Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 4, 2017 23:23:32 GMT 12
I am not sure if this was under the control of the RNZN or the NZ Army but the fans of the small boats used by the New Zealand Armed Forces in WWII will find this article I just came across of interest. I wonder if any photos or footage of these boats exist?
NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 17 MARCH 1945
TARGET BOAT DISPLAY
EXHIBITION IN CHANNEL
Arrangements have been made in connection with the school cadet display at the Northern District School of instruction, Narrow Neck, today, for a demonstration in the Rangitoto Channel of a target boat controlled from the shore. Although the controlling equipment has been used by coast regiments in New Zealand for some time during the war, this will be the first occasion on which it has been exhibited to the public, it has previously been regarded as secret.
The vessel, which is painted yellow, is about 18ft long and looks like a fast motor-boat. It is used for coast artillery practice and is specially built for the purpose. Controlled by an officer on the shore, it can reach a speed of 15 knots and can be operated at distances o& seven or eight miles. When the vessel is in use the gunners shoot to hit it. It can also be used for laying a smoke screen. The public will be given opportunities today to operate the vessel from the shore.
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 5, 2017 21:45:46 GMT 12
Thanks Ron. Here's the article from the PRESS, 24 OCTOBER 1945:
WAR-TIME WORK OF SCIENTISTS
BOAT CONTROLLED BY RADIO
"The Press" Special Service . AUCKLAND, October 23.
Experiments carried out in Auckland during the war with radio-controlled boats, artificial flying conditions in classrooms for the instruction of air crews, and smoke screens to conceal the Arapuni hydro-electric works from air attack were made public for the first time in an address to Auckland Creditmen's Club by Mr Kelvin Cuff, who was attached to an Auckland technical development committee set up by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The committee, which was set up soon after Japan entered the war, consisted of civilians who had specialised in engineering and scientific work, with liaison officers from the three services.
One of its first tasks was undertaken at the request of the Army, when it was realised that Arapuni would be an important target in the event of invasion. Instead of an ordinary smoke screen, a cloud effect was required that would hide the works in such a way that the intention to camouflage would not be apparent from the air. Experiments with a mixture of crude oil or creosote and water were carried out in the grounds of Auckland University College under the direction of Dr. J. C. Andrews.
Faced with the need to sift out those unfit for air crew service before they began an expensive course of training, the Royal New Zealand Air Force asked the committee to devise some means to simulate identical flying conditions in a classroom. To do this the actual noises inside modern aeroplanes were recorded on steel tape. These noises were reproduced in special cubicles to give trainees the full noise effects. Motion pictures filmed from aeroplanes were also used in the cubicles to give the sensations of flying, and also to teach pilots a sense of recognition. Formerly large numbers had passed with high marks in classrooms, and then failed in the air, but it was found with this new training, said Mr Cuff, that a man who could combat the disadvantages created artificially had a 90 per cent chance of succeeding once he was tested in the air. The Auckland idea had since been copied in Canada and Britain.
A radio-controlled boat had also been constructed locally. This could be started, steered, and its speed regulated as desired at the push of a button by radio control. A smoke screen to conceal the boat could even be sent up, and in response to other signals the boat would lay mines or depth charges. Loaded with a war head of explosive, the boat could be directed against ships or shore installations as an offensive weapon. These boats had now taken on a new role as target boats for artillery practice, and were being used at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch by coastal batteries.
Experiments in Auckland had also led to the development of tanks and aircraft which could be controlled successfully by radio. The tanks, in the speaker's opinion, were superior to those used by the Germans. Powered aeroplane models with a wingspread of 18 feet were controlled by radio during the experiments.
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 5, 2017 21:47:55 GMT 12
So, New Zealand scientists invented the full immersion flight simulator in WWII? I have never heard any of the pilots or aircrew I have met and interviewed ever discuss using that during their selection process. Is this perhaps a bit of an exaggeration for the press? Or was it really used?
Also, we had 18 foot wingspan drones in WWII? What for?
It would be intriguing to see what the boats and plane looked like. I imagine all the target boats were eventually sunk by direct hits but maybe there were survivors. Also I wonder why such a large model plane to test the theory and if it survived the trial. Perhaps it's still tucked away in a bricked-off, dusty tunnel somewhere around the city. We'll have to track down the DSIR archives to find out. There must have been lots of drawings and research notes. It can't have been as sophisticated as the TDR-1 Assault Drones that were briefly trialled under combat conditions in the Solomons during October 1944. The NZ Army had captured Stirling Island only twelve months before in preparation for an Allied landing at Torokina to establish a stronghold there on the western side of Bouganville. Due to it's proximity to enemy positions on Bouganville, Stirling airfield was chosen as the location for drone operations. Before the test program was abruptly cancelled there were a number of successful missions flown where either the drone or it's payload exploded on the target, all under remote control of a director aboard the accompanying TBM-1 Avenger. Little benefit over conventional bombing could be demonstrated and the project was soon terminated with any remaining drones scrapped at their base in the Russell Islands and the control planes retired. There are still several derelict TBM's abandoned on the deserted airfield at Stirling which are likely to have been part of this scheme. Meanwhile the NZ scientists were able to field test much of their local designed and built radar and radio equipment in the tough tropical climate of the Solomons. As a result they were able to provide a valuable range of reliable devices for ships and troops ashore. Their expertise was also called on for training operators and technicians throughout the region.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 2, 2017 22:58:05 GMT 12
Here is another article on wartime New Zealand ideas, innovation and inventions, and mentions the radio controlled target boats. I wish the article elaborated with more details on some of these fascinating inventions - I am sure there may have been more details on the Evening Post that this sources from but 1946 is not yet online. I was unaware of the flame thrower fuel being a Kiwi invention. From the LAKE WAKATIP MAIL, 4 JULY 1946
WIDE RANGE OF PLANS A STEADY STREAM
Ranging from plans for freezing the Channel on D-Day to new designs for the smallest bullet, the schemes of New Zealand Inventors during the war years flowed ;n a steady stream to the War inventions Board, says the Post. Some, like a new flame-thrower fuel, were employed with conspicuous success against the enemy, but many had in the meantime been secretly developed independently overseas. Drawings, descriptions, and models, some crude and some elaborate, bore testimony to the vision and originality of many of the inventors.
