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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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During the first years of the war Sig-
nal Corps had, of course, been under
heavy pressure to develop and supply
ground and vehicular radios for the
Armored Force and for the Infantry.88
By mid-1943 Army Ground Forces needs
in this category were well in hand,
thanks to full production of radios such
as the "handie-talkie" SCR-536, the
walkie-talkie SCR-300, the FM sets of
the 500 and 600 series, and the SCR-
299. Early in 1944 Colonel Williams,
signal officer of the First Army in
Europe, wrote enthusiastically to Gen-

eral Colton, saying "Armored Force
sets SCR-508, 528, 538, and SCR-509
and 510 have become the backbone of
communication within the armored
division." The same was true of the 600
series (SCR-608, 628, 609, and 610)
in artillery communications whenever
wire was not used and to supplement
it when wire lines were laid. The 600
series, Williams also noted, had come
into universal use by naval fire-control
parties, naval beach communicators,
amphibious engineers, and assault in-
fantry during amphibious landings.
These were short-range radios whose
special virtue Williams ascribed to "the
inherent advantages of FM in overcom-
ing static and ignition interference and
in giving a clear voice signal of suffi-


Thompson, Harris, et al., The Test, pp. 229ff.




cient quality and volume to be heard
over the noise of tank operation." 89
The long-range SCR-299 and 399
had proved so dependable that they had
become the standard for distant com-
munications among the Allied nations.
The medium-range vehicular SCR-193,
long described as the work horse among
infantry radios, Colonel Williams called
the Springfield rifle of the Signal Corps
radios, outmoded but reliable. He ex-
pected that the new SCR-506 would
prove a superior set, but using troops,
when they got the 506, concluded other-
wise. "The comments we have received
from units equipped with the SCR-

506, " General Ingles wrote in April
1944, "indicate that it is not nearly as
well liked as the SCR-193 it is re-
placing." 90

Combat troops, who had the best
reasons to know, were exceedingly
grateful for the advantages short-range
Signal Corps radios of the FM types
gave them. "One of the main reasons
the American Army moved so fast
against the Germans was that it had
over-all information supplied by fast
communications. In combat teams, that
meant radio, and that radio meant FM."
These were the words of an infantry
battalion radio operator, Technician
Zens. He explained:


Ltr, Col Williams, SigO First U.S. Army, to
Gen Colton, 18 Mar 44. SCIA file 74 Colton Rpts



(1) Ibid. (2) Ltr, CSigO to Gen King, CBI, 17
Apr 44, no sub. SigC OT 370.2 Rpts CBI, Tab 22.



One night, up in the Siegfried Line,
when we needed more equipment than we
had [FM radios], we got out an AM set.
The loudspeaker crackled and roared with
static. Twenty different stations came in
at once with a noise like a platoon of
tanks. I think we heard everybody in
Europe on that AM receiver. I mean at the
same time . . . English, French, Russian,
German, ... At least, we heard everybody
except the station we were trying to reach.

The FM radios gave clear static-free
communications. Zens illustrated with
several detailed and graphic descrip-
tions of close combat in which the FM
sets in the hands of infantry company
and battalion communicators and in
tanks and artillery units brought the
Americans success. "FM saved lives and
won battles," he concluded, "because it
speeded our communications and en-
abled us to move more quickly than
the Germans, who had to depend on


Ground Radio Types for the AAF

All ground radio needs had not been
so happily met, and at the turn of 1943-
44 the loudest demands for ground sets
came from the Army Air Forces. They
even wanted, surprisingly since they had
once resisted them, FM radio sets.92


had discovered that their requirements
in ground equipment were growing—
both for AM and for FM types in both
the HF and the VHF ranges. They
needed them in AWS nets and in
fighter control (GCI) systems. They
needed VHF sets for point-to-point use

in their tactical air forces. Available
frequencies in the already congested
high frequency bands were next to nil,
forcing the airmen to use VHF,
although VHF immediately hit a range
ceiling, the short distance of travel
within line-of-sight. The Air Forces
pressed the Signal Corps for any and
every suitable radio: Collins transmit-
ters, Hallicrafter receivers, Motorola
(Galvin) sets (FMTR-30 DW and 50
BW), FM sets built by Fred Link (types
1498 and 1505), marine service radio
sets, forestry sets, and a set called the
Jefferson-Travis, JT-350.93

All this was extracurricular equip-
ment so to speak, over and above the
old SCR-188 and 197 the Signal Corps
had standardized for the Air Forces long
before; over and above, also, the nu-
merous VHF transmitters and receivers
that comprised the SCS-2 and 3 VHF
fighter control systems. In September
1943 General McClelland, air communi-
cations officer, informed the Signal
Corps that he had an immediate re-
quirement for a set such as the Link-
type 1498, complaining that the SCR-
624 (a recently developed VHF set for
ground use) was not powerful enough,
could not handle several channels simul-
taneously, and could not be transported
by air. Colonel Rives, General McClel-


Zens, "A GI's Report on Lower-Band FM—
A Veteran Radio Operator's Experience With FM
Under Battle Conditions," FM and Television, VI,
No. 1, pp. 21, 74-75.


