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13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

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13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Marashar on Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:44 am

Shortly before two o'clock, a small group of men, some green-coated, some red, were assembled on the plain outside the camp. They hadn't been told much so far, only that they were expected to assist Captain Torrington in his work, and that he would explain what that included presently. Cotton for the riflemen, and Corporal Miller for the Guards were supposed to be answerable for the men, but even they didn't know much more, only that they were supposed to learn how to survey, whatever that included.

The engineer's batman was already present, a mule packed with several poles, a tripod and an assortment of rather strange chains in tow. The only thing he could offer, however, was that 'Mylord Captain' would be coming soon, and had insisted on carrying a box containing a 'seodosomething' himself.
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:56 am

Cotton hadn't a clue what he and the other Riflemen were doing here, and kept glancing between the other greenjackets present. Whatever the Engineer officer wanted them for, it probably included fetching and carrying, and that, in Cotton's opinion, was something far better left to the redcoats.

And the mule that Rottlander was leading was piled with the strangest assortment of things Cotton thought he had ever seen.

"Any idea what this's all about?" he asked, addressing the gathered group in general.

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"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:05 am

It had been quite a scare. Here they were, washing honey out of Freddie's hair after having moved further down river because a shako decided to test it's bouyancy and the pair had to give it a chase, when a loud shout had them jump to attention. The conversation was brief and it consisted rather of them being told that in a very short time they were better to show their arses back in camp, and that they better look presentable too. Of course, a pair of soaking wet boys could look far from that, but the sergeant seemed to care little of that.

Pye had gone and given the slip of paper back to Vickery, sogging wet as it was. Still, the reason of them being called had not been revealed. All that was said was, that they had to be there at two o'clock, stand outside camp, by the designated meeting point. Cotton would be there and they were answerable to him.

While they managed to get themselves into a half decent state, their coats were still ready to be wrought of water and the hair on their heads betrayed a rather messy story of where they had been. Their shakoes had plumes that looked somewhat more miserable at that moment.

"One thing's certain. ... we're not in trouble." Pye murmured. They had hidden their honey well and packed it so that it would not make everything sticky. "An'.. we're goin' ter walk a while. Do you know what this is all 'bout?" He nudged the other lad. Captain Torrington was his officer to take care of and so he might have known of his planes sooner than anybody else!


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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Friedrich Rottländer on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:34 am

Freddie could only shrug.

"We learn how to ... use? ... these things. The 'sur-vey-ing in-stru-ments'." He pronouced that with great care.

"And then we go around and make a Karte ... a map. Because the Captain has orders. He must make a map of that mountains, so that the General knows where the Artillerie can go over them and where we can make an Hinterhalt ... Where we wait for the Frogs and shoot them and they don't know we are there ... Before we shoot."

He had become quite animated by the thought of shooting at French soldiers, but now he suddenly turned apologetic again.

"That means ... If I have understood what he has said. He said we need to go to Barcelona damit it can be 'connected to Greenitch', but ..."

He broke off and shrugged. That part hadn't made any sense at all, and he seriously doubted that Captain Torrington, studying columns of numbers in a book, had really noticed that his batman was still in the tent.
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:44 am

"An ambush," Cotton supplied helpfully, leaning on his rifle. That was one word he did know. It sounded more and more as though they would need to be able to read and write, though surely Captain Torrington would have told Captain Vickery if that was the case? Cotton hoped so; he could sound words out, if they were short and contained letters he knew, but he didn't think Pye could even do that. The German Riflemen could nearly all read though, he thought.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:25 am

"We draw maps?" Pye ran a hand through his hair, to have it at least cling to his scalp, rather than stand at odd, wet ends. " But.. we aren't high enough to draw a map." He never could imagine how a proper map was made. How did people know that something was in a certain shape, when they could not see it so small. He first thought they had to climb mountains and draw from there. But that did not make sense for most things.

"What do we do? ..'couse I've no idea how to use those instruments there..." He glanced at Cotton and grinned sheepishly. "Atleast we're not writin'. Couse that's worse n' drawing even!"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Friedrich Rottländer on Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:26 am

"He says he shows it to us, and we take Stöcke and go to different places and he then looks at us with his seodo...thing. And Roper writes down what he says."

He suddenly beamed at Pye.

"But he says I must learn to ... count ... rechnen ... doing that thing with Zahlen, to be a sergeant one day, and he will show us if we want."
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:17 am

Cotton supposed it all made sense to the officer, though he couldn't make head nor tail of what the young German rifleman was on about.

