“Sept 22 – Jap plane strafed radar station near camp. Had five alerts that night.”
Alright so he first writes “Jap plane strafed radar station near camp.” Radar was one of the most important aspects of the war, especially for the allied forces, and this is often overlooked. So just warning, this will be a longer entry, as I am going to give a little back back story on radar and try to explain why it was so significant.
Alright so in order to get into this, we have to go all the way back to 1904 in Germany. A man by the name of Christian Hülsmeyer invented the world’s first radar system, which looked something like this:
It basically combined elements from the radio, which was only invented nine years earlier in 1895 along with some electrical components. The purpose of Christian’s radar system was to detect how close two ships were to each other, which in turn could prevent them from colliding. It did this by detecting the electrical waves in metal objects and had a range of 3000m, which is almost 2 miles. That may not sound like a lot compared to modern radar technology, which can detect objects up to a range of around 200 miles. But for 1904 this was very impressive, considering it was made by one person too. Christian’s radar system actually worked very well and quite a lot of naval merchant companies bought it.
Now fast forward to the year of 1914, when World War One starts. Radar was not used during this war, mainly because it was not developed enough to be reliable in a warfare type environment, and never really caught on. Towards the end of WWI and well into the 1930’s military used “War Tubas” to try and listen for incoming aircraft engine noises. They looked like this:
So basically up until WWII the only radar available could detect ships within a few miles but was not reliable enough for military to use. If they had the radar technology they did in WWII in the first World War it would’ve been a completely different outcome, but that is a discussion for another time.
So now we move onto WWII, where radar became incredibly important, especially for the allied forces. The main reason is because of how much the effectiveness of aircraft’s increased. In previous wars aircraft’s were fairly small and not that powerful. Come WWII however they become the staple of the war and are one of the most important weapons used by either side. This meant that the defenses had to increase in effectiveness just as much or more, which is where radar came in.
Here are some of the functions radar had in WWIII: It could aim searchlights, aim anti-aircraft guns, help ships navigate at night & in fog, locate enemy aircraft’s & ships, direct gunfire, help aircraft’s navigate, assist with bombing the target, detect enemy artillery, and even mines. As you can see it was used for almost every aspect of the war which made it so important. Here are a few examples of what radar systems in WWII looked like:
As you can see they have come a very long way since 1904.
Now moving onto to Mike’s entry. He mentioned how the “Jap plane strafed radar station near camp.” This basically means the Japanese aircraft flew overhead and shot at the radar station below. This would be a main target for the enemy, as if they could take it out, they wouldn’t be able to be detected, and could inflict more damage in the future.
Mike goes on to say “Had five alerts that night.” This means he had five alerts of enemy aircraft, boats, or ground soldiers attacking them. I am not sure which one though. My guess is that the radar station wasn’t destroyed, as later on that night they got alerts. These alerts would have been incredibly scary and intense moments, as a sneak attack could have came at any second. I doubt Mike or the other soldiers got much sleep that night.
Websites with more information about radar: