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Signal Corps the Outcome

Signal Corps the Outcome

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Published by Bob Andrepont
United States Army history of the Signal Corps during World War II, part 3 of 3
United States Army history of the Signal Corps during World War II, part 3 of 3

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 06, 2011
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At the turn of 1944-45, the entire
RCM activity split in two when the
AAF took over complete control of all
its electronics, including research, devel-
opment, and procurement. Hitherto the
lion's share of RCM operations had
gone to the Air Forces. Now that the
AAF had taken over the development
and procurement of all such equipment,
it would seem that the Signal Corps
might retain only such RCM activity as
concerned the Army Ground Forces. Yet
the dividing line between airborne and
ground RCM, it would become in-
creasingly evident, was anything but
clear.

Meanwhile, having split into two
parts what was essentially a single in-

tertwined effort, the Army now had to
set up co-ordination. This was done,
with channels extending to the General
Staff, specifically to G-2, and to a new

organization entitled the New Develop-
ment Division. Henceforth, not only
must the Signal Corps and the Air
Forces keep each other informed on
RCM progress, but G-2 as well. G-2
officers would reciprocate. Anticipating
troubles sure to ensue after the split,
the War Department told the Signal
Corps and the Air Forces that if either
became dissatisfied in matters of re-
search and development, it should lodge
its complaints with the New Develop-
ment Division. "The employment of
radio and radar Countermeasures, in-
cluding the jamming and the practice
of radio and radar deception," the
War Department acknowledged, "has
become a most important element in
the conduct of successful operations."
Further, the War Department stated:

It is considered that the development of
equipment and procedures for radio and
radar Countermeasures should be prose-
cuted with all dispatch. In order to cope
with and rapidly counter new electronic
development employed operationally, the
Chief Signal Officer and the Army Air
Forces are charged with the responsibility

of soliciting the aid of the New Develop-
ment Division, WDGS, in expediting
delivery of small quantities of Radio and
Radar Countermeasures equipment to
theaters of operations even though this
equipment had not fulfilled the require-
ments of AR-850-25.76

Not until well along in 1945 was the
shift of all airborne RCM equipment,

74

Msg No. R-23929, CG USAFCPA, Ft. Shafter,
T. H., to WD, 28 Jul 44, ASF OPD (CM-IN-23942,
29 Jul 44) 037-Z. SigC 413.44 RCM Gen No. 1

(ET-2381).

75

(1) CSigO, Annual Rpt, FY 45, p. 259. (2)

"The Search for Jap Radar," Radar, No. 10 (June
30, 1945), pp. 9-11.

76

(1) WD Cir 429, 3 Nov 44. (2) Unsigned,
undated document (filed 1 Jan 45), sub: Policy
Relations to the Development of Equipment for
Radio and Radar Countermeasures. SigC 413.44

RCM Gen No. 2 (ET-2382).

324

THE SIGNAL CORPS

laboratory facilities, engineers, and ad-
ministrators carried out. In the mean-
time, the Signal Corps operations for the

AAF—Mandrel and Carpet—continued
to play a large part in the total RCM
effort. The radio jammer Jackal actually
blanketed German tank radio communi-
cations effectively during the Battle of
the Bulge, according to the report of
German prisoners.77
It was in the air, rather than on the
ground, that Allied RCM in World War
II bestowed the greater benefits, saving
thousands of lives and hundreds of
planes. Dr. James P. Baxter 3d summed
up the Allied RCM accomplishment as

follows:

The operational use of Countermeasures
equipment involved some of the most ex-
traordinary duels of wits in the history of
war, and it helped mightily to speed the
day of victory. It has been estimated that
radar Countermeasures saved the U.S.
Strategic Air Force based on England alone
450 planes and 4,500 casualties. But that
is only part of the story. They played a
major part in the masterly deception which
covered our landings in Normandy and in
Southern France. By blinding the eyes of
our enemies while permitting our radars
to scan with little or no interruption they
struck from the hands of the Germans and
Japanese new and potent weapons, while
leaving us free to do our utmost.78

Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering,
interviewed after the German surrender,
ascribed much of the Allied success in
the skies over Europe to RCM, which he
admitted often reduced German radar
and communications to uselessness.79

After the Air Forces took over their
portion of Army RCM, a large remnant
remained with the Army Ground Forces
and continued to be a considerable re-
sponsibility for the Signal Corps. Elec-
tronics expanded so rapidly that abun-
dant work remained for the Signal
Corps. Ground Countermeasures were
growing in proportion to the increased
use of guided missiles late in the war.
Even the Japanese seemed likely to use
them. There was also the new proximity
fuze, the variable time (VT) fuze, which
embodied a tiny electronic transmitter
and receiver riding out a brief life span
in the flight of a projectile. It also could
be jammed, like any other radio or
radar set. On 27 January 1945 the AGF
asked the ASF to delve into all aspects
of guided missile control and counter-
measures. The AGF made it emphatic,
labeling the program "essential," and
calling for "a very high priority." 80

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