Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

D-Day revisited: don’t blame the weather man

19.01.2007
The history of D-Day is being rewritten following an in-depth analysis of the weather reconnaissance flights which played such an important role in World War II.

The activities of the scientists and pilots involved remain a largely unknown or forgotten element of the war. But a new study of the Luftwaffe’s weather reconnaissance units (the Wekusta) by a meteorologist from the University of East Anglia and a German aeronautical expert sheds new light on aspects of the history of the war.

John Kington, a visiting fellow at UEA’s Climatic Research Unit joined forces with 91-year-old wartime aviation engineer Franz Selinger to bring to light the development, organisation and operations of this branch of the Luftwaffe which involved highly educated German atmospheric scientists and pilots.

“It is a fascinating subject in many ways but, in particular, one of the things this study should do is to make us reassess the history of D-Day,” said Mr Kington.

“The official version is that the Germans were taken by surprise by the Normandy Landings because of a failure of reconnaissance. We can show conclusively that the Wekusta did their job. They kept their leaders abreast of weather conditions and the likelihood of the landings taking place. It was the military who did not act on the information.”

The weather flights were important in another way. When Bletchley Park broke the secret ‘Zenit’ code of the German aircraft weather reports it gave valuable insight into German codes, helping British intelligence to go on to crack Enigma.

After the cracking of Zenit, the RAF sometimes let German weather aircraft pass without attack because their radio messages were considered more valuable than shooting down the reporting aircraft.

John Kington was prompted to begin his study of wartime meteorological reconnaissance by a remark made by Hubert Lamb, the founder of UEA's Climatic Research Unit, in his autobiography. Whilst serving as a forecaster at the transatlantic flying-boat base of Foynes in southwest Ireland, Lamb had observed aircraft of both sides flying overhead; Kington's investigation into these missions led to a previous book focussing on Allied activities.

In this his second jointly authored book on wartime meteorological reconnaissance, an account is presented of similar operations made by the Luftwaffe.

Wekusta: Luftwaffe Weather Reconnaissance Units & Operations 1938-1945 is published by Flight Recorder Publications and is widely available from bookshops.

It fills a gap in the history of atmospheric science and military aviation and makes fascinating reading, detailing the sacrifices and accomplishments of the young scientists and pilots involved in these daring and dangerous missions.

Annie Ogden | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uea.ac.uk
http://www.flight-recorder.com/wekusta-info.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>