So I downloaded the latest .45 pre-release version of Inkscape, so I could check out the pattern along path option. Drop down options in dialog box are empty, do some searching & turns out you’ll need to edit pathalongpath.inx in the share/extensions subdirectory of your installation directory. Change all _item values to item and restart Inkscape if running. Voila, options. Played around a bit, seems to do what I need. Looks like the source code to do it is included in the download in pathalongpath.py. It’s a python script. Took a look. Hard to decode, but looks like it’s doing what I thought you’d need to do. Divide the path into small pieces, rotate, translate your symbol along the path. The key part, use a group for the symbol, which is what these 3rd party svg’s I have use. I think I can do it, but I need to play around a little more.