The Relief of Mafeking

by Bob Myers, Committee Member, Troop 3, Cincinnati, Ohio


As a way of introducing and summarizing the Relief of Mafeking experience, I have included below a section of a posting to the Scouts-L list that I wrote last March shortly after the event. What follows the message is all the details and information I could find and compile about the event. I hope that other patrols around the world are able to use this material to plan and execute their own night exercises.

Bob Myers, Committee Member, Troop 3, Cincinnati, Ohio,

"We had our best campout ever last month in terms of patrol spirit. The primary event took place Friday night from 10pm-1am. It consisted of a 2 mile night hike in a small, 200 acre county park. There were 11 activity stations and the theme was Baden-Powells defense of Mafeking (1899-1900).

Each patrol had to navigate the course quietly using map and compass. The patrols were spaced 15 minutes apart and 6-7 adults were used as "advanced scouts" to run the events. Most adults covered 2 stations.

Events included:

• Team building: the patrol had to cross a 100 foot mud puddle (minefield) carrying all their required gear by using two sets of 8 foot 2x4s with ropes

• Trust event: the patrol split into pairs to tie bowlines around their waist with 6 foot ropes, the their rope to their partner's, and lean back to test the knots

• Ladder building (see scouting magazine from several months ago): using their scout staves and rope they brought with them to build a ladder to get the entire patrol out of an actual 5 foot deep ravine

• Silent observation: scout a circa 1820 pioneer village

• Mapping: map the village based on the memories of the patrol

• Observation: Kim's game

• First aid: treat two gunshot wound, build a stretcher (blanket was part of required equipment), carry patient over rough terrain with and egg under his head

• Measurement: measure height, width, depth of wooden stage (old fort)

• Silent march: although the entire event was to be done quietly, this part of the trail was monitored for noise

• Fire building: burn the string

• Orienteering: small 12 point course and build north arrow without compass using staves (stars were out)

Each event took no more than 15 minutes and the patrols were monitored virtually the entire way by a silent "spy" that snuck (or was that sneaked?) around and hung out in trees; observing all along the trail to assure everyone's safety. We had hot soup and hot chocolate ready for them when they got back to the cabin a little after 1:00am. They were cold and tired, but were so pumped that no one went to sleep for more than an hour. The next day they slept till 10am, had brunch, worked on advancement, and prepared a huge banquet for Saturday supper.

Our "spy" , ASM Terry Eby, did a tremendous amount of creative preparation for the Mafeking event, but it took very little preparation work by the other adults. Terry prepared specific binders for each adult with all the information for their event(s). Each patrol was given an orienteering based course description, but were given their "field orders" for each station only when they arrived. These orders were given only to the patrol leader who was then required to communicate them to his patrol.

For me, standing out in the woods for more than an hour at night in absolute darkness with 50 degree (F) temperatures and 30 MPH howling winds was quite an experience. All the adults had just as much fun as the Scouts. It was a great success and patrol spirit has never been higher.


The Relief of Mafeking

Night Exercises by the Patrols of Troop 3

The following is a description of an exciting and successful night hike that our troop, Troop 3 (formerly Troop 575) of Cincinnati, Ohio, developed and executed on the night of Friday, February 23, 1996. The idea came from the attached reprint of an article from the magazine THE LEADER, February, 1992 issue. I downloaded this reprint from Compuserve compliments of Raymond Burett/NJ, 74030,2151. This material, which described a camporee setting, was adapted and enhanced for our troop’s use by Mr. Terry Eby, our outstanding Assistant Scoutmaster. Terry prepared detailed plans and documentation for this event that are contained below.

The main goals of the event was to have fun, learn a little about the origins of Scouting, and to develop patrol spirit while using basic Scoutcraft skills. There were only two patrols in our troop at the time, with 8 members of each in attendance. We used 7 adults to run all the obstacles (events) and to man the cabin in case of emergencies. Each adult (referred to as "advanced scouts") ran 1 or 2 obstacles in leapfrog fashion. The obstacle was essentially a camporee style patrol competition conducted at night with each patrol traveling from station to station. The theme was the defense and relief of Mafeking, the pivotal event in the Boor Wars that made Baden-Powell famous and therefore capable of founding the worldwide Scouting movement.