"Did he say how long he was goin' to be?" he asked Rottländer, wondering if the lad ever stopped still for more than a handful of seconds at a time.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:46 am

"What's a shtuck?" Pye asked, glancing at Friedrich. He could not keep his amusement from showing. His eyes widened and he grinned , looking rather proudly at his friend. "A sergeant! Don't forget we was friends once you become a sergeant, ok?" He said, cheekily and laughed.

"Zehlen...rechnen." He repeated absentmindedly. "Oh.. you will play with numbers. Like.. counting how many rabbits you get to put in one kettle?" That made perfect sense as far as the need of numbers was concerned. "Or........." What else could numbers be used for?

".. how many French officers you kill !" Another good place to use numbers at. He glanced at Cotton briefly. "It take as long as he wants to. We are going to be very dutiful and do what he asks!"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:55 am

"Good," Cotton replied shortly, before letting a half-smile escape. If those two boys could be 'dutiful' for more than a few minutes together... he'd probably eat his hat.

Or maybe not. It'd be a shock, anyway.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:15 am

When his watch signaled two o'clock, Edward walked up to the assembled soldiers, his satchel over his shoulder. He looked around. The weather was fine, a nice, sunny day, without any wind or too much haze, though perhaps a bit warmer than was comfortable in full uniform. The plain on which the camp stood was level and without too many bushes. They would have good conditions to measure out a baseline. He nodded to himself, satisfied. In one hand he carried a large, heavy bandbox, which he carefully set down once he had reached the group.

"At ease, gentlemen. Are all present?"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:19 am



"Yes, sir," Roper replied, saluting. He was just as curious as Cotton and the others about what was going to happen this afternoon, but hoped that he had managed to hide it a bit better.

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"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:38 am

"Very good."

Edward nodded and took a moment to look the men over. He still didn't know most of them, but hoped that this would change soon.

"Gentlemen, we're here to make a map of this district. Does anybody know what a map is?"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:43 am

Pye looked up. He knew what a map was! It was the picture which unlike the other papers, had stuff drawn on. Like small lines for rivers, and then there were hills and it had random scribbles on it, as opposed to organised scribbles of books and of letters. He saw them when thieving of a dead French officer.

"..It ..." He began then turned quiet. He looked sheepishly at Friedrich. When an officer asked, he did not actually intend to get his question answered. Well, not in certain cases anyway.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:47 am

Cotton probably had the best chance of knowing what a map was, of course - there were definite advantages to being the officer's soldier-servant. He kept quiet, wondering if anyone else would speak up and volunteer an answer to the officer's question. Or if they could answer it - it wasn't all that long ago, really, that he wouldn't have much of an idea himself.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:46 am

Edward raised an eyebrow.

"Pye, isn't it? You wanted to say something? Don't be shy, man. What do you think a map is?"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:51 am

"..Sir." Pye looked flustered. "...Map.. map is what the officers use. Especially when they want to go somewhere. It has.....lots of pictures and lines on it." He looked up sheepishly. "...that mean something. and scribbles. Like in a book only... only on a map they are just there, as if at random...." He held his hands apart.

"An'... they're bigger n' books.. if you unfold them. ...I.. I think." He stammered at the last.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:55 am

He glanced from the officer to Pye and back again, before taking a chance that the officer wouldn't jump him for putting Pye out of his misery.

"Sir. It's summat what shows the country, like a bird would see it, so's folks can find their way, sir."

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:53 am

Edward nodded. He wondered why Cotton hadn't dared to speak up before, though. He unrolled one of the maps he had brought out, giving one end to Rottländer and one end to Pye to hold.

"Very good, Cotton. He's right. It shows the country from above. But Pye has a point as well. A map isn't like a painting. We won't go and paint in any tree. Maps have a purpose, as both said: To find the way, to determine where the streets are big enough for the army to move or take up a good position, or to find out whom a certain parcel of land belongs to. Only those things relevant to these questions get included. And we won't go and paint in every road like it really looks like either. We will make a double line instead, and write on the side of the map that this line marks a road."

He pointed the features out on the map, watching the men. Which one did look at the map with something like understanding, which one were puzzled, and which just bored? He had taken a simple map for this demonstration, Shorncliffe Camp and its surroundings, and he waited whether perhaps one of the men would instinctively recognize it.

