The convergence of optical, magnetic and radar countermeasures at the NRL
J - Let's see if I can catalogue the main series of problems that converge in project RAINBOW. I'll count them, and you can correct me. One, to make a ship magnetically invisible to magnetic fuses on mines or torpedoes, by canceling its residual magnetism with some form of nuclear magnetic resonance developed from degaussing. Two, to create a false magnetic image of a ship, a 'double', that would permit harmless detonation of these mines and fuses. Three, to bend the radio-controlled beams of gliding bombs and flying bombs, I presume with strong magnetic and electric fields?
W - Uh-huh --
J - Four, to replace guidance beam echoes - and radar beam bounce - with false ones, that would give off a false electromagnetic image of the target. Fifth, to make a ship - or airplane, you said - optically invisible, on gun sights, etc, by using very strong electromagnetic fields to bend the spacetime curvature...
W - Yes, but you see - if intense fields altered local gravity, you also got a bonus: they would also alter magnetic and electromagnetic signal detection. The attraction of the UFT was that one could have it all, all the countermeasures in one - and that was the optimistic rationale of RAINBOW.
J - At which point did the various 'roots' meld - where did the impetus come from for such a comprehensive undertaking?
W - I recall that it was on word from Einstein, that Neumann went to Navy Commander [L.] Strauss, personal assistant to the Navy Under-Secretary [J. Forrestal] and told him about all the military possibilities of an experiment combining degaussing with induced nuclear magnetic resonance of a target ship. Understanding gravity, magnetism, optics and radar - and proving the general theory - were bonuses of a possible new military arsenal of electromagnetic countermeasures. One might be able to eradicate the residual magnetization of a ship and make the ship appear to be where it wasn't. One would fool magnetic mines and torpedoes, and might even fool optical sighting in gun mechanisms or do one better and foil radar. One might be able to make the ship invisible, with sufficient curvature near the line of horizon, and so on.
J - The eyes of the brass must have rolled out of their sockets!
W - Yes, the idea of bending light or radar beams really struck their imagination.
J - But if it weren't for Neumann himself and his Einstein reference, they would never have bothered!
W - You're forgetting Taylor and Gunn! Plus just how bad it was in '42-'43. One thing was losing Bowen to Bush, but when it came to doing the 'right thing' when the war appeared to be lost, you would be hard put to find a more determined bunch of Navy civilians!
J - So, all the pressures combined made the Navy more prone to accepting off-the- wall propositions?
W - Yes, if backed up by established authorities. Neumann was, at the time, employed by the NBO and he had tremendous pull and charisma. He was a real organizer and figured that Van [V. Bush] owed him a couple. The NRL had let radar and the nuclear fission projects go to the OSDR, so the OSDR now had to let the NRL take this one over. With Einstein and Neumann on their side, it was the turn of Harvard and MIT, along with Rad Lab, to make a few contributions in return.
J - Hence Purcell and Bitter?
W - Yes. Gunn was already a member of Bush's OSRD, and its superstructure - the National Defense and Research Committee [NDRC], where he battled for the independence of the NRL.
J - Was Professor Allen part of it?
W - Yes, [C.M.] Allen of the Worcester Polytechnic, and [Dr. R.H.] Kent...
J - In The Philadelphia Experiment, William Moore alludes to most of these people...
W - Yes, he and co-author [C.] Berlitz - they don't mention Purcell's involvement, though, nor --
J - ...and they come up with two main characters, a "W.W. Albrecht" and a "Dr. Franklin Reno". No one has ever been able to determine who these characters were, or if they ever existed. Was Moore telling the truth about their existence - even to Berlitz or to [S.] Friedman?
W - Well, Moore bent the truth a little...
J - Everybody does...
W - Uh-huh, but what I mean is that all the relativity computations and so on, particularly for the models of the unified field, were mostly done by Gunn and Hulburt. Gunn published seminal papers on astrophysics, on the anomalous rotation of the Sun, on the rotating earth as source of terrestrial electricity and magnetism - the earth as dynamo...
J - But Gunn was the technical boss?
W - Yes, the effective director during Keuren's tenure --
J - So 'Albrecht' is Ross Gunn...?
W - No, no, no! 'Albrecht' is 'Doc Taylor' - the Superintendent of the Radio and Radar Divisions!
J - Huh?
W - Yes, Albert Hoyt-Taylor - the wireless warrior of WWI in charge of Marconi's Delmar Station - or Camp Evans when the Navy took it over during WWI - the man who initiated the quest for radar with his 1922 experiments --
J - He - he's the "W.W. Albrecht"? Why the 'WW', and the German name?
W - Haven't you figured it out yet? They're inside jokes! Look, some historians called WWI the 'wireless war'. At Camp Evans - the Marconi station - they called themselves the 'wireless warriors', and sometimes called Taylor - the Wireless Washington.
J - Like the General?
W - Yes, and on the same stomping grounds. Other times, to distinguish him from Einstein, Navy people would also call him 'our Albert' - or, because of his strictness, 'Albrecht'...
J - ...which Einstein was.
W - Yes, so Taylor became, quite naturally, W.W. Albrecht or W.W.-you-know- who. When he'd meet up with Einstein, there'd be unending jokes about the two Alberts.
J - Well then,that would make Dr. Franklin Reno - Lou Gebhard, then!?
W - Right you are!
J - So [G.E.] Simpson and [N.R.] Burger, in their novel "Thin Air", were barking up the right tree when they first named him Rinehart?
W - Yes, that was a superb clue from a very poor and sensationalized account. You'll find very little, if anything, about Taylor's assistant and co-worker, and one of the inventors of radar. But Rinehart was an excellent choice because, you see, his real name is not Gebhard, but Gebhardt - Louis Alfred Gebhardt - with the t at the end like 'Rinehart', or like the real German name for Rinehart, which is 'Rheinhardt', which has the same ending 'dt' as 'Gebhardt'. And he didn't die in 1977 or '78, but ten years earlier - in '68.
J - I see...hmm - but why did Moore and Berlitz never reveal this - his true name and that of 'Albrecht'? It would have lent substantial credence to their book, no?
W - I believe they went as far as they thought it was safe to go.
J - Do you mean someone got to them?
W - I know nothing about that. I mean they didn't think - back in '78 - that they should reveal more than they did about the supersecret doings of the NRL.
J - The uncertainty certainly tainted their reputations!
W - But it must also have been secretly amusing to see newsmakers and aficionados running around making wild claims about Reno, Rinehart and Albrecht.
J - [A.] Bielek swore that Reno-Rinehart was von Neumann.
W - That's all part of the silly lore that has surrounded this project. The more buried the thing is, and the more categorical are the denials by the Navy, the more fantastic are the tales by the radical ufological and fringe communities. Remember, it was the ONR [Office of Naval Research] that got this whole ball rolling in the first place.