Like so many aspects of battle, 'reconnaissance' is a familiar term, but few civilians have any idea how it is actually done or what it involves. In human terms, 'combat reconnaissance' means the first soldiers to go forward ahead of the main body of forces - either creeping through the landscape or, for larger units, actually driving forward into the unknown in fast, light armoured vehicles and jeeps festooned with machine-guns - until they run into the enemy. When they do they have to try to report his strength and position, without getting killed by the first burst of fire. Somebody has to do this at the start of every single action of any war - whether it's a handful of men crawling, or a column of armoured cars racing. This book explains how the major armies did it in World War II, with what equipment used and in which ways.
Gordon L Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a special operations forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer. The author lives in Cypress, TX.