Military Collector Group Post

Backmail #58

(15 pages) Index: KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? And Dating Radio Equipment; Part I, By Dennis Starks DATING EQUIPMENT; Input From Tom Norris, & Pete McCollum. KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? And Dating Radio Equipment; Part II, By Dennis Starks MEMBERS WRITE; GRC-9 IN THE KOREAN WAR; BOOK REPORT; White Tigers, My Secret War in North Korea, (GRC-9 in Partisan Hands) MEMBERS WRITE; GRC-9 in North Vietnam, *********************************************** KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? And Dating Radio Equipment; Part I, By Dennis Starks Forward, Most depressing is the fact that the Korean War period is the most historically neglected time in our recent history, especially as it applies to radio, and communications. We know almost nothing of the radio equipment used during this conflict except for the fact that most of it was of WW-II origin. We've all seen it many times, it goes something like this, "FOR SALE: RT-68 Korean War vintage transceiver $45.00", but is it a Korean War vintage set? Or a PRC-6, 8, 9, or 10, how about a GRC-9, RT-66, 67, 68, 70? Usually not. Only two of the radios listed here could possibly have been in service in time to participate in the Korean War, and one of those, wouldn't have had anything compatible in the field to talk to. Dating Equipment, When no other historical documentation is available, we can use several things to try and estimate the vintage of equipment. The first, and most commonly looked for, is the order date present on the data plate of most items. But this is just that, an ORDER date, the radio's actual delivery into using hands can lag this date by as much as one year. And many times, especially with Air Force and Navy equipment, this order date might be in the form of a contract number, which we often can't extract a date from. Even when we do have a legible order date, we may not know if this was an early contract, or one that came many years after the radio was first adopted. The second, most common, and sometimes all we have, date will be present in the applicable equipments manuals. Nearly all of these will have a printing or acceptance date. And if we're lucky, mention of any material it supersedes along with it's date. But several things contribute to the inaccuracy of these dates. In the case of any government printed manual, is the fact that a Preliminary manual, printed by the original contractor, or developing agency will almost always exist. The government manual, may, or may not indicate the existence of this earlier manual. So any government manual will lag the entrance of it's associated equipment by at least one year. And if this manual is a re-print, or later version, and does not reflect this in it's opening pages, we can be further deceived. To conclude, the Preliminary manuals printed by the original manufacturer is a more accurate measure of early time period. A sad reality is that collectors, when seeking out manuals for their equipment, often prefer to have the absolute latest versions. Often neglecting or discarding the early government, and preliminary manuals which would have provided us with a far better understanding of the radio. The most accurate means of Dating by far can be found contained in the equipment's MFP stamp, if it has one. The anti-fungus treatment would have been applied either immediately before it's deployment, or just after, and possibly several more times during it's life. Each time this treatment is applied, the radio or other items of electronic equipment, would normally have been stamped in ink with the month and year. But all this, again, only when we're lucky. The worst way of determining a date, is by looking in the various equipment list of the time. I/E the TM11-487 series, SIG-3, 5, FM24 series, etc. As we all know, the information contained in these was very often obsolete before these publications were printed, and long discarded equipment was still listed many years after it's disappearance. The 1950 edition of TM11-487 list none of the radios commonly referred to as Korean War vintage. Hmmm! Another bad method is to compare the AN number, and it's order, with one of another radio of known vintage. For instance, the PRC-5 was in use during WW-II, the PRC-6 wouldn't come along till about 1950, the PRC-8,9,10 not until 1951 at the earliest, and the PRC-7 about 1956. Did you note that the numbers went forwards, then backwards? Then theres the best references of all, the vintage publications, and official annals. Like vintage magazines articles, The CMH series "The