Terrett, The Emergency, p. 184.


(1) 1st Ind, CG AAF to CO AAF Ground Ra-
dio, AAF Com Fld Of SCGSA, Bradley Beach, N.J.,
26 Jan 44, on Ltr, Lt Col M. L. Haselton, AC
Proj LnO, to Air ComO Hq AAF, 14 Jan 44, sub:
Commercial FM Transmitters-Receivers Standardi-
zation. AAG 413.44-CT Radio. (2) Ltr, CG AAF to
CG Eleventh Air Force, 18 Jan 44, sub: Radio
Equip for Ground Observer Posts. AAG 413.44-
CZ Radio. (3) Ltr, Subcmte on Classification to
SigC Tech Cmte, 3 Jan 44, sub: Classification of
Radio Transmitter-Receiver Forest Service Type
SPF as Limited Standard (Item 652, SCTC Mtg No.
296, 3 Jan 44). AAG 413.44-CT Radio. (4) Thomp-
son, Harris, et al., The Test, pp. 234f.



land's deputy, informed General Ingles
in December 1944 that the AAF was
using the Link 1498 set as a stopgap
and hoped to use the AN/TRC-1
similarly as soon as the AAF could get
it. The AAF was also already using the
Link-type 1505.94
In a desperate effort to get suit-
able ground sets (one officer character-
ized the ground radio situation in late
1943 as "extremely acute"),95

the Air
Forces seemed to have looked into avail-
able commercial radios quite on its
own and in so doing it left the proper
radio supplier for all the Army, the
Signal Corps, in a considerable quan-
dary. For example, one such commercial
radio that the Air Forces sought on the
Army Supply Program, 1 August 1943,
was the Jefferson-Travis transmitter re-
ceiver. AAF wanted 500 sets in 1943,
600 in 1944. General Colton, head of
the Engineering and Technical Service
of the Signal Corps, asked if the Air
Forces wanted this set as an "adopted
type." AAF answered that it was wanted

as "limited procurement type," and

Subject set was originally procured to fill
an immediate requirement of a compact
50-75 watt HF radio set for mobile mount-
ing in trucks to be used for radar reporting
nets and for links in VHF systems where
FM communication was not feasible. In
this use it was intended to supplement
SCR-188 Radio Set whose availability for
this service was limited. Military charac-
teristics closely approach those for SCR-188
with the exception that JT-350-A is de-
signed to operate from 12, 24, 32, and
110V AC and for this reason is expected
to be more flexible in operation.96

The Air Forces had evidently acted
independently, somewhat disregarding
the Army's established procedure. The
Signal Corps had not been informed of
just what the Air Forces wanted in the
way of ground radio, nor in fact does
it appear that the airmen themselves
yet knew. The Signal Corps could not,
General Colton made it clear, readily
develop or provide what the Air Forces
seemed to want until the airmen
made up their minds as to just what
they did in fact desire. "In order that
the Signal Corps may adequately com-
prehend the communications require-
ment of the Army Air Forces, and
develop equipment suitable for meeting
requirements," General Colton wrote in
August 1943, "it is essential that a knowl-
edge of the proposed tactical use and
desired performance characteristics be
obtained." Colton appreciated that com-
bat experience had influenced the
requirements and it followed, he added,


(1) Ltr, McClelland, Air ComO, to CSigO, 17
Sep 43, sub: 50-watt VHF Ground Radio Set. AAG
413.44-BL Radio. (2) Ltr, Rives, Deputy Air
ComO, to CSigO, 31 Dec 43, sub:Point-to-Point
VHF Radio Set. SigC 413.44 (ET-2375) Sets Gen.
In October 1943 the Air Forces ordered thirty
sets of type 1505 to be shipped to the V Fighter
Command, for use "for point-to-point communi-
cations in existing and contemplated Fighter Con-
trol and Aircraft Warning Services." A second lot
of fifty sets was ordered in March 1944. (1) Ltr,
CG AAF to CSigO, 13 Oct 43, sub: FM Radio
Link Sets. AAG 413.44-BR Radio. (2) Ltr, CG
AAF to CO PEA, 2 Mar 44, sub: FM Link Sets

1505. AAG 413.44-DF Radio.
See also, Vital Role of FM Radiotelephone, IX
TAC booklet, entitled Communications and the
Tactical Air Commander, May 1945, pp. 18f., 3gff.
SigC 413.44 (ET-2744) Sets Gen 5, 1945.


Memo, Col William F. McKee, ACofAS AAF
Hq, for Air Com Div, 26 Aug 43, sub: SCR-527
Units. AAG 413.44-BF Radio.


1st Ind, CG AAF to CSigO, 22 Oct 43, on basic
(missing), Colton to CG AAF, 24 Sep 43, sub:
Radio Transmitter-Receiver, Jefferson-Travis Set,
Model 350 Modified, 50-W (18-Q Type). AAG
413.44-CD Radio.



