Monday, 7 September 2009

Distance can be measured by –

I have found another small ‘gem’ of information in A PRIMER FOR HORSE, FIELD & MOUNTAIN ARTILLERY by Captain T. H. Lloyd, RA. It concerns the various methods gunners can use to measure distances.
(1) Pacing. – An ordinary pace is about 30 inches, but every man should know the number of inches of his own ordinary walking pace, and also the paces of his horse.

(2) Time. – The time it takes to get over a distance at a certain speed. A dismounted man taking paces of 30 inches, will walk about 3 miles in an hour. A mounted man should know the time his horse takes to walk, trot, or gallop over a certain distance. At a full gallop the strides of a horse should be counted; the strides of most horses equal about 4 yards.

(3) Sound. – Multiply the interval between the flash and report of a gun in seconds by 370, the result will be the distance the gun is from you in yards.

This method necessitates a watch with a second-hand, and for accuracy two men must work together, one marking the flash, the other noting the number of seconds that elapse before the sound is heard. An observer may find out without a watch by counting the beats of his pulse, allowing 304 yds. for each beat.

When facing the sun, objects seem nearer than when the back is to it.

Objects dimly seen at evening, in the early morning, or when the weather is foggy or misty, appear more distant and larger than reality.

The glittering of the sun upon the arms of troops in motion indicates the direction of the march. If the rays are perpendicular they are moving directly towards you; if slanting from left to right downwards they are moving to your right and vice versa. If the rays are intermittent and varied, they are moving away from you. In dry weather cavalry can be distinguished in their march from infantry by the dust forming a high light cloud, that of infantry being lower and denser, that of artillery and train even more dense; the number of carriages in a column of route may sometimes be counted by breaks in the cloud.


  1. That is a nice bit of information. Thanks for sharing it.

    -- Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    This book has quite a few little 'gems' of minutae hidden away inside, and when I find them I like to share them.

    All the best,



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