August 1939 was a time of great flux. The fear of impending war fueled by the aggression of Nazi Germany forced many changes. Young people pursuing academic research were plunged into an entirely different kind of research and development. For Bernard Lovell, the war meant involvement in one of the most vital research projects of the war-radar.
Echoes of War: The Story of H2S Radar presents a passionate first-hand account of the development of the Home Sweet Home (H2S) radar systems during World War II. The book provides numerous personal insights into the scientific culture of wartime Britain and details the many personal sacrifices, setbacks, and eventual triumphs made by those actively involved.
Bernard Lovell began his work on airborne interception radar in Taffy Bowen's airborne radar group. He was involved in the initial development of the application of the 10 centimeter cavity magnetron to airborne radar that revolutionized radar systems. In the autumn of 1941, the failure of Bomber Command to locate its target over the cloudy skies of Europe prompted the formation of a new group to develop a blind bombing system. Led by Lovell, this group developed the H2S radar system to identify towns and other targets at night or during heavy cloud cover. H2S first saw operational use with the Pathfinder Squadrons in the attack on Hamburg during the night of January 30-31, 1943. Two months later, modified H2S units installed in Coastal Command aircraft operating over the Bay of Biscay had a dramatic tactical effect on the air war against U-boats. The tide had begun to turn. In this fascinating chronicle of the H2S radar project, Sir Bernard Lovell recreates the feel and mood of the wartime years.
August 1939. Scone airport. St Athan. Worth Matravers. Leeson House. AIS - the first centimetre AI (AI Mk VII/Mk VIII). Lock-follow AI (AIF/AISF/Mk IX AI). H^O2S - the background. The birth of H^O2S -November 1st 1941. Halifax V9977. Life in Swanage 1940-42 (by Joyce Lovell). The last days in Swanage and the food queues of Great Malvern. The crash of the Halifax bomber. The meeting with the Prime Minister. Bennett and Renwick. Autumn 1942. January-February 1943. Centimetre ASV and the U-boats. The impact of the German NAXOS on centimetre ASV. H^O2S on Tank landing craft. The summer of 1943, destruction of Hamburg. H^O2 S on 3 centimetres (X-band) - the attacks on Berlin and Leipzig. H^O2S and the American 8th Bomber Command. The problems with H^O2 S in Bomber Command. Fishpond. Conflict with Bomber Command. The new versions of H^O2 S. July 1944. Naxos and H2S. D-Day. H^O2S and the Army. The U-boat Schnorkel. The last months of the war. Envoi -1991.
"An autobiographical account of the development of HO2S … [this] compelling and most readable chronicle tells of the personal sacrifices, the setbacks, the dedication, and the overwhelming triumphs of those persons engaged in providing the means for the nation's fighting forces to achieve resounding success … should be read by everyone interested in the history of the 1939-1945 war."
-Engineering Science and Education Journal