Signal Corps", or "Test for Technology" etc. But for the Korean War period, we very sadly, don't have any! So, keeping all the above in mind, let's look at a few examples. The PRC-6, This is one of the very few radios commonly referred to as Korean War vintage that could have conceivably been used then, and there. Development of the radio began during WW-II, with early prototypes being completed before the wars end. But these prototypes were nothing like the familiar radio we know today. The RT unit was housed in one cabinet, and the batteries in another, at least two more variants would be developed before 1949, and the introduction of the radio we all know. The earliest known manual for the PRC-6 was the preliminary manual printed by Ratheon in 1949. This would most likely be the earliest date a PRC-6 could have been in the field. But what could it talk to? Only another PRC-6, as there wasn't yet any other compatible radios available. If the PRC-6 did see any service in Korea, it was most likely only in a simi-experimental capacity. This because even though it was introduced in 1949, it would have taken a couple years for sufficient quantities to be fielded, and the Korean war only lasted three years. An example of this can be seen in the PRC-25, though the radio was adopted in 1962, it would not be until 1965 that any significant quantities saw service. Some additional dates for the PRC-6 include: Contract dates, 1951(Emerson). 1952(Emerson, Ratheon, Sentinal, at $185.93). 1955(CBS-Columbia, at $104.50). Manuals, Ratheon Preliminary 1949. TM11-296, Oct 1951, C-1 Nov 1951, C-2 Jan 1953, C-4 1954. TM11-206 Sept 1955. TM11-4069 June 1952, C-1 Aug 1953. TM11-4069 Sept 1955. In the next installment of this series, we will further discuss some of the other radios that may have, could have, did, or didn't contribute to the ceasing of hostilities in the Korean War. And examine their dates, and earliest origins. In the mean time, any input you might have is always welcome. Dennis Starks; MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN Referances: TM11-487A,1958,MIL-HDBK-161,Military Handbook Electronic Communication Equipment. SIG 3,Oct 1953,List of Current Issue Items. ECOM 4451,Nov 1976,History of the Squad Radio. ( the last two available from W7FG Vintage Manuals) Related Topics: MILITARY COLLECTOR GROUP POST Backmail #29, The RT-70,more than just a Tank Radio! by Dennis Starks AN Type Numbers Versas RT Type Numbers, & Some URC Questions. By Dennis Starks *********************************************** DATING EQUIPMENT; Input From Tom Norris, & Pete McCollum. Hi Dennis, Some other thoughts on dating equipment: I was recently looking for ways to date the RS-1, and I hit upon this: The 1L6 tube used in the RR-2 receiver was not introduced until April 1949, so that makes 1950 seem like a possible first-year for the RR-2. Along the same lines: the 2E26 was March 1946, and the 0B2 was May 1945. Another similar approach I have taken is to examine the components in some actual units - some parts have date codes. Example: I have an 'unused' RT-3, serial #6487, with tubes dated early 1964. Since the unit is unused, I'm assuming that the tubes are original. Since 6487 seems to be one of the highest numbers seen, I'm assuming that production of the RT-3 may have stopped in the 1964/1965 time frame. I have an early-production RT-3, but the tubes are clearly replacements. In the RS-1 series equipment, the tubes seem to be the *only* parts that are dated. I didn't find date codes on any other part. Meanwhile, the GRC-109 stuff has other dated parts (such as the large caps in the P.S.) - I assume that the Army didn't feel the need to sanitize the parts, and they were putting 'standard info' on the ID plate anyway. PP-2685 #88 has caps dated 1961. The tube-dating info comes from Ludwell Sibley's book "Tube Lore". In addition to mentioning the introduction date of many tubes, he also gives some info on how to interpret the date code markings. Pete ed) Thats some fine input for generalizing dates, especialy if nothing at all is known, and this is often the case. But who knows how long some parts sat on shelves either in the supplier or manufacturer's wharehouse? