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Nissen, Jack and A.W. Cockerill.

Toronto, Macmillan, 1987. 224pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-7715-9510-7. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Alfred L.F.

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

On June 6, 1944, the Allies invaded France. Describing this event in The Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan stated, "Strangely the guns of the Atlantic Wall were silent. Troops saw the coastline ahead in the predawn light and wondered about the absence of enemy fire." The well-kept secret: an electronic curtain laid down by the radar boys blinded the enemy equipment.

In Winning the Radar War, Jack Nissen, with A.W. Cockerill, tells how electronic discoveries made some years before the war, and their enhancements, helped the Battle of Britain pilots, gave eyes to aviators flying at night, allowed sailors to locate their targets through smoke and fog, and revolutionized the science of navigation. The measures that produced the means to pierce the enemy defences also spawned the counter-measures that blinded them.

The "radar war," in which Jack Nissen played an important role, was fought from towers and aerials with wavelengths and aluminum foil. Jack, however, was one of the scientists who became involved in the shooting war, and with a vengeance. With a mission to find out as much as possible about a German radar station, he took part in the Canadian raid on Dieppe. A unit of the South Saskatchewan Rifles escorted him to make sure that, with his encyclopedic knowledge, he not be taken prisoner. Jack and one member of his escort returned.

After the war Jack started an electronics factory and school. He came to Canada in 1967 and has owned a factory making science-related exhibits for clients world-wide. A.W. Cockerill served with the Corps of Royal Engineers. He has travelled and written extensively, and operates his own company in Canada specializing in technical writing for government and corporate clients.

Winning the Radar War, with eight pages of photos and an index, is welcome and fills a gap in the library of books on World War II. A good read.

Alfred L.F., Greenwood, Victoria, B.C.
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