Help needed Is this the right forum?

Ok..I have ventured over from RP again and I need some help. I am a teacher and we are currently in the process of introducing a new unit for our kids called Miltary Geography within the Key Stage 3 Geography. Having sat down with my head of department to try and thrash out what to include we have hit a wall. I would be very grateful for some input from some experts. Any ideas? We want to liven up the rather dull units we currently offer in the hope of getting more onboard for GCSE Geography.
How far back do you want to go? This country is riddled with Military significant sites - Roman/Feudalism/Civil War etc, . I think you need to define a specific period to study
You could start by including another "i" in Military. :)

What's the idea behind the unit? I'm wondering why this isn't in History, rather than Geography.
Perhaps an in depth look at map reading from a tactical aspect, such as determining dead ground, ease of movement, choke points etc.?

How a soldier uses a compass in a different manner compared to an orienteer?

Or have I got the wrong idea?
We are trying to incorporate physical geography into it for a start. Forgive the missing 'i' many beers!! It will certainly involve a historical slant. We always have a fair number of kids who sign up when they leave so it would appeal to them plus we are trying to be 'current'! I guess I am trying to find out what/where/how? What needs to be considered when planning a miltary campaign in terms of the nature of a country eg. its landscape, culture, politics. Does the landscape of a country influence logistics. The LEA have been really enthusiastic about it so e kindof want to present something that has staying power in the curriculum. Its a big ask I know but ANY pointers to work with would be useful.

Is this in the right forum?
The accomplishment of a military mission is affected and constrained by terrain and weather. There are other constraints such as humanitarian considerations, political requirements and so on.

Maps are useful in supplying information about a lot of these factors, either their physical features or their effects. From this information, the choice of tactics can be determined. e.g Tanks are better suited to open ground rather than jungles or forests. Similarly, towns and forests are generally better to defend than attack. Rivers impede movement, requiring bridging equipment or ferries or an alternative route.

If the enemy can't see you, it's more difficult for them to interfere with your progress, so where does the shape of the countryside assist concealment? Alternatively, where would you need to be to see the enemy?

What sort of ground is beside the road? If the enemy destroys the road that forms your intended route, is your plan doomed to failure? Or doesn't it matter? Is the ground firm enough and smooth enough to enable you to merely drive round the destroyed section?

Start with map reading, emphasising contours and how they affect movement - steep hills, concealing valleys, observation hill tops. Look at vegetation symbols, marshy areas. Road types. Other means of transport - rail, canal, airfields. Potential helicopter landing zones. Rivers for water supply.

Compasses. Orienteers use them to aid getting themselves from A to B. Soldiers also use them to describe to others what they're looking at - most soldiers won't have a clue what you're talking about if you mention "polar coordinates", but if you say "Range and bearing", they're all experts.

Add in weather. What is good on a map in summertime may not be in the winter. Not just the likes of Hitler's advance in to Russia, but also stuff that's a bit more homegrown such as flood plains.

You could also throw in the effect of tides. Do you invade at high tide or low tide? Start at high tide and your troops don't have as much open beach to cross - but the vessels could become grounded, preventing their use to ferry reinforcements.

Use various campaigns to describe these effects. In WW2, the different geographic features resulted in different tactics - consider Russia, The Ardennes, Bocage, Western Desert, Burma, D-Day, to name but a few.

Then teeter on the brink of teaching History instead of Geography! :)
You could try the Royal Engineers museum. The Royal Engineers are the Army's map makers and would I am sure be very interested in providing you with lots of details, origins of the Ordnance Survey for example.

Events and Education Officer
Royal Engineers Museum
Prince Arthur Road

Tel: 01634 822312
Fax: 01634 822371

I've just had to google KS3 to check it's the 11-14 age group - so that's Years 1-3 secondary in old money. Then looked at this

Having had flashbacks to primary, secondary and tertiary industries (or something like that) I wondered if the 'resource' issues of the Second World War might fit the bill? Japan had (and has) the best part of bugger all natural resources so needed to invade some places to get them (e.g. Malaya) and others to secure themselves. This links to the trendy 'contemporary issues' as Japan and a lot of others needing oil from the Middle East and so on.

Go back a bit further and you could compare the various German efforts to invade France, or even France invading what would become Germany. The terrain, the rise of industry and transportation developments had a marked effect on what was possible.

Maybe regeneration/replanning of bombed cities or even the logic of the bombing itself as an attempt to destroy industries?

RE-cycling - the sappers built the Bayeux bypass and lots of airfields out of Norman villages like Tilly-sur-Seulles. Actually, the effect of terrain on the Battle of Normandy's an obvious one and can address the development (edit: a better word than 'history') of that landscape.

It should be possible to divorce politics from most of these. Are you allowed to mention the Empire?
WaltOnTheMildSide - "I've just had to google KS3 to check it's the 11-14 age group - so that's Years 1-3 secondary in old money."

Many thanks Walt, KS3 meant nothing to me either 8O . With it now, first years can be nailed to the wall, second years allow to hop, and third years you could sell Tit-Bits to at four times the price while assuring them it was pornography :roll: .

smart, assuming the content of Geog hasn't changed that much (?), suggestions you've had re physical features seem good. As to what, might helpful if you gave some idea of what parts of the world you are concentrating on, and/or what features you intend to talk about? From that I'm sure we could match engagements?

For example, if you want to deal with the Russian Steppes, you could bring in the world’s greatest tank battle around Kursk. For Tyrrhenian and Adriatic plate movement and rifting in the central Med you have the example of the Liri Valley in Italy and the protracted battle usually termed ‘Cassino’ to gain unhindered access. For something closer to home, on Saturday at 20:00 Channel 4 are repeating the three part ‘Real Dad’s Army’. Part one is mostly the Home Guard formation, but part two deals with the expanses of defences we erected under threat of invasion. Mostly they show examples of where natural features provided the barriers and where we had to fill in the gaps. Gorges, rivers, islands are all included. The findings are taken from a specific British Archi Soc study so they’re kosher. :wink:


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