|This is the plan Commander Erwin devised. Thanks to this formation, our survival rate has risen dramatically.|
|— Ness introduces the Long-Distance Enemy Scouting Formation|
Long-Distance Enemy Scouting Formation (長距離索敵陣形 Chōkyori Sakuteki Jinkei?) is the 4th and final chapter of the 5th volume and the 22nd chapter overall of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama.
Embarking on their way to Shiganshina, Eren recalls the moment not long ago when he and his squad went over their plan for the mission. Shortly after that moment, he reunited with his friends and was informed of Marco's death. Jean made it clear at that time that everyone was counting on him.
On the expedition, the Survey Corps' procedures go as planned according to what they learned over the previous month. Sasha is nearly caught by a crawling Titan, while Armin witnesses his team encounter an abnormal Titan. His teammates Ness and Siss succeed in defeating it before a Female Titan suddenly appears, killing them both. Realizing that a Titan of such skill and behavior must be a human in a Titan body, Armin rides away in a panic, the Female Titan following close behind. The Female Titan had come in from the right flank, causing great amounts of destruction.
The Survey Corps, while out on their latest mission, go over their plans and new formation. Commander Erwin implements a new formation that allows the group to have a full view of their surroundings and significantly increases the chances of survival. The soldiers are set apart at intervals, allowing them to see in all directions and widening the detection range. At the sight of a Titan, they are to fire a red smoke signal. When the next set sees the signal, they fire their own and so on. This will allow Commander Erwin to be alerted in a short amount of time and adjust accordingly, firing a green smoke signal to indicate the course change. In the event that they come across an Abnormal Titan, or one manages to break through the line, they fire a black smoke signal.
Before they depart, Eren goes over the plan of the mission with his squad. He later sees Armin and Mikasa. He is excited to see his friends, especially since he has not been able to be around them since the trial. They greet each other and Mikasa, worried about him, asks if they have mistreated him. Other members of the 104th Training Corps who joined the Survey Corps come over to see Eren. Surprised to see so many, he asks if Jean and Marco joined. Jean walks up behind him and tells him that Marco died in the last attack, much to Eren's dismay. Jean then asks Eren if it is true that he tried to attack Mikasa the last time he transformed. As Eren does not have any memories of losing control, he can only go off of the reports of that day.
Jean questions Eren about his knowledge of being a Titan and his turning on his friends. Mikasa sternly asks him what his point is. Jean states that, like Eren, he wants to know what he is giving his life up for otherwise he might end up hesitating at a crucial moment. He then makes a request of Eren. He pleads with Eren to remember all of the people who are putting their lives on the line for him. Eren says he will. Soon after, the troops deploy in their new formation. Eren asks Oluo if he thinks his friends will win against the Titans. Oluo says that it is not about winning but trying to avoid them, just before biting his tongue again.
Now in formation and divided into smaller groups, Sasha's group encounters a Titan, sends up a red flare and makes short work of it. Armin, noticing that no green smoke signals for a course correction have been fired, worries that the formation is in disarray. Just then, he sees a black smoke signal and sees that an abnormal Titan is making its way towards the center of the formation. Being at a disadvantage due to the flat lands and not being able to use their vertical maneuvering equipment, Ness and Siss still manage to take the abnormal down. However, off in the distance, they notice a Female Titan closing in on them.
The Female Titan is much faster than normal Titans and catches up to Ness and Siss in no time. They attempt to get at its weak spot, but the Female Titan catches Siss in mid-air and crushes him. It then grabs the grapples from Ness' vertical maneuvering equipment and slings him into the ground. Armin realizes that it has intelligence like the Colossus Titan and the Armored Titan. With no one left but him, Armin is in a panic wondering what he should do.
On the right flank of the formation, the Female Titan has caused great amounts of destruction, wiping out all of the right-flank soldiers in its path while the rest of the formation remains completely unaware of the dangerous situation. Among the bodies of the Titan victims, a lone soldier calls out for help before being picked up by a hungry Titan.