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Tank radios hear the enemy?

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by ww24interest, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    Just had a trip down memory lane !!!

    Did a bit of GOOGLING and found loads of YOUTUBE videos dealing with the 19 Set, the Army wireless set that I used the whole time I served in HM Forces.


    The identical set was used both in my Light Ack Ack days AND in the 4th QOH

    It's just amazing what you can find on the internet today !

    Ron
     
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Ron, first delighted to hear from you and secondly what an exciting find. Must bring back many memories, good and bad. . Your name popped up a while back and I thought you were in a Churchill but was informed it was a Sherman. Years ago I was in a bar in Cortona Italy, I think you passed by to the West of that hilltown heading North, if my memory is correct. The bar had a photo of a Sherman sitting in the town piazza and the locals said it was American but it could just as easily be British.
    Gaines
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Its a sim, written for people whose idea of WW2 is that aircraft knocked over tanks. The RL data shows aircraft as far less effective - check ORS reports on Normandy and the ardennes.

    I am sure the aeronautical model is fine, but:-

    #1 Sims ignore RL variations, in say wind speed and direction that made bombing trickier.
    #2 The sim pilot does not face real g forces that make aerobatics uncomfortable. Dive bombing puts a lot of strain on the body.
    #3 The sim pilot ignores the pucker factor that dramatically reduced the effectiveness of weapons under circumstances when the enemy could fire back or a flying error could result in sudden death.
    #4 the sim pilot probably has more opportunity to practice dive bombing in a game environment than RL WW2 pilots.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Just glanced over those reports.... The number of abandoned Panthers is astounding!
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Although tank crews could not hear the enemy radios, spectrum management was a significant problem in some theatres. In a small area in Normandy the British and American forces were well supplied with radios and radars. There were two radar transmitters landed for every four gun HAA troop. There was often so much interference that voice radio was impossible and messages were passed on CW using morse.

    Some soldiers were listening to the enemy. The Germans made more use of tactical radio intercept than the British and Americans. Allied air superiority and a hostile local population left the Germans with no alternative as an intelligence source.
     
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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    You might be surprised. :) British and American tactical radio intercept and analysis was well-organized, highly efficient, and pervasive in the ETO. I first became aware of it when working on the ACSDB nearly 30 years ago. It's just the strategic radio intercept - ULTRA - got all the headlines. One of the more amusing reads is some of the comments of the operators talking about how lazy the Germans were with regards to tactical voice radio security and how they thought using German slang terms was sufficient...which is precisely what most people's impressions are of the German radio intercept service and British and American radio security practices. :):D The reality apparently was both sides were equally poor in maintaining tactical radio security and both were pretty good at interception.

    A couple of good starting points:

    www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a272728.pdf
    www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA331501
    signal.army.mil/ArmyCommunicator/1985/EWWW2.pdf
    https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/d...terly/assets/files/radio_traffic_analysis.pdf
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How common were the "code talkers"? I think I've read of them being used in both theaters but certainly every unit couldn't have them. Were they assigned at particular levels or for special operations or ...?
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The 4th ID trained with 17 Comanche code-talkers. Fourteen deployed with the division to England and eventually served in the ETO. All survived, but a number were wounded. A number of Meskwaki also served with the 34th ID in North Africa and Italy and periodically served as code talkers. Seminole. Cherokee, and other native speakers also enlisted in the Army and probably acted as code-talkers at different times, but there was no Army-wide program such as the Marines developed with the Navajo.
     
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  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Thank you for the references. I am not sure I was fully convinced of how much use was made of the tactical sigint. One of the papers mentioned success in locatign the 11th Panzer division, banging the drum about the effectiveness of Sigint . The second stated that this was a German decoy. Nor was I convinced by the claims that sig inti warned of the threat to Bastogne. It may have confirmed what might have been obvious from, 28th Div reports.

    Yes the Americans had signals interception units. I was making the point is that it was relatively more important to the Germans because they didn't have the photo recce or human sources.

    I was interested between the HFDF psychosis of the Germans in Normandy and the lack of evidence the British making use of DF information for artillery targeting. The air attack on HQ Panzer Gruppe West was from Ultra. But I can't see other locations that should be there in the Harassing Fire and Counter Battery plot. Nor does a ubiquitous and active tactical allied sigint fit with the German reports of inaccurate counter battery. Nor their successful use of sigint to dodge British fireplans.
     
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sure, the failures of signals intelligence are part and parcel with the failures of intelligence in general...as are its successes.

    However, in making your point you implied there was a lack of such units. The American Army in the ETO deployed two mobile SI companies per army and one per corps and I suspect the British were about the same. By late 1944, the Germans typically deployed one mobile and one fixed SI company per army. I would say the Western Allies deployed more such units and likely employed them more. However, yes, the Germans were forced to rely on theirs more.

    Agreed. However, I think what it best illustrates that there is nothing quite like having eyes on target when executing a fireplan. :)
     
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    My post suggested that the British made less use of tactical Sigint than the US. The British J service ex 8th army was taken over by Phantom. Phantom seems to have been more about keeping GHQ informed of friends as much as foe. It was also the medium for disseminating Ultra information.
    Corps history | Royal Signals Museum

    The one thing that Phantom does nto seem to have been is tied into fireplanning, or if it was, it doesn't seem to have left a documentary trace.
     
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