take the patrol over to Twin Hills, follow the ridge south to the stone wall on the County Road, watching the valley for signs of the hostile patrol, and follow the road back to York; then make my report to the Captain, telling him where I had gone, all I had seen, including a description of the country. If I had not been hurried, I would have made a sketch of the valley. I can make a rough one after I get in. (Par. 1015.)
Captain: Suppose on your way back you saw hostile troops appearing on the County Road, marching west over Sandy Ridge. Would you stay out longer or would you consider that you should reach Oxford by 5 o'clock?
Corporal James: I would send a message back at once, and remain out long enough to find out the strength and probable intention of the new enemy.
Captain (to one platoon of his troop of cavalry): We will suppose that this troop has just (9 A. M.) arrived in Boling (Elementary Map) on a clear, dry, summer day. The enemy is supposed to be near Salem and we have seen several of his patrols this morning on our march south to Boling. Sergeant Allen, I call you up and give you these instructions: "Take Corporal Burt's squad (eight men) and reconnoiter south by this road (indicates the Boling-Morey house road) to Salem. I will take the troop straight south to Salem and you will join it there about 10:15. It is four and one-half miles to Salem. Start at once." (You have no map.)
Sergeant Allen: I would like to know just what the Captain wishes my patrol to do. (Par. 965.)
Captain: We will suppose that this is one of the many occasions in actual campaign where things must be done quickly. Where there is no time for detailed orders. You know that the troop has been marching south towards Salem where the enemy is supposed to be. You also know we have seen several of his patrols. I have told you what the troop is going to do, and from all this you should be able to decide what your mission is in this case. We will, therefore, consider that there is no time to give you more detailed orders, and you have to decide for yourself. Of course, if you had failed to hear just what I said, then, in spite of the necessity for haste, I would repeat my instructions to you. (Par. 963.)
Sergeant Allen: I would ride over to Corporal Burt's squad and lead it out of the column to the road leading to the Morey house, and say, "The troop is going on straight south to Salem, four and one-half miles away. This squad will reconnoiter south to Salem by this road, joining the troop there about 10:15. In case we become separated, make for Salem. Corporal, take Brown and form the point. I will follow with the squad about 300 yards in rear. Regulate your gait on me after you get your distance. Move out now at a trot." (Par. 963.)
After Corporal Burt had gotten 150 yards out I would say, "Carter, move out as connecting file." I would then say, "Downs, you will follow about 150 yards behind us as rear guard." When Carter had gone 150 yards down the road I would order, "1. Forward; 2. Trot; 3. March," and ride off at the head of the four remaining men (in column of twos.) (Par. 968.)
Captain: Sergeant, tell me briefly what is your estimate of the situation—that is, what sort of a proposition you have before you and how you have decided to handle it.
Sergeant Allen: As the enemy is supposed to be near Salem and we have already seen his patrols, I expect to encounter more patrols and may meet a strong body of the enemy, on my way to Salem. As I have no map, I cannot tell anything about the road, except that it is about four and one-half miles by the direct road the troop will follow, therefore my route will be somewhat longer. I have been given an hour and fifteen minutes in which to make the trip, so, if I move at a trot along the safer portions of the road. I will have time to proceed very slowly and cautiously along the dangerous portions. My patrol will be stretched out about 500 yards on the road, which should make it difficult for the enemy to surprise us and yet should permit my controlling the movements of the men. (Par. 968.)
I consider that my mission is to start out on this road and find my way around to Salem in about an hour and, particularly, to get word across to the Captain on the other road of anything of importance about the enemy that I may learn.
Captain: Very well. When you reach the cut in the road across the south nose of Hill 38, your point has almost reached the Morey house. Do you make any change in your patrol?
Sergeant Allen: I order, "1. Walk, 2. MARCH," and watch to see if the connecting file observes the change in gait and comes to a walk.
Captain: Suppose he does not come to a walk?
Sergeant Allen: I would say, "Smith, gallop ahead and tell Carter to walk and to keep more on the alert."
Captain: Corporal Burt, you reach the road fork at Morey's. What do you do?
Corporal Burt: I say, "Brown, wait here until Carter is close enough to see which way you go and then trot up to me." I would walk on down the road.
Captain: Wouldn't you make any inspection of the Morey house?
Corporal Burt: Not unless I saw something suspicious from the road. I would expect the main body of the patrol to do that.
Captain: Don't you make any change on account of the woods you are passing?
Corporal Burt: No, sir. It has very heavy underbrush and we would lose valuable time trying to search through it. A large force of the enemy would hardly hide in such a place.
Captain: Sergeant Allen, you reach the road fork. What do you do?
Sergeant Allen: I would have two men go into the Morey house to question anyone they found there. I would order one of the other two men to trot up (north) that road 200 yards and wait until I signaled to him to return. With the other man I would await the result of the inspection of the Morey house. Corporal Burt should have gone ahead without orders to the cut in the road across Long Ridge, leaving Brown half way between us. (Pars. 987 to 996.)
Captain: You find no one at the Morey house.
Sergeant Allen: I would signal the man to the north to come in. I would then order two men to "find a gate in the fence and trot up on that hill (indicating Long Ridge), and look around the country and join me down this road." (Par. 968.) I would then start south at a walk, halting at the cut to await the result of the inspection on the country from the hill.
Captain: Foster, you and Lacey are the two men sent up on Long Ridge. When you reach the hilltop you see four hostile cavalrymen trotting north on the Valley Pike, across the railroad track.
Private Foster: I signal like this (enemy in sight), and wait to see if they go on north. (Par. 978.) Do I see anything else behind or ahead of them?
Captain: You see no other signs of the enemy on any road. Everything looks quiet. The hostile cavalrymen pass the Baker house and continue north.
Private Foster: I would then take Lacey, trot down the ridge to Sergeant Allen, keeping below the crest and report, "Sergeant, We saw four hostile mounted men trotting north on the road about three-quarters of a mile over there (pointing), and they kept on north, across that road (pointing to the Brown-Baker-Oxford road). There was nothing else in sight." I would then tell him what the country to the south looked like, if he wanted to know.
Captain: Sergeant Allen, what do you do now?
Sergeant Allen: I would continue toward the Brown house at a trot. I would send no message to you as you already know there are hostile patrols about and therefore this information would be of little or no importance to you. (Par. 981.)
Captain: You arrive at Brown's house.
Sergeant Allen: I would send two men in to question the people and I would continue on at a walk. I would not send any one up the road towards Oxford as Foster has already seen that road.
Captain: You should have sent a man several hundred yards out the Farm Lane. (Par. 989.) If he moved at a trot it would only have taken a very short time. Continue to describe your movements.
Sergeant Allen: I would halt at the railroad track until I saw my two men coming on from the Brown house. I would then direct the other two men who were with me to go through the first opening in the fence to the west and ride south along that ridge (62—Lone Hill—Twin Hills' ridge) until I signaled them to rejoin. I would tell them to look out for our troop over to the east. If there were a great many fences I would not send them out until we were opposite the southern edge of that woods ahead of us. There I would send them to the high ground to look over the country, and return at once.