"that the Signal Corps personnel, whose
responsibility it is to make such adap-
tations [as combat experience proved
to be needed] must be fully informed
of changes in requirements arising from
such experience." He suggested a con-
ference before the conclusion of tests
that the laboratories were running on
the Jefferson-Travis set and on a Signal
Corps set, the SCR-237. He mentioned,
too, an innovation that the laboratories
had recently completed in order to meet
the Air Forces' needs for an air-ground
liaison radio, the AN/VRC-1. He called
it an HF/VHF set, because it combined
the old but very reliable HF SCR-193
with the VHF 12-volt version of the
airborne command radio SCR-522,
"but the intended use of this set in
relation to Radio Set SCR-188-A
and the Jefferson-Travis JT-350," he
pointed out, "is not known." 97

Radio Relay, From FM to
Pulse Modulation

Out of the confusion attending Air
Forces' acute need for ground radio
developed a growing demand by the
airmen for the radio relay concept. AN/
TRC-1 equipment was coming into
wide Army employment in every
theater of the war, and in June 1944
General McClelland indicated that the
AAF also intended to make extensive
use of radio relay in ground nets.
McClelland wrote:

The requirements of the Army Air
Forces for point to point VHF equipment
are increasing in all theaters. . . . Army
Air Forces are issuing AN/TRC-1 sets to
Fighter Control Squadrons for links within
VHF systems and to Fighter Squadrons for
inter-airdrome and squadron-to-group com-
munications. In addition, AN/TRC-3 and
AN/TRC-4 sets will be issued in many
areas for multi-channel communications
down to groups.98
Radio relay or antrac (often called
VHF also, not to be confused with air-
borne VHF command radios such as
the SCR-522) could well provide point-
to-point communications for the AAF,
as well as for AGF needs. Above all,
in an era when ever more communica-
tions were wanted, it provided four
voice channels and could be made to


1st Ind, Colton to CG AAF, 31 Aug 43, sub:
Radio Set SCR-237 on basic (missing). AAG 413.-
44-CD Radio.

The AN/VRC-1 was put on order in the thou-
sands. Of this combination of the SCR-193 and
the SCR-542, mounted in a jeep, the AAF ordered
1,692 to be delivered in 1943 and 338 in 1944.
This order was placed on 27 October 1943. Some
days later nearly 500 more went on order, to
equip 12 new JASCO's, each company to include
one air liaison section, each of which in turn
would consist of 12 parties equipped with AN/
VRC-1. However, since there was a dearth of the
12-volt 542's, regular 24-volt 522's would have to
substitute. Ltr, Rives, Deputy Air ComO, to CG
ASF, 5 Nov 43, sub: Additional Rqmts for Radio
Set AN/VRC-1. AAG 413.44-BX Radio.
In January 1944, the AAF termed its require-
ments for VRC-1 "extremely critical" and added
that "procurement . . . has already been unduly
delayed," This in response to a Navy request for
several hundred SCR-193's. AAF asked ASF to
suspend Navy's request until AAF requirements
had been met. Ltr, CG AAF to CG ASF, 25 Jan
44, sub: Navy Rqmts for SCR-193K. AAG 413.44-
CU Radio.


Ltr, McClelland to CSigO, 19 Jun 44, sub: Mil
Characteristics for Point to Point VHF Radio Set.
SigC 413.44 (Sets) Gen 1, Jan-Jun 44.
McClelland asked also for test sets of AN/TRC-
8, an FM radio relay under development by the
Signal Corps, operating on higher frequencies
(around 250 megacycles) than the AN/TRC-1. A
few sets went into use in Europe late in the war
but suffered from range limitations in hilly ter-
rain and from mutual interference when sets were
operated too close together, (1) SigC R&D Hist,
vol. VIII, pt. 3, Proj 824-D. (2) Draft MS Com-
ment, Waite, Jul 59.



provide many more, whether voice,
teletype, or facsimile. It was compact
and readily transported.99

From the first
field improvisation (Motorola police
radios in North Africa in early 1943)
and from the first use in combat theaters
a year later of production models of
AN/TRC-1, 3, and 4, radio relay bril-
liantly proved its marked virtues.100
The radio relay concept, involving a
revolutionary new kind of military com-
munications facility, had taken form in
the minds of officers and engineers in
the Camp Coles Signal Laboratory be-
fore the concept was put to its first test
in the field during the Tunisia Cam-
paign in 1943. The concept had been
developed on an "under the bench"
basis at the laboratory since there was
no specific authorization for such a proj-
ect. When the value of the concept

became recognized and demands for its
implementation began to come from the
field, the Signal Corps had equipment


The first order, for a small number
of development sets of AN/TRC-1, had
been placed by the Camp Coles Signal
Laboratory with the Link Radio Cor-
poration in New York City at the end
of 1942. As of June 1943, the Air
Forces requirement in the Army Supply
Program stood at 1,116 sets to be
delivered in FY 1943, at 1,632 sets in
1944. By August 1943, the need had so
intensified that the 1944 requirement
was increased to 4,372.102

