Thursday, September 19, 2013

MAD and Radar

I'd like to share something that helped me see that I wasn't crazy once I started to gather bits and pieces that suggested there was more tothe L-8 story than the two men fell out of the blimp during a routine patrol.

I came across this letter in the records of the OSRD at the National Archives site at Waltham, Mass.
This letter from Division 14 was not the only suggestion looking to test the combination of MAD and radar.

The problem they were trying to solve early in the war was trying to find  ways of locating submarines at a distance, coming in and dropping bombs. The problem was that visually sighting from aircraft was happenstance, radar was new and too big for airplanes, blimps were slow, and the military and the NDRC were desperate for any solutions they could find.
Engineering under pressure.

Here's one bit, but they suggested the same for blimps also.


The date is a few days before the L-8 accident but just a coincidence. They started putting radar on blimps earlier in 1942. It would have been 1941 but circumstances delayed that.

I'm posting this for a number of reasons. First, I think it's about time to give people an idea that I didn't just pull my theory out of the blue and it's based on documents. As I tell people my theory I get a number of looks - some bewildered, some "so sad Otto's gone over the edge..." , some "Otto's just plain missed the mark".  I always hold that that I may have missed the mark. Arrogance is the researchers worst enemy.
But I have always treated this honestly and with hope.

As most of the people who read this blog , I've seen (and love ) the shows like "Band of Brothers", "The Pacific", and all the hundreds of movies and shows, and the soldiers, sailors, and flyers winning the war.
The role of the scientist in the war movie is the addled brain genius working on the atom bomb or the breaking Ultra. There are so many more stories and people that were forgotten. Guns, bombs, planes, ships, etc just don't invent themselves and show up on the battlefront.

We knew what would happen should we fail to defend ourselves.

This started out with some guy from Jersey trying to solve a mystery but it's turned into something bigger.

I'm not sure where it's headed just yet. Maybe it's just a distraction, maybe it's getting the word out that weapons don't engineer themselves, maybe it's making people realize that as a nation we're stronger when we work towards a goal and not let our differences tear at the foundation of the nation. When I read the letters, lab books, and telegrams of the NDRC/OSRD, I see a country at risk and a people determined to work the problem together. The people involved were from many disciplines - from brilliant scientists to people who painted -artists developing cammo -  to those who did nothing more than have some trade valuable to teach something at the front.

I know this is a little preachy. Sorry. I was supposed to go to the National Archives and the Navy Yard last Monday. I wasn't up to it and decided to stay home the night before. My thoughts and prayers are with the workers at the Navy Yard who helped defend this nation, those who died and their families. The Navy Yard is one of those special places on the planet for me. It took me back in time when another set of people working behind the scenes, giving their lives, and using their brains and ingenuity, helped defend this nation.



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Comments should be topical and civil. Questions are welcome but I may not be able to always supply answers. - Otto