Radio to Free Europe: Armored Force Radio Development, Great Britain and the United States 1919-1941 - Signal Corps, Tank Radiotelephony, Radio Science, Wireless During the Great War
This study principally contributes to the current historiography with its comparative look at US and British communications developments, its treatment of radio communications organizations, and the detailed look at the interwar evolution of such systems and radio equipment. More
Communication provides the means for the commander to exert his or her personal will on the battle. The internal combustion engine's introduction greatly increased the complexity and reach of the commander's task, making instantaneous battlefield information, and hence radio communication, critical.
The tank's role was critical to radio employment because it dictated which communication system would be most useful for their control. The Germans devised a fluid system, and equipped it with radio distributed to the lowest practical level. In contrast, the British contemplated mobile warfare doctrine, but landed in France in 1939 with an infantry-based communications system. Their tank forces had never worked extensively with short-wave, and had no exposure to superior FM radio. The internal dynamics of the British Army, causing it to reject armored doctrine, obscured the power of radio communication applied to mobile formations. Additionally, external dynamics, including public sentiment toward the Army, public aerial bombing anxiety, economics, and the RAF's expansion also negatively impacted radio use at key points in the doctrinal work. The British effort to combine radio technology with an armored doctrine that fully exploited its use failed to answer the German challenge.
The United States Army adjusted more successfully. In 1942, its forces arrived in North Africa with a full complement of FM radios and a flexible communications organization. American equipment and organization thus optimized voice command and control of armored warfare. Besides facing similar internal military dynamics and external societal influences, a certain amount of American success with radios was due to its later war entrance and superior resources. The major difference between the US and British responses, however, was in the public reaction to war's approach. The American public responded with the will to field an armored force and confront the German army on the ground. This study principally contributes to the current historiography with its comparative look at US and British communications developments, its treatment of radio communications organizations, and the detailed look at the interwar evolution of such systems and radio equipment. The broad analysis of the societal and military factors influencing this evolution is an important secondary consideration.
INTRODUCTION * I. INTERWAR RADIO FOUNDATIONS * Radio Science and Technology to 1914 * British and American Wireless during the Great War * The German Model * II. GREAT BRITAIN * The Interwar Situation * Radio in the Immediate Postwar Years, 1919-1924 * The Temporary Reign of Mobile Doctrine, 1925-1928 * The Pinnacle of Tank Radiotelephony, 1931-1934 * Stagnation, Panic, and Dunkirk 1935-1940 * III: THE UNITED STATES * The Interwar Situation * Postwar Doldrums, 1919-1926 * The Experimental Mechanized Force and the SCR-78A, 1927-1930 * Economic Depression, Radio Renaissance 1931 -1934 * The SCR-189 and Mechanized Cavalry, 1935-1938 * FM Radio and the Prewar Maneuvers * IV. CONCLUSION