Very few sets
were actually delivered in 1943, how-

While the Camp Coles Signal Lab-
oratory and the Link Radio Corpora-
tion developed the AN/TRC-1, the Air
Forces asked that 300 sets be delivered
before the end of the calendar year
(it expected six service test sets in
September 1943), and it asked fur-
ther that 150 of the new walkie-talkies,
SCR-300, be modified for their ground
radio needs. General Ingles at once re-
plied that current production of the
SCR-300's could not meet urgent
ground force requirements. He added,
"The delivery of 300 additional radio
sets AN/TRC-1 during the current
year will be even more difficult." 103
Difficult was right, not least because
no one agreed on just what the set


A 100-mile system of 2 terminals and 3 relays
could be installed by 44 men in 2 days. An equiv-
alent wire-line facility normally required 4 bat-
talions (nearly 2,000 men) working 10 days. The
transport of AN/TRC-1 type relay equipment and
vehicles required only 25 ship tons compared with
94 tons for the comparable wire system, (1) Wil-
liam S. Rumbough, "Radio Relay, The War's
Great Development in Signal Communications,"
Military Review, XXVI, No. 2 (May, 1946), pp.
4f. (2) Ltr, Maj J. E. Keely, SigC Chief Radar Br,
to Dir Com Equip, Dev Div, 26 Apr 45, sub:

Recommendations for Modifications of AN/TRC-
1 Radio Equip. SigC 413.33 CR RAD AJ (ET-


Thompson, Harris, et al., The Test, pp. 371ff.
See also above, pp. 39, 59, 92ff., 104ff., 126ff., 25gff.
The British and Germans were also discovering
the benefits of radio relay, the chief British equip-
ment being the No. 10 pulse-modulated UHF
system. The German sets were decimeter (500 meg-
acycles) DMG-4K and 5K. (1) Ltr, Dir SCGSA
Camp Cole Sig Lab to CSigO, 9 Sep 44, sub: Un-
usual Circuits and Components and Operating
Instructions for the German Decimeter Radio Re-
lay Set DMG-5K, with Incls. SigC 413.44 Point-to-
Point Radio Relay No. 2, Jul-Dec 44. (2) Rpt,
Plans and Opns Div, 27 Oct 43, Daily Digest, Staff
Divs OCSigO, 19 Jul-31 Dec 43. SigC Exec Of file.


Thompson, Harris, et al., The Test, pp. 236f.


(1) SigC R&D Hist, vol. VIII, pt. 3, Proj 824-
A. (2) Ltr, CG AAF to CSigO, 12 Aug 43, sub:
Radio Transmitter and Receiver, 50 ACRR. AAF
413.44-BJ Radio.


2d Ind, CSigO to CG ASF, 27 Sep 43, on Ltr,
Brig Gen David McL. Crawford, WDGS ACB, to
CG ASF, n.d., sub: Radio Equip for AF in The-
aters of Opns. AAG 413.44-BR Radio.



should be. In fact, the set had been
developed in the early and midyears
of the war without benefit of military
characteristics, those essential require-
ments in normal Army development and
procurement matters. Willard R. Clark,
who had worked on the radio relay
project at Camp Coles (along with other
radio enthusiasts such as Maj. James
D. O'Connell, Major Marks, Capt.
Francis F. Uhrhane, Capt. K. S. Jackson,
and Lt. Oliver D. Perkins),104

later wrote
that the Chief Signal Officer had author-
ized the project under his authority to
provide communications of the most
advanced type, without military charac-
teristics. "The TRC-1 development
was started as a laboratory investiga-

tion," Clark explained, "in anticipation
of future military needs." Thus, the
AN/TRC-1 was launched without the
usual preparations. It had been promo-
ted as a quickie, for needs that were like-
ly to be immediate. A longer term re-
search project was also under way at
the same time in the Coles Laboratory
for microwave radio relay, following
the pattern of British pulse equipment.
It would in 1945 yield the AN/TRC-6
and related radios, too late for much
use in World War II. The TRC-1 sets,
on the other hand, paid large dividends
in the 1944 fighting.105

In April 1943 the Coles Signal Lab-
oratory received delivery from the Link
Corporation of eight models of
AN/TRC-1. Modifying them as TRC-
1, 3, and 4, the engineers and officers
ran tests through the spring in the New
Jersey countryside. They called the
assembly a "100-mile radio relay sys-

tem." The military characteristics

followed, in a cart-before-the-horse re-

versal of usual Army procedures. The
first military characteristics, adopted in
July 1943, were of "limited procure-
ment type." In September other tests
of TRC-1 equipment were made over
water along the coast of Maine, partic-
ularly atop Mt. Cadillac near Bar
Harbor and on Cape Elizabeth near
Portland, to duplicate conditions of
communicating across the English Chan-
nel. The tests were successful and the
system standardized.106
The Army Air Forces, which first
sought quantity delivery of this equip-
ment, kept making changes. Six service
test sets built to its specifications were
scheduled for delivery at the summer's
end but were not ready by November.
Then, when representatives of the Air
Forces Board and the Tactical Air
Force, lacking the service test sets, went
to the Link radio factory to check up,
they asked that immediate steps be
taken to incorporate additions and sub-
stitutions in the 2,740 sets under
procurement. The AAF wanted a dif-


Clark was the section chief of the new Radio
Relay Section. Most of the development was done
by Jensen, Hines, Waite, Colaguori, and Russell
A. Berg, with Clark's approval, under Jackson and
Perkins. Draft MS Comment, Waite, Jul 59.


