Navigation

Traveling the desert does automatically mean that one is confronted somehow with navigation. I will present some instruments, documents and maps here which were (or are) mainly used for navigation in the desert:


Sonnenkompass 41

Kuno Gross & Malcolm Barnfield

During the investigation and writing of the ‘Sundial Goes To War’ article a picture of a mystery German sun compass instrument turned up. Its origins were untraceable and even after exhaustive enquiries nothing further could be learned about it. Thus a description of the instrument was not included in that piece. However, the search did not end there.

Almost a year later and after further delving it turned out that Kuno Gross, author of the Bagnold Sun-Compass book, was also on the trail of Sonnenkompass 41. Simultaneously we discovered the font of information on the instrument. Jean-Patrick Donzey of Compassipedia discovered it for me and Kuno, being a German speaker, helped himself to find the obscure book ‘Taschenbuch für den Krieg in Wüste und Steppe' (Instruction for War in Desert and Steppe). This joint Gross/Barnfield addendum to the original sun compass article stems directly from that find.

The full article can be found in the 2012/06 Bulletin of the British Sundial Society (See > Links)

Cole Mk.IV Universal Sun Compass

The Mk IV version of the Cole Universal Sun-Compass was still in use during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Here it is seen mounted on modified Land Rovers of the British Special Forces.

…not all of above compasses are a Cole: The one in “black & white” is a Howards Mk.III.

J. H. Steward Ltd. Prismatic Compass Mk.III

J.H. Stewards Ltd. was a British manufacturer of compasses established in the year 1856. This Mk.III liquid dampened prismatic compass was made in the 1950ies. Soon after that, the company ceased to exist.

Busch Compass

The Busch Marching Compass was a standard compass for the German Wehrmacht during WWII.