Naval ideas have ranged from anti-torpedo devices down to sea-sickness cures. An enormous amount of work was submitted by Air Force men, including different types of aircraft — some of them of markedly unconventional design — and a great assortment of bombs of all kinds. Everyone seemed to be interested in the air.
Military inventions included the smallest bullets and the largest tanks, booby-traps, gun-sights, signalling equipment, and a thousand and one other items.
Besides being considered by the board, all inventions were forwarded to the particular branch of the services to which they were most suited for comment and criticism. There was close co-operation between Australia and New Zealand and a free exchange of ideas between the two countries.
One Air Force officer sent in a particular creditable light sensitive director by means of which, utilising infrared rays, aircraft could be directed in fog in the final stages of landing. Although when it was sent overseas it was discovered work had proceeded further there, the device was deservedly highly commended.
Some ideas, although bettered overseas, were used widely in New Zealand, which during a critical period of the war was very short of equipment. Home Guardsmen all recall the Charlton gun and the assortment of novel but quite efficient mortars with which they were prepared to have a crack at repelling the Jap. One very successful device was a grapnel, shot from a mortar, and carrying a rope. This could be used for crossing valleys in rugged country, and could also be used for passing charges through barbed wire prior to blowing it up.
Plans of one sub-machine-gun which were forwarded overseas created considerable interest, but were not accepted at the time because of the development of the Sten. The inventor then got busy and revised his plans, which were re-submitted.
FLAME-THROWER FUEL One of the most successful inventions was a flamethrower fuel, evolved by an Auckland inventor. This fuel, a jelly-like substance, had many advantages over the best then in use, and was eventually adopted by the Americans and used extensively in a number of gruelling struggles in the Pacific.
A navigational apparatus invented by an Air Force officer was used widely in New Zealand for the training of air-crew, and a radio-controlled target motor-boat was also adopted for use in this country.
With sincere enthusiasm, some people sent in accounts of their dreams of future warfare, hoping that therein "might he the germ of an idea. One well-meaning correspondent enclosed recipes for fruit wines and scones which might he welcomed by the troops.
One claw-type tank-trap was so fearsome and effective that the prospect of ruining a tank while testing it was looked at somewhat askance. This device, though excellent, was not adopted because existing methods were being used successfully.
The advent of the flying bomb produced a flood of ideas, many of them impracticable, because at the time the inventors had but a hazy idea of the performance of the pilotless projectile. One suggestion was the fitting of unmanned machine-guns on the tops of barrage balloons, but unfortunately the unmanned guns could not distinguish between friend and foe.
Another inventor proposed to help the D-Day invasion by pouring a special chemical into the Channel. The waters, he said, would then freeze, and troops and equipment could pour across the ice.
In order to cool tents in the desert a device was forwarded which boiled down to water being sprayed over the tent from a hose. A good thought, but it didn’t take into account the water shortage. Another man thought it would be a good idea to drop pill-boxes by parachute during an advance. Also a good idea, but the size of the parachutes required and the limitations of existing planes as regards weight-lifting were the drawbacks.
TUBE FROM SUBMARINE Another suggestion was that a tube should be sent up to the surface from a submerged submarine, the idea being that an observer should be at the top and keep a watch on what was doing on the surface. If anything came along he could stride down the tube, give a warning like tube could be withdrawn, and the submarine softly steal away.
Many of the more bizarre ideas had more than a grain of vision and common sense in them, and, indeed, some of the weapons used late in the war would have been regarded as flights of fancy a few years ago. The enthusiasm and sincerity of the inventors were undoubted, as was, in the main, their desire to help their country. Although it was disheartening for many to discover, after perhaps months of work, that their ideas had been bettered in secret elsewhere, they showed that, working independently, the designers and thinkers of New Zealand were capable of producing ideas and gadgets some of which were outstanding in their own particular field.
Schoolboys and scientists, military men and mechanics, and hundreds of others in all walks of life submitted altogether about 2000 ideas. Of these, the majority have been practicable, but unfortunately about 80 per cent, have had to be classed as "not novel". Generally speaking, it was felt that during time of war any civilian who had suggestions of improvements to existing weapons or the development of new ones should, in fairness to himself and his country, submit them to the board without laying too much stress on monetary gain. In many cases, however, elaborate models were constructed by the inventors, and they were reimbursed for oat-of-pocket expenses to some degree, authority being given the board to make ex gratia payments of up to £20 in cases where a good job had been done, whether or not the idea was accepted. Patent rights were in all cases protected. A world-wide Royal Commission is to sit later to decide what royalties will be paid to patentees of accepted inventions, based on their degree of usefulness to the war effort.