Willard R. Clark, The Story of a Milestone,
Radio Set AN/TRC-1 and Multichannel Radio
Relay, pp. 4-10. Radio folder, Tab GG, SigC Hist
Sec file. SCEL workers did not wage the "radio-
relay blitz" alone, Clark added. The Engineering
and Technical Division, OCSigO, "chopped red
tape, promoted priorities, and did much to ex-

cite the growing interest in radio relay among
the brass hats in the Pentagon." Clark also men-
tioned Lt. Col. V. A. Kamin, Maj, E. E. Boyer, L.
Windmuller, R. F. Brady, and John J. Kelleher as
being instrumental in developing the equipment.


(1) Ibid., pp. 11ff. (2) SCTC Mtg 282, 27 Sep
43, sub: Classification as Standard of Radio Set
AN/TRC-1. AAG 413.44-BW Radio.



ferent antenna, higher antenna masts,
and remote control equipment.107
Meanwhile the Signal Corps took
measures to expedite production. The
Signal Corps labor officer in New York
City deferred the induction of twelve
of Link's key men and got emergency
furloughs for three men who had
already been inducted so that they
could return to their jobs as supervisors
in Link's metal shop and electrical as-
sembly line. The Monmouth Procure-
ment District had assigned two men to
serve as co-ordinators at the Link plant,
working full time there, expediting
components. The New York office of
ANEPA assigned one full-time expedi-
tor to the Link plant and designated
six people in the ANEPA office itself
to give assistance on requests originating
in the Link factory. The Production
Branch of the Signal Corps Procurement
and Distribution Division assigned an
officer to co-ordinate the activities of
the Monmouth Procurement District
and of the New York ANEPA people.
Also the Signal Corps helped the L. S.
Branch Company, Newark, New Jersey,
to get out sufficient antennas for the


Mr. Link himself wrote Gen-
eral Harrison, head of Signal Corps
procurement, that his firm was "putting
shoulder to the wheel in an unprece-

dented manner in an effort to meet a
technically impossible deadline. We
still may not meet it in every sense of
the word, but certainly will meet it in
general or go down trying." He said
that he had set all other work aside,
had asked his employees to work a
70-75-hour, 7-day week and that they
had gladly agreed.109
Still production lagged, chiefly be-
cause of further changes the military
wanted made in the sets, although the
military refused to recognize this as the
cause of the delay. Late in December
Mr. Link replied to a pressure note
from General Harrison:

We feel that it was mutually understood
between all parties concerned, including
the Signal Corps officials, that final models
could not be made available until all tech-
nical details relating to the equipment
could be effectively frozen in the minds of
Signal Corps Laboratory officials, the Con-
tracting Officers and ourselves. I believe
you will agree that it was not a case of our
organization being unable to produce
models as scheduled or of our lack of de-
sire to make these models available as much
as it is a situation where numerous changes
of minor nature have been made in the
new equipment at the request of Signal
Corps engineering authorities that have
made it impossible to supply the final
models up to the present time.110

By the late winter of 1944 the Link
Radio Company was turning out AN/
TRC-1 in quantity. The sets proved ex-
cellent. One report stated that "all
results of tests made on subject equip-
ment had been thoroughly satisfactory
. . . voice, teletype, and facsimile trans-
mission had been put on the circuit hour


(1) Ltr, Brig Gen Eugene L. Eubank (for AAF
Bd) to CG AAF, 18 Nov 43, sub: Necessary Changes
to AN/TRC-1 Radio Sets. AAG 413.44-CK Radio.
(2) Ltr, Rives, Deputy Air ComO, to CSigO, 31
Dec 43, sub: Point to Point VHF Radio Set. SigC
413.44 (ET-2375) Sets Gen, 1944-45.


Memo, 1st Lt D. F. Magner, SigC Prod Br,
for Maj W. R. Herrlein, 24 Nov 43, sub: Fred
M. Link Radio Co. SigC 413.44 (AN/TRC-1) No.
1 Radio Link Set, 1943.
The Navy also had in an order for 300 sets,
which the Signal Corps sought to defer in favor
of the Army order.


Ltr, Link to Harrison, 10 Dec 43. SigC 413.44
(AN/TRC-1) No. 1 Radio Link Set, 1943.