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > The worst way of determining a date, is by looking in the various >equipment list of the time. I/E the TM11-487 series, SIG-3, 5, FM24 >series, etc. As we all know, the information contained in these was very >often obsolete before these publications were printed, and long discarded >equipment was still listed many years after it's disappearance. Case in point -- the current ( 1994?) FM 24-24 still lists the GRC-109, the GRC-106 the PRC-25 and the PRC-47. ( I think I have seen the -106 in use by TN NG units recently ) Go back a few years to 83 and you still get the GRC-19, the GRC-9 and the ARN-30. The 1977 issue lists the PRC-64, FRC-93, GRC-41/GRC-26/MRR-8/MRT-9, the ARC-45, ARC-60, and 618T. In the early 80's some NG units were still using the GRC-19 and -46 sets that I know of. So perhaps the units were still listed for reference for those personnel assigned to "backwater" units still using older gear. Dunno. Heck some units in the Tennessee ANG still use VRC-12 sets in many of their vehicles, though they are being replaced by SINCGARS sets such as the VRC-89. I think they have had the PRC-119 manpack SINCGARS set for a while though they still have many PRC-77's in use. Interestingly, the PRC-77 was still being made by NAPCO and B&W as late as 94 or so Speaking of SINCGARS, what is the designation for the "newer" of the family, it is a radio about the size of the PRC-128. Just my 2 cents. Tom Norris ed) Many of the radios you list, at time frame/publication, were still either in use, or stocked up in major quantities as part of our strategic reserve. Congress, around 1985 mandated that the military get rid of a bunch of the junk they'd been hording since the 50's. This resulted in several batches of PRC-8,9,10's, some T-195/R-392s, and the first batch of GRC-109 stuff(all transmitters). But I beleive these were really just some token efforts to show good faith. Real quantities wouldn't be liquidated for another couple years. And some radios have yet to see any large scale disposal(like the PRC-25/77, 64 etc). Some justification of this practice might be seen in examples that manifest themselves during Desert Storm, where sufficient quantities of VRC-12s couldn't be had, so orders of new equipment were procured from Israel. Also problems with HF equipment, and conditions, pressed into service older generation equipment. In 1980 when I was separated from service, I was still using as mainstay equipment, such things as the FRC-93(Collins KWM-2A), PRC-25, 41, VRC-12, some real shit radios like the URC-9, SRC-20, 21, and some R-390s were still in use(I never saw a PRC-77!). I don't think the PRC-77 will disappear for many years to come, at last count, it was in use by at least 40 different countries, and versions were being manufactured in about 12. There are still many National Guard units that still have a PRC-25 or two stuffed away in a closet. I know this for sure, two years ago I got a frantic call from a Kansas National Guard NCO, he had been charged with inventory, and was astatic that they didn't have their total count of batteries for their PRC-25, or DR-8 wire spools for their TA-312, I sent him a box of dead batteries, and a couple spools, for which the ass hole never bothered to pay the postage. Large scale DRMO dumping began for the following, GRC-109/RS-1, first lots around 1984, the last 1994 KWM-2A, 1990(Tucker had them for $250.00) PRT-4/PRR-9, 1989 GRC-106, Summer 1996, and then only the RTTY stations(GRC-122/142), this because TTY had been repaced by packet. 1997 began the large scale dumping of all versions, which is not over with yet(but we're lucky to see any that haven't been modifiad with a dozer). URC-32(KWT-6), 1985 618T, 1985 PRC-47, 1989(Tartan was selling them for $65.00, including shipping) PRC-90, about 1992 PRC-77, VRC-12, dumping began early last year, with nearly all examples being torched. Regard the current PRC-128 sized SINCGARS radio, your guess is as good as mine. Motorola, Harris, and Magnavox all have entries in the field, I don't know if any one has been chosen. The PRC-119 is by all user accounts an over complicated peisa shit! *********************************************** KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? And Dating Radio Equipment; Part II, By Dennis Starks In the first part of this series, and in a following article, we discussed some of the methods we can use to try and estimate the vintage of our equipment. The PRC-6 was the first example, concluding, that while it is conceivable that it could have participated in the Korean War, it would have had nothing to talk to. What about the PRC-10 you say? Sadly, unlike the PRC-6, history has left us little information about the development or early history of these radios, so we must read between the lines to learn anything about them. With the PRC-8,9, & 10, we have manual dates listed in TM11-5820-292-10(September 61) that supersedes TM11--612 of Dec.54, Dec.55(C-1), Sep.56(C-2), Dec.57(C-3), Mar.59(C-4), Sep 61(C-5), all well after the war. It