Topic: AIF - DMC - Scouts
Scouting or Protective and Tactical Reconnaissance, Part 6
Frederick Allan Dove
3rd Light Horse Brigade Scouts in the hills at Tripoli, December 1918
In 1910, Major Frederick Allan Dove, DSO, wrote a book on a subject he was very familiar with through practical experience called Scouting or Protective and Tactical Reconnaissance. This book set the intellectual framework for the formation of the Brigade Scouts during the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns as part of the Great War.
Dove, FA, Scouting or Protective and Tactical Reconnaissance, 1910.
Method of Preliminary Training of a Squadron or Company in Protective Reconnaissance.
Preliminary training in Protective Scouting should be a combination Q theoretical and practical instruction. Lectures should be short (about fifteen minutes) and should immediately precede the practical lesson. A lecture given a week or even it few days before the practice is a waste of time. Hereunder are suggestions for three, lessons. The O.C. Squadron (or company) is presumed to be the instructor. It is essential that suitable ground should be chosen, and which is not too difficult for beginners.
FIRST LESSON: Lecturette -
Explain the necessity for Protection, and what may happen when precautions are neglected - Historical examples can be quoted; that Protection is afforded to columns on the march by Advanced, Flank, and Rear Guards; that the men pushed out nearest to the enemy are called Scouts; that it is better for the Scouts to work in small units - patrols - than singly; that to be of really protective service the patrols must cooperate. Explain fully what is meant by "keeping touch" necessity for a Directing Patrol.
Practical Work. Each troop (section of infantry) in turn to be extended by twos or fours with about fifty yards interval, a central unit being named to direct. The extended line to be advanced, retired, advanced, made to change direction to an angle of not more than half a right angle, and all in absolute silence, neither voice nor whistle being used. If time permit, repeat with greater intervals between patrols.
SECOND LESSON: Lecturette. -
Revise very briefly the work of the first day. Deal next particularly with the subject of keeping direction, i.e., marching on a distant objective, of the amount of frontage to be covered in order to ensure adequate protection ; that the number of patrols required depends on the nature of the country; that each patrol leader has considerable latitude in his choice of a: line of advance, and in the interval he keeps from the next directing patrol; illustrate by reference to the country in view, or by a diagram on the ground, or by a makeshift arrangement of a few stones, sticks, &c., to represent, hills and hollows (ride Co-operation of Patrols, and Sketches and 3).
Practical Work. - See that each troop (section of infantry) is organised into a number of patrols; name an objective for the directing patrol. Then place yourself in the position of an enemy - that is, go to or near the objective. Arrange for your senior subaltern to send the troops on in succession eight or ten minutes after each other. From your coign of vantage watch the work of the troop as a whole and also the individual patrols. Take notes of both good and bad work. When all have finished their attempt and closed, criticise freely, and be not sparing of either praise or blame; but let the latter be of a kindly and instructive nature. Remember that neither Rome nor Scouts were made in a day.
THIRD LESSON: Lecturette. -
A few words on the Advanced ward, its duties, and its distribution into,
Vanguard - Scouting Screen.
Emphasize that the O.C. Advanced Guard directs the whole, and that he is usually with the Mainguard. Explain how touch and communication is maintained by Scouts, by connecting files and by signallers; whose special duty is observation; how results of observation are to be communicated. Remind patrols and patrol leaders of their mistakes on the previous day.
Practical Work - Show on a small scale the distribution of the squadron (or company) into Vanguard and Mainguard half a squadron in each-and the former subdivided into en and Supports; connecting files to be placed, and flank patrols from the Support and Mainguard. Have all this done on a piece of ground with only 25 or 50 Yards between the units, so that every one may see the whole distribution and his own position therein, thus:
Give an objective, extend to correct intervals and distances; practise advances and changes of direction (only to small angles), the whole being controlled completely by the O.C. from his position at the head of the Mainguard.
Close again. Repeat this work with the other half squadron (or company) leading.
The above completes the lessons on what might be called the "mechanism" of Advanced Guard work. Much attention must be paid W the working of each patrol; practice must he obtained in observation, and much practice in passing orders and reports before a reasonable degree of efficiency can be obtained.
I have gone very fully into the work of the Advanced Guard Screen, because with slight, modifications the principles methods apply equally to the work of the Flank and Rear Screens.
Previous: Part 5, Co-operation of Patrols
Next: Part 7, The Flank Screen
Citation: Brigade Scouts, Scouting or Protective and Tactical Reconnaissance Part 6 Lecturettes