Ltr, Link to Harrison, 31 Dec 43. SigC 413.44
(AN/TRC-1) No. 1 Radio Link Set, 1943.




after hour without any interruption."
General Colton in August 1944 warmly
thanked Mr. Link. AN/TRC-1, 3, and
4 "have been most valuable additions to
our military communication equipment
... an invaluable means of communi-
cation comparing in efficiency, as a sys-
tem, with regular long distance tele-
phone pole lines."111
The production rate of the sets, how-

ever, could not meet the rapidly growing
need for military radio relay. "There
was no question," Mr. Link recalled
years later, "that Link Radio did not
have the mass facilities required to pro-
duce the unprecedented requirement
for AN/TRC-1, 3 & 4 systems." This
fact, coupled with Army's desire to
decentralize the manufacture of so vital
an item, led the Signal Corps late in
the summer of 1944 to assign further
production contracts to the Rauland and
Lear Avia Corporations, located in
Grand Rapids and Chicago, respectively,
in order to augment the output of the
Link Radio Company in New York City.


(1) Memo, O. C. Tallman, Actg Chief Tech
Br Florida Fld Station, Clermont, Fla. (ASH SCGSA)
for file, 10 Apr 44, sub: Further Investigation Info
on Sv Tests of Radio Set AN/TRC-1. SigC 413.44
(AN/TRC-1) No. 3, Jul-Dec 44. (2) Incl, with Ltr,
Colton, Chief E&T Sv, to Link, 19 Aug 44. SigC
413.44 (Sets) Gen 2, Jul-Dec 44.



At the same time, the Army granted
to the antrac manufacturers higher pre-
cedence than Link had previously had
to obtain materials and components.112
AN/TRC-1, 3, and 4 constituted 4-
channel radio relay, operating in the
very high frequencies, VHF, in the 70-
to 100-megacycle band. Each channel
could carry one voice circuit or four
teletypewriter circuits. The Army
needed even more radio channels than
this form of relay could offer. It was
becoming necessary to move to higher
and higher frequencies in order to ob-
tain the needed band width—in the
hundreds and thousands of megacycles.
Radar tubes had been evolved able to
emit pulsed radiations in those ranges
of the frequency spectrum, far beyond
the capabilities of FM oscillators at that
date. It would thus be possible to devise
methods of communicating by pulse
modulation at radar frequencies.
This very thing was first done by the
British. Early in World War II infor-
mation had been received in the United
States concerning an 8-channel time-
division multiplex pulse-modulated
microwave (UHF) radio relay devel-
oped by the British as their wireless
set No. X10A. In 1942 engineers from
Signal Corps laboratories, Bell Tele-
phone, and RCA laboratories had gone
to England to examine the equipment.
On returning they set about developing
American versions, which became AN/
TRC-5 and 6. About ninety sets of

AN/TRC-6 were produced in time to
serve in World War II. Operating at
much higher frequencies than the 70
to 100 megacycles of AN/TRC-1, with
greater band width, providing the ca-
pacity to handle more channels of
communications simultaneously, AN/
TRC-6 opened up whole new realms
of possibilities, quite as FM techniques
had done a few years earlier.113
This new radio relay species was
neither FM nor AM. It employed one
signal in the microwave region (SHF,
Superhigh frequency) but it chopped
that signal into eight pieces, one to a
channel, providing eight channels simul-
taneously, twice the capacity of the
TRC-1 equipment. The chopping pro-
gressed at lightning speed at the
transmitter. The receiver put the pieces
back together in perfect step with the
transmitter. The technique, borrowing
from radar and television, relied on pre-
cise time division of the signal in in-
conceivably minute bits, measurable in
millionths of a second. This was a totally
new method of communicating—radio
pulse communications, pulse-modulated
or pulse-position modulated, at the
microwave frequencies of radar, at
4,300-4,900 megacycles. The almost
infinitely minute bits of signal were, in
a way, a return to the dits and dahs


(1) Ltr, CO Monmouth SigC Proc Dist to
Chief P&D Sv OCSigO, 19 Aug 44, sub: Higher
Precedence Request for AN/TRC-1. SigC 413.44
(AN/TRC-1) No. 3, Jul-Dec 44. (2) Ltr, Link to
Thompson, 18 Feb 62. SigC Hist Sec file. Mr. Link
himself proposed Rauland and Lear as antrac sup-
pliers (Lear had formerly worked in partnership
with Link).