The overall schedule consisted of the following:

Training at troop meeting(s) prior weeks

Site layout and mapping prior weekend

Arrival at cabin and preparations 7:30 p.m.

Reading of B-P’s Camp Fire Yarn No. 1 and briefing 9:00 p.m.

Final patrol preparations 9:15 p.m.

First patrol/personal inspections and orders issued 9:20 p.m.

First patrol starts 9:30 p.m.

Second patrol/personal inspections and orders issued 9:35 p.m.

Second patrol starts 9:45 p.m.

First patrol arrives at cabin (15 minutes for each of 11 obstacles) 12:30 a.m.

Second patrol arrives at cabin (15 minutes for each of 11 obstacles) 12:45 a.m.

Soup and hot chocolate served until taps at 2:00 a.m.

Reveille and remainder of weekend’s program (gourmet cooking) 10:00 a.m.

Award Ceremony at campfire Saturday night

INCIDENT ON A LONDON STREET -- 1908 campfire skit Saturday night

Safety Considerations

Our two major concerns with this event were the weather (it was February in Ohio) and the potential of a Scout or Scouts getting lost. As for the weather, the troop was camping that particular weekend at Governor Bebb Park in a cabin that provided warmth before and after the event. Second, detailed patrol and personal inspections were conducted at the start of the event. Third, the Scouts were out of contact with an adult for no more than 10 minutes and the Patrol Leader was required to report the condition of his patrol at each station. The event would have been shortened if weather conditions had required it. Fourth, the Scouts were allowed to stop at each obstacle for no more than 10 minutes and required about 2-3 miles of hiking. Finally, we were lucky with a dry but very windy 50 degree (F) night.

The danger of getting lost was controlled again by the patrol reports at each station, where the "tail end charlie" was required to second the patrol leader’s report of "all present." Second, each patrol was provided with three different maps of the park. Third, the park was only 174 acres of woods surrounded by farmland. It would be hard not to notice leaving the park. Fourth, many of the older Scouts were very familiar with the park. Finally, patrol discipline was emphasized and graded. This kept everything working very well. The intense competition caused the one patrol that did take a wrong turn to quickly discover and correct its error.

Advanced Patrol Preparations and Training

Each patrol was given the following information at a troop meeting prior to the event:

Patrol Breakdown

Patrol Equipment Checklist

Personal Inspection Checklist

The Patrol Breakdown was given to each patrol about a month before the event. This gave them some good hints as to what skills would be required. It allowed all the patrol members to begin getting involved. The patrol leaders were required submit a duty roster, filling each position.

The only "new skill" that the troop provided training for prior to the event was for Survival Climb obstacle that required the ladder lashing illustrated in the Nov-Dec 1995 edition of BSA’s SCOUTING magazine. This skill was taught, practiced, and a patrol competition game was conducted to insure that one or more members of each patrol were able to build the required ladder. Other more standard skills, such as first aid, were also practiced during the preceding weeks.

Each patrol was expected to gather the required equipment prior to the event and to make the assignments described in the Patrol Breakdown listing. The patrols were given a simple listing of all events and each specialist within the patrol was expected Be Prepared!

Staff Preparations

Since all of the troop’s youth members were involved in the event (even the SPL who was still considered a member of a patrol), all obstacles were run by adult Scouters who were referred to as "advance scouts." Binders with waterproof sleeves were prepared for each advanced scout that contained all the information he required, including maps, trail guide, a listing of all 11 obstacles, and the "field orders" that were to be given to the patrol leader at each obstacle.

The Trail Guide, a simple orienteering course with stops for each obstacle, was prepared the weekend before the event. This required a trip to the site for several hours to map out all the details. Each advanced scout was briefed in the weeks prior to the event and was able to prepared as required. On the night of the event, each advanced scout was given his binder and final preparations were made just prior to the briefing of the Scouts. While the patrols were being inspected and issued orders, the advanced scouts proceeded to their posts on the trail.


