It is particularly difficult to orientate oneself in one direction or the other when one wants to gather the material necessary for the realization of a book. As usual, I always try to put all the chances on my side I began to gather the instruments relative to the creation of a book whose title would be ‘US Military Azimuths – Orientation – Levels : 1900-1975’. I confess that the subject I chose is particularly specialized but now, the Internet, allows to find a lot of information when you know where to look for them. It is obvious that finding all the instruments used by ground, air, and naval troops is a perfectly impossible thing for two reasons; the ask price being very often largely beyond my budget and the size that some instruments can achieve. A concrete example could be the size and especially the weight of the board main compass of the USS Missouri in case of acquisition.
Another important point is the proximity of foreign allied or enemies troops on a battlefield and the exchanges of equipment that men in combat are accustomed to make between them. Nor should we lose sight of the transmission of a 1914/1918 piece of equipment from a father, veteran, to his son leaving home for the Battlefield in 1942. The last point to make things clear is also simple. If it is possible to find a WW-1 Compass in the hands of a WW-2 soldiers during WW-2, it follows the exact same way with captured instruments during a battle then used by it’s liberator.
US CORPS OF ENGINEERS – MARCHING COMPASS – 1918 – PLAN LIMITED – NEUCHATEL – SWITZERLAND
This kind of blackened brass US Engineer Corps compasses was manufactured by at least 4 different companies : Cruchon & Emons, London, England, Cruchon & Emons, Berne, Switzerland, Cruchon & Emons, Paris, France, and Plan Limited, Neuchatel, Switzerland. They represent an early attempt at a mirror compass, with an originally polished brass insert in the cover which allows the card with bearings printed in reverse to be read while sighting on a target. The bottom of the case is stamped with Plan Ltd. Neuchatel and an individual serial number. The top of the case is marked US Engineer Corps. (Note : Contains Radium paint : 0.5 micro sievert/h.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
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(NB : Published for Good – March 2019)