World War II Navy Radio
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NOTE - This is a re-creation of Rob Flory's original site which crashed some time ago - unfortunately some photos are still missing but most of the text is here - if you can help with any replacement photos, please send e-mail to Rob or to Nick K4NYW

Click here for Nick's 1950's-60's Navy Radio Pages -

Navy Manuals and other Publications

Resources for World War II US Navy Radio

Navy Training Courses:

Instructions for Use in the Preparation for the Rating of:

      RADIOMAN 3c

      RADIOMAN 2c


Course in Eighteeen Assignments with Instructions for use in Qualifying in Typewriting. Necessary for any RM rating.

Introduction to Radio Equipment. NAVPERS 10172. This 1946 edition covers a lot of the WW2 equipment. TBK/TBM/TBL/TBS/TDE/TDQ/TBY transmitters and RAK/RAL/RAO/RBH/RBA/RBB/RBC/RBK/RCK receivers.

Other Training Material:

Transmitter Servicing, Course 503/4, Naval Training School(Radio Materiel), Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, May 1945.  Covers TAJ, TBK,  TBL, TDE, TBS

Mechanical Practice, Radio Materiel School, Naval Research Laboratory, Bellevue, D.C. US Government Printing Office, Washington 1943.  Great information on tool use and maintenance. 

Bureau of Ships publications:

Catalogue of Naval Radio Equipment.  NAVSHIPS 275.  The August 1944 edition is available in a professional copy from Robert Downs WA5CAB.  This book gives excellent descriptions of all the equipment used extensively in WWII, and some less so.  A must have.

List of Naval Radio, Radar, and Sonar Equipment.  NAVSHIPS 242A.  Also available from Robert Downs, this book gives contract dates for all the different versions of equipment, along with contractor, frequency range, transmitter power. 

RADAR Bulletin No. 6, CIC Manual, COMINCH P-013.  7 July 1945.  This manual outlines the form, function, and personnel for Combat Information Centers on combat ships.  There is a fair amount of radio information here.

Other texts:

History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy. Captain L. S. Howeth, USN(Ret.) US Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1963. This hard-to-find book is a detailed history from the beginnings of USN radio through World War II. It describes a lot of experimental work, infrastructure, political and industrial issues, equipment.

Evolution of Naval Radio-Electronics and Contributions of the Naval Research Laboratory. Louis Gebhard. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C. 19790


Resources for World War II US Navy, general

The Bluejacket's Manual. United States Naval Institute. This is the textbook for the "Bluejacket", an enlisted sailor. The best starting point for general US Navy information.

I have been working with 1940 and 1944 editions.

Naval Orientation. Navpers 16138-A This is the textbook for midshipmen of the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps (NROTC) and for officers of the Naval Reserve.

Other interesting World War II US Naval History:

Battleship Sailor, Ted Mason, Naval Institute Press 1982.  Mason was a Radioman on USS California and wrote about his experience up to the time that the California was sunk at Pearl Harbor.  His account gives a good look at what life in the "radio gang" was like.

The Golden Thirteen, Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers. Paul Stillwell, Ed. Berkley Books, New York 1993. This is the story of the group of men who made themselves and their country better by training to become, and serving as the US Navy's first black officers. Though restricted largely to yard and district duty, they served well during the war, which was the beginning of the end of the segregated Navy.

Aphrodite, Desperate Mission. Jack Olsen. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York 1970. The story of the mission to send radio-controlled war-weary bombers full of explosives after hard targets in France such as sub pens and V-bomb sites. Navy Lt Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. died in the process of sending one of the bombs on its way.

Can Do! The Story of the Seabees by William Bradford Huie Lt. j.g. USN.  Stratford Press 1944.  Although kind of a "Rah Rah" wartime piece, this is a great book about the men who built the facilities that took the fight to the enemy.  Some very interesting photos of landing methods developed by the Seabees.


At Dawn We Slept by Gordon Prange.  A detailed account of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the investigations that studied the reasons for our unprepared condition. 
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer, Bantam Books 2004.  The story of the engagement between Taffy 3, a task force of destroyers and escort carriers, and a superior Japanese force off the Philippine Island of Samar in October 1944.  With no other option but to attack, they did so, in a battle that made history.  This battle saw the first US vessel sunk by a kamikaze, and the first US carrier sunk by naval gunfire.  It also saw USS Johnston, a destroyer, go toe-to-toe with the Japanese cruiser Kumano, and come out ahead, only to fall to the remainder of the overwhelming Japanese force.  The aggressive fight that Taffy 3 took to the Japanese prevented them from interrupting the invasion at Leyte.
Proudly We Served,The Men of the USS Mason by Mary Pat Kelly, Naval Institute Press 1995.  The story, largely in the words of her crew, of the Destroyer Escort USS Mason DE 529.  This DE served escort duty on the North Atlantic and the stories paint a good picture of the battle against German U-boats on convoy duty.  The Mason was manned by a black crew and white officers and was one of only two combatant vessels on which black sailors served. 
Silent Victory, The US Submarine War Against Japan by Clay Blair, Jr. J. B. Lippincott 1975.  This two-volume work tells in detail the story of the pacific submarine fleet.  It is a "big picture" story, giving the strategy and short history of the patrols of the submarines and their officers.  Tactics are only covered lightly.

Other Interesting Naval Radio History
USS Liberty
On June 8, 1967, during the 6 Day war, Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty in international waters.  A number of the 34 men killed were Communications Technicians (CTs) killed when a torpedo struck the ship right at their position where they were collecting electronic intelligence (elint).  This story deserves more attention, as it has been swept under the rug due to politics.  I'll let their site tell the rest of the story:


1950's-60's Navy Radio Equipment and Operations

RCA Corporation
RCA was one of the prime contractors for radio and other electronic equipment for the US Navy during WWII.  I am biased, because my dad and my grandpa both worked for RCA laboratories, but I think that RCA made most of their best equipment. 
Click below to read about military equipment built by RCA: