Posts Tagged ‘measuers’

The Secret War – The Battle of the Beams – Part One

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

A crumbled piece of paper recovered from a crashed German bomber had written on it a list of navigational aids: light and radio beacons; it also included a codename, ‘Knickebein’ – ‘The Crooked Leg’ a name unknown to British intelligence. The unravelling of the secrets of Knickebein by British scientists led to the Battle of the Beams and the first moves in electronic warfare. The story of re-commissioning the transmitter to prosecute the war was a huge state secret. Many of the BBC engineers involved signed the Official Secrets Act and until late in their lives were mostly reluctant to make their story public. There are surprisingly few public records to help historians. The scientific boffins within the intelligence agencies tasked Professor RV Jones with finding out how the transmitter might be used. Based at Bletchley Park , Jones scoured pre-war files of the Secret Intelligence Services to see if there was any evidence of a German secret weapon. At the same time as this research was ongoing in early 1940, BBC engineer Tony Bridgewater was asked to return to Ally Pally to get the transmitter up and running on a care and maintenance basis; he was almost certainly unaware of what for. They would soon be pressed into service. By the end of 1940 intelligence reports showed that a new system was being developed because the British had clearly learned to jam that system. The Y-Gerat system was a groundbreaking a way of keeping ahead of British jamming capabilities. By a

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