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"Spoof" target in use at Mafeking? 3 weeks 5 days ago #93969

  • LinneyI
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While posting a reply on another topic I noticed something unusual on the RHS of the pic in question -

Although quite blurred (and enlarging that portion of the pic does not help much), it appears to be a human form, well silhouetted, with arms spread quite unnaturally. Could this be a "spoof" target (resembling a human form when viewed from mid to long distance) and used to draw fire during the Mafeking siege?
Somewhere I have seen an illustration of a straw figure being used elsewhere than Mafeking for that very reason - but blowed if I can find it.
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"Spoof" target in use at Mafeking? 3 weeks 5 days ago #93973

  • djb
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It certainly could be.

Here is an entry from the Mafeking Mail, 31 January 1900. Coincidentally, the judging took place on 4th February:

The Colonel Commanding offers prizes as follows: -

1st Prize £1 10 0
2nd Prize £ 1 00 0
3rd Prize £ 0 10 0
4th Prize £ 0 5 0

for the best life-sized Dummy Figures representing men of the Defence Force.

Prizes will be given to those most life-like and likely to deceive the enemy.

The figures need only to be made down to the hips, and must be mounted on a pole so that they can be worked by men in the trenches.

Any contrivances such as mechanical arms etc will receive marks in the award of prizes.

The figures will be shown by exhibition from a trench, and will be partly judged by their appearance at a distance.

The show of dummies will take place at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday next the 4th instant, Recreation Ground.

1. Dummies for exhibition should be sent to Major Panzera at the Grand Stand Recreation Ground, by 5 p.m.
2. Each dummy should have a ticket stitched to the back, giving the name of the maker.
3. After the show the Dummies which win prizes, and any others which may be given, will be handed over to the Brigade Major (Major Panzera) for use in the Defence Works.)
Dr David Biggins
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