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The American scientists who saved London from Nazi drones



The test results were on their way to England within a few days.

To the middle In July 1944, more British citizens had been killed by German V-1s than were lost in the first fifteen days of the Battle of Normandy.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill met every other evening with the Royal Air Force leadership and General Frederick Pile, the head of the anti-aircraft command. Pile vigorously argued that the existing defense strategy against the V-1 was not working. RAF planes, which still took precedence over the cannons to monitor the sky and make contact with the pilotless planes, simply did not have enough advantage over the Nazis̵

7; weapons of terror.

“All right,” Churchill replied, “next Monday … General Pile should have a free hand.”

Now that General Pile was in command, the anti-aircraft guns would be relocated to the south coast and released to fire the smart fuse. The radio security devices of Section T had already arrived in large quantities in April. At the request of Pile, British shooting instructors had been made familiar with the basics of the device. American anti-aircraft battalions had stationed in England.

The coast of France was so close to a new American position that troops could use binoculars to read the clock on Calais Town Hall tower.

“On a clear day,” said Ralph Griffin, an American gunner based near Dover, “we could almost see the buzz bombs as soon as they were fired.”

With the moonless, dark sky, night fire was an afterlife event. At first, the pilotless planes appeared as mere “needle heads” that glowed in black, and fire stains moaned in the distance. At the sight of a V-1 that accelerated in the dark, nervous gunners “focused on the little fireball”. The search beams focused on V-1, the tips of the cannons flashed with glowing cotton candy explosions, bursting flakes flashed, and multicolored marker balls drew curved lines into the sky.

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A V-1 warhead, detonated by an ack-ack fire, lit the night with a “terrible yellow flame burst” followed by a shocking blast that shook the gunners, shook the earth, and whipped the tents.

At first, the American gunners found the V-1 to be incredibly elusive targets. “But after we got proximity guards,” remembered one, “we started knocking them down. We have arrived where we could get them if they were within range. “

Section T was also on the coast and trained the gunners. One of Tuve’s friends, physicist Ed Salant, arrived on July 30th. He practically lived with the coastal batteries, drove in an Army Jeep on narrow country roads in the event of a power failure, and crawled back and forth between the weapon locations.

In the first week after the cannons were relocated to the British coast, the percentage of V-1s fired by Allied batteries had increased from 9 to 17 percent. Seventeen percent of the V-1 kills then quickly grew to 24 percent. Over the weeks, Section T’s intelligent security using better radar and targeting devices began to dominate the V-1.

Twenty-four percent turned 46. Then the number reached 67. Then 79.

Salant estimated that an average of a hundred detonated grenades were needed to shoot a drone from the sky – a number five or six times better than standard detonators. General Pile noted that his best batteries “got a bomb every forty rounds”. Ten times better than normal fuses.

The V-1 attack on England was effectively stopped by September.

“In 80 days, more was learned about the possibilities of air defense,” Pile recalls, “than in the past 30 years.” He thanked Salant personally.

“Our reputation among experts here is very high!” Salant wrote in a letter to Section T on September 5, 1944, “You can be sure that the [fuse] saved the lives of thousands here. I don’t think we’re done with the flying bomb, but I don’t think it will be a serious threat to London. “


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