Who was the Oslo person?

Abstract of some paragraphs of R.V. Jones’ book: "Reflections on Intelligence", on who provided Britain the Oslo Report? (Published by William Heinemann Ltd. London 1989)

This is a recommendable book, but it is out of print for some time.


The Oslo Report:

Its Contribution to Intelligence

Most Secret War related how one evening in November 1939 Fred Winterbotham* , the head of the Air section of MI6, came into my office and put a package on my desk saying: ‘Here is a present for you!’ It had been forwarded to MI6 by the British Legation in Oslo, where it had been received a few days before by our Naval Attaché, Captain Hector Boyes. The package contained several pages of typescript in German, to which the Legation had added its English translation, and a small cardboard box separately wrapped. A glance was enough to tell that the typescript referred to various applications of science to warfare, and this was why Winterbotham was handing it over to me.

I asked him whether he knew how it had come to be sent to us, and told me that he understood that the anonymous sender had first inquired whether we would like to be informed of new scientific developments in Germany. If so, we should make some minor change in the preamble to our BBC broadcast to Germany such saying, ‘Hullo, hier ist London!’ instead of whatever had been the previous opening, and the unknown writer would then send his information. ... I was merely told that the requested change in the broadcast had been duly made and there was the package. (Chapter 10, page 265)

*(the same person who revealed in the 1970s, for the first time, the existence of Bletchley Park, and its engagement in breaking the Enigma codes, AOB)


Appendix A, page 333 - 337

The Oslo Report (translation)

1. Ju88 Programme

The Ju88 is a twin-engined long-range bomber and has the advantage that it can also be used as a dive-bomber. Several thousands, probably 5,000, are produced per month. Up to April 1940, 25-30,000 bombers have been produced of this type alone.


2. Franken

The first German aircraft-carrier is lying in Kiel Harbour. It is expected to be ready by April 1940 and is called the Franken. (Actually the "Graf Zepplin", though the project was scrapped soon thereafter, AOB)


3. Remote-controlled gliders

The German Navy have developed remote-controlled gliders, that is, small aircraft of about three metres span and three metres long. They carry a large explosive charge. They are not powered by an engine and are launched at great height from an aircraft. They contain:

(a) an electric altimeter (like the one described in the Bell Systems Technical Journal, January 1939, page 222). This causes the glider to descend to about three metres above the water. It then continues to fly horizontally, actuated by rocket propulsion.

(b) A remote control by means of ultra-short waves in the form of telegraph-signals, through which the control members are regulated to the right or left or kept straight, for example, from a ship or an aircraft.

The glider is said to be directed against the side of an enemy ship where the explosive charge is then dropped or exploded under water.

The secret code number is FZ21 (Ferngesteuerte Zielflugzeug). The experimental establishment is Peenemünde, at the mouth of the Peene, near Wolgast, in the vicinity of Greifswald. (First, and devastating air raid on Peenemünde was on 17/18 August 1943, AOB)


4. Autopilot

Under secret code number FZ10 an autopilot (remote-controlled aircraft) is being developed. This is to be controlled from a manned aircraft and is to be used, for example, for destroying balloon barrages.


5. Remote-controlled projectiles

The Army Ordnance (HWA)*  is the development centre for the Army. This establishment is engaged on the development of projectiles of eighty-centimetre caliber**. Rocket propulsion is employed and the stabilization is brought about by an installed gyro.***  The difficulties in the rocket propulsion are due to the fact that the projectile does not fly straight but in uncontrollable curves. It is therefore equipped with a wireless remote control by means of which the burning of the ignition charge of the rocket is controlled.

This developments is still in the initial stages and the eighty centimetre shalls are to be used later against the Maginot Line (which wasn’t the case, as development took some years before it reached maturity in September 1944, AOB).

*(= Heeres Waffenamt, its sub-divisions (branches) were known as Wa ..., which stands for Waffenamt..., WaPrüf 7 dealt with electronics, AOB)

** (Meant was the A4 or V2 rocket, which actually got, when we neglect the tail-wings, a bit more than double that size, AOB)

***(Consider also my article on the analogue computer of the V2, v2__computer)


6. Rechlin

This is a small place on the Mueritzsee, north of Berlin*. The Laboratories and Development Establishments for the Luftwaffe are here; hence they are promising targets for bomber attacks. *(approximally 80 km, AOB)


7. Methods of attack on pill-boxes (Bunkers)

Experience in the Polish Campaign has shown that direct attack against pill-boxes cannot succeed. The Polish pill-box positions were therefore completely smoked out by gas shells, the smoke hanging in a heavy pall it penetrated deeper and deeper into the pill-box positions. The Polish crews were thus compelled to withdraw from the pill-boxes. Immediately behind the smoke screen, there followed the German flame-throwers which took up position in front of the pill-boxes. Latter were powerless against the flame-throwers* and crews either perished or gave themselves up. *(Flammenwerfer, AOB)


8. Aircraft warning device

In the attack by English airmen on Wilhelmshaven at the beginning of September, the English aircraft were already picked up at a distance of 120 kilometres from the coast. Along the entire German coast there are shortwave transmitters with an output of 20 kilowatts, these sending out very short pulses of a duration of 10-5 seconds. These pulses are reflected from the aircraft. In the vicinity of the transmitter is a wireless receiver which is tuned to the same wavelength. There, after a certain interval, the wave reflected from the aircraft is received and it is registered by a cathode-ray tube. From the interval between the transmitted pulse and the reflected pulse, the distance of the aircraft can be ascertained. As the transmitted pulse is much stronger than the reflected pulse, the receiver is blocked during the transmitted pulse. The transmitted pulse is marked on the cathode-ray tube by a local signal.