would seem that it took quite a few tries to get this manual complete! Another manual(TM11-612, Dec.54 itself) list the contradicting dates of Sept.51 for the earliest printing. With C-1 at 1953, and C-2 at 1954. Hmmm, none of these dates jive with those dates listed in the other text? So if we use the logic learned in part one, the earliest manual printing date of 1951, would be preceded by a preliminary manual printed by the original contractor which would push the possible date back to 1950. Buttt! Could this early date listed for the TM11-612 have indeed been that preliminary manual? While it is true that contractor preliminary manuals never had a TM number designation, it is common to find them with a TM number either rubber stamped or hand written on their covers. But this is not conclusive, and as we have no example of this early text, lets look elsewhere for the answer. Ref.#1 dated Oct.1953, is the first document of it's type to list the PRC-10 family of equipment. While it is true that reference material of this ilk is the poorest for use in dating equipment, our purpose here is to look at the description of the radio sets. The power is listed as being supplied by "battery dry, or VEHICULAR", this will be significant as you read on. It is curious that pictures of the PRC-8, 9, and 10 presented in this reference are all of different versions of their prototype radios. Inter the AM-598! It is possible, and often, true that accessory items for any particular radio set, might have been designed, or introduced well after that of it's parent system, or even meant to replace a completely different earlier type. An example can be seen in the vehicular power supplies for the BC-1306, and the GRC-9, I/E the PE-237, and DY-88, both being completely different, and the DY-88 entering the field much later. On the other hand, ancillary items might have been jointly developed right along side it's companion system. This would seem to be the case with the AM-598, and the PRC-10 family, as can be seen via Ref.#1. While Ref.#1 does list the AM-598, it does not mention any relationship between it, and the PRC-10. Hmmm? I bring up the AM-598 here because we have for it, what we don't have for the PRC-10, a preliminary manual! Printed by RCA in September of 1953, in it's introduction it has the note,"this instruction book will be replaced by TM11-5055 when published". This would tend to confirm the dates listed in TM11-5820-292-10 with the earliest of 1954. Remember, we know that the standard military printed manual might lag the preliminary by about one year, so this fits perfectly. Even if we go by the 1951 date, we know this lags the PRC-6 by two years, and has been pointed out, the possibility of the PRC-6's participation in the Korean War is very remote. Other significant dates: contracts, range from 1952-1955, with cost of $218.18 (Western Electric, 1955, PRC-8) to $592.78,(RCA, 1952, PRC-9). Other contractors included Motorola, Admiral, and Utility Electronics Corp. Note, that while a contract date exist for 1952, we know that it would have taken a year for this order to be filled, which still coincides with our 1953 guesstimate. The next radios to be investigated will be the RT-70, and GRC-9, you might be surprised, or at least thoroughly confused. If you have any input on this, or the future subjects, please lets use know. Dennis Starks; MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN Ref.#1) SIG 3,Oct 1953,List of Current Issue Items. *********************************************** MEMBERS WRITE; Your series on figuring out service dates for radios is really interesting. I always just assumed that my "Korean-vintage" radios were introduced before/during the Korean war. I'll keep an eye out and let you know if any of my manuals are earlier than the dates you quote; I haven't found any older ones so far. BTW, is backmail #29 still available? The articles on the RT-70 sound like they might be interesting. -- Mark J. Blair KE6MYK e-mail: Dennis: I have a preliminary PRC 6 manual by Raytheon under order No. 3106- Phila.-51, dated 30 June, 1951.Addenda sheet inside dated 31 October 1951.Note on page 1 says ".....will be replaced by TM 11-296... when published" This seems to agree with what you've been saying. 73's, Dave Sundheimer W0NBZ Dennis, don't know whether this is of use of not. I have a copy of Signal Communication in Infantry and Airborne Infantry Combat Teams (1 December 1950) a training publication which lists the PRC-10 as well as PRC-6, etc.Its foreword indicates that it is intended to 'portray the use of equipment employed at the end of Word War II and replacement equipment authorized by current tables of organization and equipment. It contains various communcation configurations with both WWII gear and the later replacements. 