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  • Before RADAR....

    ......were the sound mirrors designed to reflect the sound of approaching aircraft engines onto a listening device. Initially these were a sort of stethoscope and the operator had to sit in an open trench dug immediately in front of the mirror and exposed to the elements. Later a microphone was used and the operator sat in a nearby wooden hut in rather more comfort. Some nice photos here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-46348917
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    ......were the sound mirrors designed to reflect the sound of approaching aircraft engines onto a listening device. Initially these were a sort of stethoscope and the operator had to sit in an open trench dug immediately in front of the mirror and exposed to the elements. Later a microphone was used and the operator sat in a nearby wooden hut in rather more comfort. Some nice photos here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-46348917
    Hi

    The book 'Echoes from the Sky' by Richard N. Scarth covers the development of these systems from WW1 to the 1930s very well. They are also found in Malta, a 200 feet Mirror being at Maghtab.

    Mike

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MikeMeech View Post

      Hi

      The book 'Echoes from the Sky' by Richard N. Scarth covers the development of these systems from WW1 to the 1930s very well. They are also found in Malta, a 200 feet Mirror being at Maghtab.

      Mike
      The French also experimented with sound location. They also tried detecting the radio transmissions generated by spark plugs and an experimental secret installation was established on the Eifel Tower. A cover story about using trained parrots to detect noise was promoted. There was some success in warning of early air raids on Paris but French security in WW1 was not good and the Germans sussed what was going on quite quickly and found a means of applying suppressors to the plugs.

      Post WW1 the Japanese also applied considerable ingenuity to developing sound location systems as did Britain but the problem with sound is that compared to electromagnetic radiation it travels slowly. Sound systems typically picked up targets about 25 miles out at best. Given the time the sound took to reach the detector and the increasing speed of aircraft in the mid war period the time interval between first detection and the arrival of the attackers was increasingly too short to be useful. This is why the Maltese installation was abandoned. However the British effort was not in vain as the supporting reporting and analysis system was relatively easily adapted for RDF (RADAR)
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        This link takes one to more photos of locators from the USA, Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia,Sweden and Japan. At least one however is miscaptioned. They all look extremely uncomfortable for the operators.
        https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/air...dar-1917-1940/
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          and more (with some duplicates). Interesting that the Soviets were still using sound locators as late as 1942
          https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/...ound-locators/
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            I first saw those sound mirrors in a Nova episode Zeppelin Terror Attack about two years ago. The entire episode is worth the watch. But if you only want to watch the part with the sound mirrors, skip to about the 33 minute mark, it covers the mirrors, and how they worked.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzW4258oIyg

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            • #7
              There seems to have been two different ways in which sound location was used
              1. for early warning
              2. as a directional device for AA equipment (search lights, guns etc)
              As I indicated in my earlier posts the increasing speed of aircraft would render the first of these ineffective but the second being useful once the attackers have arrived seems to have remained effective until well into WW2 especially with regard to search lights as a number of photos (see previous links) suggest.
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment

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