Sonic Warfare in Normandy

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Spencer54, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    Anyone have any details or know of units these were attached to?
    I'm visiting Normandy in April and on the trail of a relative who was part of this secret group.

    I know his particular unit was attached to a Canadain Division and landed at Juno I'm assuming.

    He was a driver with the 3rd Light Scout Car Company that operated the sound machines.

    Just wondering if anyone has any ideas as to which units and where he was.

    Bits I've gleaned is that they landed D-day+5, he was in Bayeux, then it gets a bit hazy and he was later converted to Infantry during the Ardennes.
     
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    If this is a 'playing the sounds of battle to deceive the enemy' unit, I have read -somewhere - a reference to them demonstrating their wares before D-Day. I can't be certain, but I think it was Morgan's Overture to Overlord. Will try to check tonight.
     
  3. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    Well that and some other stuff they played, from what I have understood, it was modified White Scout cars, with some form of speaker arrangement and stereo kit I'm assuming. The info I have it thet they played sounds of tanks moving about right behind the Canadian front lines.

    Apparently not too popular with the infantry as they had the habit of attracting enemy artillery.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    Wow - so thats what he drove, he told me that his one had the American white Star painted on it and they removed the front roller bumper for some reason.

    Epic find - thank you very much :)
     
  6. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Nice picture of Owens but I am fairly sure it is of one of the Intelligence Corps propoganda vehicles. Some years ago Wheels and Tracks Magazine did articles on these and on the much higher tec equipment that Spencer 54 seems to be referring to. The secret units used high quality cinema equipment to record and play sounds.

    I will see if I can find the articles.

    Mike
     
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    That was easy. My filing system does not usually work.

    Wheels and Tracks No18, 1987 has an article with some illustrations. Vehicles are White Scout cars but carry two large loudspeaker cubes 'each the size of a tea chest'. These were linked to RCA sound equipment which played large tapes. The idea was to make the enemy think that there were tanks in places that there were none. The deception was helped by visual deception troops with inflatable dummy tanks.

    Mike.
     
  9. redlynch

    redlynch Junior Member

    Anyone have any details or know of units these were attached to?
    I'm visiting Normandy in April and on the trail of a relative who was part of this secret group.

    I know his particular unit was attached to a Canadain Division and landed at Juno I'm assuming.

    He was a driver with the 3rd Light Scout Car Company that operated the sound machines.

    Just wondering if anyone has any ideas as to which units and where he was.

    Bits I've gleaned is that they landed D-day+5, he was in Bayeux, then it gets a bit hazy and he was later converted to Infantry during the Ardennes.

    3 Light Scout Car Company was the cover name for the sonic deception subunit within R Force. R Force was 21st Army Groups deception unit which, as already mentioned, practiced the arts of sonic and visual deception. Key capabilities within R Force were dummy tanks, bridges etc - operated by Special Companies RE and the Light Scout Car Companies which broadcast, inter alia, the sound of tank movment, vehicle movement and bailey bridge construction. There was also the capability to broadcast deception radio traffic intended to be intercepted by German Sigint units. Mosr R Force personnel were either RAC, RE, R Signals or Intelligence Corps.
     
  10. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Sorry didn't notice the "Your Archives" link above, I've just repeated what's there!

    -----------
    Here are the war diaries for the 3 Light Scout Car Company, plus some other files at the National Archives related to Sonic Warfare, there are probably plenty more of the latter buried away.


    War Diaries:

    WO 166/8500, 3 Lt. Scout Car Coy. (1942 July- Dec.)
    WO 166/11062, 3 Light Scout Car Company (1943 Jan.-Dec.)
    WO 166/15217, 3 Coy. (1944 July-Dec.)
    WO 171/904, 3 Light Scout Car Company (1944 Aug.- Nov.)
    WO 171/905, 3 Light Scout Car Field Park (1944 June- Dec.)
    WO 171/5765, 3 Coy. (1945 May - Oct.)

