The size and disposition of the outpost will depend upon many
circumstances, such as the size of the whole command, the proximity of
the enemy and the situation with respect to him, the nature of the
A suitable strength may vary from a very small fraction to one third of
the whole force. For a single company in bivouac a few sentinels and
patrols will suffice; for a large command a more elaborate outpost
system must be provided. It should be no stronger than is consistent
with reasonable security.
The most economical protection is furnished by keeping close contact
with the enemy by means of outpost patrols, in conjunction with
resisting detachments on the avenues of approach.
The outpost should be composed of complete organizations.
The positions held by the subdivisions of the outpost should generally
be prepared for defense, but conditions may render this unnecessary.
Troops on outpost keep concealed as much as is consistent with the
proper performance of their duties; especially do they avoid appearing
on the sky line.
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