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Radar Plots the Invasion
May 11, 2013 10:09 PM   Subscribe

These photos are the first official releases of radar imagery before and during D-Day.
posted by Confess, Fletch (33 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Are we quite sure that Jerry won't be able to make use of this intelligence?
posted by dhartung at 10:19 PM on May 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I wonder what it looked like over Calais that day? Aircraft flew back and forth dropping chaff as part of a deception campaign.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:30 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really cool pics. It's such a shame that the everyday people on all sides (who most likely had a lot in common) were and are still thrown into these meat grinders.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:31 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "Aircraft flew back and forth dropping chaff as part of a deception campaign."

I prefer to think of the chaff as a metric buttload of Ruperts.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:41 PM on May 11, 2013


From the very wee bottom of the link:
* The U.S. Army website historical page is not linked because the historical revisions dictated by rampant political correctness
now makes most "official" information unreliable. It might not be untruthful, but relevant information has often been scrubbed.


That sort of statement sets off all sorts of twiggy response in my pan. Makes me wonder what they believe is changed?
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:46 PM on May 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


I wondered about that too. This site is a tremendous resource for EE's (which I am) especially if you work with RF (which I used to). However he has occasional mild political ranting which I think this qualifies as.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:53 PM on May 11, 2013


One of my favorite trivia questions; why was it D-Day? What does that first D in D-Day stand for?

The answer is in front of you.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:33 PM on May 11, 2013


"Ici radio Londres. Voici notre huitieme bulletin d'information. Mais voici, tout d'abord, quelques messages personnels. Demain, la melasse deviendra du cognac. Demain, la melasse deviendra du cognac. Jean a de longues moustaches. Je repete, Jean a de longues moustaches."
posted by Ironmouth at 11:42 PM on May 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


twoleftfeet: "One of my favorite trivia questions; why was it D-Day? What does that first D in D-Day stand for?"

You mean like H-hour?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:27 AM on May 12, 2013


Accomplished with analog circuits, mechanical componets, and nomographs painstakingly calculated by hand (Markovitz's Waveguide Handbook complies a lot of them.) A triumph of pure mathematics and mechanical engineering without a single transistor, digital circuit, or line of code. Before the end of the war the English had developed anti-aircraft artillery shells with radar proximity fuses as well as radar directed fire control systems for battleship guns.
posted by three blind mice at 1:40 AM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


The D stands for "disembarkation" day IIRC.
posted by three blind mice at 1:42 AM on May 12, 2013


As well as D-day and H-hour I believe we Brits also had T-time.
posted by vbfg at 2:01 AM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interesting article.

Jean a de longues moustaches.

Is it Movember already?
posted by arcticseal at 2:15 AM on May 12, 2013


And the Aussies had G-Day?
posted by Brocktoon at 2:28 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


D is Day, H is Hour.

The point is that you can refer to scheduled events relative to this, so that the entire plan can be set down with the option of changing the actual start time at short notice.

So, you might say that ammunition must be loaded by day D-3, the invasion is on day D (or D-Day), initial objectives should be seized by D+1, follow-on forces to land on D+3 and so on.

In real life, D-Day was originally 5 June 1944 but the invasion was delayed by a day due to weather. Expressing the plan in terms of days relative to D-Day avoided the need to rewrite all the orders.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:48 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


That sort of statement sets off all sorts of twiggy response in my pan. Makes me wonder what they believe is changed?

Possibly references to the alien grays, who gave us radar technology, have been removed.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:08 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Before the end of the war the English had developed anti-aircraft artillery shells with radar proximity fuses as well as radar directed fire control systems for battleship guns.

Americans also developed a proximity fuse during the war. That was the beginning of what became Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
posted by newdaddy at 6:08 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Think of rocket launches: T-10 and counting.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:13 AM on May 12, 2013


D-Day caused the development of the field of Operations Research. Since it was such a large and complicated logistical problem, existing techniques of planning were inadequate.
posted by thelonius at 6:17 AM on May 12, 2013


"Ici radio Londres. Voici notre huitieme bulletin d'information. Mais voici, tout d'abord, quelques messages personnels. Demain, la melasse deviendra du cognac. Demain, la melasse deviendra du cognac. Jean a de longues moustaches. Je repete, Jean a de longues moustaches."

Blessent mon cœur d'une langeur monotone
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:48 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


* The U.S. Army website historical page is not linked because the historical revisions dictated by rampant political correctness now makes most "official" information unreliable. It might not be untruthful, but relevant information has often been scrubbed.

Yeah, what was that all about? I searched for the source page but couldn't find it. Seems like this page is short enough that I could consider it scrubbed too.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:58 AM on May 12, 2013


From the linked article:
Radar has proven to be the greatest technical development of this war.

The Manhattan Project respectfully disagrees.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:39 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Operation Overlord and the Manhattan Project are also good counterexamples to the argument "a project employing a large number of people cannot be kept secret."

