World War II

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KG7LEA, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not really, from what I know, it was all over the place in Europe.


    A big factor in the post-WW2 US surplus market was....The Bomb.

    During the war, US industry produced incredible amounts of electronics for the war effort - including for our Allies. Radio, radar, interphones, test equipment, PA systems, guidance systems, and much more - including spare parts.

    The war in Europe ended in the late spring of 1945, but the war against Japan was expected to last another year at least. GIs in the Pacific who were very optimistic hoped those who survived the invasion of Japan would be home for Christmas - 1946.

    An incredible supply chain across the USA and the Pacific kept our forces supplied. Having been through the shortages of resources early in the war, no one worried about there being too much of anything for our troops.

    And then, in August 1945, the war was over. The massive stockpiles of electronics and everything else were no longer needed. What's more, it cost money to store them, so mass quantities were sold off for pennies on the dollar.
  2. KG7LEA

    KG7LEA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We had a family friend in Stockton, California who entered the surplus business. There is an immense depot at Lathrop just south of there. Dealers trooped through the rail yards as auctioneers sold entire boxcars full of stuff. They would slide open a door, pull out a box, crack it open, and took bids on the contents. At one car the box had rubber hose. The car went for a few dollars. The rest of the car proved to be full of field radios. That's the story handed down.
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  3. W2VW

    W2VW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Magnetic recording tape.
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  4. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Heathkit got its start in electronics because of surplus parts bought at very low prices after WW2.

    Edited to add:

    Every single day that boxcar was full of stuff, it cost The Government a per-diem charge. Moving it cost even more. While the per-diem back in 1945 wasn't much, when you have tens of thousands of boxcars just sitting for weeks and months, it adds up.

    Same for warehouse space.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Japanese had only a fraction of the radio equipment that the Germans had and the Germans did not have anywhere near as much radio equipment as had the United States. Only a select few of Japanese aircraft had radios, the remainder relied on hand signals which only had a VERY limited range.

    As for land troops, the Japanese often did not have radio communications at the company level whereas United States troops often had radios at the squad level. There are those collectors who do acquire World War II Japanese military equipment including communications equipment. Many of the, especially, army radios are very rudimentary in design being not all that advanced from crystal radio designs. Very simple receivers and transmitters.

    The German mindset was for over-engineering not only in communications equipment but for other things as well. The King Tiger tank was a marvel of design and yet the Russian T-34 tank, which was barely more than a tractor with an artillery piece attached, ate the German lunch in battle after battle. The German Panzer tanks tended to have maintenance problems, because of the advanced designs, and the simple Russian tanks did not have such problems.

    This concept of perfection was also present in the tactics on the battlefield. That is, perfection was expected and things were to be done in specific order, etc.

    I worked with a fellow who, eventually, rose to be a Lieutenant General in the United States Army. During World War II, he had commanded a tank brigade and, after the war, eventually became the military attache' at the United States embassy in Bonn, Germany. While there, he became friends with a number of German Army officers. Of course, they exchanged "war stories" about World War II.

    One of Al's favorite German stories involved a situation where there was a very narrow passage between a high cliff and a swamp. For months, the Germans practiced defending this passage. If anything did not go as planned, the exercise would be stopped and restarted until everything was "just perfect".

    As the United States Army approached, the Germans tightened preparations and waited for the onslaught. They had determined that the attack would be "head on" because no one, in their right mind, would do anything except come straight on. Wrong! The "stupid" Americans went through the swamp, got behind the German fortifications, and captured the pass without a single shot being fired! No German would have ever stooped to going through the swamp and, as such, it was expected that others would not go through the swamp. However, the lowly Americans ignored logic and bypassed the German fortifications.

    The Normandy invasion was another example. In the German mind, the real invasion would take place at the Pas de Calais and, even though there was an invasion in Normandy, it took several days before the Germans realized that this was the "real" invasion. By that time, it was too late and the rest is history.

    Although in many cases, the American radio equipment was of simpler design, the performance was more than just satisfactory and the relative cost was considerably less. The advancement in technology during the war was greater than anything seen before and the equipment available on the surplus market fueled both the civilian market in general, and the amateur radio market, for quite a few years thereafter.

    Glen, K9STH
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  6. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

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  7. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't remember all of the circumstances, but long ago I toured one of our mothballed warships, and commented to
    the guide how old and poor the radio equipment seemed to be.
    He said I should see how much worse the Japanese radios were.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
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  8. W2VW

    W2VW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ever driven on The Garden State Parkway??
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  9. K6BSU

    K6BSU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Engineering progress during WWII pretty much topped out. Later, we had solid state, SSB, better filters, etc.

    IMHO, the best WWII radios included the Hammarlund "Pro" as military BC779, plus the indestructable BC610. These were so good they were used later during Korea. Collins produced some good fixed-base transmitters, but low volume production.

    In fact, here is a 1954 photo. I am operating with a BC610 at my back. KL7FAG OP.JPG
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  10. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seems no one mentioned the most important radio systems that tipped the scales in the Allied;s favor, RADAR. Although Germany and Japan had crude radar for Naval operations, the British had the first usable system far in advance of what Germany had during the war. Also led to one of the most secret weapons that kicked German butts at the Battle of The Bulge, Proximity/Altimeter Fuse used in Artillery and Mortar shells.
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