Azumazi

Japanese Naval Radar and Fire Control Systems

So, I decided on a light day without any work I would go read up on some of the topics that the last 18 months have been spoken about on certain subjects. I'm not going to name any names but I've seen a lot of misinformation spread about what vessels like the Yamato could and could not do with their Radar, Fire Control Systems, and other Japanese based Optical and Radio based detection.

 

I'm about 9 pages into writing an elaborate write up on the Yamato for the historical section here on the forums to bring to light many misunderstandings and information that isn't exactly on an easy source like the Wikipedia articles; however, I feel some of the issues can be summed up in their own thread before I publish that piece.

 

First. lets go over the different systems employed by the Japanese starting in WW2.

 

Radar Systems

 

Search Radar

 

Now, Japan had different radar's for different tasks. This is partially due to how radar was initially developed in Japan. The development of Radar started in April of 1941 for Japan. They initially started working on it for early detection of enemy aircraft. The first prototype was finished in September of 1941 and was known as the 11 GO dentan. They began installing them off the coast of Japan within a month. They were large fixed installations much like the ones Britain installed to detect incoming waves of German aircraft. They operated at a 3m Wavelength at 100Mhz with a 40kW supply of power. This allowed it to detect a group of aircraft of 4+ of medium size at around 250km to 130km for a single aircraft with a range disparity of 1-2km. These same systems detected the Doolittle Raid on 18th of April, 1942 coming in to hit Tokyo/Yokosuka at around 80km out. Ironically just like the issue with the Radar station in Hawaii, they disregarded it thinking it was friendly aircraft coming in towards a near by airfield.

 

Around January of 1942 the Nippon Kaigun (Imperial Japanese Navy) began development of shipborne air search radar. The believe was that a much better warning time of incoming aircraft to a carrier fleet would give ample time to scramble fighters into the air to protect naval assets. It needed to be smaller than the ones based on land, much smaller in fact. So they reduced the wavelength size from 3 meters to 1.5 meters. These are known as the 21 GO type, or better known as the Type 2 Model 1 Radar. The second type was the Type 1 Model 2 land based to be mounted off vessels but capable of being moved. The Battleship Ise was the first to be fitted with the Type 2 Model 1 at Kure Naval Facilities. The design was of two large "Mattress" array's. One was for transmitting and the other for receiving. They were attached to the front of the Rangefinder tower. The Type 2 Model 1 operated at 1.5m wavelength at 5kW power. The set detected a single aircraft at 55km and was able to pick up the Hyuga at 20km. To be honest, most of the Navy accepted the set with reluctance as many of them did not trust it. Part of this is due to the fact that Radar's, especially the early ones, could give false signatures. Picking up dense static over water like rain storms on the early sets could show huge areas of gray". However, this was all changed as the Battle of Midway proved the shear importance of such early warning systems.

 

In hindsight, Admiral Yamamoto originally after hearing of the test results urged the Naval General Staff, who originally only wanted converted merchant vessels to be fitted with them and to follow the fleets, requested that either his Flag ship the Yamato or Shokaku should be fitted with such a system. This was in direct response to the debrief he had with Admiral Takagi after Coral Sea. This was denied due to US fleet build up and the impending engagement that would be met at Midway. Due to the huge losses at Midway, his request was immediately rushed and all large capital vessels and leaders would be fit with such systems. Operation Ka, the reinforcement of Guadalcanal delayed the full installment leaving only some capital vessels as well as the Akizuki class and a few cruisers.

 

They later developed a more advanced 13 GO Dentan with better bearing and detection range and began installing them in 1944.

 

Fire Control Radar

 

Due to the Battle of Cape Esperence on Oct 11-12th 1942, Japan originally felt that their ability to engage at night was sufficient. This was proven incorrect as US vessels with fire control radar proved. Japan decided to take a Type 2 Model 1 and test it for fire control. They began developing prototypes starting in October of 1942 and began testing the first sets starting in August of 1943. In September of 1943, the cruiser Nachi and battleship Yamato were fitted with the newer Type 2 Model 1 Mod 3's(213 GO dentan) for testing. They were found to be highly unsatisfactory. Through the 213-215 models they managed to increase the detection range of a battleship sized target from `14-20 km for a smaller based vessel (lower height of the array) and on the Yamato a 20km-30km detection range, but they could never improve above a 500+/- m range correction. Meaning that the range listed could be up to 500m short or long on the assessment range with a range baring of 1 degree off. So at 30km you could miss the target due to the radar by up to 1km!.

