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Messages. Messages may be either oral or written.

(1) Oral messages in the heat of battle are frequently garbled, and are therefore to be used with extreme caution, and only when the sender is reasonably certain the messenger will accurately transmit to the recipient intended.

The following points should be observed by the sender:

(a) Use oral messages for short distance only.
(b) The message must be short, ordinarily of not more than one short sentence
(c) The messenger is required to repeat back to the sender the name of the person to whom the message is addressed, his location, the entire message, the name and designation of the sender and the sender's location -- several times if necessary.
(d) The sender assures himself that the messenger knows the exact route to the person to whom the message is addressed.

(2) Written messages. When a message is sent to a considerable distance, and especially when it is necessary to report exactly the location of the sender, written messages, often accompanied by simple sketches, are used. They are more accurate and more readily understood if prepared in a systematic manner, according to form. All written messages whether or not placed on a standard message blank, should include the following:

(a) The serial number of the message. When several messages are sent by a scout during a single mission of reconnaissance, they should be numbered serially for identification, so that the commander may know if any are missing.
(b) The place from which the message is sent; so described that it can be located on the map, by the person receiving it.
(c) The date and hour at which the message is sent.
(d) The name of the person to whom sent; usually the officer responsible for the scout's mission. If there is little danger of the message falling into enemy possession, the official designation may also be stated.
(e) A description of the objects or events which form the subject of the message. The scout should carefully distinguish between what he actually sees with his own eyes and what he deduces from his observations, unless the deductions are plain and inevitable. Items of information gleaned through reports of others should be so reported, as "A farmer states ***" or "Private Jones saw ***."
(f) The exact locality at which an event occurs or an object is seen. Usually, this item may be shown by the azimuth from the scout's position and the estimated range in yards. A simple sketch is more useful in conveying such information.
(g) The time at which an event occurs.
(h) A statement of the intended next action of the scout, such as "Remain in observation," or "Continue on mission."
(i) The signature and rank of the sender.

Reports. The scout should keep notes of all information gathered and on his return should make a report to his commander. If written, it includes the following:

(1) If a patrol, the size of the patrol.
(2) Name of scout (or patrol leader).
(3) Mission.
(4) Time of departure.
(5) Route.
(6) Number of enemy seen; kinds of troops (infantry, cavalry, artillery); where seen; actions.
(7) Attitude of the enemy (alert, careless).
(8) Condition of the enemy defenses (wire, trenches, etc.)
(9) General character of the ground passed over.
(10) Route of return.
(11) Time of return.
(12) If a patrol, condition of the patrol (casualties).
(13) Any other information of importance, not included in the specific orders to the scout, particularly any gassed areas encountered.

Below is an example of a scout's sketch report.


Related Page

Check List for Oral Field Order - checklist for giving clear orders

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