viernes, 19 de marzo de 2010

Synopsis Some Aspects of German Airborne Radar Technology, 1942 to 1945

It is rather curious, that after more than sixty years, there are still ongoing discussions on aspects of German radar technology. This may be also due to the circumstance that, for several decades, most communities were "indulging in the glorious past". What not directly originated from this country was often being considered to have a very minor (obscure) status, and was not worth spending much time on it. I have selected, for this DEHS Symposium, the following aspects: Lichtenstein and Berlin radars as well as, briefly, the passive systems Flensburg and Naxos. Of which Lichtenstein type (version) SN2 had, for some time, a frightening impact on the air battle over Germany. The Berlin radar design was primarily based on what became known the "Rotterdam apparatus". Which actually was the British H2S radar equipment discovered in a crashed Stirling bomber aircraft in the vicinity of Rotterdam, early February 1943? From then on, the sophisticated "electronic warfare" beat the Germans merciless. After the discovery of this revolutionary British radar apparatus, the Germans responded almost instantly by constituting the so-called "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Rotterdam" (AGR), being a coordinating research and engineering committee. Given the bleak early 1943 circumstances they showed new élan, and merely unlimited resources were made available to counter the menace of backlogs in German radar science. It is not that they were backwards in radar theory, though, they considered decimetre wavelengths de facto as most sufficient, whereas in Britain and America centimetre technology was already gaining maturity. Significant was that in the centimetre regions common valve techniques failed to match with new radar requirements.  Nowadays, radar-technology is unthinkable without the application of "FFT" computations (fast Fourier transformations). It is hard to imagine, that early radars could have been operated successfully without micro-processors and comparable facilities.We also may expect that in a few years time, no one will be able to explain wartime technology from own experience. I opt therefore, to explain some underlying facts of German airborneradars in detail.

After the subjects of this paper had been selected, it was not yet clear to me where to start my retrospect and how to approach it. Contemplating, that my website has become rather wideranging and, that one can find various contributions on radar related topics on it (of which several contributed by Hans Jucker of Switzerland, who is also a member of our Society). I have, therefore, decided to deal with particular details, which are more or less complemental to what already have been made available on it. [1] The Germans introduced their first experimental airborne intercept radar sets in 1941. Albeit, against the meaning of many Luftwaffe (German Air Force) pilots and officials. Göring, as well as many German pilots, were considering radar aids disdainfully, as it diminishes the open manto- man air-combat. Others were, nevertheless, very impressed (encouraged) by the new possibilities of radar aids. Unlike to what occurred in Britain, German industry was very much involved in the early stages of design of most new projects (they sometimes even initiated them). In the pre-war years, competitions between the two major German electronic firms C. Lorenz and Telefunken decided who of them should become the chief project contractor. However, after the war proceeded and German industry was being bothered with too many projects, the military services (Luftwaffe, Navy and Army) decided who should work on particular projects. To some extent, the C. Lorenz company was kept out of advanced radar projects, as it was owned by (affiliated with) the American IT & T company (sometimes known as: Standard Electric company). Only later in the war (1942/43), Lorenz became significantly engaged in radar work. Although, not directly in the confidential fields of SHF radar technology.

Lichtenstein airborne radar
Most references on German airborne radar mention type Lichtenstein, though, without distinguishing between the versions. Which used the same code-name, but that had only in 3 common that they had been of Telefunken design. In my opinion, this significant  hortcoming is one of the reasons why it makes sense to discuss aspects of "Lichtenstein radars" today. Glorious stories have been told, as to how cleverly one had been operating by misleading their "war opponent". That the counter side was, sometime, able to trick-out Allied intelligence services for more than eight months, has often been ignored. Regard, however, Hinsley's well balanced comment on SN2, at the end of this Lichtenstein chapter.

Morales Romero Karelis
CI 18089995

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