Searchlights on the Rock of Gibraltar, 1942

Searchlights in this photo are not for use by employees operating the lights. Their objective is to help the anti-aircraft gunners capture the oncoming attackers. And anti-aircraft artillery lights are not located.

The glare of the light reflected off the fog doesn't have as much effect on them, the benefit of light in spotting bombers outweighs the loss of visibility from glare.

Gibraltar was a huge throttle point, originally whoever owned it would have access to the Mediterranean Sea. No ship could pass through this Strait of Gibraltar without sinking.

Since it was owned by the British, this meant that no Italian/German aircraft or boats could sail. Since the Axis was in control of North Africa and they wanted to secure their stake, Gibraltar seemed to be an easy point of bombings and attacks to destroy their fighting power. This is why they have so many lightsabers and anti-aircraft guns on the rock, trying to intercept and eliminate any attackers.

During World War II searchlights were used extensively in defense against night-time bomber raids. Controlled by sound locators and radars, searchlights can track bombers, indicate targets with anti-aircraft guns and night fighters and dazzle crews. Searchlights were sometimes used deftly in ground combat.

A famous occasion was the use of searchlights by the Soviet Union during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945. 143 searchlights were directed across the Neisse River at the German Defense Force, intended to temporarily blind them during the Soviet offensive.

However, the morning fog scattered the light and silhouetted the invading Soviet forces, making them clearly visible to the Germans. The Soviets suffered heavy losses as a result and were forced to delay their invasion of the city.

World War II searchlights formed part of a system of aircraft locating: locator devices, searchlights, and antiaircraft (AA) guns. The locators sent electronic information to the lightsabers and guns, which in turn tracked targets with each other.

Once any of the above types of locators had "locked on" an air target, the concept was for both the lightsaber and the gun to be trained on the target (via altitude and distance data obtained from the locator) so that the target Published almost simultaneously as possible and then destroyed.

Locators were first based on sound and heat detection, and eventually radar became the preferred method of target acquisition. The units were generally separate, but advances in radar technology late in the war saw the integration of radar into both the searchlight and AA gun design.

The accuracy of anti-aircraft artillery was at stake, both from a strategic and economic point of view. In England, for example, in 1940, it took an average of 20,000 rounds of ammunition to shoot down a single enemy aircraft.

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