Sound Ranging Used to Record the Silencing of the Guns Ending WWI

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(Imperial War Museums)

Health Editor’s Note:  America could record enemy fire and use this to triangulate where to adjust their guns to fire upon the enemy, during WWI.  A portion of this graphic record, similar to the present seismic recordings, captured the sound/silencing of the guns which ended WWI…Amazing…..Carol

Listen to the Moment the Guns Fell Silent Ending World War I

by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com

The soundscape of the Great War must have been devastating: constant artillery bombardment, rifle shots, fighter planes buzzing overhead and the screams of soldiers encountering gas. But we don’t actually know quite what the World War I sounded like. Magnetic tape didn’t exist yet and recording technology was in its infancy, requiring sound to be mechanically produced using a needle and soft wax or metal. Taking such machines into the field was not practical.

Still, there were people on the front recording. Special units used a technique called “sound ranging” to try and determine where enemy gunfire was coming from. To do so, technicians set up strings of microphones—actually barrels of oil dug into the ground—a certain distance apart, then used a piece of photographic film to visually record noise intensity. The effect is similar to the way a seismometer records an earthquake. Using that data and the time between when a shot was fired and when it hit, they could then triangulate where enemy artillery was located—and adjust their own guns accordingly.

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