Blind Bombing

Blind Bombing

How Microwave Radar Brought the Allies to D-Day and Victory in World War II

Norman Fine

264 pages
9 photographs, 1 illustration, index

Hardcover

December 2019

978-1-64012-220-8

$29.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Late in 1939 Nazi Germany was poised to overrun Europe and extend Adolf Hitler’s fascist control. At the same time, however, two British physicists invented the resonant cavity magnetron. About the size of a hockey puck, it unlocked the enormous potential of radar exclusively for the Allies.

Since the discovery of radar early in the twentieth century, development across most of the world had progressed only incrementally. Germany and Japan had radar as well, but in just three years, the Allies’ new radar, incorporating the top-secret cavity magnetron, turned the tide of war from doubtful to a known conclusion before the enemy even figured out how. The tactical difference between the enemy’s primitive radar and the Allies’ new radar was similar to that between a musket and a rifle. The cavity magnetron proved to be the single most influential new invention contributing to winning the war in Europe.

Norman Fine tells the relatively unknown story of radar’s transformation from a technical curiosity to a previously unimaginable offensive weapon. We meet scientists and warriors critical to the story of radar and its pressure-filled development and implementation. Blind Bombing brings to light two characters who played an integral role in the story as it unfolded: one, a brilliant and opinionated scientist, the other, an easygoing twenty-one-year-old caught up in the peacetime draft.

This unlikely pair and a handful of their cohorts pioneered a revolution in warfare. They formulated new offensive tactics by trying, failing, and persevering, ultimately overcoming the naysayers and obstructionists on their own side and finally the enemy.


 

Author Bio

Norman Fine is a retired electronics engineer, founder of a high-tech company, and the editor and publisher of an annual engineering design guide series in the 1990s.
 

 

Praise

“Reading like a detective story, Norman Fine’s spellbinding narrative reveals the little-known story of how British and American scientists developed a new radar system critically important to victory over Germany in World War II.”—Nick Kotz, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and author of Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber
 

“This is an extremely accurate and detailed account of the development and use of microwave radar from its inception to its role in ending World War II in favor of the Allies. The book has both a technical and a personal spin that held my interest throughout.”—Col. Dick Rounseville, U.S. Army (Ret.), commander, 334 Attack Helicopter Company (Cobra)
 

“Norman Fine’s well-crafted account of the development and implementation of microwave radar is a valuable addition to the backstory of the Allied victory in World War II. Fine also has a personal stake in the story: his uncle Stanley was one of the quiet heroes who risked everything to bring the new radar to the skies over Europe. A deeply satisfying read on multiple levels.”—Howard Means, author of 67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
List of Abbreviations and Terms
Prologue: Scientists and Warriors
Part 1. Science and Politics
1. The Death Ray: 1930s
2. Europe in Turmoil, America in Denial: 1940
3. “A Four-Star General in Civilian Clothes”: 1939–40
4. The Tizard Mission: 1940
5. MIT Radiation Lab, Shanghaiing the Physicists: 1940–41
Part 2. The U-Boat
6. Airborne Radar and the U-Boats: 1935–41
7. From Defense to Offense: 1941–43
Part 3. The Weather
8. The Case for Blind Bombing: 1942–43
9. Relentlessly, despite the Weather: 1943
Part 4. Setting the Stage for D-Day
10. Getting to D-Day: 1943–44
11. Deep Penetration Bombing Losses: 1943
12. Scarcely a German Plane in the Sky: June 6, 1944
Epilogue: “Never a Tail-end Charlie”
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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