This report describes a study that examined load transfer mechanics in longwall shield supports as part of the Bureau of Mines research program to optimize support design and utilization. The objectives of this study were to determine the contribution of the leg cylinders and the caving shield-lemniscate assembly towards full shield vertical and horizontal load resistance capability and to determine how the interaction of these members affects overall shield response. Load-displacement characteristics of the leg cylinders and the caving shield-lemniscate assembly, independent of the full shield, were evaluated from controlled displacement tests in the Bureau's mine roof simulator, and responses were compared with full shield responses to identify load transfer mechanics. It is concluded from this research that the participation of the caving shield-lemniscate assembly significantly affects the response of the shield support. It is likely that the caving shield-lemniscate assembly is not participating fully in current shield designs because of translational freedom in the numerous pin joints. It is also concluded that the shield will respond differently to different boundary conditions resulting from interaction with the strata. This report describes load transfer mechanics of shield supports and the implication of these research findings on shield design and utilization.