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Project Cyclops

Included in the CECOM Historical Office’s archive is a circa 1958 report on the Project Cyclops Program. The report’s purpose was to document “a presentation of the US Army Combat Surveillance Agency” that was given by the US Army Signal Research and Development Agency. Project Cyclops grew out of a need to know what items or systems were available and adaptable for combat or battle area surveillance, and to determine what new developments were in progress or were planned for development. The need to answer these questions was assigned to the Signal Corps Research and Development Laboratory; the Laboratory decided to respond by developing a series of charts that would display technical data and other information. With this Project Cyclops was established 2 December 1957.

The mission of the project was to make a complete survey of all DoD Research and Development projects that pertained to combat surveillance in chart form, then review and analyze these projects to determine duplications and areas that required emphasis. To carry out this mission, engineers were brought in and assigned to the project. Under this project equipments were assigned to “fourteen fields of interest or categories.” See Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Project Cyclops Categories

Figure 1 – Project Cyclops Categories

The report goes on to discuss aspects of the process and, proceeds into speaker narratives and the recommendations for the categories of interest as follows. Photography, recommending expedited development of drone photographic capability, accelerated development of photographic system designed for specific drones, and development of a photographic process that would operate in radioactive environments, as well as research in the field of visual light detection. Infrared included recommendations for augmentation of support to research toward development of mosaic detectors capable of infrared images like a TV picture, establishing training in the interpretation of infrared flight records, evaluating two color infrared techniques, and a miniaturization program to ensure that future equipments are compatible with space and weigh characteristics of future drones and aircraft. Radar included portability for mortar detection radar, and new radar equipment for artillery and rocket detection, miniaturization. TV included developing high sensitivity TV tubes for night viewing, snapshot and high resolution strip mapping techniques. Facsimile, recommendations included developing equipment suitable for combat surveillance field use, and developing specialized facsimile applications. Acoustic & Seismic, included basically continue “as is.” Radiological Survey recommendations included instrumentation for use in drones and for measurement of radiation in clouds. Mapping and Survey, the recommendation was basically to continue “as is.” For Aircraft and Drones (see photo below) development of Air Force and Navy drones, high performance aircraft for army surveillance, and techniques for long range detection of guided missiles. For Meteorology and Navigation & Control the recommendations were general in nature.

Cyclops Drones

The general conclusion was there was no duplication, that attention should be focused on conversion of raw surveillance data into usable data and that R&D continue.

A copy of this report is available from the history office can be obtained from the CECOM Historical Office by contacting the Office using the Web link at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php or the report can be reviewed by visiting the Office at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

This post was written by Floyd Hertwck.

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COL Clifford A. Poutre

This Blog site has included number posts about pigeons and pigeon-related information from the Army’s pigeon program. These animals were both amazing and heroic having been responsible for saving hundreds of lives in wartime by “getting their message through.” Equally important were the soldiers that were a part of the program. The soldiers were the breeders, cared for, and trained to pigeons. Truly the program could not have been as successful without the efforts of the birds and the soldier pigeoneers. This blog will introduce COL Clifford A. Poutre.

COL Poutre was born in Hudson Falls, New York on 24 October 1904 as the only child of Hattie Irish Poutre and Clifford G. Poutre.

After receiving his BS degree from Lafayette College in 1927 COL Poutre enlisted in the United States Army 10 January 1929. Soon after enlistment, Poutre went to Hawaii and spent seven and one half years there. Poutre went through all the ranks from Private First Class to Sergeant and in 1936 was appointed Staff Sergeant, in 1940 he became Technical Sergeant and in January 1941 he was appointed Master Sergeant. Poutre was commissioned as First Lieutenant in the Reserve Corps in late 1941.

