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By Sir Robert Baden-Powell



A good many of the "Scouting Games" (Chapter I) can be used for cyclists, such as "Relay Race," "Flying Columns," and "Surveying the Country."

1. DE WET.

[From the Military Cyclists' Vade Mecum, by Capt. A. H. Trapmann].

Four patrols can take part in this game, or the force must be divided into four equal parts. One patrol acts as De Wet, one as garrison, and the rest as Kitchener's relief column. An area on the map is marked off, containing about one square mile to every two Scouts in the relief column and this area should be plentifully supplied with roads and tracks along which cycles can be ridden. 

Three spots, preferably villages, should be chosen (or a larger number if more than four patrols are taking part); these are to be guarded by the garrison patrol, two Scouts at each spot. De Wet's object is to destroy as many villages as possible. When he enters a village, the two Scouts acting as garrison must retreat before his greater number--one should cycle as fast as he can to fetch the relief column, while the other stays to watch De Wet's movements. Either of them can be captured by any two of De Wet's men. 

If De Wet can remain in occupation of the village for half an hour the village is destroyed, but he must retreat if a relief column approaches stronger than his force. The relief column should take up its position in the center of the area and look out for signals from the garrisons.

De Wet should prevent them following him by dividing his party, giving them instructions to all meet at the village to be attacked, but enter from different directions.


Divide your force into two equal parts, 1 and 2. Give No. 1 a capable commander, and tell him that they are operating in an enemy's country, and must look out for their own safety; also that a force of the enemy's cyclists are expected to move along a certain road at a certain time in a certain direction. 

No. 1 will then start off and conceal itself in a good ambush. Then divide No. 2 into two parts A & B. Let A carry out the original program assigned to the enemies' cyclists, and send B round in exactly the opposite direction.

Tell the Patrol leader in charge of B that a body of the enemy were seen on the road, and let him go and scout for them. Give him sufficient time to enable him to locate No. 1 (if he is smart) before A is due at the, ambush.

No. 1 will probably be so engrossed in waiting to ambush A that it will have neglected to provide for its own safety against surprise.

B may or may not surprise No. 1; and may perhaps be ambushed itself. In any case some instructive work can be carried out, work affording room for rapid action and thought on the part of all concerned.

Any man seen exposing himself obviously whilst under fire should be put out of action, and made to act as umpire's orderly. Otherwise men should not be put out of action, but either sent back or made to join the enemy.


Mark off an area plentifully supplied with roads and footpaths about three miles by three miles in extent. Tell off a patrol under your best Patrol leader. His object will be to remain within the area for say two hours, without being captured. He should be allowed ten minutes' start.

The remainder of the force will then split up into small patrols and endeavor by careful co operation to effect his capture, care being taken not to be ambushed themselves by their quarry.


Something for patrols to do when cycling from one place to another.

Divide the force equally into two bodies. Choose a road. Any place more than 200 yards distant from the road will be out of bounds. Send one body off to take up an ambuscade, and ten minutes later let the other body move off along the road, sending its Scouts well ahead. If the ambush is detected the two bodies will then exchange roles. This will be found a very interesting exercise, and can with advantage be practiced on return from a field day, route march, etc., the homeward road being used for the purpose.


Two spies have escaped from headquarters on cycles, and were last seen riding at a point about half a mile further along the road. (This should be shown on the map to the Scouts who are to give chase on their cycles.) 

From that point the spies have to leave a paper trail, not continuous, but occurring every hundred yards. The spies, being handicapped by their paper, will probably be soon overtaken, so they must choose a good spot by the road in which to conceal their cycles, and when they leave the road they must leave signs to that effect (they had better run some way along the road still leaving the trail, so as not to show the hiding place of their cycles to their pursuers). When they have left the road, they need leave no further trail, but their object is to remain at large for a quarter of an hour and then recover their cycles and get back to headquarters without being caught by their pursuers. The pursuers should search for the spies and capture their cycles if they can find them, at the same time guarding their own cycles from being stolen by the spies. To capture the spies the pursuers must actually touch them, or if they are on cycles, ride past them on the road.  (About ten Scouts make the best number for this game.)

Baden-Powell's Scouting Games






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.