Monday, September 14, 2015

75 years ago this mid-September 'the most valuable cargo ever' landed in Halifax in exchange for 50 clapped out US destroyers

This link to an earlier blog post has all the details....

Fifty clapped out Four Stacker American destroyers, exchanged in the peacetime tourist ship-oriented 'neutral' end of Halifax harbour, for Britain's most valuable military secret : basically a tin whistle bent in the shape of a circle, no bigger than a man's hand., described by Vannevar Bush's official historian as 'the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores'.

But the cavity magnetron, still the heart of your $50 microwave, changed radar from a set of 300 ft tall masts on a British seaside hill , very big and very inaccurate, to something small enough to fit inside an anti-aircraft shell, very small and very accurate.

It is worth remembering that the Allies spent far far more on radar than they ever did on the A-Bomb, and most scientists felt that radar, not the atomic bomb, actually won the war.

The magnetron's impact was even more important politically than technologically, because before the US military brass saw it, they thought Britain was too bankrupt in technology to be worth backing in the fight against Germany.

That little bent tin flute, like all really genius things in life being dead simple in concept, totally changed their point of view....

No comments:

Post a Comment