 

While they were developing the 21 GO into a search radar, they had contact with Germany that offered some assistance with their own process. The German's with the Submarine I-30 delivered some of their own research and parts on UHF technology for Radar. Japan in parallel began developing on the UHF spectrum at 58cm and 15cm wave lengths while also working on a newer type at 10cm wave length. By March 1944 they had refined a prototype known as the 23 GO. It operated on 2 paraboloid antennas (Like a satellite receiver looks) with one for transmission and one for receiving. They were around 1.7m in diameter. They were designed for Cruisers and Capital vessels. Testing in April of 1944 showed that it could detect a Destroyer at 13km with a range bearing of 1 degree and a range error of 50m. This was 10x better than their conversions of the 21 GO. This 23 GO set was roughly on par with early 1942-1943 sets the US Navy used on vessels such as the USS North Carolina.

 

As they were developing the 23 GO, another model off the 10cm wavelength was being developed known as the 22 GO, or better known as the Mark 2 Model 2 that many know it as, or as the "Horns". In February of 1944 they converted a set for testing as a fire control system. It was a 10cm system working off a 2kW power with 3 horns. 1 was for transmitting and 2 for receiving. Testing showed it could detect a battleship sized target at 30km with a bearing error between 3 to 0.5 degrees and a range error of 100-200m. Since the 22 GO was already in operation on vessels, it was decided to retro fit them for use as a fire control system on vessels over the 23 GO, which was placed on some smaller vessels and as shore battery installations.

 

The Second Fleet were fitted with Mark 2 Model 2 Type 4 Radars for use as well as Yamato. Musashi as not fitted with the fire control system.

 

Summary of Radar and FCS

 

US Naval Intelligence reports on testing of the different systems found the following for the 22 GO Kai 4 Radar

 

BB sized targets detectable between 30-25km, 17km for a cruiser sized target, 16-10km for a Destroyer sized target and around 7-6 for a Submarine sized target (this doesn't specify if it is surfaced or radar off the Periscope) Bearing error of a max of 3 degrees to a minimum of 0, with a range error of a maximum of 400 to a minimum of 100m

 

They also found this data on testing of different vessels from May of 1944

 

OXla0lD.jpg

 

The 22 GO Kai 4 Radar was fitted on the Yamato and the Second fleet and tested in May/June of 1944, meaning before 1944, the Japanese could not use radar to engage targets. The US Naval Intelligence directly viewed the Agano for it's radar set on how it operated.

 

Now to explain something different. There are 2 types of 22 GO Kai 4. The original, and the 22 GO Kai 4S. The 4S was not installed on the Yamato. Meaning she could not blind fire with her Radar. She did have it integrated into the Type 98 rangefinder and FCS to allow it to use it to range find and detect bearing of target to assist the optics. This was also done for the 13 GO Dentan which was an improved air search radar set.

vdBtyBU.jpg

Japan employed two different FCS Computers.

 

The Type 94 and the Type 98

 

The Type 94 was installed on the majority of vessels from Battleships to Cruisers to Destroyers replacing the Type 13 system of range and bearing calculators. The Type 98 was a modified and upgraded system installed in the Hiei for testing, the Yamato, and Musashi as well as 2 spares that were destined for Shinano and the 4th vessel. The difference between the Type 94 and 98 was that the 98 directly updated vessel speed, bearing, and roll into the computer. Everything else still had to be hand input.

 

YfATZiH.jpg

 

So by 1945 Japan had caught up to the British and US development of 1943 in Radar technology, the thing they lacked that the US and others had developed was a system like the Mark 8 and Mark 1 Fire control computer. Now Japan had a fire control computer that was very accurate, known as the Type 98 Sokutekiban. There was one big difference though. The majority of information fed to it from the Range finding tower and other systems had to be manually inputted into it. It had a secondary function as the Shakekiban, which had some modern features such as a trigger time limit of 0.02-0.08 seconds fire time between barrels and limited fire to one barrel at a time to reduce interference between the guns.

 

Look at the amount of knobs on the Type 94. It was operated by between 4 to 6 men. The tower would relay information to them from the optical and radar systems and they would input it into the computer.

