Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  Ezzie on Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:37 am

A little known story - if you stick primarily to the more popular histories of the BoB, pilot memoirs and the early war years in general - is the important role played by British and German radio listening services during the air battles.  Most histories tend to only mention them in passing - if at all - and yet they both made valuable contributions. As stated in 'The Right of the Line' 'thus began the invaluable Y-service which held the the Germans under permanent radio surveillance, one of the war's very well kept secrets'.

I mentioned this in another post earlier this week and Wolverine encouraged me to provide some historical information so that he could perhaps see if the campaign could be modified to reflect some of what the radio listening services (RAF - Y service; Luftwaffe - Horchdienst) provided during this period.  So here goes..

Sources

My main sources are 'The Enemy is Listening' by Aileen Clayton and these interesting links re the Horchdienst (some of these links are temperamental and don't load all the time)

http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090521-093.pdf
http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090521-094.pdf
http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090521-095.pdf
http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090521-096.pdf

http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/european_axis_sigint/volume_5_german_af_sigint_service.pdf

As an aside - if interested and havent seen them before then the complete set of reports contained at the URL below are very interesting - I've got my eye on a couple for a Sealion map for ATAG in the future for instance.

http://www.afhra.af.mil/studies/numberedusafhistoricalstudies.asp


What was their relative performance?

Aileen Clayton makes the claim in her book that the Horchdienst was as good, if not better, than the Y service in the early part of the war.  She also states that RAF aircrew were very poor at radio security discipline in the early years as well and from her book it seems the Luftwaffe weren't any better.  So i think for the campaign we should assume both side were comparable in capability and competence and provided more or less the same type of info to aid in the development of the air picture.

What info did they provide?

After lots of hard work it seems that the Y-service (and presumably the Horchdienst) were able to glean the following reasonably regularly about their opposition based on careful recording and analysis of tactical level comms (not to be confused with enigma and other machine encoded comms traffic which was done elsewhere and seems to have played very little role in the air battles at this stage of the war):

a. ORBAT - unit location, aircraft type and qty
b. Call sign information - able to associate call signs with units and a/c type
c. Meanings for commonly heard cover terms such as Indianer, moebelwagen, lucie anton
d. Unit take off, landing, passing reporting points and associated locations - based on DF'ing for location and code word association for activity
e. Contact reports -ie when Luftwaffe pilots sighted RAF fighters and radioed 'attacking now' this would be heard and reported back by the Y service
f. etc

How quickly did they get this info into the air picture?

In her book Aileen says that 1 minute was the acceptable time delay and was achieved regularly once they got proficient at their work.  And in one of the German sources i saw a figure of 2 minutes quoted for them to do likewise, albeit this may have been slightly later in the way and was in the nightfighter war context.  So a 1 - 2 minute delay seems historical to get this info into the HQ.

Some ideas for what could be simulated

Based on the above and thinking a bit about game play I'm thinking the following would be reasonably historically accurate and useful from a game play perspective.  Whether it can be set up in CLOD i cant answer and will leave that up to Wolverine to investigate if he thinks its worth pursuing.

(a) Both sides receive an alert - if tuned in to a sector controller - when most, but not all (to have some fog of war) opposing player flown a/c take off. Alert would provide time (with a ~ 2 min delay perhaps) and location (within 10 km radius) and a/c type.  Note no direction info is provided.

(b) Both sides receive an alert - if tuned in to a sector controller - when most, but not all, opposing player flown aircraft go feet wet/feet dry (presumably there would have been a reporting requirement for the a/c - especially bombers- to report this to their controller).  Same again with info (time with small delay, location and a/c type) and no direction info or altitude.

(c) Both sides receive an alert when opposing a/c are attacked by human flown a/c or when human flown aircraft fly within 5 km of them - this simulates a Blenheim reporting being under attack or a fighter escort providing a warning via radio which is then picked up by the listening service.  Alert would provide time (with delay), location (10 km radius), altitude (presumably the a/c under attack would provide height info) and heading at the time of attack.

(d) Both sides receive an alert when bombs are dropped on tgt by human flown aircraft - presumably the RAF had a code word/morse message to report a successful drop.  Alert would provide time and location.

I think the above would provide some more useful info to both sides without making it too easy or remove the uncertainty involved in trying to locate the enemy.  But as stated above i have no idea if any of the above is possible to set up in CLOD so it might not be achievable.

Be interested in what other people thought about this.

Ezzie


Last edited by Ezzie on Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add spurce)

Ezzie

Posts : 87
Join date : 2014-06-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  Wolverine on Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:56 pm

One wonders if there's a clever way to do this via Teamspeak instead of in game... .

_________________
avatar
Wolverine
Squadron Leader

Posts : 1555
Join date : 2012-01-03
Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

View user profile http://401squadron.canadaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  StiC on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:56 pm

Wolverine wrote:One wonders if there's a clever way to do this via Teamspeak instead of in game... .

Do you mean something like random transmissions between groups? I can write a script to do that.

_________________
avatar
StiC
Warrant Officer

Posts : 676
Join date : 2012-02-27
Age : 47
Location : Cape Breton Island

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  92 Sqn. Reddog (QJ-R) on Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:16 am

I've seen this sort of thing before in other games as a TS integration. ARMA for example has some radio scripts which allow you to capture radios and they stay tuned into their frequency (ie a TS channel or whisper list).

Having said that I'm not entirely sure it makes that much sense to do this in Cliffs but it's an interesting idea and should definitely be explored more.

92 Sqn. Reddog (QJ-R)

Posts : 12
Join date : 2014-04-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  Ezzie on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:43 am

I hadn't thought about using TS but agree it might be possible. I don't know anything about how flexible TS is so some/all of the following may not be possible. And they may be dumb ideas anyway. Here goes

A. One person on each side has listen only access to the other sides comms. They could then try and interpret what the other side is doing and factor it in to their picture compilation. This could be negated by use of code words and brevity codes and it would be possible to reduce this advantage. And deception would be possible with pre planning etc.

B. same as above but access is on a pseudo random timer and only for a minute or 2 at a time. This would introduce more fog of war and make interpretation harder

C. Same as a and b but everyone on each side gets access.

Just some thoughts. Any others out there?

Ezzie

Ezzie

Posts : 87
Join date : 2014-06-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  92 Sqn. Reddog (QJ-R) on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:50 am

I think if it were my system, I'd probably go with something along these lines:

1) Radio intercept to be available only for a "signed in" ground controller. - This is because the last thing you want is everyone having something start overriding any conversation that might be happening on your own side. Whispers are bad enough, imagine having 3 audio streams at once!

2) Intercepts to be a variable length, and random occurrence. You may get 5 minutes of intercept or a minute, and you might get 1 intercept in 10 minutes or even longer. - This would need to be tempered by it's use. Having 100% intercept would negate the point of different channels, and some sneaky person would start doing everything via whisper anyway. It needs to be short sharp bursts which may be useful, may not.

How practical or implementable these are, I really don't know. I imagine off the top of my head identifying who can access this system is straight forward, as Wolverine is contemplating a single rear base with access for Ground control, anyone there and "signing in" - ie connecting via menu items can access it. But the TS manipulation I don't know at all. I'd imagine it might be done by moving the person into the channel, but that would obviously give people warning "user has joined your channel" etc, and they'd show up on the TS screen, which some have on a second screen.

To be perfectly honest, I'm now thinking that this is going to be so much work for little purpose it might be an interesting, but ultimately futile project.

92 Sqn. Reddog (QJ-R)

Posts : 12
Join date : 2014-04-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Radio Listening services; could they be simulated in the campaign?

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum