Blog powered by Typepad

« Gregg Kreutz, courtesy of Rogerh! | Main | The Sunday Rumble: 2.6.13 »

Saturday, 01 June 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Happy to see you've taken an unexpected tack David - when I read below you'uz gonna be posting on language I was afraid I'd bored you to such a state of tetchousness, reckoning me to be a bamstick from the sticks - you was sure to be set on piddling abouts set to proving my language skills to D&N standards.

Glad now you're not all aerated at me so's I needn't bother advising you to toss your anchors. You might tho' find this of help:

In what sense are drums primitive? Are they any more primitive than, say, Napoleonic semaphore or Morse code? They must surely be less primitive than, say, lighting warning beacons.

DM's comment does remind me of something (perhaps apocryphal) I heard in a lecture at our War College. It had to do with the Navaho Codetalkers of our Pacific theater in WWII.

It was stated 'when radio wasn't available/reliable, the codetalkers used drums' - I would imagine maneuvering units in presumably, jungle warfare, would almost of necessity, require a fairly high degree of sophistication.

Thanks for the link, JK, although it seemed to me that the researchers concerned were taking a bit of a stretch! As for the Navaho-talkers, I understood they were used for transmitting urgent classified messages for the navy via radio nets so I'm not sure how drums would have helped.

DM, I meant that drums were primitive compared to spoken language. And there's nothing primitive about Morse code which is, or was, enormously fast and accurate in the hands of experts (Navy signallers, for example) and can contain very explicit and detailed information. However, I can say from direct experience that Morse code as used by Regimental signallers, er, like me, was beyond primitive and so slow you could make tea whilst deciphering it! I simply don't know how effective Napoleonic semaphore was - I will investigate.

Morse is primitive in the bleedin' obvious sense that it's just dots and dashes. I didn't say it was ineffective, I said it was primitive.

Haven't the time just now to read the whole of Wiki's entry on semaphore but it was invented by a chap called Chappe! On one occasion it sent a message over 143 miles in one hour - not bad!

Just to be sure - the fellow giving that long ago lecture was both an Army Colonel but perhaps more importantly, a Hopi!

There were four Navy guys sitting in, two of whom were Navaho. (We were "supposedly" learning how the Army conducted SIGINT so for joint-ops we could communicate.)

The Hopi and the Navaho are notoriously antagonistic by nature (or nurture, maybe both!)

I remember the Navy Navahos didn't much care for the implication but the Army fellow was a Colonel so ...

The comments to this entry are closed.