Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

WWII bomber mystery parts

Heymatt:

Watching [the movie] Battle of Britain, I saw a ball-shaped device just back of the pilot’s window on the left side. It was mounted on cables or wires top and bottom. Could this be radar ? It was on a bomber, I think. I checked with a couple of air museums, but no soap. I guess there are not any flight engineers around who would know now. What do you think they might be?

— Julian

The planes used as German bombers in Battle of Britain were repainted, Spanish CASA 2.111 bombers that were actually part of the Spanish air force (although nearly retired) when the movie was filmed. They’re nearly identical to the Heinkel He 111, of which only a handful survived the war. I have a few suggestions for what your mystery part might be. It’s most likely the fairing that covered the loop antenna of the radio goniometer for the RDF (“radio direction finder”). A sort of precursor to radar, the RDF functioned like a mobile, radio lighthouse in that it could detect the heading and distance to a fixed beacon, thus aiding navigation. Looking behind the cockpit of the CASA 2.111, you can see a teardrop-shaped fairing there, which is the housing for the RDF. Early radar antennae on WWII-era planes were all pretty sturdy affairs, most of which only had a few prongs to receive the basic signals of 1940s radar.

Other than that, there weren’t any other kind of antennae affixed to those bombers, as a quick look at a parts schematic reveals. Something simply wired to the outside of the plane would have been too fragile for the theater of war. Unless you’re seeing something that I’m not picking up as I watch and rewatch riveting clips of the movie’s dogfights and midnight bombing runs, I’m going to go with the RDF antenna fairing as the mystery piece.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Imperial Beach, town without pretense

Sleeping ban. sandcastle stomping, immigrant shelter, breakwater, Brian Bilbray

Heymatt:

Watching [the movie] Battle of Britain, I saw a ball-shaped device just back of the pilot’s window on the left side. It was mounted on cables or wires top and bottom. Could this be radar ? It was on a bomber, I think. I checked with a couple of air museums, but no soap. I guess there are not any flight engineers around who would know now. What do you think they might be?

— Julian

The planes used as German bombers in Battle of Britain were repainted, Spanish CASA 2.111 bombers that were actually part of the Spanish air force (although nearly retired) when the movie was filmed. They’re nearly identical to the Heinkel He 111, of which only a handful survived the war. I have a few suggestions for what your mystery part might be. It’s most likely the fairing that covered the loop antenna of the radio goniometer for the RDF (“radio direction finder”). A sort of precursor to radar, the RDF functioned like a mobile, radio lighthouse in that it could detect the heading and distance to a fixed beacon, thus aiding navigation. Looking behind the cockpit of the CASA 2.111, you can see a teardrop-shaped fairing there, which is the housing for the RDF. Early radar antennae on WWII-era planes were all pretty sturdy affairs, most of which only had a few prongs to receive the basic signals of 1940s radar.

Other than that, there weren’t any other kind of antennae affixed to those bombers, as a quick look at a parts schematic reveals. Something simply wired to the outside of the plane would have been too fragile for the theater of war. Unless you’re seeing something that I’m not picking up as I watch and rewatch riveting clips of the movie’s dogfights and midnight bombing runs, I’m going to go with the RDF antenna fairing as the mystery piece.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Imperial Beach, town without pretense

Sleeping ban. sandcastle stomping, immigrant shelter, breakwater, Brian Bilbray
Next Article

San Diego's punk music, goodbye to Lennon

Reader writers tell favorite music
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close