September 1945 Radio-Craft
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
"Use it up, wear it out,
make it do, or do without" was more than just a clever slogan during World War II.
It was a way of life that extended to both civilian and military realms. While
civilians were being both encouraged and compelled to make the most of what
was available, military operations were scavenging, borrowing, begging, confiscating,
manufacturing, and cannibalizing. According to this 1945 article in Radio-Craft
magazine, France was an important center for not just resurrecting battle-damaged Handi-Talkies and other types of radios, but for taking salvageable components
out of unrepairable units. The bit about grinding special crystals for the French
underground radios is especially interesting.
Civilian-Military Service Station
French civilians "cannibalize" irreparable radios under
direction of American sergeant.
Handie-Talkie and receiver repairs.
The U.S. Army's policy of employing civilian personnel wherever possible
in its installations in France paid military dividends in the Signal Corps'
largest salvage, repair and spare parts depot in the European Theater.
One thousand French civilians were employed at the depot at its peak. In
December 1944 the depot carried in stock 20,000 spare parts items, totaling
225 tons. By March of this year those figures had increased to 50,000 weighing
During the first three months of this year the soldier and civilian workmen
completed 12,000 repair jobs despite the fact that an estimated nine out of
every ten items sent back from the front had been so badly shot up that they
were good for salvage of undamaged parts only.
At the same time and up to V-E day, the Army's best team of crystal manufacturers
were turning out 360 specially ground crystals a week. Activated last August,
this group was made up of top-flight specialists and technicians drawn from
the Signal Corps units throughout the Theater.
For example: The fifteen-man crystal team was the unit which made the special
frequency crystals used in the radios of the French resistance leaders. These
men were parachuted into France months before the invasion.
Reclaiming used communication wire.
Posted February 19, 2021
(updated from original post on 10/26/2014)