73 Joseph W Pinner Lafayette, LA KC5IJD EMail: Ed) Dave, your Raytheon must have been a second printing, with the first being in 1949. This would be the first I've ever known of a second printing of a preliminary manual, but not at all unreasonable. Joe, your manual is an interesting one, and I'd like to barrow it some time. Hi Dennis; Nice job on the Korean War radio dating. I learned a few things. Does the same hold true for the R/T-66 to 68 series of radios? it seems like I have a few manuals from that group dated 1951. Hope I'm not jumping the gun on the next installment. Thanks for the address for W7FG, I sent the list to him to see if he wants them. Kevin Hough KG0QE Farmington, MN. ed) The RT-68 family will fall in closely with the RT-70, so I won't single them out. In fact the only two radios to be included in the series will be the RT-70, and the GRC-9. This because they represent two opposite ends of the controversy. *********************************************** GRC-9 IN THE KOREAN WAR; Dennis, The GRC-9 project is coming along. I will have something to report in two or three weeks. Meanwhile, anybody interested in the GRC-9 might want to take a look at this website: It has a 1951 plan for partisan operations in Korea. The communications equipment is listed. Looks like they had an SCR-399 for the base station and they issued GRC-9 sets to the partisan teams. This seems to establish that the GRC-9 was used in clandestine operations, or at least was part of the planning for those operations. I copied the part of the website that is about the commo gear and will include it below. Regards, Bill Strangfeld ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Plan ABLE Prepared by Miscellaneous Division, G3, Eighth Army William A. Burke, Major, Armor, S-3 23 January, 1951 Organization and plan for partisan operations in Korea (Plan ABLE) 1. Mission: To establish in Korea, the cadre of partisan organizations that will perform covert-type missions of sabotage and intelligence, and be capable in organization and training so that, when supplied on a large scale, it may be expanded into large forces that can be employed in conjunction with a major effort of UN forces. Communications: US operators will operated a high-powered radio station for communications to central headquarters and other stations as discussed herein. They will be responsible for conducting maintenance on all US radio sets used in the operation , as well as training key personnel in the partisan cadre in the operation and maintenance of radio sets used in carrying out their missions. The ROK Marines will operate a high-powered station, which is discussed under "Base communication nets" below. Communications with partisan leaders (base to Gun). a. Two plans for the establishment of direct communications with the partisan leaders(cadre) are available. The adoption of either depends on distance involved, terrain, and seasonal weather conditions. The success of the operations depends on adequate communications; therefore when one plane is unworkable owing to conditions described above, or mechanical failure, the other plan may be put into operation with a minimum of effort. In either plan, a system of pre-arranged visual signals will be available. b. Plan "one": The partisan leaders are equipped with radios which will net with the high-powered radio on the base. By using US operators on the sets (which will be located with the leaders in the Gun) adequate communications will be established under most adverse conditions. c. Plan "two": The partisan leaders are equipped with low-powered radio sets on which they receive training and are capable of operating. A similar set will be available on the base for establishment of direct communications. 8. Table Of Equipment For Operation Of Base The equipment listed below is not included in the original table of allowances for the Attrition Warfare Section. It is felt that this equipment will become standard for all bases. Signal Corps a. One ea, SCR-399 b. Two ea, receivers BC-342 c. One ea, PE-95 d. Two ea, PE-75 e. Five ea, SCR-300 f. Four ea, SCR AN/GRC-9 g. Five ea, telephones EE-8 h. Five ea, wire W110 on DR-5 i. Fifteen ea, battery BA-70 j. Fifty ea, battery BA-30 k. Ten ea, flashlight l. One ea, panel set, AP30C m. One ea, panel set, AP30D ed) I have suspected for some time that the GRC-9 had entered service shortly after WW-II and at least by the time that the Korean War began. And as such might have been