 

Now due to the fact that everything on the computer had to be hand input (Except the course and speed of the vessel that it was installed on, that was directly fed into it automatically on the Type 98) it was subject to human error. This is the main fact that is brought up about it. Not that it wasn't accurate, it was only as accurate as the man adjusting the input. During the course of battle fatigue and panic and common human error could cause problems.

 

I hope this clears anything up on a few details about Japanese "Fielded" Radar and FCS, the post below I'll update with Experimental sets that were found and tested.

Edited by Azumazi
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Experimental Radar

 

Now, the types we are going to discuss, one was partially covered in the above post as it went beyond Experimental but due to the time that it was finished it wasn't mounted on vessels as the Japanese General Naval Board seeing as how they were so limited in large vessels at that point found no use to mount it on board and instead installed them on land based installations.

 

So starting in 1942, with the Help of Germany and from captured US Radars, Japan began rapidly developing their knowledge, design, and development of radar based systems. Now Japan was not new to Radar, but they were late in the game. This was made painfully obvious when they captured 2 British sets in Singapore in Feb of 1942 and the Philippines when they got an intact and working SCR-268 radar installation in Manila. The lobe switching ability was new to them and it showed great accuracy which they were shocked by compared to their early warning radar systems.

 

Now the Type 21 and Type 22 radars (22 GO dentan/21 GO dentan) were already underway. Using the technology they found along with the developments sent with I-30 they began new development under Vice Admiral Nawa and his staff of 24 engineers, naval designers, and doctors.

 

Now we need to break them up in the different developments. So we are going to start with the Conical Radar design first.

 

Conical Radar

With the data brought from Germany, the 60cm UHF designs were started. As already mentioned they were working on the Type 3 Mark 2 using this technology. They also experimentally took it further.

 

The Type 3 mark 2 Model 3, was the final design. Completed in March of 1944 it had the following characteristics

Wave Length: 58cm

Peak Power: 5kW

Pulse Length: 2.5 micro seconds

Pulse Rate: 3750 cps

Antenna: twin 1.7m Parabolas

 

For whatever reason that not even the US Naval Mission to Japan could find, they did not accept this radar over the Type 22 Mod 4, there is evidence to support that the difficulty in manufacturing it and the needed parts were the reasons why it was not accepted at the time, as the production requirement of 150 per year of the Type 22 was not meeting criteria.

 

With the Type 3 mark 2 model 3 and the new lobe switching elements, they combined them into the S8A or Model 3 A in Sept 1944- December 1944 and Model B from December 1944 to April of 1945

This unit was designed for AA direction fire against aircraft. Using both German engineering and parts from the SCR-268 they created the two following.

 

Type 3 mark 2 model 3 S8A

Wave Length: 60cm

Peak Power: 6kW

Pulse Length: 2.5 micro seconds

Pulse Rate: 3750 cps

Antenna: 2.9m parabola

 

Type 3 mark 2 model 3 S8B

Wave Length: 60cm

Peak Power: 10kW

Pulse Length: 2.5 micro seconds

Pulse Rate: 1000 cps

Antenna: 7m parabola

 

Originally the B was not designed for AA or fire direction control, but for IFF usage with friendly fighters submitting a code back by the switch to let them know they were friendly aircraft. The S8A had very accurate readings and predictions. The Allies however started developing Jamming techniques for their heavy bombers which made the radars ineffective. They did find it still effective for surface fire control, and testing found it to be more accurate than the original Type 32 radar system. It was also of size to fit on a large naval vessel with its weight being under 600kg.

 

The S8B with its A sweep and Pip matching indicators were very much alike to German direction and AA radar. 2 sets were built and placed for testing and saw use with the newer 15cm Type 5 AA guns which claimed a few B-29 kills.

 

10cm Fire Control and Search Experimental Development and Design

 

So parallel to the developments of the data coming in from Germany, they directly began testing of the captured sets of British and US make.

 

They started with developing two sets of Radar using this as well as their own current developments.

The Mark 3 Model 1 (Type 31) (220) and the Mark 3 Model 2 (Type 32),

 

The Type 31 and Type 32 were different in that the Type 31 used a single Parabolic array much alike the Type 3 mark 2 model 3, but at a 10cm wave length, the Type 32 was much akin to the Type 22 with the Horn style system.

