THE SIGNAL CORPS: THE EMERGENCY (TO DECEMBER 1941). By Dulany Terrett. (1956, 1986; 383 pages, 37 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-16.)
THE SIGNAL CORPS: THE TEST (DECEMBER 1941 TO JULY 1943). By George Raynor Thompson, Dixie R. Harris, Pauline M. Oakes, and Dulany Terrett. (1957, 1978; 621 pages, 44 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 10-17.)
THE SIGNAL CORPS: THE OUTCOME (MID-1943 THROUGH 1945). By George Raynor Thompson and Dixie R. Harris. (1966, 1985, 1991; 720 pages, 4 tables, 77 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 10-18.)
During World War II the Signal Corps provided, as it had traditionally done, both strategic and tactical communications. As both a combat arm and a technical service, a status it shared only with the Corps of Engineers, it was responsible for the doctrine and equipment used by every Army communicator. Thanks to the technological advances of the 1920s and 1930s, electronic signals carried the voice of command from Washington to the most distant theater of operations. Although FM radio had been developed for tactical use by the eve of World War II, pigeons continued to roost within the Signal Corps' inventory. By 1945, despite instances of heroic service, especially in Italy, their days as Army communicators were numbered. These winged messengers, survivors of a simpler era, could not compete with such electronic battlefield devices as the walkie-talkie. The story of this communications revolution is contained in these three volumes. Advances in electronics, especially radar, were second in importance only to that of nuclear fission as an application of scientific knowledge to the fighting of a technological war. However, in the development of many other electronic devices, such as the proximity fuze, Signal Corps research efforts were also significant.
Of the technical services, the Signal Corps was the least prepared in 1941 for what lay ahead. The War Department's prewar planning grossly underestimated the demands for communication that the kind of war in which the United States was about to engage would impose. The Emergency examines this planning. It sketches the growth of the corps from its birth in 1860 to the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939 (Chs. I-III). The narrative establishes the breadth of the corps' mission and describes its organization, doctrine, and programs of research and development, since all of these deeply affected its activities in World War II. The emphasis of the volume is nonetheless placed on the events of the period from 1939 to December 1941 . Each of the main activities of the corps is treated: research and development; procurement, testing, and evaluation; the storage, distribution, and maintenance of devices and systems of communication; and the elaborate training programs needed to see that all of these activities were accomplished effectively. Subsequent volumes continue the coverage of these areas during the war years.
The Test begins when two young Signal Corps soldiers at their radar set on Oahu detected the enemy's bombers winging their way in to attack Pearl Harbor. In the months that followed, the corps was almost overwhelmed by the weight of demands for men, equipment, and globe-circling administrative communications systems. The Signal Corps nevertheless ultimately rose to the challenge, providing communica-tions of unprecedented scope and variety. By mid-1943 the corps had passed its first major test in the deserts of North Africa.
The Outcome follows the Signal Corps through the subsequent theaters of combat: from the assault landings in Sicily and Italy; through the hedgerows of France; to the jungles of the CBI and the Southwest Pacific. The second half of the volume is devoted to discussing such major activities as electronic warfare, signal security and intelligence, and photography. The authors carry the Signal Corps' story past V-J Day to the first attempt at space-age signals, Project Diana, early in 1946.
In communications as in other areas, World War II required enormous cooperative effort. Thus, the interaction between the War Department, other military
agencies, the Allies, and the civil communications industry loom large in these narratives. Although conflicts between these groups are presented from the stand-point of the Signal Corps, each volume has endeavored to do justice to other points of view in examining and presenting the evidence. The last chapter of the second volume (XVI) examines what was perhaps the most critical of these controversies, the jurisdictional conflict between the Chief Signal Officer and the Commanding General of the Army Service Forces (ASP) over the level of command at which control of Army communications should be exercised. This wartime power struggle was resolved in 1946 with the dissolution of the ASF, and the Chief Signal Officer regained direct control over the Army's communications, but the organizational conflict remained without a solid solution, until the McNamara reforms of the 1960s.
