The Wireless-Set-No19 Group

Technology for Artillery Location in the British Army

Alister J Mitchell GM3UDL

Originally, this page described a particular piece of World War 2 communications kit, the Wireless Set, Sound Ranging, Mk2 - a very rare item about which Colin Guy, G4DDI had written an article some years ago for VMARS, currently found here. This was to be the beginning of a three year investigation which led me through some fairly esoteric backwaters and proved that the Radio Link SR Mk2 was by no means either the beginning of the story, or the end.
The first thing I discovered was that location of enemy gunfire by sound goes back to around 1910 in Russia, but that used the "flash to bang" time and, although it produced acceptable results for the time, it was not accurate. The credit for the invention of accurate sound location goes to William Lawrence Bragg, later Sir Lawrence, who was serving in the the Royal Horse Artillery and noticed an interesting phenomenon whilst sitting on the privvy!
Hand in hand with Sound Ranging goes Flash Spotting, which relies on accurate bearings on gun flashes taken from several locations. This was perfected by a Canadian officer, Harold Hemming, at around the same time as Bragg was working on SR.
I have consulted a number of members of the Wireless-Set-No19 email group, read a great many training documents, revised my university Trig 101, and visited two wonderful libraries, the Royal Artillery Archive in Woolwich Arsenal and the National Archive at Kew, both in London. In the course of my reading, as must always happen, I've found tantalising hints of dozens of other areas of research which could be pursued by someone interested in military communications. But I stuck to the task in hand and over the five years have put together what I hope is an interesting story, which may be found by clicking the link below - there is no password.
Download the article here (no password required).
My article contains many pictures relating to Sound Ranging and Flash Spotting but we have some additional pictures of the Radio Link, SR, Mk2 which you may like to see. Click here to see a thumbnail index of these photographs.
The article also refers to many source documents, some of which I have collected over the years and which are listedon various pages in the archvie the archive. For convenience, I've brought them all together in the table below. All of these documents require passwords, as on the rest of the site.

Alister Mitchell 10/6/2012

The Bayliss Archive

We are indebted to Mike Bayliff for permission to publish a collection of documents relating to his father's service as a member of a Sound Ranging unit in the Great War. This archive is one of the very few primary sources concerning the use of SR in WW1 and contains the only known set of original SR photographic traces in existance from that time. Click here to access the archive.

J. Arthur Rank short film on "Speed of Sound" - watch here

Documents Relevant to Artillery Location

Number
   
5154
Artillery Survey Pocket Book 1924, Reprinted with Amendments 1948, WO7329
5105
Manual of Flash Spotting, 1937, 26/Manuals/1708
5106
Manual of Sound Ranging, 1937, 26/Manuals/1716
1512
Instruments Flash Spotting No4 MkIII Instructions for the Use and Maintenance, Cooke, Troughton & Simms (Undated)
5209
Instructions for the Repair of Optical and Other Instruments held on charge by an Artillery Unit, 26/Regs/2367, April 1941
5211
Artillery Training Volume 1, Artillery in Battle, Pamphlet No.2A Locating and Artillery Intelligence, WO Code 9864, Feb 1964
5282
Artillery Training Volume 2, Handling of Units in the Field, Pamphlet No.5A, The Divisional Locating Battery, WO Code 8894, 1954
5210
Artillery Training Volume 3, Field Gunnery, Pamphlet No.7, Co-operation with the Observation Regiment, WO Code 8273, Feb 1948
1987
Artillery Training Volume 6, Pamphlet 1, Observation, General Principles and Practice of Artillery Survey, April 1947, WO7145
1988
Artillery Training Volume 6, Pamphlet 2, Survey, Short Base Flash Spotting, August 1943,26/GS Publications/937
1989
Artillery Training Volume 6, Pamphlet 3, Survey, Short Base Registration, April 1943, 26/GS Publications/879
1990
Artillery Training Volume 6, Pamphlet 5, Survey, General Principles and Practice of Sound Ranging, April 1944, 26/GS/1092

1991

Artillery Training Volume 6, Pamphlet 6, Survey, Estimation of Calibre from Time of Flight, September 1944, 26/GS/1273
1992
Directions for the Use of Artillery Instruments No 12, Artillery Boards, May 1936, 26/Manuals/1685
1694
Directions for the Use of Artillery Instruments, Pamphlet No.8, Sound Ranging Equipment (Excluding Recorders), WO Code 9556, May 1959
5383
Directions for the Use of Artillery Instruments, Pamphlet No 9, Recorder, Sound Ranging No 1, Marks II, III and IV, Mar 1944
1695
Directions for the Use of Artillery Instruments, Pamphlet No.14, Equipment, Recording Sound Ranging No.5, WO Code 9926, Feb 1964
1993
Directions for the Use of Artillery Instruments No 15, The Displacement Calculator FBA, Aug 1956, WO 9087
1994
Artillery Sound Ranging and Flash Ranging, Field Manual FM 6-122, October 1964
912
Radio Link SR Mark II Working Instructions, ZA21056, circa 1943
787
Carrier Link, Sound Ranging EMER Tels B852, B853, B857, Description, 1st Echelon Work, Mod Instruction, Feb 1945
963
Equipment Recorder SR No5 Mk1 Technical Handbook, EMER Tels C620, C630, C622 Parts 1 & 2, C623, C624, C628, C629, May 1954
1566
Barometer, Precision, Aneroid Mk I (Baromec) User Handbook, AC13627, 1962

962

Calibrator, Paper Speed, Kit No1 Technical Handbook - Technical Description, EMER Tels C652, April 1964
781
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B820, Data Summary, April 1968
782
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B822 Pt1, Tech Description, March 1967
783
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B822 Pt2, Fault Finding & Repair Data, April 1974
784
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B823, Unit Repairs, May 1967
785
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B824, Field Repairs, October 1970
786
SR Set, Radio Link, No2 Mk1 EMER Tels B826, 7, 9, CENTREMS, Mod & Misc Instructions
965
Test Kit, Sound Ranging, No2 Mk1 Technical Handbook, EMER Tels M280, M282, M287, July 1969
1986
Acoustic Goniometer, Military Telegraph Type 1 Provisional Note, October 1917, US War Dept No 690
1995
Sound Ranging Set GR-3-C Technical Manual TM 11-444, June 1943
1996
Flash Ranging Set AN/GTC-1 Technical Manual TM 11-5516, February 1951
1997
Inst., Flank Spotting, M1 and Rule, Flank Spotting, M1 Ordnance Maintenance Manual TM9-1610, July 1941
1998
Sound Locating Set GR-6 Technical Manual TM 11-2552, January 1945
1999
Sound Ranging Set GR-8 Technical Manual TM 11-2568, September 1945

Cick on the thumbnail below to see the full size image:

OS Set Front

OS Set Interior Top

HQ Set Front

HQ Set Interior Top


OS Set Plate


OS Set Front


HQ Set Plate


HQ Set Front

OS Set Front

OS Set Front

HQ Set Front

HQ Set Front

OS Set Detail

OS Set Detail

HQ Set Underside

HQ Set Underside

OS Set Underside

OS Set Underside


Control Box


Control Box

Power Supply

Pictures from Walter Cista, IW7EEY

HQ Set Front

HQ Set Front

HQ Set Front

HQ Set

HQ Set Internal Top    

Power Supply     

 

 

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