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Napoleon's rear guard at the night bivouac

Rearguard (until approx. 1880 French Arrièregarde ) is the name for an independent military formation of the march security when withdrawing a troop body, which generally consists of a reinforced battalion and marches or remains at the end of the main body or main forces.


On the march, the rearguard is formed as a mostly mobile troop with strong firepower. The rearguard covers, secures or protects the organized retreat of the main forces from surprise attacks . The rearguard marches at a reasonable distance behind the main forces that are necessary for the successful completion of their mission. The commander of the rearguard can, depending on the position of the enemy, order and send back and side cover .

When withdrawing or withdrawing , a rearguard remains in position to enable the main forces to withdraw in an orderly manner.


Depending on the mission and situation and depending on the likely actions of the opponent, a rearguard can be dispensed with. In this case, the commander only sends back guards on the individual marching streets to secure the marching troops.

Troops marching at the head of the column are called the vanguard . Troops securing the flanks are known as side cover.

Web links

Wiktionary: rearguard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. military lexicon edition Berlin 1973 ... TNO second. 5, ES No. 6C1, BNr. 745 303 1, p. 267