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Topic: Radar and the B17s, Which Direction< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Fortress Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2001,4:57  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wouldn't the B17s from the US be approaching Hawaii from the Northeast while the Japanese would have been approaching from the Northwest?  How could they have been mixed up by radar?  Has that ever been answered?
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2001,6:13 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha Cindy,
The SCR-270B at Opana was glued on the incoming Japanese. My good friend, Harry O Hilton, instructed me in the use of the SCR-270B in 1987-88 just prior to his passing. He was made the NCOIC of Opana Ridge Radar just after the attack.  

One has to visualize the radar scope in 1941 was NOT a swinging line around a central point [like my local TV weather radar], but an oscilloscope of a horizontal line with a single vertical blip [similar to a heart monitor]. A single blip that indicated a swath of energy sent out that increases in width as it goes out.

Thus they could not determine how many planes or their exact location within the swath of energy.

Does that help?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,10:02 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes it does, thanks.
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Larry Jewell Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,12:39 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I found something interesting in the Hearings the other day on this, then promptly lost i.t (So I've got a marker on every page now, so what?)

IIRC, it was Cmdr. Taylor who was saying that the nice neat track the Army showed Sec. Knox on Dec. 16th wasn't the original, but a composite of several charts.  He stated he saw the originals (which is natural, given his background) and that they were a mess.  I'll see if I can refind that piece.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,4:57 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Larry,
  In Tora Tora Tora and Pearl Harbor, the radarman specifically says that the track is coming from the Northwest.  That's what made me wonder why the man he reported to would just automatically write it off as the B17s, which should have been coming in from the Northeast.

(Edited by Fortress at 5:59 pm on June 12, 2001)

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,5:07 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"That's what made me wonder why the man he reported to would just automatically write it off as the B17s, which should have been coming in from the Northeast. "

Army pilots weren't very good navigators?  Some of the pilots had zero over the water experience, and could literally be coming in from any point on the compass as they groped toward Hawaii.  On the morning of the attack, IIRC, some Army planes approached the Island from 3 degrees east of north, bearing  003 true.  The Japanese approached from about that angle to the west.  

2nd Lt. Tyler was only casually award of the procedures for B-17 transit from the mainland.  He came up with an explanation for the anomaly and that was that.  It was early on a Sunday morning, he was hungry and had been up since 3 am.   These factors determined his place in history.  Spooky, ain't it?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,5:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So true.  It's easy to look back, with our knowledge today, and wonder why things were as they were.   Of course the B17s could have been coming from any direction!  I hadn't even thought about that.  They didn't have the exact radar fixes that we have today in those planes!   I have to think some of my "guys" in the 100th would snort at your reference to the Army pilots not being very good navigators.   Well, I guess that's true because that's why they had navigators on board! :) But they still might protest!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2001,6:19 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"I have to think some of my "guys" in the 100th would snort at your reference to the Army pilots not being very good navigators. "

"Okay, fly due south until you hit the Ohio, then follow it along until the Wabash joins up.  Take that north until you see a water tower that says 'Lafayette'.  Land on the golf course by the river and call me."

Over-the-water navigation is a bit tougher.   The B-17s had a lay-over in Hawaii to learn OTW navigation before proceeding to the Philippines.  Nobody's good at something until they've had a chance to learn it.  No offense meant to the flyboys of the USAAF.  

When Gen. Short advised Adm. Kimmel that Army pilots were not normally allowed to fly more than 15 miles from the coast Kimmel just about had kittens.  Some naval guns fire farther than that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 15 2002,4:52 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are many misunderstandings regarding the Opana Radar incident. Many did not know that there were 2 calls from and to the Opana Radar site. My father Pvt. Joseph McDonald received a call from Pvt. George Elliott a little after 7am. The connection was bad and the voice claimed that there were a large number of planes coming in from the north. My father found Lt. Kermit Tyler sitting at the plotting board in the I.C.. Tyler stated that it's nothing.
    My father called back Opana and got Joe Lockard ( a good friend of his ) on the phone. He assumed that the prior call was from Lockard also.Joe Lockard was excited and convinced my father that there was something big going on. The flashes filled the screen. He had never seen such a large flight. Pvt. McDonald returned to Tyler explaining that something highly unusual was going on. He suggested that they recall the plotters due to the unusual nature of the flight. He also asked if he should notify someone. Again Tyler was unmoved. My father asked Lt. Tyler to talk with Joe Lockard. The message was logged at 7:20 while Tyler spoke with Lockard.
    After the call , my father again returned to Tyler to suggest that he do something regarding this report. Tyler certainly had a lot of communication regarding a possible threat. My father had heard that the Japanese Navy could not be found. He was concerned and realised that Tyler was inexperienced. At one point , he considered going around Tyler to communicate this information.
    The bottom line is that Tyler was not posted about B17's coming in or that the Enterprise was expected. The guess about the B17's was an educated guess based on hearing the radio play all night. This is based on his testimony before Owen Roberts . Tyler was not trained to identify planes coming in. His commanding officer Berquist expected that he would be called if anything unusual took place.
    Although Tyler was an unfortunate victim of circumstances, he had plenty of information to make the call to Berquist. Berquist believed that an attack on Pearl Harbor was probable based on his testimonies.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2005,12:27 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi David,

I was a Radar Tech in the navy. The SCR-270 was before my time, but the physics behind Radar haven't changed, so let's see if I can come up with something clearer than a "swath of energy".

The SCR-270 was a pre-magnatron Radar. To get a long range on these older designs you had to have a very long pulse to get enough energy reflected back to pick it up above background noise. A Pulse travels 1 statue mile in 5.2 microseconds, so if you know the pulse width of a SCR-270 you can figure out just how big that swath is.

The SCR-270 pusle could be set from 10 to 25 microseconds, with the longer pusle used for more distant targets, and the shorter pulse giving better resoulation as the target got closer.

A 10 microsecond pulse is roughly 2 miles long. A 25 microsecond pulse is roughly 5 miles long.

This means that at it's upper range of 150 miles the Radar would have shown a formation of planes allmost 5 miles long as a single blip on the radar. A large formation would bounce back more energy than a single plane or a small formation, so the blip on the radar screen would be taller, but that wouldn't tell someone how many planes there were or what type of planes they were.

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John Dobbins

No government which fails to provide for its own preservation against the assaults of every probable foe is entitled to the support of its people. (Carl Vinson)
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