advance guard

advance guard

noun
a body of troops going before the main force to clear the way, guard against surprise, etc.

Origin:
1750–60

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World English Dictionary
advance guard
 
n
1.  a military unit sent ahead of a main body to find gaps in enemy defences, clear away minor opposition, and prevent unexpected contact
2.  a temporary military detachment sent ahead of a force to prepare for a landing or other operation, esp by making reconnaissance

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