Judging was not formally structured prior to the event. Most events were timed to the second and the results were recorded. Quality factors were also recorded for each event. The patrols observed and evaluated on their use of the patrol method. After the event, the results from each station were tabulated and a consensus was reached by all the advanced scouts and Terry Eby, who had the final say. A special award ceremony was conducted during the troop campfire the following night.

Briefing and Getting Started

To start the event, the Scoutmaster conducted a relatively serious reading of B-P’s Camp Fire Yarn No.1, Mafeking Boy Scouts, around the cabin’s large fireplace. This was followed by a briefing by the Terry Eby, the Assistant Scoutmaster. At the end of the briefing, a square knot speed tying contest was designed to determine which patrol goes first. We ended up using the best patrol cheer as the determining factor instead.

After the briefing the first patrol was given a few minutes to get everything together and assemble. At that time the patrol equipment and personal equipment was inspected. The patrol was then issued a packet that contained:

Maps of the area

General Orders

Trail Guide

The patrol then marched off with minimal flashlights and minimal talking and noise (this was a "scouting" adventure after all). The second patrol followed this sequence 15 minutes later.

The Obstacles

Here are some notes about the trail and each obstacle. Please refer to the Trail Guide and the Field Orders.

1. The "minefield" was about 20 yards of mud. The Scouts were expected to cross while carrying all their equipment using two 8 foot long 2x4's with ropes attached. Two trips were required.

2. The numbered "points" that are referred to on the Trail Guide were markers for a nature trail. The Scouts were allowed to help each other with the knots, but all Scouts were required to lean back on the knots that were tied.

3. Once the ladder was built, all the patrol members had to climb it to get out of a real ditch.

4. The "enemy camp" was an early 19th century log cabin village with about a dozen log cabin and out-buildings. The "spy" was lying in an old wagon in the village when the patrols passed through. A map of the village was drawn from memory by each patrol when they reached the old covered bridge (a real one).

5. This station was a simple Kim’s Game - list all the items that you were allowed to look at for only a brief period. Items used included some antique Scouting equipment.

6. The bushwhack (no trail) down the hill to this station was tricky, but everything went well. A flashlight was occasionally turned on by the advanced scout to provide some guidance. The victim was carried about 100 feet over moderately rough terrain (off the trail).

7. The "old fort" was a wooden platform with a roof that was used during the summer for band concerts. No adult was present when the Scouts measured the height and width.

8. This was the only event that was planned but was not executed as planned due to a lack of adults. Frankly, we weren’t sure how it was going to work anyway. Refer to PROJECT 2 - SEARCHLIGHT GAUNTLET in the attached article from THE LEADER for the general idea. What we did instead is evaluate the patrols’ ability to minimize noise and flashlight use along the trail.

9. The fire building was going to be a fire by friction contest, but turned out to be a typical burn-the-string fire building contest. One patrol built a nice fire but were unable to burn the string due to the high winds.

10. The compass course only had about 6 points and was laid out in a small field not much over 100 feet across.

11. The night was cloudless, so both patrols easily found north. They ended up making a north arrow with their Scout staves. If it had been cloudy, they should have been able to find north by orienting one of their maps.


Terry Eby was not an "advanced scout", but played the role of "spy" throughout the event. He roamed the entire course but never revealed his location to the patrols, even though they walked directly below him one time when he decided to climb a tree along the trail. In this way, he was able to keep an eye on the patrols, evaluate their performance, and coordinate the activities of the adult advanced scouts.


This event turned out to be one of the best of the year. When the Scouts returned to the cabin around 1:00 a.m., they were tired and chilly but extremely pumped up. It took more than an hour for them to settle down and go to sleep. The best thing about it from my perspective was the promotion of the patrol method. Both patrols worked very well together. This was the closest that we had come up to that time to the text book patrol method. The ultimate complement that the Scouts paid the event was to schedule it again for the following year.


Leave cabin and pick up trail in front of the cabin by the four trees.

-Take a bearing of 85.

-Go over creek and follow trail up to the top of the hill.


-Go to point 11 and take a bearing of 200.

