- For the Steel Division II unit see SD2:Scouts (US)
Scouts is a United States Recon unit. Scouts are absolute staple units in every battegroup, providing the player with vital reconnaissance information on the ground. They usually come in lightly armed armoured personnel carriers such as the universal carrier or the jeep, unlike Recce, two-man teams who have more potent vehicles at their disposal. Usually composed of four men, the average scout unit has reasonable survivability but cannot survive protracted engagements with enemy infantry units.
Reconnaissance is a vital branch of warfare. An army's ability to gain information beforehand can sometimes fundamentally impact the course of a battle or a war, as can be attested throughout history. Lack of information about the enemy and his whereabouts has resulted in momentuous defeats, while accurate reconnaissance has led to decisive victories by much smaller forces.
Steel Division, like the Wargame series, puts a heavy emphasis on recon units. Armoured cars, infantry recon and aerial reconnaissance all play their part in revealing the enemy's strength, whereabouts and disposition. By doing so, an effective response to the enemy player can be devised beforehand. Recon infantry is the bread-and-butter field reconnaissance, as it is the stealthiest, least expensive, most numerous and most survivable of the three recon categories.
Your army must at all times have some form of reconnaissance. No player has ever lost by knowing too much about the enemy. Scouts are staple units in that they provide the most bang for your buck: cheap, effective and reasonably expendable, they form the vanguard of any battlegroup & scout ahead of the bulk of your troops. The scout unit is to be used throughout the game and at no point should a player neglect to fill their ranks with recon units.
The scouts unit is lightly armed and possesses enough firepower to kill or damage small enemy squads such as tank hunter teams and enemy recon - they would be the first to spot such units. They will, however, not last long if pitted against regular infantry or repeated tank fire. The APC the scouts come in can also provide some amount of firepower, but combat is not the scouts' main task. Their task is to spot enemies and let supporting troops deal with them. Here it benefits from its reasonable survivability as a four-man squad, being on the front line.
The US armoured division is somewhat short on cheap & expendable infantry, so the Scouts unit also doubles as a support infantry unit in infantry fights, along with the ubiquitous (but quite expensive) Arm. Rifles.