‘Bigger than the bomb’: The forgotten radar battles that helped ...

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‘Bigger than the bomb’: The forgotten radar battles that helped win WW2

The top-secret facility tucked away in a genteel town recruited Britain’s sharpest minds to outfox the Germans

Joe Shute

In February 1942 an elite team of British troops made a daring raid on a Nazi coastal radar installation at Bruneval in northern France. Code-named Operation Biting, the raid was a smash-and-grab mission to seize a piece of war-winning Nazi technology, the mysterious “paraboloid” Würzburg radar.

It proved a storming success and turning point in the war, with key parts of the radar captured, alongside a German technician. But the relative ease of the operation also got Winston Churchill thinking: what if the enemy did the same to us?

An urgent order was issued to move the nascent Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), the main British centre for radar innovation and development, from its base in Swanage to a secure location – and to do so by the next full moon...

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