JED - October 2016 - 66

SIG IN T

The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2016

66

histor y

In this latter context, the unit is said
to have "field modified" and utilized a
further four B-17 ferrets (41-9016, 423358, 42-30379 and 42-30437) before
its return to the US. Of these, 41-9016
was lost when it crashed into a Spanish
mountain on the night of December 6,
1943, with 42-30379 going missing off
the Italian coast on January 25, 1944.
Of its original trio of aircraft, 42-29644
and 42-29881 returned to the "zone of
the interior" during November 1943,
with 42-3055 being eventually scrapped
in situ in Italy during November 1944.
The 16th RS(H)(S)'s remaining ferrets
returned to the US with the Squadron
during November 1944.
Alongside this dedicated (if limited)
capability, the 15th AF also undertook
the already noted "self-help" program,
under which selected "line" heavy bombers were equipped to undertake both
airborne radar and radio monitoring.
Some idea of the problem confronting
the Command's need for technical intelligence on which to base the effective
use of its standard aircraft RCM fit (an
AN/APR-1 or -4 receiver, two AN/APQ-9
Carpet III transmitters and an AN/APT-2
Carpet jammer for spot jamming, with
an additional AN/APT-2 being installed
on some "high frequency" aircraft) can
be gained from the fact that the German's concentrated some of the heaviest
flak defenses in the Reich to protect oil
facilities in the 15th's area-of-operations
and that there were no less than 58 major air defense radar sites operational in
Austria (18), Bulgaria (three), what was
then Czechoslovakia (eight), Hungary
(15), Romania (10) and what was then
Yugoslavia (four).
Of the two cited collection disciplines, ELINT was conducted using either the AN/APR-1 or the AN/APR-4
search receivers that were installed in
the command's aircraft for spot jamming, with COMINT making use of a fit
made-up of the AN/ARR-5 receiver, the
AN/APA-10 panoramic display adaptor
unit and the AN/ANQ-2 disc recorder.
"Self-help" communications monitoring within the 15th AF appears to have
begun during 1943, with the first "special operators" being noted as having
been trained for the task by the RAF's
329 Wing. Approximately 50 Ameri-

can personnel are reported to have
volunteered for the program, four of
whom completed the course in October
1943. The 15th AF is understood to have
planned for a force of 100 "monitors,"
with four being allocated to each of its
Bombardment Groups (Heavy). Within
this sub-total, two men were to fly with
each mission undertaken by their particular Group.
While it is unlikely that these goals
were ever achieved (with one account
suggesting that the Command had only
been able to train and field 11 operators
by March 1944), the Command seems
to have been making extensive use of
the monitoring equipment installed
aboard its "line" aircraft. In more detail, March 1945 saw the 15th AF able to
field 128 × AN/APR-1/-4 radar receivers aboard its B-24 Liberator aircraft,
together with 27 × AN/ARR-5, 27 × AN/
APA-10 and 25 × AN/ANQ-2 communications band equipments aboard both its
B-17 and B-24 bombers. By the following month, the AN/APR-1/-4 figure had
fallen to 120, while those for the AN/
ARR-5, AN/APA-10 and AN/ANQ-2 remained static. In terms of the "take"
produced by these various equipments,
February/March 1945 saw the Command
dispatch 147 missions involving "R/T
monitoring." Of these, 67 produced recordings of enemy communications
traffic, while a further 69 detected "no
German R/T." Perhaps the oddest intercept of the month occurred on the 15th,
when a spot jamming operator picked
up a 30-second voice transmission on
a frequency of 550 MHz while flying
over Bad Radkersburg in south eastern
Austria. With regard to radars, signals
detected were spread across the 308- to
690-MHz band, with those over 600 MHz
being regarded as "spurious." The most
frequently encountered emitter was the
Würzburg fire-control/searchlight control/ground controlled interception set,
with the majority of associated signals
being grouped within the 520- to 570MHz band. Operators noted that when
subjected to jamming, these radars were
able to shift frequency by 1 to 3 MHz.
Between March 17 and April 16, 1945,
the command dispatched a further 152
R/T monitoring sorties, 35 of which
resulted in "negative reports." Those

