Saturday, September 02, 2006

Guard Duty

The system of pickets and sentries are set up as such:

1. Grand Guard: Must consist of at least three platoons (30 soldiers) bur can involve an entire regiment. This group is situated closest to the camp and can serve as a rapid reaction force. All other posts are drawn from this group.

2. Picket Guards: Sent forward no further than 600 yards of the Grand Guard line. They are rotated every eight hours. One half of the pickets had to be up at all times.

3. Outposts: Sent forward 200 yards in front of the Picket line. They are up 100% of the time.

4. Sentinels: They are located no further than 50 yards in front of the Outpost line. This is the first line that will see an approaching enemy. They should be rotated every hour.

5. The Officer Commanding is stationed at the Grand Guard line and has overall responsibility for the entire operation. Will go forward to the Picket line at least once during a six-hour period.

6. Senior Officers under the command of the Officer Commanding will be stationed with the flanking companies of the Grand Guard unless there is a situation that requires their presence else ware.

7. Company commanders (lieutenants) are stationed at the Picket line and will visit the Outpost line each hour.

8. Company Non-commissioned officers are stationed at the Outpost line and are responsible for the relief of the Sentinels.

If there is contact with an enemy force:

1. Sentinels will send word to the Outpost line. Meanwhile the sentinels will form a skirmish line and withdraw to the Outpost line.

2. If practicable, both the Sentinel and Outpost lines will fall back to the Picket line where a defensive line will be set up. Otherwise, the Picket line will move forward and the defensive line will be set up at the Outpost line.

3. Grand Guard will then move forward to support the defensive line, either to make a stronger defense or to cover a withdrawal to a stronger defensive line.

4. Report of the contact will be made to either Regimental or Brigade command, depending on the size of the guard. There will be a mounted messenger ready to send any dispatches.

5. If the attacking force is too strong, the guard will make a fighting withdrawal until other regiments can be brought in. The Officer Commanding will make that determination.

Changing of the Guard:

1. When a new guard is ready to take over, the entire guard will be formed in the encampment to be briefed on any orders for the day. Afterwards the guard is marched to where the Grand Guard line is.

2. Grand guard line is relieved first as companies slated to be on the other lines are marched forward.

3. Next to be relived will be the Picket line. Men from the new line are then selected to go to the Outpost line.

4. When the Outpost line is relived, selected soldiers will then go forward to relieve the sentinels.

5. The off going guard will fall back in the opposite manner then the on coming. Sentinel to Outpost, Outpost to Picker, and picket to Grand guard.

6. The off going Officer Commanding will brief the in coming Officer Commanding on all line positions, weak areas (areas that the enemy can exploit), houses or other key areas, and any orders that were received. All on coming officers and non-commissioned officers will receive briefings from their counterparts.

7. When the entire off going guard is assembled, they will be marched back to the camp.

8. Sketches of the area in front of the lines should be made if possible. This should note roads, bridges, towns, wooded areas, terrain features, and distances to same.

Other procedures:

1. No fires will be made farther forward than the Picket line.

2. Houses will not be occupied unless ordered by the Officer Commanding.

3. Officers are responsible for ensuring that each man on the lines knows what his duty is. Checks will be conducted at least once during daylight hours and twice at night, once before midnight and the second time between one and four in the morning.

4. Any discrepancies found will be reported to the Officer Commanding.

5. One-half of the officers at the Grand Guard line will be awake at all times.
6. One-half of the officers at the Picket line will be awake at all times.

7. Sleeping is not authorized at the Outpost and Sentinel lines.

8. Sentinels will move up and down their line at all times unless approached. They will make contact with the sentinel to the left and right of him.

9. No one is allowed to pass through unless a General Officer or they have a pass. Sentinels can not judge the validity of a pass, only an officer can do that.

10. Any persons passing through the lines must be stopped and challenged. A sign-countersign will be used. If the individual can not answer the challenge, then the individual will be held for further questioning by a line officer. If there is no pass, the individual is then arrested and sent back to the Grand Guard line, where he will be detained if he was going out of the line, or to HQ if he was coming in.

11. No one will be moved from any line without the order of the Officer Commanding.

12. No one will abuse any local personnel, not take any property by force.

13. If there is a desertion, all lines will be briefed on the situation and all sign-countersigns will be changed.

14. If movement is heard and/or spotted, a report will be made up the lines immediately.

15. All those on sentry duty will ensure that they have all needed equipment and rations issued.

If the line is approached:

1. Shout the command “HALT.” If the individual does not stop, the sentinel is authorized to fire.

2. Never allow a mounted individual to approach the line unless they give the countersign.

3. If contact is made at night, a whistle will be used to alert the other sentinels.

4. If a sentinel must fire, the sentinels on the left and right will support him, then retire towards the Outpost line with fixed bayonets. However the line should hold the enemy as long as possible. At this time, all lines will be under arms.

5. Reports of the contact will be sent by messenger and will be written. To avoid confusion, positions of the movement should be described as being “to our left” or “to our right” of the center of the Sentinel line.

6. If the attack on the lines reach as far as the Grand Guard line, a request for assistance will be sent to HQ. If possible, use a pre-selected line to form a defensive line so the enemy can be held until reinforcements arrive. If possible, or when reinforcements arrive, an attack should be made as rapidly as possible.

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