Following the advance cavalry is the support, varying in strength from
one fourth to one half of the advance guard. In mixed commands it
consists of infantry, to which engineers may be attached. If there is no
advance cavalry, some cavalry should be attached to the support for
As the support moves out it sends forward an advance party several
hundred yards, the distance varying with the terrain and the size of the
The advance party supplements the work of the advance cavalry,
reconnoitering to the front and flanks to guard the support against
surprise by effective rifle fire. The patrol preceding the advance party
on the line of march is called the point, and is commanded by an officer
or an experienced noncommissioned officer.
With the advance cavalry in front but little reconnoitering by infantry
is necessary, and the advance party is relatively small--one eighth to
one third of the support. If there is no advance cavalry, the advance
party is made stronger (about one half of the support) and the flanks
are guarded, if necessary, by additional patrols sent out from the
support and even from the reserve.
The support commander ordinarily marches with the advance party, but
goes wherever needed. He sees that the proper road is followed; that
guides are left in towns and at crossroads; that necessary repairs are
made to roads, bridges, etc., and that information of the enemy or
affecting the march is promptly transmitted to the advance-guard
commander. He endeavors promptly to verify information of the enemy.
Previous: Advance Cavalry