 

Type 31 (220)

Wave Length: 10cm

Peak Power: 2kW

Pulse Length: 10 micro seconds

Pulse Rate: 2500 cps

Antenna: Parabolic

 

Type 32 (105s2)

Wave Length: 10cm

Peak Power: 2kW

Pulse Length: 10 micro seconds

Pulse Rate: 2500 cps

Antenna: 3 Horns, 2 receiving, 1 transmitting.

 

The Type 31 had amazing accuracy for Japanese Radar. +/- 0.3 degree bearing accuracy. It used an A scope design, and roughly on par with the US Made FC radar, as it could also detect it's own splashes for correction, but at a 100m or so range error maximum down to a 40m error range with an average of 75m (roughly double the FC, but within bracket range)

 

The Type 32 was designed based on the Type 22 to attempt to make a design that shared common parts and commonality and ease of production. Using an extra receiving array and lobe switching only on receiving it managed to drop the bearing error to +/- 0.25 degrees and a range error of around 90-150m. The Type 32 was ready for installation but never was installed. Instead many of them were placed at harbors much alike the Type 31.

 

Wk76sIe.jpg

 

Others were developed for IFF and Aircraft use, but honestly both of those belong in another section of the forums. Another piece the Type 42 is a mix of a Naval and Army based radar project off the Tachi-4. It was not continued in development due to its limited design abilities.

 

 

Edited by Azumazi
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I'll probably get it Penned at some point along with a few other items I'll be putting into these forums. Such as Cruiser and Battleship weapon development, layouts, tests, fun stuff like that :D

I'll ask a Mod myself to promote you to a Community Helper or something. Gaijin need's you man, you're logic - and from the looks of this, you put a lot of time and work into studying and sharing the info with us here.

 

Gaijin need's you, and if they can't accept you - they're lost.

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I'll ask a Mod myself to promote you to a Community Helper or something. Gaijin need's you man, you're logic - and from the looks of this, you put a lot of time and work into studying and sharing the info with us here.

 

Gaijin need's you, and if they can't accept you - they're lost.

Community Helpers have no meaning and are useless in developement. He should be something like a "Data supplier" or that nature.

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Hello. I've added this to our thread so it can be seen, but to be honest, I am pretty certain much of this is already in the database. as is the Air to air and air to ground radar systems that were developed.

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I mentioned these Japanese radars and FCS systems a couple of times in those old Yamato vs Iowa threads, great that we now have all this accurate info in one place. Really great job.

 

One thing some people need to understand is that at ranges these systems would be used, so over 30km for battleship battles, both the japanese and american radars were far more accurate than the cannons they were directing.

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Excellent article! 

Many do not understand how significant radio technologies where to WW2.

 

I keep saying that for BB missions the map has to be at least 160 Km on side, with spawn ground at least 50 km apart. 

Otherwise one starts shooting the moment they span in.

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Excellent article! 

Many do not understand how significant radio technologies where to WW2.

 

I keep saying that for BB missions the map has to be at least 160 Km on side, with spawn ground at least 50 km apart. 

Otherwise one starts shooting the moment they span in.

Don't get me wrong though, the spread of the shell fire at maximum range would be terrible, but you and I both know that all it would take is that single OHK lucky hit with a 700m spread and the forums would blow up.

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Don't get me wrong though, the spread of the shell fire at maximum range would be terrible, but you and I both know that all it would take is that single OHK lucky hit with a 700m spread and the forums would blow up.

Literally and metaphorically :P

 

Also I will read this all eventually. I just haven't gotten around to it :c

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Good research, but IMO the premise (real or imagined) is skewing a couple of realities about 'automatic radar FCS' and FCS in general to somehow establish a parity between American and Japanese FCS (though I attest probably not intentionally).

 

I do a lot of long range shooting in my spare time (I also hunt) and hitting a static gong at 1,250 m is fairly simple if you have the right tools and a good grasp of the basic shooting fundamentals, holding/dialing in the proper amount of elevation, calculate and correct for windage, pull the trigger and you should have a fairly good hit rate. However, against moving targets you'll have to take into account direction, speed, either if its closing or moving away, know by how much it is closing or moving away and be able to on the spot, when and if the target suddenly changes direction make the proper corrections.