one of the few radios often referred to as "Korean War Vintage" that actually could have seen service in that conflict. This suspection was founded on training manuals apparently printed just after WW-II which included the GRC-9 but omitted it's immediate predecessor, the BC-1306/SCR-694 yet still include most other radios of WW-II vintage, but none of the other post war types. This was compounded by the physical evidence of two known examples the GRC-9 having order dates of 1949. With the further evidence of the above material it would seem to me that we can all from now on say with total confidence that the GRC-9 is indeed a "Korean War Vintage" radio, and veteran of two major conflicts(not to mention several minor ones). Isn't it a shame that history prefers to concentrate on the exploits of men and equipment during WW-II and has neglected this period so shamefully. This to the point that we must gather all these clues in an attempt to re-construct it. After WW-II the Center of Military History commissioned a very large and comprehensive series of books to be written and published concerning every aspect of the war, it's every campaign, leaders, support etc. It is this same series of books that our bible of communications, and equipment are a part, "The Signal Corps". After the Vietnam War, in an attempt to make some sense of this protracted conflict, a similar action was taken which produced another series sub titled "The U.S Army in Vietnam" and included among others our bible for this period "Test For Technology". But of the Korean War, we have nothing! We now have the GRC-9 as an icon, for a reminder, of the men who served in the Korean War with no less valor than in any other, but with far less the recognition. Isn't that the primary reason for our obsession with this equipment? The history it represent, and reminds us of? It sure's hell is mine! "Less We Forget" Dennis Starks; MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN *********************************************** BOOK REPORT; White Tigers, My Secret War in North Korea, (GRC-9 in Partisan Hands) As most of you know, for many years I've been trying to document the actual use, or non-use of all our military treasures. As you also know(because I've bitched about it many times) that the Korean War era has been the most difficult period to document due to it's general lack of historic interest in the eyes of the world. In this light, and in the hopes of finding even the slightest of clues, I'm always purchasing/reading some obscure books, not really radio or communications oriented, in the hopes of finding that one liner(or two) that might make all the clues come together. Or sometimes just lend support to simple justified suspicions. Such has been the case with titles like "Tan Phu, Special Forces Team A-23 In Combat"(the GRC-109 & others), and "Cloak and Dagger, the Secret Story of the OSS"(the RBZ), to name just a couple examples. Considering the above, a couple months ago I went on a book buying spree that included the title which is the subject of this report, "White Tigers, My Secret War in North Korea" by Col. Ben S. Malcom USA(Ret.) printed by Brassel's Washington/London and available from "The Scholars Book Shelf". In his account, the author relates his experiences when a young 1st Lieutenant assigned as an adviser to fledgling North Korean Partisan/Guerrilla units operating 125 miles behinds enemy lines. With extremely limited official suport, and before the days of an originized Special Forces which first came to fame in the early days of Vietnam. Activities that remained so classified as to prevent him from being awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for 12 years. And while he was awarded the Silver Star in due coarse, the circumstances of which were officially moved off the mainland and hundreds of miles from the actual action that warranted it. While I'm tempted to relate all the types of operations, their methods, and the troubles they encountered. It's of course impossible to do so here. So I will restrict myself to the following quotes from the book which specifically mention radios, and or communications. Partisan companies of varying strength of about 500 men were assigned designations of "Donkey-*". As of March 1952 there were 10 of these U.S. supported Donkey units comprising approximately 3500 men conducting operations controled from an island 125 miles north of the 38th parallel. Only a few thousand yards off the West Coast of North Korea, this Island was called "Leopard Base". The Author attempting to relate the possible origin of the official "Donkey" designation(in