Fort Monmouth Signal August 13,1941

Fort Monmouth Signal
August 13,1941

According to the 1941 Daily Long Branch Record, while in college, Poutre was a prominent track man and ran in the Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships. He was also a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, secretary of the Sandy Hook Pigeon Racing Club; he also held memberships in the International Federation of Homing Pigeon Fanciers of America, the Central Jersey Racing Pigeon Combine, and the N.J. Homing Pigeon Concourse Association.

He was called to active duty with the Pigeon Breeding and Training Section at Fort Monmouth by a War Department radiogram on 7 August 1936. Prior to joining the Army, Poutre had made a hobby of pigeons and chickens. Once assigned to the Pigeon Program at Fort Monmouth, he confined his interest entirely to pigeons as stated by a 1941 Monmouth Message article, so that by the time of the article (as stated in the article), he was one of the most outstanding experts on pigeons in the world. While with the Pigeon Program, Poutre won hundreds of awards at pigeon races and championships and his work was publicized in national magazines and newspapers.

Poutre served with distinction as a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Occupied Japan following World War II. In 1957, Poutre, became the deputy commanding officer, U. S. Army Signal Supply Agency (he released the last pigeon in combat for the U. S. Army). He also served as the Tobyhanna Army Depot commander from 1 July 1957 to 31 December 1959.

COL Poutre releases a pigeon

COL Poutre releases a pigeon

After 31 years of service, Poutre retired as a colonel. He taught math at East Stroudsburg University from 1961 to 1972. He passed away 11 April 2008 at the age of 103. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Smalley Poutre. Information to prepare this biography is from a biographical sketch for COL Poutre published in the Daily Long Branch Record, 13 August 1941, and from an obituary published in the Tobyhanna Army depot newspaper The Tobyhanna Reporter (6 May 2008).

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.

Posted in From the Archives, Pigeons.

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Got a Smoke?

From time-to-time, this blog feature will present its readers with information related to more-or-less random pieces of equipment. This “series” of blogs generally will focus on Radios, but may on occasion venture into other equipments and apparatus. This blog features the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio. This radio was a product of the search for alternatives to the larger radios then in use (ca 1954).

The Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio weighed an astounding 12 ounces and was about the size of a “king-size package of cigarettes” according a report generated by CECOM predecessor ECOM. The report dated 1974 also notes that considering the stage of development of electronics in the mid-1950s, development of a transceiver of the size and weight of the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio was “indeed incredible.”

User holding sub-miniature radio

User holding sub-miniature radio

There were drawbacks too. One was limitations associated with range as indicted by operational tests this radio. These tests indicated that the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio did not meet military needs. The radio was only reliable in the 50 mc range at 200 yards over average rolling terrain. According to this same report, the electronics as used in this radio had not yet advanced to a stage where they could be used in a military radio; also, testing indicated problems with frequency stability.

Most of the information to prepare this blog comes from Curtis, Marvin W., ECOM-4451, “History of the Squad Radio”, November 1976. This report and other communications-related documents and photographs are available for review at the CECOM Historical Office. The Historical Office is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Contact us via our Web-based contact form at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php for additional information.

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck

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Project Blue Boy

The use of deception as a tactic in warfare to sway how an adversary is thinking has existed for many years. Deception has ranged from the use of camouflage to “hide” a thing that you do not want your adversary to see, to the use of decoy items to cause or change what an adversary does see.

A decoy can be almost anything from a solitary soldier to an entire community, equipment or multiple pieces of equipment, artillery, airfields, and so on. These decoys were fabricated with cloth, wood, metal, and even were pneumatic. Though likely less effective in the “modern warfare” of today, decoys were a very effective tactic even into the 1970s. The CECOM Historical Office maintains nearly 40 linear feet of materials related to camouflage and decoy activities and research. Included in this collection are hundreds of photographs, reports, technical manuals, correspondence, research information, and project information.

One example of a decoy program was a late 1950s Project called Blue Boy and the related “Bailey Bridge” project of the 1940s. Project Blue Boy was a specific type of “Bailey Bridge.”

