German Radar

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SpicyJuan
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German Radar

Postby SpicyJuan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:10 pm

Hello, as a naval dilettante (to say the least) could someone please answer this quick question: were any German ships equipped with radar to spot aircraft? I heard that they weren't. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: German Radar

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:01 pm

SpicyJuan wrote:Hello, as a naval dilettante (to say the least) could someone please answer this quick question: were any German ships equipped with radar to spot aircraft? I heard that they weren't. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

... Not to many that I know of...

Tirpitz received a Wurzburg-D antena in early 1944. The radar was integrated into the heavy AA fire control systems, and could direct the 16 x 105mm guns. It was used during several British bomber attacks , with good results. However, it did not make any sort of impression over the raids of high-flying Lancasters....

As for other capital ships, I don't know of any mounting air-search radars.... but maybe some did (?)

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:27 pm

Seetakt was capable of detecting, tracking, and ranging aircraft, and was used in that role from the beginning. It was a multi-role system. Freya (EMIII), the standard German air warning radar, and widely considered one of the best of the war for that mission, was just a long wave version of Seetakt.

Accounts of the Tirpitz air attacks tell of Tirpitz's Seetakt (FuMO26) sets picking up the incoming air attacks.

The Dec 18 1939 air raid on Wilhelmshaven was picked up by a shore based Seetakt (Calais A) from 113km out. The early warning in that case resulted in very a bad day for Bomber Command.

Prinz Eugen was equipped with special Seetakt set for directing flak, known as Flakleit G, (Flak directing G), also known as FuMO201, from mid 1942 to mid 1943. This set had "Owls Ears" to enable it to find the elevation of the aircraft making it a full blind fire system. Sometimes this set is known also as a FuMO26. The later extra large FuMO26 antennas did not need owls ears to find height because it was a common mode antenna.

The KM was not really impressed by the performance of the Wuerzburg D (FuMo213) on Tirpitz at sea, but it was mainly installed to gain operational experience with conical scanning at sea in preparation for the wide spread deployment of Euklid (FuMO231) scheduled for April 1945. The destroyer Z31 was equipped with a Euklid set during early 1945.

BTW, does anybody have or know of a photo(s) of Z31 with its Euklid radar?
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby dunmunro » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:25 pm

RN type 284/285 surface/air fire control radar could spot and track aircraft, but was not designed for long range air warning and, aside from limited range, it's narrow beam made it poorly suited as an air warning radar. I suspect that KM FC radar had similar capabilities to type 284/285 in regards to aircraft, but it's my understanding that the KM never deployed a long range air warning radar similar to RN type 79/279/281.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:55 pm

They did deploy Freya and the Giant Wuerzburg aboard a radar picket ship. But Freya was not deployed aboard warships. It would have been redundant in my opinion.
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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:19 pm

Early war, a all in one radar was fine, but as the war progressed there became need for additional air/search sets, as well as a primary PPI system (FuMO81), in addition to the Seetakt sets. From late 43 we see the addition of additional high power radar sets such as FuMO62/63, and FuMO31, and FuMO33, (Prinz Eugen main mast) on destroyers, and on the few of the remaining major warships, primarily used for long range air warning, as well as the 6cm (and narrow beam) Berlin surface search sets with PPI, in addition to the multi role Seetakt sets.

The British also found that centimetric surface search radars did not make for good air warning sets (Type 277/293*). The 277/293* radar had low angle and high angle elements, both on centimetric wavelength. It was a poor performer in both roles.

The post war British radar design for submarines consisted of two separate radars combined into one: A 3cm for surface search and 150cm for air warning.

*I think I got the Type number correct but there's a bunch of Type 290s (and 9XX) that I can get mixed up.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby alecsandros » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:08 pm

Dave,
Any info over the use of the air-search radar(s) on board Tirpitz during the British carrier-based raids from 1944 ?
It would be interesting to know if and how did German radars intercepted enemy inbound strikes...

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:09 am

alecsandros wrote:Dave,
Any info over the use of the air-search radar(s) on board Tirpitz during the British carrier-based raids from 1944 ?
It would be interesting to know if and how did German radars intercepted enemy inbound strikes...


Apparently all the air raids vs Tirpitz while deployed to Norway were detected by radar, including those during 1942. In some cases it may have been firstly by coastal radar. In just about every case warning came in time to start or complete a smoke screen that hid the battleship within the fjord. It also hid the aircraft from the battleship's gunners, so the Wuerzburg and the FuMO26s became essential during 1944.