A useful feature of the first and third volumes is the appendix in which most of the Signal Corps' World War II equipment is listed and explained in terms intelligible to a layman. The list in volume III has been modified to reflect the discontinuance of certain items.
1. The conflict between mass production of instruments of war and technological improvements (II, Ch. XV).
2. Industrial capacity and plant expansion in the communications industry (II, Chs. I, VI, XV; III, Ch. XII).
3. Small business contributions and subcontracting (II, Ch. XI).
4. Extent and effect of international aid (lend-lease) programs (II, Chs. I, XV).
5. Materials shortages and conservation and substitution measures (II, Ch. VI; III, Ch. XII).
6. Contract termination and renegotiation (II, Ch. XV; III, Ch. XII).
7. Stock control and storage (II, Ch. XV; III, Ch. XIII).
8. Expansion of storage facilities and development of improved depot procedures (II, Chs. VI, XV; III, Ch. XIII).
9. Effect of the 1942 reorganization of the War Department on the Signal Corps (II, Chs. III, XVI).
10. Prewar radar experimentation in the United States and in foreign countries (I, Chs. I, II, VII).
11. Development ofthe Army's first radar sets, 1937-40 (I, Chs. II, V).
12. The Tizard Mission (I, Ch. VII).
13. Radar proliferation and specialization (I, Chs. VII, X, and App.; II, Chs. III, IX, X, XII; III, Ch. I).
14. The introduction of FM and crystal control into the U.S. Army's radio communications (I, Chs. VI, VII; II, Ch. VIII).
15. The dawn of space-age communications (III, Ch. XIX).
16. Army photographic responsibilities, organization, and contributions: combat photography, V-Mail, training films, still photography, photographic training (I, Chs. III, IV, IX; II, Ch. XIII; III, Ch. XVII).
17. Development of the wartime aircraft warning system (I, Chs. III, VI, XI; II, Chs. I, II, III, IV, V, VII, X, XIV).
18. Signal training and signal schools (I, Chs. II, VI, VIII; II, Chs. I, II, VII, XI;
III, Ch. XVI).
19. Manpower problems in the Signal Corps, military and civilian (II, Chs. I, II, XI; III, Chs. VII, XI, XVI).
20. Labor supply problems and the Signal Corps labor organization (II, Ch. XV; III, Ch. XII).
21. Signal wire and radio equipment (I, Chs. II, V, VI, IX, and App.; II, Chs. III, VIII; III, Ch. XV).
22. Signal radar equipment: airborne and ground (I, Chs. V, VI, VII, X, XI, and App.; II, Chs. III, IX, XI; III, Chs. XIV, XV, and App.).
23. Development and use of radio link (relay) equipment in the U.S. Army (II, Ch. VIII; III, Chs. III, IV, VIII, IX).
24. Extending administrative and command communication facilities around the world (I, Ch. XI; II, Chs. I, IV, V, X, XIV; III, Chs. II-IX, XVIII).
25. Alaska communications and the Alaska Communications System (I, Ch. I, XI; II, Chs. V, XIV).
26. Pigeon communications (I, Chs. I, III, IX; II, Chs. XII, XIV; III, Chs. II, III).
27. Wartime contracting and procurement organizations and procedures in the Signal Corps (II, Chs. I, VI, XI, XV; III, Ch. XII).
28. Effect of patents and licensing agreements on wartime procurement (II, Ch. XI).
29. Spare parts supply (II, Ch. XI; III, Chs. V, XIII).
30. Inspecting signal supplies: organization, procedures, and problems (II, Chs. VI, XV; III, Ch. XII).
31. Packing and packaging, waterproofing, and tropicalization of signal supplies (II, Ch. XV; III, Chs. VII, XII).
32. Relations with and support of the Army Air Forces (I, Ch. X; II, Chs. III, VIII, IX, X, XVI; III, Chs. VII, XIV, XV, XVIII).
33. Signal intelligence, security, and countermeasures (II, Chs. VII, XIV; III, Chs. X, XI).
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