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Question about the map scale for Borodino  

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lascaris@yahoo.com
(@lascarisyahoo-com)
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30/04/2020 4:18 pm  

Hey David,

I was looking at the Borodino map, which is 7.5 x 3 miles in the Master of the World book, and I was curious how things looked today in Google Earth. It seems that distances on the map are exaggerated compared to "reality." For example, the distance from Utisa to Maloye is roughly 5.7 miles on the map but, again roughly, 4.4 miles in Google Earth. This piqued my curiosity so I checked various online maps which show distances of anywhere from 4 to 5 miles. Maps in books I own are even stranger as they show Utisa to Maloye as low as 3 miles (Mikaberidze: The Battle of Borodino) to 3.4 miles(Leven: Russia against Napoleon) to roughly 3.8 miles (Riehn: 1812 Napoleon's campaign in Russia.) Unfortunately maps in Nafziger and Zamoyski do not have a scale so they are not very useful for comparison.

Anyway, after all that blah blah, my question is what did you use as a source for the map for Borodino as it seems to me that the battlefield is closer to 6 miles in extant rather than 7.5 miles. Not trying to be contentious, I'm actually trying to figure out if the battle will fit on my 9' table using 100 yard scale. 🙂


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David
(@david)
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Joined: 2 years ago
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30/04/2020 5:34 pm  
Posted by: @lascarisyahoo-com

Anyway, after all that blah blah, my question is what did you use as a source for the map for Borodino as it seems to me that the battlefield is closer to 6 miles in extant rather than 7.5 miles.

Your finding doesn't surprise me at all. Though of note, our original Master of the World Borodino map there is about a half mile I want to say on each edge before you hit Utisa or Maloye. We used A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars by by Vincent J. Esposito and John Elting. For the revised reprinting that we are presently working on we are using Alison's Atlas which is significant'y more detailed and is the source we  used for the Smolensk sample scenario.

As a matter of practice we have not checked the fidelity of the historical source materials we use against Apple Maps or Google Earth or any similar application for the purpose of proofing the source material, for many battles it isn't terribly helpful because the surrounding area will have changed so much as urban areas build out, roads move, in some cases towns move… etc… But on occasion we do end up piecing multiple sources together to gain the area we want to represent and in that case we do work them against overlays of modern GIS-type materials, it is often a frustrating experience for exactly the reasons you cite.

The Borodino map in the new revision of 1812-1: Master of the World, will be significantly altered from that in the previous edition. The one in your copy is a far more "traditional wargamer map" of Borodino in that the Armies are largely aligned with matching frontages staring at  each other. The new edition will have the battlefield zoomed out significantly and show that the  Russian right actually carries all the way back towards the Moskvá Rika – whereas with the original edition we ran effectively a tight swath from beyond Utitza in the south to beyond Borodino in the north, the new edition's map will have nominally a 6 mile north-south frontage but an 8 mile depth. What is most interesting about the broader, more "zoomed out" perspective is that it may make it more apparent why Napoleon declined Davout's suggestion of a flanking maneuver.

Lastly, to answer your material question:

Posted by: @lascarisyahoo-com

I'm actually trying to figure out if the battle will fit on my 9' table using 100 yard scale. 🙂

I'd suggest looking in the front of your copy of Master of the World, as there is a table (page 8) that tells you the table size at a variety of ground scales including 100 yards per inch. Obviously that is for the map as presented so if you alter it by cutting off parts you will have to adjust, but it will tell you that Borodino in your copy is intended to be 4.5' deep by 10.5' wide – so if you cropped it slightly it will fit on your 9' table.

Hope this all helps and yeah, maps are fun but also finding two that agree is… wild.

-David


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