Talk:Battle of the Beams

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Section[edit]

Someone has 'helpfully' included links to 'main' articles. As the main articles contain less information than this article, some rationalisation is clearly required.

Because the "#redirect" is broken and will not redirect to subsections, I have created articles for each subsection. This has several beneficial side effects:

  • It makes links in other articles easier to make.
  • It also helps navigation within the "World War II German electronics" Category.

It would be nice if someone who knows could write a section or an article on German use of radio navigation in other theatres. For example I have seen an article that says that the Germans used radar beams in the East as a navigation system. Philip Baird Shearer 23:59, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)


A mention of moving of radar assisted AAA to the coast to deal with the V-1 flying bombs would be a useful addition.

It would be very useful if this could be expanded for the offensive defensive battle on the other side of the channel eg Operation Biting and the Wuerzburg radar saga, Josef Kammhuber and the Kammhuber Line etc. Philip Baird Shearer 09:39, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

How would a fake Elbe at 1km help?[edit]

Shouldn't it be at 6km or 7 or 8 or 9 km? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 66.114.69.71 (talk) 12:22, 14 January 2007 (UTC).

The system timed the distance between the last two beams, and dropped the bombs after traveling that distance (actually time) again. By making the last beam appear after only 1 km from the second, the bombs would be dropped after another 1 km, or 2 km total from the middle beam. This was well short of their targets, which were perhaps 10 km distant. Maury 15:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I was confused by that sentence too:
X-Gerät was eventually defeated in another manner, by way of a "false Elbe" which was set up to cross the Weser guide beam not at 5km, but at 1km
Earlier the beams are described as being at 5km and 10km from the target, so this comes across as meaning "the false Elbe crosses Weser at 1km from the target." I've changed the wording to make it clear that the 1km refers to the distance after the previous beam crossing, as per your description. Thomjakobsen 20:49, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, much better! Thanks! Maury 22:12, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Error in Knickebein section?[edit]

The article as written states:

When Jones mentioned the possibility of bombing beams to Churchill, Churchill put two and two together and ordered more investigation. However, many in the Air Ministry didn't believe that the system was actually in use, and Frederick Lindemann, leading scientific adviser to the government, claimed that any such system would not be able to follow the curvature of the Earth, though T S Eckersley of the Marconi company had claimed it could.
Eckersley's claim was eventually demonstrated after Churchill ordered a flight to try to detect the beams. An Avro Anson was equipped with an American Hallicrafters S-27 amateur radio (then the only known receiver capable of receiving the 40 MHz signal) requisitioned from a shop in Lisle Street, London, operated by a member of the Y Service The flight was nearly cancelled when Eckersly withdrew his claim that the beams would bend round the earth enough to be received. Only R V Jones could save the flight by pointing out that Churchill himself had ordered it and he would make sure that Churchill would get to know who cancelled it.

However, according to the book "Ultra Goes to War" by Ronald Lewin (McGraw-Hill, 1978), Eckersley initially claimed that "any such system would not be able to follow the curvature of the Earth". Lindemann was an early skeptic of the system, but became convinced that it would work before the critical meeting at which Churchill ordered continued investigation of potential countermeasures. This version of events makes more sense, since Jones was a protege of Lindemann's, and Lindemann was a close confidant of Churchill's. Sir Henry Tizard had argued against the possibility of a beam system at "the critical meeting" and submitted his resignation after he realized his misjudgment.

Books have a habit of adopting 'literary licence'. I have a video of a documentary on the subject and R V Jones himself relates the story more or less as described (though there is some variance with the first sentence). 20.133.0.13 (talk) 07:48, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The 1977 BBC series The Secret War is on YouTube with the relevant episode The Battle of the Beams being here: [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.68.219 (talk) 17:39, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Dates[edit]

The article could do with some dates for the use of the various systems. --jmb (talk) 13:22, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

medical diathermy[edit]

When the "Medical Diathermy devices were used to cause interference to German radio beams", I am curious: Which kind of medical diathermy? The diathermy article draws a distinction between "shortwave diathermy", "microwave diathermy", and electrosurgery. --68.0.124.33 (talk) 21:12, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

At that time it was very unlikely to be microwave diathermy and the "beams" were not microwave. The only reference that I can see if sets being modified to operate on 30 MHz (in Beam Benders). --jmb (talk) 21:38, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

40 MHz vs 60 MHz[edit]

If Knickebein operated on 40 MHz and X-gerät on 60 MHz, I would not consider X-gerät's frequency to be "much higher" than Knickebein's. The precision would increase linearly, i.e. by a mere 50 percent, or am I wrong? Mumiemonstret (talk) 15:19, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, it's 50% higher. I don't see that precision would increase linearly. The higher frequency allows you to install a more complex (i.e. directional) aerial in the same space. Thus part of the imporovement in directivity would be down to the increase in frequency and part due to the increase in aerial directivity. Thus, it seems to me, that the increase in precision would be much greater than 50%. If the Germans were to provide an even more directional aerial system on a larger site then the precision rises accordingly. 86.183.175.94 (talk) 13:56, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Aiming the beams[edit]

How could they aim the beams ? There is nothing on that here. They must have used spies. --Moritzgedig (talk) 08:41, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

A compass?--Ykraps (talk) 21:40, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Translation of 'knickebein'[edit]

Someone has provided a machine translation of 'knickebein' as 'bent leg'. This is the problem with machine (or literal) translations. The art of translating one language into another is to produce text that is grammatically and idiomatically correct in the target language (i.e. worded exactly as a native speaker of the language would write it). No (or very few) English speaker would use the expression 'bent leg'. Instead they would refer to such a leg as a 'crooked leg' and this is thus the correct translation of the German word. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 17:23, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Luftwaffe Training in Celestial Navigation[edit]

I am sure celestial navigation from an aircraft is difficult and can be of uncertain value but to say that the Luftwaffe neglected any such training is an overstatement. The Science Museum in London has a small Zeiss planetarium projector that was originally the property of the Luftwaffe, "used to train navigators and pilots in celestial navigation. Such knowledge enabled them to fly bomber aircraft towards Britain, with devastating consequences." Of course, the Science Museum may be wrong in according so much credit to training in celestial navigation, but the object is fairly concrete proof that such training was not totally neglected. (See http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/astronomy/1946-172.aspx). Moletrouser (talk) 07:59, 31 December 2015 (UTC)