    Sonic Warfare documents

    DEFE 2/926, Sonic warfare: reports of trials, development, training etc (1942-1943)
    DEFE 2/1034, Sonic Warfare Combined Operations Scout Unit (formerly Light Scout Car Unit): minutes of meetings, directives, formation and development (1943-1944)
    DEFE 2/1218, Sonic warfare Combined Operations scout unit-exercise "Poplin" and operation "Brassard": preparations and reports (1944-1945)

    Lee
     
  11. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    I have his Paybook and he is listed in it as a Telemech (classified) - and he was enlisted in the KRRC. Transferred to 3rd Scout Car Company due to his exeptional driving skills apparently, that and he was a a bit of a jack the lad I think. So they punted him on.

    From what he told me he and other cars formed up in some sort of formation and played various soundtracks. He mentioned tanks moving about and associated noises.
    The entire time he was with the Canadian's and held their infantry in deep respect.
    That and drunk Canadian Whiskey every day since.

    Once he overshot the front lines and drove into a German mortar pit and crew by accident. Battle commenced and his crew member fought them with the only weapons onboard which was Sten guns - until they were rescued by two Canadian Carrier's. So from this I gather they were crewed by two?

    Unfortunately he's now passed away - so I only have what I have.

    I'm not sure if he told me or I imagined it but huge reel to reel tape machines are in my mind. That and large speakers, if that pic is not one of the Sonics - I'd love to see one.
     
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    sonic 1.jpg

    I hope I have attached a photo of a model of the sonic White.

    The model was made by one who served on them. Note the toolbox in place of the front roller and the large speakers which can be elevated and rotated. Power supplied by an Onan generator.
     
  13. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    Also just remembered his one was used once somewhere in Belgium/Germany to play propaganda of some sort, or some kind of give yourself up now - or Public Service announcement.

    The other bits and pices that are clear in my recollection is the fact that he wore the green Canadian battledress, as the British one was taken from him and promptly burnt after so many weeks wear. That and he wore the Mk3 Helmet, and carried a pistol at some point at least by late 44 as he threatened an officer with it in one story at a R&R spot. Having come directly from the front he wasn't allowed in for a drink as he was too scruffy. Like I said he was punted on because he wasn't exactly squeaky clean. :)
     
  14. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    Brilliant - and that confirms what George said about the roller being removed.
     
  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    That seemed to work so I will try more.

    1. A Sonic packed up for movement and equipped for wading.
    2. The equipment on a Jeep. Probably for the Far East.

    Mike
     

    Attached Files:

  16. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Also just remembered his one was used once somewhere in Belgium/Germany to play propaganda of some sort, or some kind of give yourself up now - or Public Service announcement.


    This was usually done by the Amplifer Units. Here's some extracts from the 14 Amp Unit War Diary to get a feel for what that would have involved: Arcre - 14 Amplifier Unit & 19 Leaflet Unit War Diary

    Lee
     
  17. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    OK stunning shots, I really do appreciate this.

    George mentioned the preparation to get these to wade ashore, he said he spent plenty of time sealing it where he could. I'm assuming they came off LST's as he said he drove into fairly deep water and it was up to the windscreen/or underwater and was the longest minute of his life.

    That looks like a reel to reel on the Jeep, so maybe he did tell me that?
    It does look a lot like period cinema equipment thats for sure.
    The worlds first In car audio or mobile disco!

    I can't remember exactly where he said the propaganda broadcast was or if it was more than once, but it could have been at the last knockings in Germany.

    Apreciate this fellas just a shame the old boys no longer around - he would have loved to see these pics. He loved his Scout Car with its run flat bullet resistant tyres he said it was a brilliant thing. No doubt his home for a year to.
     
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Mobile disco is not so far out, although this was more the role of the propaganda vehicles. They were often used to play music, relay BBC broadcasts and make public announcements to civilians, as well as persuading the enemy to surrender.

    Mike.
     
  19. ric-atplay

    ric-atplay Junior Member

    My father was a motorcyclist with C troop of 3 company, he arrived in normandy on D day+1. C troop spent a lot of its time detached from the other troops being further south in france then the rest, they did not see the other troops untill well into Belgium. The picture is not one of those driven by R force the pictures mike has shown are closer to the real item, somewhere i have a picture but cant find it at the moment.
     
  20. ric-atplay

    ric-atplay Junior Member

    re photos of white scout car, the car shown is probably an experimental unit, apparently in the final version the generator was at the back and they had a longer wheel base. The one shown has a cable running to it probably from a local generator and a cableon the back for some reason, the photo was most likley taken on the beach near the training base in ayrshire and the office was the head of training and developement.
     

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