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 Post subject: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 19 Jun 2009, 10:50 
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Have noticed most people are under the impression that the Werhmacht did not have radar early in the war.

It is just the opposite the Germans were miles ahead of everyone with radar developement.

The first time that German fighters (Bf 109's from IV/JG 2) were directed on to a RAF bomber force by a ground controllor was on 18 December 1939. He had been given information from an experimental FREYA radar station based on the Island of Wangerooge.

This radar station had picked up the Force of 24 Wellingtons at 70 miles out on their approach flight. They were first hit by FLAK and 22 aircraft made it to the target of Wilhelshaven.

Of the remaining 22 Wellingtons 12 were shot down for the loss of 2 Bf 109 fighters.

This action and an earlier action on 14 December when the RAF lost 5 out of a force of 12 is what brought serious doubts on the validity of the theory of self-defending daylight bomber formations into doubt within the RAF.

The FREYA was a far more sophisticated system than the British Home Chain system and used a far smaller dish. But as with alot of German equipment due to its sophistication was slower off the production line than the British HC radar.

Nore did radar feature highly in tactics or stratergy of an early warning system in the German High Command especially the Luftwaffe who controlled all (FLiegerAbwerKannon) FLAK guns, most German radar belonged to the Kriegsmarine.


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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 20 Jun 2009, 08:28 
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According to Max Hastings' Bomber Command, PAN books, 1999, the first two Wellingtons from the original 24 were "lost" when the leader of one of the vic-formations had engine trouble and decided to return home. He was dutifully followed down by one of his wingmen in "what could only be described as remarkable lack of imagination", while the other wingman continued and formed up with the vic in front of them. The day turned out to be a gin clear winter's day; ideal for a fighter interception.

As the remaining 22 Wellingtons approached Jade Roads they were intercepted by 6 Bf109's. The bomber formation was picked up by the Luftwaffe's Freya radar station on Wangarooge and by the naval radar station on Heligoland. FLAK fired from the shore, however, caused the Bf109's to hang back for fear of becoming victims themselves. The FLAK fire, however, caused the cohesion of the tight, defensive bomber formation to loosen although no direct hits were scored.

About the German radar operations of that day Max Hastings wrote:
Despite the adequacy of their technology, the Germans had failed to match the British in marrying radar to an effective fighter direction system. The naval radar report was only hesitantly passed through their own HQ exchange to the Luftwaffe at Jever. When the young lieutenant commanding the air-force's own radar station telephoned Jever direct, he was caustically dismissed: 'Tommies approaching in weather like this? You're plotting seagulls or there's interference on your set!' The Luftwaffe officer then tried to telephone the CO of the neighbouring Bf110 squadron direct, only to learn that he was absent at headquarters. Only after a visual sighting report by German naval observers, whose message was duplicated in transmission and reached HQ as a warning of 44 approaching enemy aircraft, did the Luftwaffe at last grasp the reality of attack. Belatedly the fighters began to scramble.

One of the Messerschmitts was piloted by Gordon Gollob, who would rack up 150 victories in the war. Another Bf110 was flown by Helmut Lent who was so impatient to take of from Jever that his armourer who was still loading shells into the canons, barely had time to role of the wing before the Bf110 started rolling. Lent shot down 2 Wellingtons in a textbook display.

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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 20 Jun 2009, 10:31 
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I take it the Helmut Lent that you mention is the same one that was the first to get 100 air kills at night and after a crash landing due to an engine stall died days later from the injuries he sustained. Goerings "elite" were Bf 110 aircraft and not the Bf 109. Changed fast once the Bf 110 met Allied fighters.

I must get the book you mention as it is one I do not have it, the one I have for Bomber Command does not go into much detail on individual actions. More of an over sight war diary of all raids with losses etc for the war.

The Germans were quite stupid with their radar tactics/stratergy early in the war. Which just goes to prove, that it is what you do with the equipment you have and not how more sophisticated it is to your enemies equipment. Be it radar, aircraft, tanks etc

The same could be said for the Allies in the Battle for France, they had more of and alot of better tank types than the Germans but they did not use them correctly. Allies +/- 3345 to German +/- 2445 of which the vast majority were Panzer I and II's armed with MG's (2 x 7.92mm and 1 x MG and 1 x 20mm Cannon respectively) were designed as training vehicles.


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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 21 Jun 2009, 00:17 
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W407594F wrote:
I take it the Helmut Lent that you mention is the same one that was the first to get 100 air kills at night and after a crash landing due to an engine stall died days later from the injuries he sustained. Goerings "elite" were Bf 110 aircraft and not the Bf 109. Changed fast once the Bf 110 met Allied fighters.


Yes, that is THE very same Helmut Lent.

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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2009, 02:24 
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Max Hastings is a brilliant author - I have his book Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 which I found absolutely fascinating and unbiased.

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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2010, 17:17 
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I read of a recollection of a meeting between the heads of the RAF and Goering before the WW2 where Goering on a visit to the RAF over lunch had in his usual bombastic way had broached the subject with the inquiry as to how far along the RAF had come in developing radar. His hosts clammed up and none of his bonhomie could unlock the precise nature of the RAF's progress. I think the book was Len Deighton's "Battle of Britain".
The funny thing with Radar, rocketry and the jet engine was the fact that many countries developed these technologies in parallel. The UK built the first jet engine but the Germans flew the first jet. It seems from my reading of the thing that the UK's main advance over the Germans in the initial part of the war was in an integrated air defence which was unique.
It seems to me that the Germans only really got into that act with the advent of the Kammhuber line.


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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2010, 19:32 
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Correct the British were behind the Germans in radar technology, but were ahead of them in using it as part of an intergrated Air Defence system. Most German radar belonged to the Kriegsmarine and was seen as a naval gun ranging instrument.

What also helped the RAF was that the Luftwaffe were using a tactical Air Force to perform a Strategic bombing role. As the Luftwaffe was essentially just flying artillery to support the ground troops, hence most German aircraft had a very short range.

Both the British and Germans had already developed what would become known as "window" but neither side used it until the RAF did during Operation Gamorrah

Were as the British went for the more simple centrafugal engine the Germans proceeded with the more complex axial-flow engine

The British had a cannon far better than the feared German 88, but never used it as a Anti-tank weapon as they did not have a sight. It was the 3.7inch AA gun, one off which is on display at Ysterplaat.


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 Post subject: Re: German Radar WWII
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2010, 21:19 
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Haven't the British or whoever on the Allied side, developed the magnetron also which gave the Allies an edge over the Germans in Airborne radar equipment?

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