2009/02/24

Jericho sirens

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We had an interesting tool of psychological warfare in the early WW2: Jericho-Trompeten/Jericho sirens.

These were small propellers mounted on Ju 87 dive bomber undercarriages - meant to create a terrible noise when activated in a dive.
The fear effect was tremendous, the sound became a kind of cultural heritage as it's still often being used as sound when aircraft are about to crash (are in a dive) in films.

The fear effect on those being targeted made up a huge part of the Ju 87's effectiveness, just like the accuracy of its dive bomb attacks. It dived to a lower altitude and at a steeper angle (up to 90° - perfectly vertical) than the naval "dive" bombers of the Allies which usually dived at no more than 60° and often missed ships by quite embarrassing distances.
Anyway, I thought about modern-time potential of such acoustic tools for infusing fear into our enemies.
The requirements seem to be like this
- relatively close to the target (less than 2 km)
- a platform that already exposes itself to enemy reconnaissance
- relatively short duration (an attack - no Waco siege)
- unexpected action

Close air support aircraft like Su-25 and A-10 might therefore benefit of such a tool.

Another - likely more relevant - possibility would be to reinforce the psychological impact of a tank battalion's assault with such an acoustic tool (or a company's, this depends on the willingness to concentrate forces).


The effect would be greatest on groups with small or no cohesion and poor or no leadership. Psychological weapons that instill fear have proven especially effective against ill-organized African troops, unmotivated or poorly-led forces in the past.

Such actions and tools don't help much against well-organized, disciplined, well-led troops that were hardened against the effects of combat in training.
It's possible to vaccinate troops against tank panic by issuing anti-tank weapons and by having the troops in trenches being overrun by tanks in training, for example.


Maybe we won't see such tools anytime soon. They're too cheap, no company could make big bucks with this.

Sven Ortmann

2 comments:

  1. The photo reminds me of playing "Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain." Used to love flying the Stuka and bombing British ships in the Channel. Then you could fly the He-111 into London and try to get through the fighter swarms. Game is twenty years old, still remember it fondly.

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  2. Sven Ortmann : I've read some works by this postmodern writer on war, P. Virilio, where he describes this tactic of inducing fear before the actual bombing. & he used the Stuka to illustrate his case. I think his works have been published in the German tongue.

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