RECONNAISSANCE (from Fr. reconnaitre, to recognize, Lat. recognoscere), a military term denoting the reconnoitring or examination of an enemy's position or movements, or of a tract of ground. Reconnaissances naturally vary indefinitely according to the purposes for which they are undertaken. A topographical reconnaissance is practically a survey of a tract of country or route, comprising both a map and a report as to its advantages and disadvantages. All reconnoitring work of this character is done by officers with small patrols, escorts or assistants. Strategical reconnaissance is performed by contact squadrons, which send forward officers and patrols to find the enemy. Tactical reconnaissance falls to the lot of troops of all arms, whether in contact with the enemy or for self-protection. A reconnaissance by a large force of all arms with the idea of provoking an enemy into showing his hand, if necessary by fighting, is called a reconnaissance in force.
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