Discussion in 'Wireless' started by Trux, Aug 30, 2010.

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  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    This page covers all wireless and signals equipment used in 21 Army Group. For convenience miscellaneous equipment is also listed here.

    Click for pictures.


    Wireless set Canadian No9.
    This was developed from the British Wireless set No9. It was a general purpose set and was designed
    with the same dimensions as the British set and it could be fitted into the same vehicle mountings. It was however a much simpler set to use and was very reliable.

    Wireless set No10.
    A multi channel microwave set for Army Group communications. It provided eight two way telephone links and since they worked on a narrow line of sight beam they were more secure than other wireless sets. In 21 Army Group they were able to provide a voice link from Tactical Headquarters to the War Office in London and to Headquarters 2nd Army and 1st Canadian Army.

    Wireless set No12.
    A general purpose low power transmitter intended originally as a ground station. It was mounted in 15cwt and in 21 Army Group used by Army Air Support Signals.

    Wireless set No12HP
    Developed from the No12 set it was a medium range general purpose set intended for mobile stations for command and line of communication use.

    Wireless set No17
    This was a searchlight control set intended for voice communication between searchlight section headquarters and searchlight detachments. It was later also used by AA batteries and RE detachments.

    Wireless set No18
    This was a manpack short range set for communication between battalion headquarters and companies in infantry units. In Royal Artillery units it was used by Forward Observers to communicate with the infantry unit being supported.

    Wireless set No19
    This came to be one of the most widely used sets. Originally developed for armoured fighting vehicles it was designed to provide reliability, ease of operation and clear speech. It was in fact three sets in one with an A set for both voice and Morse, a B set for voice only and an intercom.

    Wireless set No19HP
    An amplified Wireless set No19 to make it into a Wireless set No19 High Power. This gave considerably greater range.

    Wireless set No 21
    This was intended as a simple to operate, light to transport and easy to manufacture set for infantry brigade and Royal Artillery use. It was used until the end of the war but was overshadowed by the Wireless set No 22.

    Wireless set No 22
    This was a short range general purpose set designed primarily to be carried in a vehicle and either operated from the vehicle or dismounted and used as a ground station. It was introduced in 1942 and widely used for the rest of the war. It was a very reliable and easy to use set.

    Wireless set No 26
    This was a multichannel telephone system working over a VHF radio link. It could provide six two way voice channels.

    Wireless set No 36
    This was an anti aircraft gun control set. It provided broadcasting communication from an Anti Aircraft Operations Room to gun sites.

    Wireless set No 38
    This was a manpack short range set for communication between company headquarters and platoons. It was also used for infantry to tank liaison. This was a small set carried on the chest of the operator.

    Wireless set No 46
    This was lightweight manpack set for communication in beach landings. It was completely water proof and simple to operate.

    Wireless set No 53
    This was a general purpose medium range transmitter intended to replace Wireless set No12 High Power.

    Wireless set No 57
    This was part of the Wireless set No 26 station. It was developed from an Admiralty set specifically as an auxiliary link for the No 26 set. It was carried in the receiver vehicle and used as a communication channel for the No 26 set operators and as an emergency channel.

    Wireless set RCA ET 4332B
    This was a commercial US set for long distance voice and teleprinter transmission. Largely replaced by Wireless 12 HP and Wireless 53 they remained in use in some armoured command vehicles and as static sets.

    Wireless set RCA ET 4336
    A static high power set for line of communications. Similar to ET 4332.

    Wireless set SWB 8E
    Used in he Golden Arrow system this was a wireless transmitter with a 2,500 mile range. In normal use it was linked to a High Speed Teleprinter which fed punched tapes through at many times the normal speed.

    Wireless set TR1143
    An RAF aircraft set this was used by the army to communicate with reconnaissance aircraft.

    Wireless set 5G
    A portable medium range Royal Naval set used in 21 Army Group with Beach Groups.

    Wireless set R107
    Reception set R107 was a very sensitive receiver and was widely used in conjunction with powerful wireless transmitting sets which did not have a built in receiver. It was also widely used as a listening set.


    Telephone D MkV.
    A field telephone set carried in a case. Used for speech and Morse.

    Telephone F.
    A conventional telephone with no Morse key.

    A Morse telegraph instrument.

    Switchboard, Universal Call 6 line.
    A field switchboard for outdoors use. Can be used with Telephone D and F and Fullerphone.

    Switchboard, Universal call 10 line.
    A field switchboard for outdoor use. Can be used with Telephone D and F and Fullerphone.

    Switchboard 20 line.
    A heavier switchboard mounted in TEV vehicles or in case for use indoors.

    Switchboard 30 line.
    Similar to 20 line but larger.

    Superposing Unit.
    Used with a Switchboard Universal Call to enable a Fullerphone and telephone to be used simultaneously on the same line.

    Wire D MkIII.
    A thin braided steel and copper wire for use in forward areas and intended for laying by hand from cable reels. Range 10 miles.

    Wire D MkVIII.
    Similar to D MkIII but heavier. For use in divisional signals and intended for laying by mechanical cable layer. Range 15 miles.

    Quad Cable.
    Used in rear of the division. Consists of two pairs of twisted wire, rubber covered and insulated. Range 45 miles.

    7 Pair India Rubber Vulcanised Cable.
    A heavy cable containing seven pairs of wires. Used in rear areas and within major headquarters. May be buried. Range 60 miles.

    Line Labels.
    In order to identify lines in forward areas wooden labels are attached. These come in seven different shapes to identify the type of unit ‘owning’ the line. More precise information can be written on the label using standard abbreviations.

