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Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual Advanced Training

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

reconnoitering duty.

As the support moves out it sends forward an advance party several

hundred yards, the distance varying with t
e 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.