"And if we can see that it is only a road as long as the weather is dry, we will take another colour for it and explain that a line in this colour means that it is only a good-weather-road. That way, when an officer needs to decide where to go, he can look at the map and knows that if it rains, he will be worse off with that road. There are of course other kinds of maps, but we don't need to concern ourselves with those right now. We are going to make a map for Headquarters, showing only those things that are relevant to the army."

He glanced around, trying to catch each soldier's eye. If there were uncertainties or he failed to make things clear, the men needed to tell him. He knew that they might be too shy or cautious to say something, but at least he had to ask.

"Questions so far?"

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:21 pm

Pye listened attentively even as he held his end of the map. He glanced down at it, but he had a harder time comparing the land on a map with actual land. If a bird could see it this way, how could a man draw it, who was not a bird? Well, That was something Torrington would show him, and Pye was eager to know. It was a mystery, a secret that needed solving and being told!

He glanced down at the map, he and Friedrich were holding. "..sir. We can't fly." He looked at the man sheepishly then quickly averted his gaze back to the map, busying himself with the little lines, the thicker ones, and the ones of different colours. He had always traveled by remembering what he saw and sometimes by where the sun was with the mountains or hills in comparison. The river helped too. But he had not ever trusted something that was beyond his vision unless he had seen it before and knew that it was there! Of course, when he followed orders and followed an officer, he was not thinking, just following and trying to remember the new sighs.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Zachary Pye
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:54 am

Cotton knew the theory about maps... in theory. He had seen Captain Vickery poring over one before, or sketching out something for someone else on occasion, but he had never really seen the details of the maps the Captain used, so he found himself looking at Captain Torrington's map with a great deal of interest, trying to picture what the ground would look like if he was looking at that.

It did look vaguely familiar, sort of. There were squarish shapes that looked like they might be buildings or something, but he didn't really know how to read it, so he couldn't say where it was.

The officer's words made a lot of sense, though. Having some way of showing what was a good road and what wasn't would be really useful, especially somewhere like this.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:32 am

"No, unfortunately we can't fly."

Edward nodded and looked at the young rifleman encouragingly. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Cotton study the map. He might have some advantages in recognizing the signatures; would he guess? Concentrating on the whole group again, he explained:

"Since we can't see things from above, we will have to do it the hard way and measure out things on the ground. Actually that's fairly easy and not so different what you usually do. Perhaps it's best explained by a little demonstration. Cotton, would you mind walking twenty feet in that direction and aiming at that tree there? Not shooting, just bringing your rifle to bear. Roper, would you please do the same twenty feet over there? Aim at the same tree."

He pointed in the diametrically opposite direction, leaving a baseline of about 40 feet between the two men.

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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Zachary Pye on Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:54 am

Pye watched but it still made no sense. How was two riflemen aiming at one tree make it possible to make a map. And if it meant that they had to have riflemen walking such a distance, how would they measure up mountains? Would they really need to climb so high?

He frowned. He understood that Torrington needed riflemen. They could aim and hit a target rather well...but still, it made no sense how this walking around could be flattened into a piece of paper.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:47 am

Cotton looked at the officer, puzzled, before hefting his rifle and moving off to aim it at the tree the Engineer officer had pointed out. He didn't understand what this had to do with map-making, but officers needed to be humoured.

"Sir?" he said, once he was in position. He turned his head to see Roper taking up his own position a few yards away.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

Post  Edward Torrington on Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:15 am

"Very good, gentlemen."

He looked at the other soldiers.

"As you can see, the line between Roper and Cotton and the way their bullets would travel form a triangle. Both men do not know exactly how far the tree is away, but they know that as long as their bullets carry the distance and fly straight, they will hit. Now look at the angle. If Cotton would aim at Roper and then turn until he was aiming at the tree, he would be able to hit that tree again, even if he couldn't actually see it, as long as he knew where he had stood, in which direction Roper had stood, and how much he needed to turn from that direction. The same goes for Roper. What's more: It's the only point both of them will hit. The point where the paths of their bullets cross."

He made a short pause and motioned the two riflemen to set down the heavy rifles again.

"If you know the baseline, that is the line between the two shooters here, and the angle between that baseline and the line of sight to the target, that is in which direction to aim at each end, you can exactly pinpoint a spot, even if you don't know how far away it is or if you can't see it. Understood so far? Don't be shy to ask. If you have mastered this, you actually have understood half of the secrets of making a map."

_________________

Story !  God bless you !  I have none to tell, Sir.
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Edward Torrington
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Re: 13th June, afternoon: The first lines on the map

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