Technology in War

 Posted by on 17 April 2013 at 2:00 pm  Technology, World War 2
Apr 172013

Last week, I posed the following interesting question to Paul, then posted it to Facebook:

What technology was known to the Allies during World War 2 — that likely would have helped them win the war faster (or with less damage or casualties) — but that was not used?

The question occurred to me while listening to Max Hastings’ excellent history of World War 2 — Inferno. Hastings says that the Germans had radar but never made good use of it, as the British did during the Battle of Britain.

Paul and I couldn’t think of any stellar examples, but I thought that y’all of the interwebs might have some suggestions.

  • Ron

    In his history of WWII Churchill mentions that scientists proposed using pieces of aluminum foil (I believe attached to balloons) to give false radar images. They decided not to use it because they feared that the Germans would copy it and degrade British radar effectiveness. After the war it was found that German scientists had mad the same proposal and the Germans had rejected it for similar reasons.

    • Diana Hsieh

      Ha! That’s awesome.

    • Nathan Warner

      Actually that is only partly true. The British did develop what we now know as chaff to overwhelm German radars and did hold off on using it for some time because of the fact that it could be quickly copied by the Germans. However they did end up using it against German air defenses with devastating results on their effectiveness. If I remember right the first use of Window (the British codename for chaff) was during a “1000 bomber” raid on Hamburg and German defenses were nearly incapacitated by the chaff. Likewise the Germans also came up with the idea of chaff and when tests revealed the effectiveness of chaff against German radars Goring had the documentation of the test results destroyed and took extreme precautions to make sure the Allies never learned of the technology including a prohibition on research to find a countermeasure. (Paraphrased from the book Instruments of Darkness by Alfred Price)

      • Tjitze de Boer

        Nazi feet lieks bullets.

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