particular Donkey-4, the White Tigers) relates the following: "My own theory, and the one subscribed to by many others, is that the name derived from a particular radio used by the partisans, the AN/GRC-9, known as the 'Angry Nine'. The AN/GRC-9 had a generator on a tripod that someone mounted and cranked with their feet to provide power. The man working the generator looked like he was riding a donkey. Whenever I saw the Koreans set up one of these radios there would be much laughter and braying to indicate that the 'Donkey' was being prepared for work." The primary mission of these Donkey units was to harras enemy positions and supply lines, collect intelligence, rescueing downed Allied pilots, and several other less socialy acceptable chores. At the top of the U.S Army's interest was intelligence gathering, at which these units were most adept. "Early operations for Donkey units were virtual suicide missions. They were given only two or three weeks of training with weapons, explosives, and radios, and then were sent to the mainland in small groups." In a exercise to train these partisan units, and prove their ability to operate as a Light Infantry Brigade. The author orchestrated a raid on the mainland against an extensive bunker complex, and heavy gun emplacement, which would include the use of the GRC-9, and SCR-300. As none of their communications equipment were compatible with those aboard either the British gun boat providing naval gun fire, nor the three Carrier based U.S. Marine Corsairs that would be providing air support, a un-named British set was loaned by this ship for fire control. This same ship would in-turn relay messages to the Marine Corsairs. From the brief use outlined by the author, this radio might have been a WS-48(an AM/HF back-pack radio operable between 6 and 9mc). Included among the officially disclosed captured equipment from this raid was,"one Russian type radio". We can only imagine what this was. "Partisan units sent to the mainland usually took two types of radios. One was the SCR-300, a small, battery-operated unit easily carried by troops on the move. The other was the AN/GRC-9, the 'Angry Nine', which was carried in deep and set up in remote areas to serve as a relay station between units or individual agents and Leopard Base..The Leopard Base Partisans realized the value of their radios and guarding them with their lives. The radios were their most prized possessions and were treated as such. They would do almost anything to get one of their radios back if they lost it. They considered the loss of a radio more serious than loss of a man. Although interior units were continually on the move, they were careful to protect their radios. We lost very few radios and I don't recall a single case where we had a problem with false transmissions from a captured radio. The airborne operation of the 8240th Army unit and CIA behind-the-lines operations had frequent problems with captured radios and false radio transmissions." "The messages we received from units and agents on the mainland were by voice, usually relayed through one or two AN/GRC-9 operators inside North Korea." "The messages were received in the radio shack", a mud building with tin roof approx 20ft x 8ft. "Running the length of the back wall was a wooden table that held ten AN/GRC-9 transceivers hooked to a common generator outside. Depending on the pace of operations, at least three radios were monitored at all times. On busy days all ten were monitored." I have long held that the GRC-9 entered service immediately after WW-II and that at lease prototypes had been completed before the wars end. This belief was based on a number of clues which included early printed material, and physical examples of equipment with order dates as early as 1946. The later discovered by Bill Strangfeld in the small lot of radios he acquired for us as part of a recent Group Project(until then 1949 had been the earliest known example). While it is entirely possible, and common, that the author has confused the GRC-9 with the BC-1306(SCR-694) which looks very similar, and was considered in the eyes of it's user as interchangeable. We have in this case the collaborating evidence as can be found in our Backmail files. Until this time, that previously known data could have been speculative on a 'proposed' unit's table of allowance(TOE). I think we can now with all confidence say, the GRC-9 is indeed a distinguished veteran of not only a number of others conflicts and unit actions, but indeed deserves the title of 'Korean War Vintage' (unlike most radios so named). We not only see that it was used in it's intended role