 

This all has to happen, as mentioned, on the spot to be successful in hitting a moving target. 

 

Thus, IMO I am not sure how viable the Yamato's FCS is when using 22/4 radar data when engaging non-static targets (or at the very least non-linear targets), when the FCS in every single case has to go off using, by that time, an already outdated set of data, basically, they are using a calculated trajectory of a target at a specific time in space (when the target could be in a single other moment change in a totally different direction), which then has to be manually inputted by no less than 6 men, which I presume a job that is not quick to do, thus no matter how good their training was, as the time passes, and as the target moves and maneuvers more errors are then infused in to their calculation. Thus, against a maneuvering target (or even a target not in a parallel course?) the radar can actually work against the FCS due to how slow and how big the potential for error is in the process, hitting a non-static target at long ranges may prove difficult if not right out impossible.

 

Thus, this system is not at all comparable to the American system where the FCS is able to, on the spot, change elevation and windage with the data directly fed to it from its radar, which makes the American FCS a true automatic FCS that is accurate under all conditions.

 

There was a test posted by one of our fellow forum goers here on the forum stating a test which states:

 

"In the summer of 1945 the USN tested this theory with the USS North Carolina BB. They gave her a target, went full speed, turned her left for 450 degrees, then right for 450 degrees. They then spun her back to the left for 100 degrees then back to the right for the same, and she never lost a firing solution."

 

 The Japanese do not have a comparable FCS, your research simply states that the Japanese had a comparable radar in 1945 to what the Americans had in 1943, but do not have (again) a comparable FCS. A difference that needs pointing out.

Edited by SnafuSnafu
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WW2 FCS's did not indicate Windage for large caliber guns. The amount of variance due to windage in minimal unless we are talking about gale force crosswinds as the shear energy behind those shells and the cross section would require a lot of force to put them off. These aren't 5.56mm bullets that get drifted easily by 25mph winds.

 

Also, the as for that 1945 test, little to never would two battleships be pulling such maneuvers in a battleline while engaging one another. That test was to see in worst case scenario could the system maintain a firing solution. To be pulling a 450 degree turn, means you would end up hitting another vessel in the battle line, at most they would do a 45 degree turn to a 90 degree to comb incoming torpedo's. Yes I know you're going to bring up the video game aspect, but the reality is, in a video games all players will be equal in aiming mouse and click left mouse button on leading a target when turning.

 

Also with the Type 98 system, yes, they did indicate bearing, speed, and many other factors. They didn't just use the Radar, they used it with the optics to input both sets and find the medium. The later war experimental radar had it been used would have allowed a direct radar input only. The S8A coupled with the Type 98 would have been on par with the Mark 1 FCS/Radar system in accuracy so long as the human operators didn't mess up inputting the right data.

 

Thinking the Japanese didn't think about bearing and speed is pretty stupid. Also, as a prior Recon Marine, just because you're fired a rifle doesn't mean you know much about long range artillery. You don't want pin point accuracy at those ranges, you want dispersion to straddle the target because when you're firing at something 30km out, you need to bracket a target and let them drift into the kill zone. Trying to get pin point accuracy at that time was impossible, and today we do such with fin stabilized weapons, even our modern M777 155mm guns have a decent dispersion of around 250m hence our wide danger close zone on them, especially with airburst rounds.

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Is there any place where you can find accurate data for dispersion patterns of various WW2 guns? I found quite a bit of them but it seems to be scattered all over the internet.

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WW2 FCS's did not indicate Windage for large caliber guns. The amount of variance due to windage in minimal unless we are talking about gale force crosswinds as the shear energy behind those shells and the cross section would require a lot of force to put them off. These aren't 5.56mm bullets that get drifted easily by 25mph winds.

 

Also, the as for that 1945 test, little to never would two battleships be pulling such maneuvers in a battleline while engaging one another. That test was to see in worst case scenario could the system maintain a firing solution. To be pulling a 450 degree turn, means you would end up hitting another vessel in the battle line, at most they would do a 45 degree turn to a 90 degree to comb incoming torpedo's. Yes I know you're going to bring up the video game aspect, but the reality is, in a video games all players will be equal in aiming mouse and click left mouse button on leading a target when turning.

