guessing the password. (For example, the secret
Areas are indicated by names, counterclockwise
challenge, ATOMIC, suggests the password BOMB.)
with a suitable number of limiting points. The first point
named, regardless of whether the area pertains to
friendly troops or to the enemy, is one on the right front
Using the Countersign
facing friendly troops.
The initiative for use of the countersign rests with
They are not only meaningless and wordy, but also
the challenging sentry. Positive recognition of each
weaken the force of later orders in which the expression
person claiming authority to pass is the main
does not appear. "Holding attack" "secondary attack/'
consideration of the sentry. When he does not visually
and "main attack," which qualify the vigor of the
recognize the challenged person or party, he uses the
operation, and "try and hold" and "far as possible,"
countersign to make a positive recognition. When there
which lessen responsibility, are further examples of
is any doubt as to the authority of the challenged person
undesirable phrases for use in OPORDs.
to pass, even if he gives the correct password, he is
In operation orders, it is essential that there be no
detained for further action by the corporal of the guard.
opportunity for misunderstanding by any subordinate of
When the sentry recognizes the challenged person or
the exact intended meaning of each term used. When
party before using the countersign and there is no doubt
you are leading partially trained troops and staffs,
the person or party has authority to pass, the sentry does
remember that the use of technical military language
not use the countersign.
may cause misunderstandings; therefore, the use of
Mutual identification is essential. If the person
challenged does not recognize the secret countersign, he
avoided when there is any danger of misunderstanding
should not give the password.
by personnel in the unit. You should substitute words
that are easy to understand even at the expense of
When a secret challenge and password are
brevity. Clarity is the first essential; technique is
prescribed, the secret challenge is given by the sentry
after the person is advanced to be recognized. The
person challenged should then give the password. Both
the secret challenge and the password are given in a low
tone to prevent them from being heard by others.
The commanding officer directs the use of the
For example, a sentry observes a person
countersign. Sentries of an interior guard may use the
approaching his post during the time for challenging.
countersign, but countersigns are primarily for use by
When the person is still far enough away from the
sentries or persons defending tactical areas.
sentry's post for the sentry to take effective measures
should the person rush him after being challenged, he
By Whom Authorized
commands, "HALT! WHO IS THERE?" After
receiving an answer (such as, "Lieutenant Jones,
When a countersign is prescribed, the highest
Company B") indicating the person is friendly and may
headquarters within a zone or area devises it. The
be authorized to pass, the sentry says, "Advance,
authority to designate a countersign may be delegated
Lieutenant Jones to be recognized." When Lieutenant
to subordinate units for their immediate use when
Jones reaches a point where the secret challenge, spoken
necessary; however, these units must notify higher
in a low tone, can be heard only by him, the sentry again
headquarters of such action without delay. Only one
commands, "HALT!" then he gives the secret challenge
countersign can be used within a command during a
or countersign, in a low tone (for example,
"SNOWFLAKE"). After receiving the correct password
from Lieutenant Jones (for example, "ROOSTER") and
Selecting the Countersign
otherwise satisfying himself that the Lieutenant is
The choice of words or sounds for the countersign
authorized to pass, the sentry says, "Advance,
is made with care. When possible, words are selected
Lieutenant Jones" and salutes, if appropriate. If
that are difficult for the enemy to pronounce. The word
Lieutenant Jones is one of a party challenged and is the
selected for the secret challenge, or countersign must not
person advanced according to the procedures discussed
suggest the word selected for the password. Doing this
here, the sentry then tells Lieutenant Jones to bring up
minimizes the possibility of an unauthorized person
his men and identify each individual before he passes.