(1) SCEL Postwar R&D Prog, pp. 27-29. (2)
Memo, Windmuller for Messer, 20 Jan 44, sub:
Dev of Pulse Modulated Radio Relay Equip. SigC
413.44 Point-to-Point Radio Relay No. 1, Jan-Jun
44. (3) J. J. Kelleher, "Pulse Modulated Radio
Relay Equipment," Electronics, XIX (May, 1946),
124ff. (4) R. E. Lacy, Coles Sig Lab, Two Multi-
channel Microwave Radio Relay Equipments for
the U.S. Army Communication Network, 30 Nov
45. SigC 000.7 Articles for Publication, vol. 4,
Oct-Dec 45. (5) Lawrence G. Fobes, "Multichannel
Radio Communication with the Army," IRE Trans-
actions on Military Electronics,
vol. MIL-4, No. 4
(October, 1960), 507f.



of Morse, hand-keyed. Only the hand
that keyed the time-division signals was
the electron itself, moving at the speed
of light, with infallible precision.
The Bell Telephone Laboratories
delivered several development models
to the Camp Coles Signal Laboratory
late in 1943. In January 1944, the Air
Forces outlined a tactical requirement
for the AN/TRC-6 and asked for four
service test models. Meanwhile the
Coles Laboratory worked not only on
the AN/TRC-6 but also on two other
antrac types, AN/TRC-5 and 8.114
In June 1944, the Air Forces, impa-
tient, requested that the Signal Corps
stage a demonstration of its several
antrac types. General Ingles replied that
it would be done, not only for the Air
Forces but also for the benefit of all
interested arms. The Signal Corps
would parade at Camp Coles AN/TRC-
3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. He added that the
Signal Corps had already let develop-
ment contracts for 48 sets of AN/TRC-
6, and for 91 sets of AN/TRC-8. Ingles
intended that the AN/TRC-6's be set
up between the Aircraft Radio Labora-
tory in Ohio and the Signal Corps
Ground Signal Agency in New Jersey,
both to demonstrate a 600-mile radio
relay line and to provide a good mul-
ticarrier communications link between
these two widely separated halves of
the Signal Corps research and develop-
ment establishments.115

The Air Forces, close to accomplish-
ing their intent to split the Aircraft
Radio Laboratory away from the Signal
Corps, were not interested in this unify-
ing use of the new TRC-6. General
Arnold wrote to General Somervell in
July that the equipment could "better
be used in active theaters." 116

And so it
would be. AN/TRC-6 radio relay in the
hands of the 3163d Signal Service
Company reached the European theater
in time to carry very heavy traffic loads
during the last months of the war and
established the pattern of microwave
pulse-modulated communications sys-

tems of the future.117

Air-Ground Radio

Another ground radio problem that
combat experience intensified was air-
ground liaison, in order to communicate
directly between aircraft and ground
forces, whether infantry, tank forces, or
paratroopers. All these ground elements
had gone into action early in the war
without VHF radios, which alone could
communicate with the VHF command
radios used by all Allied aircraft, the


"The history of air-ground


(1) J. J. Kelleher, "VHF and Microwave Mili-
tary Communication Systems," Signals, I, No. 5
(May-June, 1947), pp. 37-41. (2) H. S. Black,
"AN/TRC-6, A Microwave Relay System," Bell
Laboratories Record,
XXIII (December, 1945),
pp. 457-63. (3) SigC R&D Hist, vol. VIII, pt. 3,
Proj 824-D and F.


Ltr, CG AAF to CSigO, 26 Jun 44, sub: Radio
Set AN/TRC-6, with 2d Ind, CSigO to CG ASF,
12 Jul 44. AAG 413.44-EY Radio.


4th Ind, CG AAF to CG ASF, 25 Jul 44, on
basic cited in preceding note.


(1) CSigO, Annual Rpt, FY 45, pp. 346f. (2)
Ltr, Col Murray Harris, ExecO Hq USFET
OCSigO, 10 Jul 45, sub: Opn of Radio Sets,
AN/TRC-6 in ETO, 25 Apr 45-10 May 45, with
2 Incls. SCIA file, unnumbered, European Theater,
1945. (3) 12th AGp, Report of Operations, vol.
XI (Signals), pp. 209ff. (4) Rpt, Plans and Opns
Div, 28 Oct and 6 Nov 44. Daily Digest, Staff Divs
OCSigO, 1 Jul-31 Dec 44. SigC Exec Of file. (5)
Radio Relay, The AN/TRC-6. File in SigC Hist


For the development of this radio set, see
Thompson, Harris, et al., The Test, pp. 78ff. and




liaison and equipment. ..." wrote Lt.
Col. William S. Marks, a former civilian
radio engineer at the Fort Monmouth
laboratories, "has not been a very
happy one. What there is has been
learned in the theaters the hard way
and accomplished with improvised in-
stallations." 119
Why had no provisions been made
for such air-ground liaison? "The indi-
cated policy," Colonel Marks explained,
"has been that the Air Forces will fur-
nish and operate the radio set." He
traced the problem back to 1940 and
the initiation of the Armored Force
radio series. It was obvious even then
that the German Stuka-tank teams co-
ordinated their blows very successfully.
Yet the SCR-506, Set II in Armored
Force's 500 series, was at first planned
to be a continuous wave radio only, al-
though it would be the logical set for
use between Armored Force units and
aircraft. However, Marks went on, "No
consideration was given for operation
with the air since that was a responsibil-
ity of Air Forces." The need to com-
municate with aircraft repeatedly
asserted itself, and, since aircraft com-
mand radios employed voice only, the
design of the SCR-506 under develop-
ment in 1941 was altered to include
voice. It therefore provided a radio-
telephone facility whose frequency
range overlapped part of the high fre-
quency range of the aircraft command
set of that day, the SCR -



