Nottingham University, Nottingham, UK

(Conference summary reproduced with permission; original text published in: Häusler, H. 2009. Report on National and International Military Geo-Conferences held from 1994 to 2007, MILGEO, Nr. 30E, Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports).

The time schedule of the three days Nottingham Conference lasted from Monday 20th June to Wednesday 22nd June. It offered daily keynotes, and two paralleling sessions, covering ten general topics (in the rooms A and B; Table 1).

Table 1 – Schedule

Day Session A Session B Excusion
  • 1 – Historic
  • 3 – GIS
  • 5 – World War II
  • 2 – Post World War  II
  • 4 – World War II
  • 6 – Historic
Newark Castle
  • 7 – Peacekeeping
  • 8 – US War of
Battle of Bosworth and
Fauld Crater
  • 9 – Digital Elevation
    Models (DEMs)
  • 10  – US Civil War
Departure for 4 days study
tour Normandy field trip
D-Day (22 – 26 June)


Thirty-five authors provided thirty-tree papers. Contributions from U.S. authors nearly equal those from UK and Canada. France and Estonia were represented by one contribution each (Table 2).

Preliminary cover of the “Sixth International Conference on Military Geology and Geography”, held at Nottingham University in 2005 (NATHANAIL, ABRAHART & BRADSHAW.

One of the highlights of the Nottingham Conference was the visit to the Battle of Bosworth Heritage Centre. The Battle of Bosworth (1485) is one of the three most decisive battles fought on English soil. In Britain it is conventional to regard Bosworth as marking the end of the Medieval era and the start of modern times – the Renaissance.

Despite its critical importance to the development of then English state little is known of the details of this battle. Henry Tudor won and Richard III lost the battle. Dr. R. Bradshaw and Dr. R. Abrahart led this excursion.

Dr. C. P. Nathanail led the excursion to the “Fauld Crater”. During World War II the Royal Air Force stored ordnance in deep mines within gypsum horizons of the Triassic Mercia Mudstone. On 24 November 1944 the largest explosion caused by conventional weapons in either world war took place when some 3500 tons of high explosives accidentally blew up. A crater 100 metres deep and 250 metres in diameter was created. Several memorials commemorate the seventy people who lost their lives. The crater is an impressive feature in the North Staffordshire countryside. Seismographs are reputed to have recorded the shock waves at Casablanca.

The four days post conference excursion to D-Day Beach Landings, Normandy, France was led by Dr. E.P.F. Rose and Dr. C.P. Nathanail. Operation Overlord, the Allied liberation of North West Europe, began on 6 June 1944 and marked one of the most significant contributions to military operations made by geologists. This study tour retraced the footsteps of British, Canadian, U.S. and other allied troops and examined the influence, which geology and terrain had on Operation Neptune.

The proceedings of the Nottingham Conference 2005 were published by Land Quality Press.

Table 2 – Papers

Author Title Subject
ABRAHART & BRADSHAW Terrain and tactics at the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815 Geology, geomorphology
BRADSHAW & ABRAHART Newark Civil War defences Geography
BRADSHAW & ABRAHART The Battle of Bosworth 1485: contested locations for the battlefield site Geography
DOYLE “Six VC´s before breakfast”: terrain and the Gallipoli Landings, 25 April 1915 Geography, terrain intelligence, WWI
EHLEN Magnificent men in flying machines: Tactical control of the High Ground, Korea, 1950 Geography
EHLEN & WHISONANT Casualties (Opfer), geology, and terrain in the American Civil War Geology, DEM
FERLAND Military cartography trends for situation awareness Cartography
FRANKLIN & GUTH The effects of DEM re-interpretation on viewshed computations Topography, DEM
FRIEND Environmental analysis in support of the military commander Goings, Military geology
GALGANO “Sichelschnitt”: May 1940, the German attack through the Ardennes – A geographic analysis of a decisive campaign Geography, WWII
GUTH Challenges for military application of high resolution DEMs Topography, DEM
HAMILTON Imagery of the battlescape, Roger Fenton and the Crimean War History
HARRISON & THOMPSON Terrain and non-linearity: Kampfgruppe Peiper and the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 Geology (terrain, climate; movement), WWII
HENDERSON The geology of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn and battlefield preservation in an urban environment Geology, history
HEFFERNAN Geography, military intelligence and WWI Geography, intelligence, WWI
JACKSON The changing nature of geo-intelligence and consequential research challenges Intelligence, US NGA
Geochemical characteristics of Iraqi dust and soil samples and related impacts to weapon malfunctions Geology
MAHANEY & TRICART Hannibal´s debacle in the Combe de Queyras in 218 B.C.: The unknown Gallic commander Geography, history
The Hannibalic invasion of Italia in 218 B.C.: geological/topographical analysis of the invasion routes Geography, history
MARTIN Non-control of space and other spatial aspects of peacekeeping operations Geography, peacekeeping, in general
MEHARG Identicide and the geographies of post-conflict reconstruction Post-conflict reconstruction
NATHANAIL The tectonic impact of the Manhattan Project Geology
NATHANAIL The Fauld Crater: WWII’s largest conventional explosion Geology, WWII
OBROCK & GUTH Filling holes in SRTM DEMs using ASTER DEMs Topography
PALKA & HARMON A geographical analysis of Australia for tropical testing of U.S. Army materiel and systems  Geography
The geography of battle in the Ardennes campaigns of 1940 and 1944  Geography, WWII
ROSE Military applications of geology: a historical perspective  Geology
ROSE German military geologists and fortification of the British Channel Islands during World War II  Geology, WWII
ROSE British military geological terrain evaluation for “Operation Overlord”: the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June 1944  Geology, WWII
SWANSON Multi-resolution digital elevation model visualization and analysis  Topography, DEM, remote sensing, DEM
SCHROEDER Commonwealth and American tactics in World War II  Geography, tactics, WWII
WALTHAM & HARMON Military uses of the sandstone caves of Nottingham, UK  Geology
WHISONANT, UNDERWOOD & SURBER Shock and awe on the union right: Geologic and geomorphological analysis of the battle of Chancellorsville  Geology