sorties which were deemed productive
intercepted mainly Italian Aeronautica
Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR - Italy's
post-1943, pro-German National Republican Air Force) traffic in the 58- to 63MHz band. What German material there
was originated almost entirely from
transmitters in southern Germany and
what was then Czechoslovakia. In 16
cases, such traffic was identified as
having come from ground formations
such as "tank batteries." With regard to
radar intercepts, an analysis of recordings made during four missions flown
on February 22 and 25 and March 16
and 22, 1945, showed that signals in the
450- to 460-MHz band, which had previously been classified as spurious, were
in-fact from a variant of the Würzburg
equipment. Overall, it was concluded
that those Würzburg emitters associated
with anti-aircraft batteries defending
targets generally operated in the 450to 470-MHz and 495- to 580-MHz bands,
while those encountered during ingress
and egress from targets transmitted in
any one of four sub-bands, namely 450460 MHz, 490-510 MHz, 515-550 MHz
and 555-580 MHz.
While the foregoing presents a relatively rosy picture, the 15th AF's "airborne Y" program appears to have
encountered a number of problems that
prevented it from reaching its full potential. Here, it has been suggested that
"many combat groups" failed to grasp
the effort's value, with some being said
to have refused to install the "Britishloaned" equipment aboard their aircraft
at all. Again, the USAAF's reluctance to
allocate personnel slots to the role is
said to have exacerbated tactical commanders' dislike of having to transfer
personnel to "monitoring" from existing
positions within their organizations,
with the situation in Italy being made
worse by a shortage of airborne recording equipment throughout the autumn
of 1944. This latter consideration is
noted as having meant that the operators could only monitor one frequency
at a time while trying to maintain detailed written logs. Indeed, of the 11 individuals available in March 1944, only
five were deemed to have developed "a
working method of gaining valuable information." a



JED - October 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Bait in the Trap: Trainable Soft-Kill Systems Proliferate for ASMD
2017 EW/SIGINT Resource Guide
SIGINT History
EW 101
AOC News
Index to Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - October 2016 - cover1
JED - October 2016 - cover2
JED - October 2016 - 3
JED - October 2016 - 4
JED - October 2016 - 5
JED - October 2016 - The View From Here
JED - October 2016 - 7
JED - October 2016 - Conferences Calendar
JED - October 2016 - 9
JED - October 2016 - Courses Calendar
JED - October 2016 - 11
JED - October 2016 - From the President
JED - October 2016 - 13
JED - October 2016 - 14
JED - October 2016 - The Monitor
JED - October 2016 - insert1
JED - October 2016 - insert2
JED - October 2016 - 16
JED - October 2016 - 17
JED - October 2016 - 18
JED - October 2016 - 19
JED - October 2016 - 20
JED - October 2016 - 21
JED - October 2016 - World Report
JED - October 2016 - 23
JED - October 2016 - Bait in the Trap: Trainable Soft-Kill Systems Proliferate for ASMD
JED - October 2016 - 25
JED - October 2016 - 26
JED - October 2016 - 27
JED - October 2016 - 28
JED - October 2016 - 29
JED - October 2016 - 30
JED - October 2016 - 31
JED - October 2016 - 32
JED - October 2016 - 33
JED - October 2016 - 34
JED - October 2016 - 35
JED - October 2016 - 36
JED - October 2016 - 37
JED - October 2016 - 38
JED - October 2016 - 39
JED - October 2016 - 2017 EW/SIGINT Resource Guide
JED - October 2016 - 41
JED - October 2016 - 42
JED - October 2016 - 43
JED - October 2016 - 44
JED - October 2016 - 45
JED - October 2016 - 46
JED - October 2016 - 47
JED - October 2016 - 48
JED - October 2016 - 49
JED - October 2016 - 50
JED - October 2016 - 51
JED - October 2016 - 52
JED - October 2016 - 53
JED - October 2016 - 54
JED - October 2016 - 55
JED - October 2016 - 56
JED - October 2016 - 57
JED - October 2016 - 58
JED - October 2016 - 59
JED - October 2016 - 60
JED - October 2016 - 61
JED - October 2016 - 62
JED - October 2016 - 63
JED - October 2016 - 64
JED - October 2016 - SIGINT History
JED - October 2016 - 66
JED - October 2016 - 67
JED - October 2016 - EW 101
JED - October 2016 - 69
JED - October 2016 - AOC News
JED - October 2016 - 71
JED - October 2016 - Index to Advertisers
JED - October 2016 - 73
JED - October 2016 - JED Quick Look
JED - October 2016 - cover3
JED - October 2016 - cover4
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