-You will pass a pond on your left hand side.

-When you come to a T in the trail take a right hand take a bearing of 170.

-The pine forest and point 10 will be on your left.

-You will pass point 9 on your right.


-Take a left hand turn a bearing 355.

-Proceed through the cathedral.

-When you come to point 7 take a right turn on a bearing of 60.

-You will pass a pond on your left.

-Continue onward until you come to a farm fence.

-Wait here for advanced scout.


-Take a right turn at steps and proceed on a bearing of 92.


a.-Go down steps and over small footbridge. At point 2 take a bearing of 209 and follow it up to enemy encampment.


b.-Go down steps and over creek use ladder to scale embankment.

-Take a bearing of 80 and bushwhack up the hill to enemy encampment.

-Reconnoiter enemy camp. Use extreme caution while in the enemy camp.

-Remember what you see here.

-Maintain silence while in camp. Use your eyes to size up the area.

-Leave encampment through the front gate. Turn left and proceed to bridge.


-Leave the bridge on a bearing of 155.

-lead patrol out. BE CAREFUL. Noise will set of an alarm.

-When you come to a Y in the road, go left.

-Proceed to command center on your right.


-Go to end of parking lot. you will come upon an abandoned enemy encampment (picnic area).

-Stand at grill and take a bearing of 224.

-BUSHWHACK down hill to creek trail.

-Watch out for MINES. Spread patrol out and proceed slowly and cautiously.


-When you reach the trail take a right hand turn follow a bearing of 298.

-You will come to an enemy held road. Stay left.

-There is an abandoned outpost on your left.


-Take height and width measurement of post and bring back for H.Q.

-Stay on bearing of 298 back to camp. Beware of enemy spies!


-Maintain present bearing to fire pits. Don’t get caught in search light!


-Your almost home. Don't let your guard down - signal ahead.


-Continue to flag pole


-Without using compass chalk an arrow pointing north on driveway.

-Report to H.Q. for debriefing.



5. Minefield Mr. Pete

2. Knot tie Mr. Bob

6. Build ladder Mr. Matt

4. Sketch map Mr. Chris

7. Observation Mr. Pete

6. First aid Mr. Bob

7. Height and width no adult

8. Light beam not done

9. Build fire Mr. Chris

10. Orienteering Mr. Matt

11. Astronomy no adult




• Ahead of you is a large mine field.

• Your mission is to get through it without setting off any mines.

• Any dropped equipment will result in lost points.


• Is their a spy among you?

• Can you TRUST your fellow patrol members?

• Split your patrol into groups of 2.

• Tie a bowline around 2 patrol members waist and a square knot in the middle

• Lean back to test your trust.


• You have come upon and enemy encampment

• In order to penetrate their defenses you must build a ladder to scale the cliffs


• You have just passed through an enemy encampment

• take 5 minutes to sketch out camp

• include buildings, fence, distance to road, and anything else you can remember.


• You have a clandestine meeting with an advance scout

• he will show you information pertinent to your mission

• after taking a brief look

• copy down what you have seen


• Unfortunately one of your patrol members has been wounded by an enemy sniper

• Your victim has a bullet wound in the left forearm and left calf.

• There is no time to disrobe him

• Bandage both wounds over his clothes

• Use a splint to immobilize the leg

• Use a cravat bandage to sling his arm.

• To transport your victim make a stretcher out of staves and a blanket.

• Before transport place an egg under victims head.

• Use 4 people to transport victim and use extreme caution


• Proceed down the trail and you will come to an abandoned fort on your left hand side

• You must determine the height and width of the fort.


• As you journey back to base camp you may come upon enemy spies

• Watch for their light beams

• Notice the beams make a pattern. Figure the pattern out so you can pass all your patrol members by them without being caught in the light.


• Make a fire and burn the string.


• Using your compass follow the course that is given you.

• Find your orders at the end of the course.



• Mark a north arrow on driveway

• Use the stars or dead reckoning only



• As patrol leader you must assign a scout to each of the following positions.

• Choose carefully each position has its own responsibility.

