A convoy is defined as a group of two or more vehicles organized for the purpose of movement control,
under a single commander. Normally, they are from the same unit. This may not always be the case.
If several different units have a small number of vehicles making a move; the HT may organize them
into a single convoy. In that case, the convoy commander will have operational control (OPCON) of all
the vehicles and personnel.
The convoy commander is responsible for the overall planning and execution of the convoy operation.
He receives a mission, conducts a reconnaissance, plans the operation, issues orders, inspects
personnel and vehicles, and coordinates security. The convoy commander may be the company
commander, a platoon leader, or an NCO, depending on the size of the convoy. His responsibilities
include making sure his drivers obey the rules of the road. This includes speed limits. He also ensures
that distance gaps, routing plans, and march discipline are adhered to.
The convoy may be broken into smaller elements, depending on its size. When the convoy is divided
into more manageable parts, every attempt is made to maintain unit integrity. Columns of 20 vehicles
or less are not normally divided. Twenty vehicles is about the size of a normal march unit and can be
controlled by a single commander. When convoys are larger the column may be divided into serials.
Serials may be divided into march units.
A serial consists of elements of a march column moving from one area, over the same route, at the
same rate. All of the elements move to the same new area, and are grouped under one command. A
serial is given a temporary numerical, alphabetical, or other designation. This is done for control and
reporting purposes. A march unit is an element of a serial which moves or halts on command or signal
of a single commander. March units are usually separated by a specific time gap or interval. Figure 2-
1 is a diagram of this concept.
All march columns, regardless of size, have three parts. Each part has a job to do. The three parts are
the head, the main body, and a trail. At times, a fourth part may be added. This is termed a detached
Head. The head is the first task vehicle of the column in the order of march. The convoy pace setter
rides in this vehicle. The officer or NCO at the head ensures the convoy follows the proper route. He
also checks at scheduled points and receives orders or changes to orders. This allows the convoy
commander to move about the convoy as required.
Main Body. The main body of the column follows the pace setter. It consists of the bulk of the vehicles
of the column. It may be divided into serials and march units. Each serial or march unit may also be
organized with a head, main body, and trail. Each would have its own pace setter.
Trail. The trail is the last element of the column. The trail officer or NCO maintains discipline, prevents
straggling, and checks final clearance of designated points.
Usually, a maintenance truck and medical personnel are included in the trail.