The April 1944 air raids were detected by radar just as the aircraft cleared the coast (68km from the battleship). This indicates it was probably the shipboard radar. The British always approached at wave top height to delay possible detection by enemy radar, but to clear the mountains they had climb up to 10,000 feet by about 50 miles out. They could see Tirpitz' anchorage from 40 miles out from that altitude, and Tirpitz look outs would likely see them. By then if it was the coastal radar set that made the detection, the aircraft would be about passing over head of the coastal radar set already.

After the April FAA raid, the Germans improved the coastal radar network, and also the phone communications, to the approaches to Kaa fjord. However, the detection range from the battleship was about the same (75-100 km) so it may have still been the battleship's own radar. The tactic of approaching at wave top height probably nuetralized the coastal radars to a great extent until they started their climb to 10,000 feet. Once the aircraft climbed to 10,000 feet then the battleship's radars could detect them from inside the fjords.

After Tirpitz changed anchorages to Tromsoe it had to depend completely on its own radars for air warning because there was no coastal radar yet set up there. The radar detection range of the final attack was 140km. This detection was probably by FuMO26, or possibly by a possible FuMO31. The Wuerzburg D (FuMO213) was limited in useful range to 38km. The FuMO81 probably could not detect the aircraft with its tightly focused beam at the altitude that the Lancasters approached (16,000 feet), and its PPI indicators were calibrated for presenting 60km max range or 18km max range anyway.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Steve Crandell » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:30 pm

I'm a bit unclear about the type of air search radar the German ships were equipped with.

I understand that surface search and navigation radars can sometimes pick up aircraft, but when did they get a large high power air search radar such as the US "SC" series with the "beadspring" type motorized antenna with a PPI display?

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:27 am

Steve Crandell wrote:I'm a bit unclear about the type of air search radar the German ships were equipped with.

I understand that surface search and navigation radars can sometimes pick up aircraft, but when did they get a large high power air search radar such as the US "SC" series with the "beadspring" type motorized antenna with a PPI display?


Why should there be any correlation between German and American practice and design?
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:24 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:I'm a bit unclear about the type of air search radar the German ships were equipped with.

I understand that surface search and navigation radars can sometimes pick up aircraft, but when did they get a large high power air search radar such as the US "SC" series with the "beadspring" type motorized antenna with a PPI display?


Why should there be any correlation between German and American practice and design?


I don't suppose there has to be any. You answered my question with a question. You appear to be saying the Germans didn't do it that way. How did a German shipboard radar operator go about searching for aircraft?

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:52 am

Steve Crandell wrote:
I don't suppose there has to be any. You answered my question with a question. You appear to be saying the Germans didn't do it that way. How did a German shipboard radar operator go about searching for aircraft?


The same way a Luftwaffe Freya air warning radar set operator would. Seetakt and Freya were the same basic design except for wave length, and could be operated the same way. Freya is widely regarded as one the best air warning systems of WW2.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:56 am

OK, I must have missed your description of how the operator would use a Freya air warning radar set. Can you point me to a message number or a thread?

It also seems to me that 68km is rather short range for detection of air targets for one of the best radars in WWII. I believe Allied ships regularly detected incoming formations over 100 miles away.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:27 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:OK, I must have missed your description of how the operator would use a Freya air warning radar set. Can you point me to a message number or a thread?

Your coming across as rather snarky here. I'm not sure how I should respond, but I think I have responded appropriately. I thought you knew somewhat of such things.

It also seems to me that 68km is rather short range for detection of air targets for one of the best radars in WWII. I believe Allied ships regularly detected incoming formations over 100 miles away.


Did you miss the part were the British approached at wave top height? I'm certain that even SK ( much less SC) could not detect formations of aircraft at wave top height over 100 miles away, especially blocked by mountains. Indeed given the history of these series of US radar with land interference in the Pacific, they were probably not functional from inside a fjord.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: German Radar

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:47 pm

I'm not intending to be "snarky" at all. I don't understand why you are taking offense. I'm trying to find out what kind of display the Germans used and how they turned their antenna, and what it looked like on the ship. I know what the US one looked like. It was called a "bedspring" for good reason, and you can see it on all manner of ships from destroyer on up. I'd like to know about German ships.

I don't expect anyone to detect aircraft coming in at wave height from a hundred miles away. How far could Tirpitz detect Lancasters at 10,000 feet?


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