• Take extra care in choosing TAIL END CHARLEY no one must get behind him during the night exercise.


• He will be lead man for your patrol

• he will need to be expert at map and compass


• He is to work with navigator


• Someone who has his first aid merit badge would be a good pick.


• An expert at knots


• Patrol discipline is mandatory

• You will be hiking at night in the woods

• The score of your patrol depends on how you handle the patrol


• Next to the patrol leader he is most important

• No one can get behind Tail End Charley


• Every member will be assigned a position or an assistant for a position

• One member can hold more than one position and be assistant as needed

• Navigator must have an assistant.

• Put your people where you think they will best serve the good of the patrol.

• Work together as a team.

• As patrol leader you can make decisions based on the recommendations given you by the experts you have chosen.




2-4ft Staves

4-2ft staves



1-set instructions




20-sheets paper

1-patrol flag on mast

1-scout book

2-20ft length of rope

1-4ft length of rope per scout

1-first aid kit..



• hat

• gloves

• boots

• poncho

• flashlight


9:00 briefing

9:15 square knot tie to see who goes first

9:20 1st patrol inspection

9:25 start on journey

9:40 2nd patrol to start. 15 minute interval



• Your mission is to recon the area and bring back a report.

• Their are advanced scouts ahead of you they will act as pathfinders

• You will have to overcome various obstacles to complete your mission.

• The advance scout will have your orders at these obstacles

• The patrol leader is to report the condition of the patrol, seconded by tail end Charlie to the advance scout.

• The patrol leader will receive his orders from the advance scout and relay them to his patrol





• Gentleman you are about to embark on a dangerous and important mission.

• Using your scout skills you must

1. Penetrate and reconnoiter the enemy’s position

2 Bring this information back to H.Q.

• Along the way you will encounter minefields, spies, snipers, and inhospitable terrain.

• Your only defense is your ability to move quickly and quietly through the forest.

• PATROL DISCIPLINE must be maintained at all times

• Every scout has a responsibility within the patrol.

• If you should encounter and obstacle their will be an advance scout with orders on how to accomplish your mission

• The patrol leader is to report the condition of his patrol, seconded by tail end Charlie

• At this time the patrol leader will receive your field orders from the advance scout

• The patrol leader is responsible for briefing the patrol

PATROL DISCIPLINE MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES. NO ONE, I REPEAT, NO ONE IS TO GET BEHIND TAIL END CHARLEY. He is to come into obstacle area last. Gentlemen you are being graded on your performance points will be deducted for Tail End Charlie coming in anything but last.

• Each patrol member has been assigned a specific responsibility based on their individual skills, use them wisely


• You will begin now patrol leaders assemble Your patrols line abreast we will see who goes out first

• Each patrol member has a length of rope tie a square knot with it hold it up first patrol done wins

• GO

<When it is decided which patrol goes first, the first patrol will gather their gear and present themselves for inspection. They will then receive their orders, maps, and trail guide before departing. The second patrol will follow 15 minutes later.>



1.Check to be sure all boys are accounted for arriving and leaving.

• Mark time entering event area.

• Time patrol on actual event

• Mark time patrol leaves area

• Keep patrol in area 15 minutes from time of first patrol’s leaving this way they won't catch up with each other

• check to be sure that Tail End Charlie is last one in.

• patrol leader and Tail End Charlie are to report to you on entering your obstacle area.

• check off scouts map area

• Patrol leader will ask you for orders give them to him only


• Tail End Charlie must come in last (if he doesn't get patrol leader and Charlie together and straighten it out.)

• points off for orders not given to patrol leader

• Keep accurate time on timed events




• When second patrol has cleared, leave minefield

• Go back down hill to cabin

• Get in car an drive around to parking lot

• Wait in shelter for patrol to arrive

• When second Patrol has reached the first aid obstacle at bottom of hill proceed back to cabin

Build ladder

When second patrol has cleared the village proceed down road to pt 8 light beam

Sketch map

When second patrol has reached the next obstacle proceed down the road to pt.9 fire building

First aid

When second patrol has cleared, proceed to cabin.

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