Topic: AIF - Lighthorse
Australian Light Horse
Tactical Training of the AIF at Zeitoun
The following entries dealing with the emerging tactics taught to officers and NCO's at the Imperial School of Instruction, Zeitoun and are extracted from a very informative handbook called Lectures by Commandant, School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 1916. At one time or another, all officers and NCO's within the Light Horse were inculcated with the tenets expounded by the lectures.
A most difficult task. A screen of scouts, moving along with the column and about ½ mile from it, on both or only the exposed flank this is especially useful for a Convoy. As a Flank Guard for a larger force, platoons or companies will probably be dropped at intervals from the leading. Battn, and left to watch and guard while the main body continues its march pass them, when the whole column has passed they will fall in again and march in rear of the last Battn. A useful formation when ground permits of it, such as the river valleys in N. France. Not so tiring for the men, a screen of scouts is very arduous, as the pace must be the same as that of the main Column, yet the men have to march across country, and increase their pace should the main body swing left or right.
Cavalry are very suitable for this function, and Mounted Infantry still more so, not many required as they can take up position after position, galloping forward, it is rarely that this arm of the Service can be spared for this duty.
Standing Flank Guard.--If a march across the enemies front is premeditated, a whole Bde. or even a Div. may be sent out to take up a strong defensive position while the rest of the force march across in rear of it.
Enemy must be kept at a distance therefore Field Guns should be strong in Artillery. A Battle may ensue and if heavily attacked the main body may have to leave its line of march and turn to help the flank guard.
A large army on the march, may throw out a Bde. on its exposed flank to march on a road perhaps five miles nearer to the enemy.
A flank Guard may be used for fighting purposes, or only for reconnaissance purposes, its strength being accordingly.
Citation: Australian Light Horse, Tactical Training of the AIF at Zeitoun, Flank Guard