The Blue Boy was a simulated bridge with six expandable bays, a two-cable suspension system, a roadway, and a foot-walk. The weight of Blue Boy came in at 6,510 pounds. The expandable bays represented the side trusses; the suspension system included two cables, pylons, and associated cables. The roadway was a continuous piece of cotton duck cloth while the foot-walk was strips of cotton duck joined together.

A 60-foot "Blue Boy" Decoy

A 60-foot “Blue Boy” Decoy

The decoy collection contains one report (1946) related to the Bailey Bridge, or Dummy Bailey Bridge. This report presents results tests on a British developed decoy (Camouflage Device No. 7). This decoy consisted of rectangular panel frames which were cross sections the side section. The frame was tubular metal and cotton webbing formed the bridge members. The roadway was cloth. This device could be erected in bridge lengths of 60, 90, and 120 feet.

The two photographs included here illustrate these types of decoys.

Aerial views of "Blue Boy" decoys

Aerial views of “Blue Boy” decoys

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.

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Smart Radio?

Wartime tends to result in innovative measures for communications and electronics technologies. Just prior to World War I, the areas of communications and electronics had begun a rather rapid evolution that would eventfully lead to where we are today. The use of radios in WWI, a technological advance or innovation in and of itself, would give way to innovations that would provide an answer to newly evolving questions related to the need to know what your adversary was saying. Why this question? From a tactical standpoint the answer would allow you to determine what your adversary was planning.

The photograph featured in this blog is both interesting and intriguing!

CE Museum Photo #288

CE Museum Photo #288

 

According to information that is available with the photograph, the photo is of a mobile radio intelligence station that was located in what was for four years an area considered no man’s land. The purpose of this mobile station was to intercept communications made by the enemy. The station was, as stated on the back of the photograph, equipped with a very powerful wireless set

This station could also be used for goniometric purposes. Goniometry involved the use of an apparatus to quickly determine compass bearings of any station sending a message. Using the bearings collected from a few stations the operator could determine the intersect point of the compass bearings for the signal, and then determine the enemy station location; with this information, troop concentrations could also be determined. An excellent discussion of this tactic can be found in the “Report of the Chief Signal Officer to the Secretary of War” for 1919.

The photograph featured here is of a station near Avocourt, Meuse, France, on 22 October 1918

These items and other communications-related documents and photographs are available for review at the CECOM Historical Office. The Historical Office is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Contact us via our Web-based contact form at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php for additional information.

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.

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School’s In Session

The Signal School was located at Fort Monmouth, NJ, until it moved to Fort Gordon, GA in 1974, though limited classes continued at Fort Monmouth until 1976. Below is one of hundreds of classes that passed through Fort Monmouth for the Officers’ Basic Course.

CE Museum Photo #606

CE Museum Photo #606

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane!

In the early days of Fort Monmouth, when it was known as Camp Alfred Vail, the Army in conjunction with the aspiring radio laboratory operated an airfield and maintained four hanger buildings. The information here is heavily borrowed from a history of the Fort and CECOM that was generated by the CECOM History Office. We tell this story here to introduce a couple of photographs of the airfield operations. These photographs, and other photographs related to the airfield and as well of numerous other subjects are included as part of a larger collection of materials that was received by the Historical Office in 2011. This blog site has hosted numbers of the photographs from this collection.

Shortly after the laboratory operations that were set up at the Camp became operational it followed that the air-to-ground radio equipment that was being produced required ninety to ninety-five airplane flights a week for testing. As noted in a Fort Monmouth history, due to the number of flights, residents had mistakenly believed that Camp Alfred Vail was an airfield.

CE Museum Photo #390

CE Museum Photo #390

To carry out the testing, two squadrons for the United States Army Air Service were assigned to the base in 1918, including the 504th Aero Squadron arriving on 4 February 1918. This Squadron consisted of one officer and 100 enlisted men; the first planes along with the Squadron, arrived at the Camp in March 1918. The second Squadron, the 122nd Aero Squadron, consisted of 12 officers and 157 enlisted men.