for use by Special Forces, Airborne, and Mountain troops. But we also see it being used as a clandestine radio in the hands of untrained/unskilled peasant "agents", in voice mode. A role traditionally reserved for CW. Perhaps now we can understand why the AM mode was included on such radio sets as the Delco 5300, PRC-64. Dennis Starks; Collector/Historian Midwest Military Communications Museum email: *********************************************** MEMBERS WRITE; GRC-9 In Partisan Hands, Dennis, the book quotes on KW(MCGP Feb.15/99) employment of GRC-9 were extremely interesting. I was also not aware of such guerilla operations - on our part anyway. I heard some reports that NK often infiltrated with refugees - in at least one case i heard of, a tank column machine gunned all the refugees on the road, not being able to sort out the NK. Not apparently the only incident of this kind, but i don't have any interest in investigating that further. It's interesting the NK never bombed / attacked the island. Wonder how large that island is, since the radio control operations seemed to be quite a big deal. Also interesting the use of voice. Also very interesting the use of GRC-9 as comms receiver for monitoring. Reminds me of a USMC official Navy photo from Okinawa, showing TBXs being used as monitor receivers in a comm station, next to bigger gear with comm receivers and tty. hue ed) Island strong holds were bombed by the North Koreans, more than once. The Gun/bunker than the author received the silver star for destroying was within range of one island of these islands. They were also assaulted with infantry, but mines, and well place heavy machine guns made these attempts in vain. Island size depended on units stationed there and their purpose. One Island had a Marine guard and Airfoce contingent(for radar site), several SCR-299 commo sheds, and one CIA guy, all still 125 mi behind lines. Many other smaller islands had only native partisans. All these islands under normal circumstances were uninhabitable. These islands were used to stage raids on the mainland from. Use of voice makes sence in the hands of primitive agents who otherwise may have never had any contact with radio, and had only a few days of training. In this light we better understand why the voice mode was included in other known clandestine radios. The use of a number of GRC-9's in their commo shed makes a lot of sence, as they were also used for normal comms. Also a means of netting the receivers to preset freqs would have been a nice feature using the trans to spot them(receivers weren't calibrated for shit). *********************************************** MEMBERS WRITE; GRC-9 in North Vietnam, Dennis, There is a photo of what looks like a GRC-9 on page 93 of this book: Secret Army, Secret War, by Sedgwick Tourison. It was published by the Naval Institute Press in 1995. It's mostly about Vietnamese agents who were sent into North Viet Nam in the early 1960s. There isn't much technical information in the book, unfortunately. However, it does support the notion that the GRC-9 was used as a clandestine set. Regards, Bill Strangfeld ed) The GRC-9, and BC-1306(along with BC-611's, & BC-1000's) were among the very first radios to be supplied to the South Vietnamese government, and the French before them. The GRC-9 was still in their use at the end of the war. In the below book, the GRC-9 is described as the mainstay radio in use by the Vietnamese contingent of that camp, while the Special Forces radio in use was the GRC-109. I think that had I been in their place, I'd have rather had the GRC-9. [Tan Phu, Special Forces Team A-23 In Combat, By Leigh Wade] While I have no doubt the radio was used in the capacity you've described, as it was in North Korea, I think to call it a "clandestine set" would be stretching the envelope a little. Maybe a more accurate term would be "Insurgent's radio". In any case, and while the GRC-9 was, and is, much beloved by all who have ever come into contact with it, I think that until now, it's historic contributions, and the men who used them, had been for the most part ignored. *********************************************** (The preceding was a product of the"Military Collector Group Post", an international email magazine dedicated to the preservation of history and the equipment that made it. Unlimited circulation of this material is authorized so long as the proper credits to the original authors, and publisher are included. For more information conserning this group contact Dennis Starks at, ***********************************************

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