    Mechanical Cable Layer.
    The mechanical cable layer was mounted on a turntable so that it could rotate 360 degrees. In operation an engine rotated the cable drum and ejected the cable via a chute. Cable could be laid at speeds of up to 20mph. The cable layer could also recover cable. The vehicle also carried racks for ladders, poles and cable drums.

    Hand Cable Layer.
    The hand cable layer was smaller and simpler. A platform could be clamped onto the side of a 15cwt truck and carried a cable reel and an arm. Cable could be paid out, and recovered, by turning hand cranks. This cable layer was only suitable for the lighter cables.

    Signallers within units laid cable on foot using a cable reel with a carrying handle. This light cable paid itself out as the signaller walked, or ran, forward.


    .303” Rifle No4 Mk1.
    This was a bolt action rifle with a ten round magazine loaded with five round clips. This rifle largely replaced the older Rifle No1 MkIII in 21 Army Group. Effective range was some 250 yards although the maximum range was many times that.

    .303” Rifle No1 MkIII.
    Some rear area troops were issued with the older weapon. Snipers often preferred this rifle as it had adjustable rear sights which could be set for range. The adjustable rear sight was deleted from the newer rifle since infantrymen no longer fired rifles over long ranges. In fact they hardly ever used aimed rifle fire at all.

    .303” Rifle No4 (T).
    This was Rifle No4 modified for use by snipers.

    Bayonet No4 MkII.
    This was a short, 20cm, spike bayonet introduced to fit Rifle No4 MkI. It could also be fitted to the end of the entrenching tool and used as a mine probe.

    .38” Revolver No2 MkI (Enfield) or MkIV (Webley)
    This was issued to officers, warrant officers and motorcyclists. The Webley replaced the Enfield from 1942 but both were still in use. The revolver cylinder carried six rounds. Effective range was 30yards.

    9mm Sten sub machine gun.
    This was issued in MkI or MkII forms for infantry units. Paratroops had a different version. This was issued to NCOs, drivers and others not needing a rifle. Stretcher bearers could carry one for self defence. A 32 round magazine was used and it could fire at the rate of 550 rounds a minute. Effective range was 100 yards.

    .303” Bren light machine gun.
    Again this was available as MkI or MkII. It was the standard section support weapon and was also issued to company and battalion headquarters for defence. Effective range was a useful 500 yards. It could fire single shots, or bursts at the rate of 650 rounds per minute. A curved 30 round magazine was used, although usually only 28 round were loaded.

    PIAT or Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank.
    This fired anti tank rockets to an effective range of 100 yards when used against armour. At that range it could penetrate most armour then in service. For use against bunkers etc the effective range was 300 yards. This was usually a one man weapon.

    2” mortar.
    The platoon weapon which could fire high explosive or smoke. This small mortar had a crew of two. The gunner carried the mortar and a Sten gun while the No2 carried ammunition and and a rifle. The practical range was 500 yards and 4 rounds a minute could be fired. It was most often used to lay smoke. A smoke bomb could give two minutes of smoke and depending on the wind could give an effective smoke screen 50 yards long.

    3” mortar.
    A very mobile weapon with a high rate of fire. The range could be varied from 100 yards to 2,500 yards and a sustained rate of 5 rounds per minute could be fired. The mortar came in three pieces, each a man load. The tube, the tripod and the baseplate.

    No36 grenade. This was the ‘traditional’ Mills Bomb. It was a fragmentation grenade which sent steel fragments in all directions when it exploded. It was fused by pulling out the safety pin and releasing the lever. The fuse was timed for four seconds.

    No 69 grenade. This was a high explosive grenade in a bakelite casing. The safety cap was removed and the grenade thrown. A weighted streamer unrolled as the grenade flew through the air and this primed the grenade which then exploded on impact.

    No 77 grenade. This was a smoke grenade similar in operation to the No 69 grenade.

    The .303” Medium Machine Gun.
    This was an old but still effective design. It was water cooled and was capable of keeping up a sustained fire as long as ammunition lasted. The effective range was 800 yards and the rate of fire was 500 rounds per minute. The crew was three men
    For mobile action the machine gun could be fired from the pedestal mount on the carriers engine cover. Normally the guns would be demounted and fired from the tripod.

    The 4.2” mortar.
    This heavy mortar was developed originally for firing chemical shells and was used by the Royal Engineers. When it was seen the great effect that German Nebelwerfer mortars had it was decided to use the 4 .2” mortar as a support weapon firing high explosive. The range of the 4.2” mortar could be from 1000 yards to 3,750 yards. The rate of fire was eight to ten rounds per minute as long as the ammunition and crews energy lasted. The crew was four men. The mortar was broken into three loads for transport, the tube, the tripod and the baseplate. An extended baseplate was introduced for use on soft ground.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2017
  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    These drawings are from contemporary sources, mainly handbooks.

    Wireless Set No 12.

    Wireless Set No 12 HP.

    Wireless Set No 22.

    Wireless Set No 53.

    Wireless Set Canadian No 9.

    Wireless set No 19.

    Wireless Set RCA.

    A set of photographs of line equipment taken at Beltring:

    wire1.png wire2.png wire3.png wire4.png
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2017
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Thanks for the above.

    The 19 set and I go back a fair way and, much to my relief, when I ceased being a Driver/Op in Light Ack Ack and was re-trained to become a Loader/Op in the RAC the same wireless set was still in use.


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