alteration delayed the SCR-506, and,
when at last in 1943 production models

began to reach the Armored Force, they
could not communicate with the newest
Air Forces command radios, the VHF
type. "Probably," Colonel Marks said
in his 1945 review of the subject, the
SCR-506 "has never talked with the air
on a support mission." 120
The reason was that by 1943 the old
high frequency aircraft command radio
SCR-274 had yielded to the VHF SCR-




which leaped up to the 100- to 156-


range, far above the reach

of the 506, which remained only a high
frequency radio. Despite this change in
the aircraft command set, no ground
arm had submitted characteristics for
a companion radio to provide ground
liaison in these very high ranges of
VHF. Any proposal in that direction
would have been an AAF prerogative,
and no such proposal was forthcoming.
In the theaters, early combat tactics
made it imperative that ground units
be able to communicate directly with
aircraft overhead. Combat troops had
to improvise and they did. "The North
African Theater," explained Colonel
Marks, "sent back reports of what was
called a 'Veep' set, an SCR-193 and
an SCR-522 installed in a jeep." This
became recognized in Signal Corps pro-
curement and nomenclature; it became
the AN/VRC-1, a hybrid development
originating not with the laboratories
but with field troops. General Colton
called it the HF/VHF set. Thousands
were ordered for infantry use and for
joint assault signal companies.121
Thus at last the AN/VRC-1 impro-


Memo, Marks, Ground Sig Sec Hq AGF, for
Ground SigO, 30 Apr 45, sub: AGF Com. SigC
413.44 Integration of Radio and Wire Com (ET-


(1) Ibid. (2) SigC R&D Hist, vol. VIII, pt.
3, Proj (822) 11-9.2.


See above, pp. 231ff., 494.



visation could provide air-ground liai-
son, but only for the infantry, not for
the Armored Force, whose tank radios
were FM and could not communicate
with the SCR-193 component of the
"Veep" hybrids, which were AM. Amer-
ican tanks and aircraft still could not
communicate readily with each other.
If there was to be any contact, the com-
munication had to move in the "proper
channels of command"— if a tank unit
wished to call aircraft to bomb a
specific target, the tank commander
would have to call his ground head-
quarters on FM, and the headquarters
in turn would have to call up an Air
Forces control center employing wire
lines, or AM radio such as the 193, the
506, or the 299. Air Forces controllers
then could direct aircraft over their
VHF command nets, using the ground
VHF transmitter components of the
SCS-2 or 3 systems or the SCR-624.
Stark necessity in Normandy cut
through this rigmarole, and tankmen
somehow mounted the SCR-522's in
their juggernauts. "It is reported," Colo-
nel Marks wrote, "that the SCR-522 is
installed in some manner in tanks. By
whom, in what tanks, and how many is
not known." Colonel Williams, the First
Army signal officer, subsequently ex-
plained in more detail that, when
immediate fighter-bomber support was
needed by ground forces at St. Lo,
each armored battalion acquired an
SCR-522. Before the St. Lo operation,
he admitted, "communications for air
support of ground troops were not very
satisfactory. During the Normandy land-
ings," he added, "no quick adequate
means of obtaining close fighter-bomber
support were available." At St. Lo, how-
ever, "each armored battalion was fur-

nished with a VHF radio, SCR-522, the
type installed in fighter bombers. This
set was installed in the tanks which were
to lead the armored columns. These
tanks were in communication with
fighter bombers immediately overhead
as the advance took place." Williams
concluded, "the speed and magnitude of
the breakthrough at St. Lo and the
successful exploitation were due greatly
to this close air-ground communi-
cations." 122

This was just what the Germans had
done so successfully four years earlier.
The lamentable fact that, despite the
early example of the German tank-
bomber team, American tanks and air-
craft could not communicate directly
till necessity forced an improvisation
might seem on retrospect, a delinquency
on someone's part. More likely the need
was lost sight of in the fog of war prep-
arations and organizational confusion.
In 1943 the Air Forces did rather
belatedly request an air-ground liaison
VHF radio, the AN/TRC-7, for the use
of paratroopers. The Camp Coles Signal
Laboratory developed it as a VHF set,
with a range comparable to that of the
SCR-522, broken into small packs the
paratroopers could carry as they chuted
to earth. The Air Forces tested the radio
during the summer of 1944 and asked
for 500 sets, crash-produced. "This is
the first ground set developed specifically
for ground-air liaison," wrote Colonel
Marks, concluding his rather unhappy
history of this category of equipment.
From his review of air-ground liaison
history he deduced "the serious need of
the Ground Forces to maintain active


Williams, "First Army's ETO Signal Opera-
tion," Signals, II, No. 4, p. 10.



liaison with the Air Forces on this sub-
ject." Already both the Navy and the
Air Forces were planning to develop
another airplane set of higher fre-

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