Why does one manufacturer, Amana I think, call its microwave oven line Radarange? My guess is because radar and microwave ovens utilize magnetrons. If the magnetron fails and there is no magnetron transplant, the oven is dead.


Failure of radar equipment was a serious matter indeed on the British Isles in 1940. At Ventnor on the isle of Wight, radar installations were part of a Chain Home system.


The Germans didn’t have radar. This represented a major strategic advantages for the Allies. The Germans didn’t understand how the Allies kept deducing their plans and thwarting many Luftwaffe raids. The Luftwaffe would dispatch hundreds of bombers and fighters to smash at England, and the Hurricanes and Spitfires would be waiting for them, and the antiaircraft guns would seem to get the bombers’ range before they could possibly be seen or heard.


The Germans were convinced that the weird looking towers had something to do with the early warnings. On August 12 the Luftwaffe attacked radar stations at Dover, Pevensay and Rye and then headed for Ventnor. They inflicted heavy damage at Ventnor, although only one British serviceman was injured. British radar installations were hardened considerably after that, and received more and better equipment.


The RAF was unable to keep the German attackers from putting the Ventnor radar out of commission that day. The hope of the radio operators and experts, or “boffins,” was to get the radar back up as soon as possible. But they couldn’t do it overnight. Meanwhile they hoped to keep the Germans from knowing their spooky electronic clairvoyance was out of order.


The boffins would simulate the extraneous signal or noise that accompanied the operation of radar. They used a messed up radio frequency tube that could be made to oscillate in the appropriate frequency range.


German reconnaissance planes detected the noise and concluded that the Ventnor engineers had their mystery weapon up and running again. Obviously they had failed to eliminate it, even at the cost of many men and planes. They looked for other targets. They abandoned a strategy that had worked pretty well, in the belief it had failed.


As radar improved, the Allies achieved miniaturization sufficient to squeeze radar equipment into night fighters, in an effort to combat deadly night bombing by the Germans. Ground radar would guide a plane to within a mile of a German bomber. The on-board radar would acquire the image, and enable the Allied plane to close the distance to where it could see the red-hot exhausts of the German planes.


How could the Allied bomber crews see the German planes so well, at night and in cloud cover? Was this some new technology? Some sort of night vision?


Again the Allies decided to try another ruse, to keep the Germans from tumbling to the nature of their secret weapon. Why give German scientists too many clues about what they needed to be working on?


Men in RAF uniform were sent to mingle with the public in areas where Nazi sympathizers and spies were known to be. These RAF ringers and members deemed unable to fly were loaded up with carrot juice to the point that their skins took on yellow or orange coloration. They made a show of drinking carrot juice. They let it be known that they were doing this to keep their superior night vision in tiptop shape, because they and their colleagues were detecting German planes by means of highly developed night vision.


Pretty soon the Germans had agents out in the markets, trying to buy all the carrots in France and Germany and even parts of England. Some German agents were detected because of their attempts to buy up great quantities of carrots.


By the time the Germans found out that the Allies’ vaunted night vision was not human but technological, it was too late for them to muster the resources to develop the technology for their own use.