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Can you mentally reconstruct battlefield scenes...

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Simfish InquilineKea View Drop Down
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  Quote Simfish InquilineKea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Can you mentally reconstruct battlefield scenes...
    Posted: 27-May-2008 at 05:30
Using the text of a book?

(I know it depends A LOT on book. But I'm just wondering if you feel like you can mentally reconstruct a battlefield (where all the units were positioned with respect to each other and such) when you read, say, a randomly selected text on a particular war. (I know that diagrams are often given, but have you ever found them unnecessary?)
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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 05:37
One is forced to reconstruct them mentally or draw them oneself if there is no diagram provided, right?
 
I would not say that diagrams are unnecessary, especially if you are writing something for publication.  A common criticism in book reviews or historiographic analyses that deal with military subjects is the lack of charts and diagrams.  Trying to describe certain things, such as battles and logistical infrastructures, can be confusing if it is confined to the text.
 
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  Quote Simfish InquilineKea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 10:17
Yes, that's true. But if you read a history book without diagrams (I know I'm being vague - I have the "romance of three kingdoms" by guanzhong in mind), can you accurately reconstruct what's in the diagram? that's what I'm curious about 
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  Quote Balaam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 10:26
When reading fantasy books that involve battle scenes its all you can do cause they rarely give diagrams.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 10:46
Fantasy authors usually know little about warfare. Maps for history are good, but you need (esp in modern maps) need to have good skills, a map unless its very detailed may make the situation seem less complex than expected. Not only terrainwise, (can a map show that there is a 2000 m mountain on one flank, a small notation dose convey the dauting nature of that obstacle) but also units and formation wise. Lets say 1 Division is shown at town X. But that may just be the HQ, the division may have its 1st Brigade at town Y, 2nd Brigade at town Z and 3rd Brigade at town X, with orders from Corps to hold it there until ordered to move.
 
 
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  Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 10:47
I don't know about fantasy books.
When someone writes about a historical war or battle, one should always provide a diagramme. It is very difficult to construct a map in your head, especially if you're not familiar with the geography of the subject.
When I read a text without any diagramme, I usually build it in my mind, but often I make mistakes...

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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 14:42
I think that any text can be used to project a mental image. What is certain is that none of the images can ever be accurate to the actual event so there is no point in arguing who 'gets closer'.
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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-May-2008 at 16:01

Usually is easy when you read a book from today because the authors have done yet an easy scheme of the battle wich you can more or less imagine. The real problem is with direct sources wich are usually very confusing or directly contradictory. Other problem with books or direct sources is the number of units and armies, certain battles are impossible for a mental reconstruction because of this. Another one refer to the battlefield itself, one day i was very interesting about a battle here in my island in a place that i know more or less, when i went there with the book in my hand the geographical conditions was far more complex than i imagined and changed totally my view of the battle, when we think in far lands think about the great mistakes surelly we are making; usually, again, modern authors try to get information about this geographical questions.

 
So at all, i can say that a mental reconstruction made by ourselves without look a topographical map (plus real photoes) and the order of the units is surelly a wrong reconstruction.


Edited by Ikki - 27-May-2008 at 16:04
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