Flying activity at Camp Alfred Vail reached its peak with personnel of the 122nd Aero Squadron operating a total of twenty aircraft that included two DeHaviland 4s, nine Curtiss JN4-Hs, six Curtiss 4-6Hos, and three Curtiss JN-4Ds.

The first flights did not take off until May 1918 as the 122nd was quarantined upon arrival due to several cases of measles.

Following the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the Aviation Section was moved from Camp Alfred Vail. As stated by the Historical Office in various editions of Fort Monmouth’s history, the laboratory “had made enormous headway in adapting radio to aircraft for World War I.”

On 13 December 1918, orders were received to ship all aeronautical equipment from the Camp. The Hanger buildings were then adapted for use by the Radio Laboratory. The last of the Hangers was demolished in the 1970s. The photographic collection maintained by the history office contains a number of photographs related to the hangers as well as some additional photographs showing the Hanger buildings in operation.

CE Museum Photo #392

CE Museum Photo #392

These photographs and others are available through the CECOM Historical Office. The Historical Office is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Contact us via our Web-based contact form at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php for additional information.

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.

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Telefunken (Gesundheit!)

Over the past few years the CECOM Historical Office has accessioned a large number of items, including photographs/negatives, documents, and technical manuals/reports. Through postings to our blog site, we will be introducing some of parts of this collection to our readers.

With this post, we will be introducing the Telefunken. Telefunken was a (German) brand name that was applied to and became the common name for a telephone set that was used in military applications. The materials related to the Telefunken contained in the CECOM archive date from the early 1900s to about 1912.

The two photographs included here, both from the History Office collection, are (1) of the Telefunken Field Wireless Set (Pack) – transmitter chest and transmitting apparatus and (2) the Telefunken Field Wireless Set (Pack) – receiving chest and receiving apparatus. In addition to these two photographs there are also photos of the Telefunken set as set up with a mast, a wiring diagram, the Telefunken as set up at various locations such as at Fort Leavenworth, at the Coast artillery school at Fort Monroe, and as a wagon radio set.

CE Museum Photo #24a

CE Museum Photo #24a

CE Museum Photo #24b

CE Museum Photo #24b

 

The following documents that address the Telefunken set are also included in the Historical Office’s archive.

The first document set consists of a collection of drawings for Tast-u.Modulationsgerat Type ST 577 S zum 700 Watt Kurzw-Senders S467S, partial set of typed operational instructions (front page missing), a diagram “Schaltbild des 700 Watt Kurzw-Senders S467S.

The second document is a typed collection of papers/report titled “Telefunken.” This report is for the 700 Watt Shortwave Code and Voice transmitter Type: S 467 S, Wavelength Range 20 – 90 m. This report includes hand drawn diagrams, photographs, set characteristics, construction, hookup and operation, installation, and directions for use. There is also a German version of what appears to be the same report.

The third document was found in a collection of “Signal Corps Bulletins.” This particular set of bulletins starts in 1906, and runs through 1912 and in large part are informational or advisory publications. In this collection, Bulletin No. 15 from 1912 is titled “Telefunken Wagon Sets.”

These items and other communications-related documents and photographs are available for review at the CECOM Historical Office. The Historical Office is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. If interested, the reader can also contact the Historical office through our “contact us” Web page at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php.

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.

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Happy 2015!

It was business as usual at Camp Alfred Vail on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1918. Hostilities had ceased in Europe, and the Signal Corps Radio Laboratories were ready to make technological history in the years to come.

CE Museum Photo#4859

CE Museum Photo#4859

Posted in From the Archives, This Day In History, This Week in CECOM History.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past

The CECOM historians extend our best wishes for the holiday with the cover of the Fort Monmouth Christmas program from 1934.

Christmas 1934 Ft Monmouth00000117

Posted in From the Archives, This Week in CECOM History.

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