The customer is always right

"I did not then have that high regard for the ability of our scientists that I subsequently acquired as the war progressed and as I saw their inventions pull us time and again out of a mess."

This statement by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris1 is a satisfying tribute from one of radio's best customers. At the beginning of the war '' we had no conceivable means of identifying an average-sized town " ; towards the end of 1944 '' we could hope to hit so small a target as the banks of a canal whenever we wanted to, in any weather. . . . . This advance was entirely due to radar. Every stage in the offensive war followed a new advance on the radar front: it is clear that without the aid of Gee, Oboe, H2S, G-H and Window the war would certainly have been lost. Without the attitude of mind which assumed that the scientist was worth listening to, either on navigational aids or on operational research problems, the war would have limped on as inconclusively as the peace.

" Bomber Offensive " is the first clear account of just how the many scientific aids to warfare were used. The multiplicity of radio devices fall into a natural perspective in terms of the techniques and strategy of their period. We see the wood at last, with each tree making its contribution. Gee, first used seriously on the night of March 8th-9th, 1942, for a raid on Essen, begins the history rather unsuccessfully, for eleven major attacks during three months did no serious damage. Oboe was first used in December, 1942, and H2S on January 30th-31st, 1943: on March 5th-6th, 1943, Oboe was used for its first major attack, on Essen, and now at last both Berlin and the Ruhr became vulnerable. With the dropping of Window on July 24th-25th, 1943, the radar war settled into its stride.

Of our bombing policy, the author writes: '' there was nothing to be ashamed of, except in the sense that everybody might he ashamed of the sort of thing that has to be done in erc:ry war, as of war itself." Radio technicians who condemn Bomber Command" must condemn themselves, for it was their work which helped to produce the fire-storms which wrecked Hamburg. Application of the same techniques to peacetime prosperity and stability might help to ease our consciences. T. R.

1 Bomber Offensive, by Sir Arthur Harris. Collins; 218.


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