Sounds of the Battlefield

This morning I had the feeling that I was on a World War I battlefield and I was not in northern-western France or Belgium. Just near a construction site on a foggy day.

Image a golf course sans grass on a damp foggy morning. In the distance I could hear the treads of the construction vehicles a mile away. (I knew the distance as I saw the front-end loaders after the fog lifted.) It was a very surreal moment. Since I have been reading more books on The Great War than may be good for me my imagination took me to the fields of France.

I have not seen any studies about the effects of sound on the troops but I am certain artillery can be effective without actually hitting the troops. And there is always the issue of tank scares against troops in the early stages of World War II. We have even seen how the mock German Tigers in Saving Private Ryan could unhinge experienced soldiers.

From an educational standpoint, how do you explain this effect to students? Do miniature game designers have a way to use sound to their products.

It was just one of those aw haw moments for me. Let me know what you think.


This entry was posted in Education, History, Wargames and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sounds of the Battlefield

  1. Really excellent post, Jon! There’s a book which has been very well received on the Great War called “Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918” by Alexander Watson. It’s unabashedly a revisionist account, but there’s a good deal in there about the psychological damage of artillery as against the physical effectiveness. Sound and concussion and the physical effects of the earth shaking in an artillery strike seemed to have played almost much of a part in dislocating fighting effectiveness as physical wounds. In a wargame, thinking about the effects of battle on the senses can probably lead to some really interesting games. Great post!

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