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Television During World War Two

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Early Electronic TelevisionTelevision During World War Two

Television – the Wartime Instructor – Radio News, May 1942

United States: Thoughproduction of television receivers came to a halt during the war,television continued in a number of ways. In the United States,broadcasting continued on a limited basis throughout the war. RCAprovided TRK-12 sets for use in hospitals in New York for injured servicemen, and had programs two nights a week. Both W2XBS and W2XAB broadcast civil defense programs. In 1943, Philco advertised that its Philadelphia station, WPTZ, hadbroadcast the Army-Penn football game. Don Lee’sstation in Los Angeles broadcast a regular schedule during the war. Many stations hired women to operate cameras and control panels to continue television programming, includingW9XBK/WBKB in Chicago and W2XB/WRGB in Schenectady.

RCA developed a small iconoscope camera system for use in remote controlled glide bombers. Several thousand of thesesystems were made. Though they were not very effective, the cameraswere later used in worn out B-17s that were filled with explosivesand remotely guided to targets by remote control. RCA also provided radar systems to the military. Another company that made cameras for the military was Remington-Rand.

DuMont demonstrated a televisionsystem to allow remote viewing of battles.  Farnsworth was also involved in television during the war. Lee DeForest and U.A. Sanabria also proposed a television controlled bomb.

Engineers who had been developing television technology put theirexpertise toward designing radar and communications systems for the military.

Britain: Televisiontransmission was suspended on the day that war was declared againstGermany. The Alexandra Palace transmitter was retuned and used to jam German aircraft navigation frequencies, and television manufacturingfacilities were converted to make radio and radar equipment. Apparently, toward the end of the war, transmissions were resumedfrom Alexandra Palace in preparation for full scale production.

BBC & MoD engineers modified the Alexandra Palace TVtransmitter to jam Nazi Luftwaffe RNAV systems and cause bombs todrop harmlessly at sea! Also, when BBC TV resumed, it re-startedright at the same point in the Mickey Mouse cartoon where “PlateOff” was punched in 1939.  Then Jasmine Bligh came on andsaid, “Sorry for the interruption of our programme service. Our next presentation is…”  As if nothing had happened!

In 1939 John Logie Baird built an airborne television reconnaissancesystem for the French Air Force. The System used the intermediate film method by means of which a moving pictureof the scenery below the airplane was taken on a 16m/m film, whichwas rapidly processed and transmitted to a ground receiving station.

Germany: When the Germans invaded Paris, they took over the transmitter on theEiffel tower and transmitted newsreels, and other programming for injuredGerman soldiers in Paris area hospitals. The Royal Air Force actuallyset up an elaborate receiving system on thecoast of England to watch the transmissions. 

Toward the end of the war, Germany developed a television guided bomb.

After the war, two British documents lebih TV jelasnya the work that Germany did on television during the war, B.I.O.S Final Report No. 867 and C.I.O.S. File No. XXXII-95.

Russia:According to an article in the British Vintage Wireless Society Bulletin, television was usedto help in the air defense of Leningrad in 1941. A radio detectionsystem called Redut could locate aircraft within 100 kilometers, anddisplayed their position on an electronic screen. A television camerawas located above the screen, the the picture was transmitted toreceivers located around Leningrad at anti aircraft sites. Thearticle also claims that the system used the same frequency as anexperimental London station used to transmit TV programs tohospitals, and that the receivers in Leningrad received pictures fromthat transmitter. The Russians were known for exaggerating theirtechnical achievements (see the story of the TK-1 and the 17TH-1), so it is possible that thisstory is all or partially fiction.

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