In conjunction with Ju88 programme, these transmitters are being installed everywhere in Germany.

Countermeasures: By means of special receivers, which can pick up pulses of a duration of 10-5 to 10-6 seconds, the wavelength of the pulses transmitted in Germany must be determined and interfering pulses on the same wave length sent out. These receivers can be installed on land, so can the transmitters, as the method is very sensitive.

Whilst this method has been installed on a large scale, another method operating on fifty-centimetre waves is being worked on. (This would be the well known: Würzburg radar type A, which was in February 1942 partly captured during the Bruneval raid, consider the transcript of the: bruneval_report. , AOB). (What here is described is simply the principles of radar, be it, that the acronym "radar" did not yet exist, AOB).



9. Aircraft distance-measuring instrument

When pilots fly over an enemy territory for attack it is important for them to know how far they have flown from the starting point. The following method is being developed in Rechlin for this purpose.

At the starting station there is a wireless transmitter (six-metre wavelength) which is modulated with a low frequency f. The aircraft which is at the distance a, receives the six-metre wave and after demodulation, obtains the low frequency f. With this low frequency it modulates its own transmitter, which has a somewhat different wavelength. The thus modulated wave of the aircraft is received at the starting station and demodulated. The low frequency f thus obtained is compared with the local frequency f. Both differ by the phase angle.

(4π f.a)/c

where a is the distance of the aircraft and c the speed of light. By measuring the phase it is thus possible to compute the distance of the aircraft and to give the aircraft its position. In order the measurement is free from ambiguity the phase angle must be equal to 2π (or remain under 2π. For example, a low frequency of say 150 cycles is chosen, then the phase angle equals 2π for exactly 1000 km). With such a low frequency the degree of accuracy is however only very rough. Therefore at the same time a second higher frequency is sent out; for example, 1,500 cycles per second and the phase ange of this compared. Thus 150 cycles per second is a coarse measurement and 1,500 cycles a fine measurement. (What actually is described is the Y-signal-information of the Knickbein system, which used 300 and 3000 Hz sine wave signals, AOB). I have described the distance measuring principles in: navigational_aids. The Knickebein guiding-beam receiver (not the Y-signal receiver), is shown in: 1999002K.pdf  and: knickebein_fug28a )   The Knickebein receiver FuG 28a was found in England, and might have been captured from a crashed German bomber aircraft.


10. Torpedoes

For this occasion being skipped.


11. Electric fuses for aircraft bombs and artillery shells



The latest development employs glow discharge lamps with a grid ... . If the battery is so chosen that it is somewhat below the ignition volatge and if the grid is insulated, then the lamp can be brought to ignittion by charging the component capacities C12 and C23. A very slight change in the capacities is sufficient.  .... . When the shell passes an aircraft for instance, the capacities are slightly altered and the lamp ignites thereby exploding the shell. The fuse can also be adjusted that all shells explode at a certain distance above ground, say at three metres. A lamp fitted with a grid is enclosed herewith (electronic trigger tube): it is an improved type in which the grid consists of a ring. ..... . The fuse are being produced at Sömmerda in Thuringa on the Sangershausen-Erfurt Railway. The name of the firm is Rheinmetall.


Details of this report are not always in accordance with the facts. However, the "Oslo person" knew technically quite much on what was going on in Nazi Germany. Some projects he knew from hear-say (second hand). Though, he was well informed when Siemens & Halske was engaged in projects. Fritz Trenkle told R.V. Jones that, for example, 'FZ' was an internal Siemens project designation, and was not a military nomenclature. During the Battle of Britain, information on the guided beams proved to be vital. It allowed British Intelligence to respond very rapidly on the threat of German guided bomber aircraft. The Oslo report was accompanied with a package, that contained some components which were unknown in England of 1939.    

Like in some other German aircraft projects (for example, Me262), the obligation that Junkers 88 aircraft should also be designed for dive-bombing, delayed its operational employment for about two years! 

But who was the individual that posted this significant Oslo report to Britain’s Ambassy in Oslo, in November 1939?

R.V. Jones met the author of the Oslo report mid 1950s. It was: Hans Ferdinand Mayer, who was for some time the director of the Siemens & Halske research laboratory in Berlin. In accordance with Hans F. Mayer, R.V. Jones did not reveal Mayer's identity in conjunction with the Oslo document before Mayer and his wife had both passed away (1980s).

Dr. Hans F. Mayer was a bright personality, who, among many things, published in 1926 the Current Source equivalent in the German periodical TFT. Although, Norton in the US came up with it as well. I am very pleased that the IEEE gave me permission to provide the following paper on this webpage:

Scanning Our Past; Origins of the Equivalent Circuit Concept: The Current-Source Equivalent, by Don H. Johnson; Computer and Information Technology Institute, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, Houston.

Published in the Proceedings of the IEEE Vol.91, No.5, May 2003

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Scanning Our Past,  Origines of the Equivalent Circuit Concept: The Current-Source Equivalent



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