Very cool imagery, like looking at the beginning of history.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:25 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the linked article:
Radar has proven to be the greatest technical development of this war.

The Manhattan Project respectfully disagrees.


I think penicillin is what you are looking for...
posted by ennui.bz at 9:28 AM on May 12, 2013


The Manhattan Project respectfully disagrees.

To be fair though, the article was probably written before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, maybe even Trinity.


Yeah, what was that all about? I searched for the source page but couldn't find it.


This is confusing. What source page are you referring to?
posted by Authorized User at 9:31 AM on May 12, 2013


Operation Overlord and the Manhattan Project are also good counterexamples to the argument "a project employing a large number of people cannot be kept secret."

Cannot be kept secret forever. People were exceedingly aware of both projects post-implementation.
posted by zamboni at 9:34 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


theolonius:: D-Day caused the development of the field of Operations Research. Since it was such a large and complicated logistical problem, existing techniques of planning were inadequate.

I'm not sure D-day in particular had much of a role. There was certainly lots of military involvement in the development of OR, but this began before the planning of D-day: good examples include decisions about whether ships should travel in convoys (and of what size), optimising the detonation depth for depth charges, estimating the number of German tanks based on the ID numbers of captured one, etc. Leonid Kantorovich's work on linear programming in the USSR began in 1939. The development of critical path analysis was mostly motivated by the Manhattan project.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2013


Oh, so much here.

OR was being talked about (and used) long before D-Day, though perhaps not in those terms. You can't look at something like Henry Ford's factories and not see it at work. No question that as in so many things the war accelerated and defined the field. It's worth reading (and reading about) RV Jones, who among many other things was involved in OR for Bomber Command. He's something of a fascination for me, and if you have a taste for the more technical sides of history I doubt you'll resist him for long either. If nothing else, find and consume the BBC TV series, The Secret War, based on his book (which blew the gaff on lots of things, and which he wrote to fund his retirement, something I discovered is still seen as a little infra dig among his surviving contemporaries). It's in the usual places, YouTube and the naughtynet, but I don't know if it's commercially available.

Was radar the primary technical accomplishment of the war? I don't think anything can usefully be labelled like that. If you add up all the things typically credited with "shortening the war by x years". the damned thing would have been over in 1932. There's also a book to be written (one day, deo volente, maybe by me) on all the creation myths associated with wartime technology, and plenty of unanswered questions about who knew what and what they did (and didn't do) as a result. The Germans initially cracked the Allies naval codes just as thoroughly - more so, I think - than Bletchley did the Enigmas et al, but the standard answer to why the Axis didn't bomb the hell out of the UK radar stations was 'they didn't know about them'. Well, really. They even had a passive radar system, the Parasit, which used CH to watch Allied planes. And Bletchley Park itself - top secret until the 1970s. As if. I was talking to a diplomat who was in Cairo during the war, and according to him the re was even a verb in common use - "to BP", meaning to get something confirmed by Station X - and Cairo leaked like a sieve.

I hate to make predictions, but I think it's safe to say that there's a lot to come out yet.

(And thanks for RF Cafe, which I didn't know about. I don't work in RF engineering any more, but I do enjoy it immensely - at its best, it gives you almost magical powers over invisible worlds, and what's not to love? I don't know why so many engineers have bonkers political ideas, but you learn to live with it.)
posted by Devonian at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Operation Overlord and the Manhattan Project are also good counterexamples to the argument "a project employing a large number of people cannot be kept secret."

The Manhattan Project was not kept secret. It had plenty of spies. Do you mean kept secret from the public at large?
posted by frogmanjack at 6:12 PM on May 12, 2013


From the linked article:
Radar has proven to be the greatest technical development of this war.

The Manhattan Project respectfully disagrees.

I think penicillin is what you are looking for...


Or maybe ENIAC, considering what we're all communicating via? ;)

Really, though, Devonian has it spot on, we could list jet engines, rockets, various alloys and manufacturing techniques, the Jeep, or any of dozens of other things which changed the world.

As much as war sucks, it also profoundly advances technology.
posted by MoTLD at 10:20 PM on May 12, 2013


As much as war sucks, it also profoundly advances technology.

That is an often repeated saying but I don't think it's true, except perhaps in some very specialized niches. Mass production of penicillin was useful enough that it would have been developed anyways. Nuclear science was rushed forward to make bombs but in the long term it would probably have been better off without that being done. Radar was being developed independently in many places well before the war.

For every Turing and ENIAC on the winning side (and let's not forget how both man and machine were suppressed due to the exigencies of the cold war) there is a Konrad Zuse and Z3 on the losing side. If anything the economic and intellectual destruction set computer science back by a decade.
posted by Authorized User at 10:53 PM on May 12, 2013


That's fair. I should've said it rapidly advances technologies, which sounds less rosy.
posted by MoTLD at 12:49 AM on May 15, 2013


On further contemplation, never mind. War just sucks.
posted by MoTLD at 12:57 AM on May 15, 2013


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