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Danger of being located by radio triangulation when sending messages

Discussion in 'World war II at Sea' started by Fatboy Coxy, Nov 10, 2021.

  1. Fatboy Coxy

    Fatboy Coxy New Member

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    Hi all

    For ships and/or submarines operating in hostile waters during WW2, how dangerous was it sending radio messages back to your HQ. By using triangulation of a radio signal from two, or more different listening posts, the transmitters’ location could be determined. But how dangerous was this, how quickly could a ship/submarine be located, enabling local forces to track it down and destroy.

    Regards
    Fatboy Coxy
     
  2. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    IMO, it was suicidal. Hunter Killer group would be dispatched and generally sank the sub.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I responded to this over at Axis.historyforum.com.
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Here's some more gen-
    HF/DF - Royal Navy High Frequency Radio Direction Finding, WW2
    Second World War Aircraft Direction Finding – Frontline Ulster
    Y service - Wikipedia
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Didn't Luthjens send a 30 minute message to Hitler when he thought the Bismarck was doomed. At least he doomed the ship himself..
     
  7. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Active Member

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    Huff Duff was a killer.

    One wonders what would have happened without it.
    The war for the Uboat was a constant game of catch up and overtake from a technological point of view. The Allied Bomber offensive was the same type of techno race
     
  8. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Active Member

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    And the way Lutjens conducted his affairs leaves me wondering if he was fit to command an operation like the Bismarck breakout. He failed to top up Bismarck's fuel tanks when she was in Norway. Even calling into Norway was idiotic, considering the level of allied air recon watching every move in and out of Norwegian ports.

    And after the action at Denmark Straits, he managed to give the hunting pack the slip and detach the Prinz Eugen for cruiser warfare, but that long radio transmission was absolutely unnecessary to the conduct of the operation, and it leaves me wondering whether he was aware of the dangers of radio transmission interception and high frequency direction finding.

    Lutjens was clearly the wrong man for the job
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Some sources say he considered the war was over for his battleship, and sent the radio message. However he tried to confuse the RN and expected the Subs to come. Weird thinking. Anyway loads of discussions can be found surely.
     
  10. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    He must have been, surely? I used to know a guy who, as a boy, listened to the chatter of the Luftwaffe aircrew over the Firth of Forth in October 1939 on his domestic wireless. With a hell of a lot less electronic pollution, it must have been obvious wireless signals travelled long distances. I used to lie awake at night listening to foreign stations on MW and LW as a kid, and that was only in the Sixties.
     
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  11. Fatboy Coxy

    Fatboy Coxy New Member

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    Y
    You must have been one of those daring young chaps that tuned into Radio Caroline, a 'Pirate' radio station!
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Halsey was sent south on Dec. 7th because we picked up JN radios in that direction the day before. (Johnston Island area IIRC.)
     
  13. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Right era, but I was a bit young!
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Apparently it was possible for signals to be interpreted as 180 degrees out; i.e. south vice north. Just as well since Halsey with one carrier (already short the scouting squadron which flew into the attack) would have been up against six Japanese. Enterprise accounted for 1/3, 1/2, or all of our carriers in most of the 1942 actions, so it's probably just as well that she missed making contact on Dec 7.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes. A direction finder will provide a bearing & reciprocal bearing. Hence the preference for using more than 1 to provide correct direction and to narrow the error. AFAIK, there were still several hundred miles that needed to be searched with regards to Bismarck factoring in errors in bearing.

    At Pearl, only one direction finder was in operation, so a judgment call was made. Thankfully, it was the reciprocal bearing that was chosen as the "correct" bearing.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    An odd thing to say concerning about the Admiral that pulled off the highly successful Operation Berlin.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The reciprocal of the bearing should have been considered, yes. But IJN DDs had been legit in the Johnston Island area.

    Halsey and Brown were very aware they were going into "Indian Country" when they sailed from Pearl. Halsey asked Kimmel what they should do if they ran into IJN forces on the trip(s).

    Kimmel replied "Do what makes sense."

    Halsey smiled and said "I'll blow those bastards to hell!"

    I had the following chart (from the MacArthur Reports.) The locations are taken from the deck logs of both carrier where the noon sighting was recorded.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Which Japanese destroyers? Name them please?
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    IIRC, the DDs were plane guards for ... 2nd ... carrier division(?).

    I'm glad somebody spotted the contradiction there. I've been mentioning that for twenty years+ and nobody's ever said "HEY!" So were the DDs pegged to Johnston?
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I asked, because, to the best of my knowledge only 2 I-Boats were the only Japanese vessels anywhere near Johnston Atoll...Off-hand from memory, I-71 & I-72. They were transiting between Johnston & Palmyra to their attack positions.
     

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