 

Also with the Type 98 system, yes, they did indicate bearing, speed, and many other factors. They didn't just use the Radar, they used it with the optics to input both sets and find the medium. The later war experimental radar had it been used would have allowed a direct radar input only. The S8A coupled with the Type 98 would have been on par with the Mark 1 FCS/Radar system in accuracy so long as the human operators didn't mess up inputting the right data.

 

Thinking the Japanese didn't think about bearing and speed is pretty stupid. Also, as a prior Recon Marine, just because you're fired a rifle doesn't mean you know much about long range artillery. You don't want pin point accuracy at those ranges, you want dispersion to straddle the target because when you're firing at something 30km out, you need to bracket a target and let them drift into the kill zone. Trying to get pin point accuracy at that time was impossible, and today we do such with fin stabilized weapons, even our modern M777 155mm guns have a decent dispersion of around 250m hence our wide danger close zone on them, especially with airburst rounds.

 

Windage I say for a lack of better term in this regard, which is a common term for a horizontal adjustment or sight deflection in the horizontal (how much to lead in the horizontal), which if you were Marine or any type of shooter would have recognized in a heartbeat.

 

I suppose I was mistaken when I thought that 'the parity' being made was simply unintentional.

 

They are not comparable at all from reading your report and reading of how an automatic FCS works, thus comparing them in any way to be equal may ring a lot of bells.

 

I say nothing about pinpoint accuracy, argue nothing about pinpoint accuracy, maneuvers (though I did post an example of how an automatic FCS is very good at keeping track and keeping a solution in real time, because they were built for doing just that), straddle or competent knowledge thereof of artillery, which I would guess both of us has neither experience on the matter (so pardon me if I think that to be hilarious). Rather, my argument was the large amount errors being induced into a calculation when the Yamato's radar system is involved, which from I can gather, though it seems to be a respectable tool as a radar in 1945, was never meant to be used in such a way due to (most likely) the amount of errors induced when using an already outdated data when those guns finally fire, which I can attest to because using an outdated data in a dynamic world, much like my experience in the shooting world, typically leads to a high amount of misses if not all misses, which if you were a marine, I would have thought, to be easily understood. 

Edited by SnafuSnafu

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Alright, I'll break it down Barney style.

 

Main guns of a battleship have something called Dispersion. Generally speaking this is around 250m-700m wide. Meaning in that circle all shells fall into it's diameter.

 

The FCS calculates where to put this circle based on range, bearing, and speed of target including speed of current vessel and it's own bearing.

 

The FCO (Fire Control Officer) adjusts based on impacts to the target until it "Brackets" meaning shells fall over and under the target vessel. From this point they go to rapid partial salvos to attempt to have the shells drift on target.

 

The Radar could be off by as much as 50m to the target, but adjusting fall of shot after the first partial salvo could lead to a bracket quite fast. This was apparent all through out the war.

 

So to break it down for you better, the bearing range could be off as much as 1-2 degrees, but the Japanese always checked with Optics as well to attempt to make up for that bearing issue and usually managed a bracket by their second salvo. Battleships generally at 30km land 1 out of 30 shells in an engagement at that range due to the dispersion, hence why most nations still opted for 25km and below engagements where this usually went up to around 6 out of 30.

 

Also to correct you about something else, only a Civilian uses the term "Windage" for Sight Deflection or as we call it "Leading a moving target". Then again, since you never were on a battlefield and only sit on a range the two things you wouldn't have to think about. See, in Iraq, crosswinds across the sands near the areas I was at could kick up to 40mph, this means we had to adjust our M240G's for "Windage" when firing on targets at 800m even if they were stationary. We also would lead our targets that were on the move as any one was trained to do such.

 

So next time, be careful how you address a range issue with a Combat Marine, we are easily irritated by stupid questions and comments, especially when the user obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.

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My argument has nothing do, as I've made abundantly clear, about dispersion.  :dntknw:

Be irritated as much as you want, US Army Rangers for four years and another four years as a contractor; what's that to do anything? No idea, but you show me yours and I'll show you mine I suppose..

 

Windage is a fairly universal term in both the armed forces and the general shooting community.

 

At any rate, I can sense that you agree on matter anyways, whether you realize it or not, seeing as you have pointed out that in the end the Japanese used radar mostly as range finding tool (That is with the more accurate 22/4 in 1945) with the much simpler and faster LOS FCS as the primary means of fire control.

Edited by SnafuSnafu
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