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"How to ID a military crest on a map?" Topic

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forwardmarchstudios26 Aug 2017 8:53 p.m. PST

Hi all-
Curious here- I'm working on a map based project and doing some elevation lines on it. I was wondering if there would be some way to determine where the military crests on hills are by reading too lines- or is this just possible?

Or, would it work to create a map where the "elevation lines" actually are the military crests? Thanks!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

Do you mean the military crest is likely to lie between two contour lines of equal height, which happen to be the highest shown in that region?

Does not the military crest change with where the viewer is? Many times I have walked up hills here in N Yorkshire. There is one I can see from my study window right now. At least three times as you ascend, "you see the summit ridge ahead". Until you get closer and realise there is another beyond that.

Gallipoli was the classic where that counted on the opening day as I recall.

JimDuncanUK27 Aug 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

You would have to 'walk' the ground. Modern maps only show contour lines and the occasional spot peak.

Contour lines are usually 10 feet from one to the next.

10 feet will hide a horseman on a good day.

A 1 foot bump will hide an infantryman lying down.

Some old maps use 'hashing' to display slopes so are a bit different.

Stoppage27 Aug 2017 1:30 p.m. PST

I thought the military crest was the highest elevation from which you could see all the way to the bottom of the hill (and thus cover with fire).

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2017 2:04 p.m. PST

Yeah, like I said, and very, indeed very much, hard to determine.

It all depends on the position of the observer.

The "Military Crest" is a serious thing, for those whose lives depend on the line for "The Cause"……….

I mean those folk who have genuinely placed their lives on the line, not those who throw dice.

The military crest refers to the bit where you really did get to the top and then command anything around you.

So easily confused with the idea that "I see a ridge ahead, the skyline, anything behind it must be the summit"

mckrok27 Aug 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

With a very detailed map (assuming its accurate), you can get an good idea. If the slope constant (contour line are equidistant) or concave (contour lines closer as you near the crest), the military crest is at or close to the top. If the slope is convex (contours more widely spaced as you get higher on the slope), the military crest will be somewhere in the middle of the slope (depending on a lot of different things). Vegetation and buildings complicate the picture. So, that's theory, and I'd never miss an opportunity to walk the ground to find ground truth.

forwardmarchstudios27 Aug 2017 5:06 p.m. PST

Stoppage- thats correct. Its often a spot a few meters, or a few dozen meters from the peak. Im not so sure how important it was in the Napoleonic era since artillery needs a level space to deploy, and muskets dont have enough range for it to be useful. I'm working on some map based wargame rules at the moment and I'm trying to come up with LOS rules for units that deploy on elevated ground relative to attacking units.

forwardmarchstudios27 Aug 2017 8:47 p.m. PST

Here is an example of what I'm trying to do:


Conceptual stuff about it here:


forwardmarchstudios28 Aug 2017 9:38 a.m. PST

Here's a better version.
The hash-mark hills are put on with permanent marker on the plexiglas. Its quite fast, and is less confusing. I've also annotated what troop types can ford rivers at what points. Lots of information on this map, and I believe it could fit a lot more. Also, some random corps formations set up.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

Wikipedia tells us "Military crest is a term in military science that refers to, "An area on the forward or reverse slope of a hill or ridge just below the topographical crest from which maximum observation and direct fire covering the slope down to the base of the hill or ridge can be obtained."

But to the guy coming up the hill, it looks like the crest. Just see the diagram they use to illustrate their definition

forwardmarchstudios28 Aug 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

Hi Deadhead-
You're correct on the definition. What I'm suggesting is more of an information horizon than a military crest. A military crest is of limited use in this period due to weapons limitations. I'm trying to come up with some interesting rules concerning IH though. A defender's bonus when the attack must cross an IH seems like a good place to start. A hill doesnt have to be steep to affect an attack; even a slight elevation might compromise and contribute to the break up of an attack, depending on the defenders use of the terrain (reflected in the random dice roll). Im talking about games with brigades as the basic element here, where not all terrain features are known to the players and must be incorporated into a bathtubbed dice roll. For instance, I'm thinking of a combat resolution penalty to the attackers that increases for every inch travelled during an attack that crosses an IH, but which can be offset by planning points which a division acrrues each turn it doesnt move. So, a rapid attack that is not prepared for over a greater distance (in my game covering 1 mile in 15 minutes) will have a lesser chance of success than an attack prepared for over 45 minutes (3 turns) that covers less ground. The penalty would be a negative factor on each brigade. Not totally satisfactory, but probably the best that can be done given the helicopter-view issue (I've stopped fighting it!!).

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