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Author Topic: Radio History Question--Pearl Harbor Navy & Army Communications Before Attack?  (Read 2658 times)

Posts: 26

« on: September 14, 2013, 10:20:10 AM »

Apologies if this request is poorly placed--I'm unsure where in the eHam Forums to post questions of an historical nature.

Does anyone know...or know of authoritative references...regarding the degree of organized joint Navy & Army radio communications systems in operation at Pearl Harbor shortly before Dec 7, 1941?

For example: Did the Army, Navy and Air Service have any coordinated, shared nets? Tactical communications? Commonly used frequencies? Designed message traffic nets & procedures (similar to ARRL's George Hart's [W1NJM (SK)] National Traffic System)? Joint Emergency Communications protocols?

Hypothetical Illustration: What if...(say) a USAAF (Army) Patrol aircraft needed to send URGENT-OPERATIONAL IMMEDIATE [OI] traffic to a specific naval vessel (or, vice-versa)...then send a joint OI message to a Navy aircraft (in the air) with coordination to ground-based Army anti-aircraft units. Would such a thing have been possible on Sun, Dec 7, 1941?

Or...were the three services (Navy, Army and USAAF) all operating (at least with respect to tactical radio operations) as independent, un-coordinated forces?

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

Best & 73,


PS: The nature of this request is also being posted to the ARRL may see the same thing, twice.

Posts: 3289

« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 11:56:47 AM »

I'm replying based my experience as a retired patrol plane Naval Flight Officer, with an additional three years on a fleet operations staff /war room watch officer, and three years aboard carrier in the Combat Direction Center, qualified as a Tactical Action Officer.

I doubt that combined nets or even shared frequencies were the norm.  We never did that during my 11 years of active duty.  

Certainly the LAST thing you want tactical units doing is cowboying with units from another service.   One of the key principles of warfare is keeping communications flowing up and down the chain of command.  

The 'Fog of War" is always present and every effort must be made to keep fleet commanders informed as quickly as possible.  Tactical units at sea/ ashore have the least idea what is going on, very little intelligence, have the least experience leaders and are not in a position to make decisions.

The Fleet command centers and staff will make the decision to coordinate with other services, pass information, coordinate rendezvous locations, freqs, procedures and send messages directing action.  Oncethe the framework is in place, Task Force commanders would be given "Dirlauth", Direct Liaison Authorized allowing them to coordinate directly with their Army/AAF counterparts.

The N5/S5 staff (Plans and Policy) would be expected to have contingency plans ready for Joint Operations.  b.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 12:04:44 PM by KB4QAA » Logged

Posts: 3289

« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 12:10:26 PM »

p.s.  Please don't cross-post in multiple forums.  It is very bad etiquette because it is confusing, dilutes the quality of responses and wastes peoples' effort.  Thanks!  bill
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