Inventions and technology .. The DEW Line

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  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Dew Line

    It was North America’s first defense against a Soviet attack, and life on it was the Cold War at its coldest.
    By Mark Wolverton

    In the early hours of April 17, 1952, World War III nearly began—although not many people realized it at the time.

    The previous afternoon an intelligence source had reported unusual levels of activity at Soviet air bases. Shortly after midnight U.S. Air Defense Command headquarters, in Colorado Springs, got word from Alaska that vapor trails from “bogeys” (unknown aircraft) had been sighted high over the Bering Sea, coming from the direction of the Soviet Union. As shaken generals fretted over the report, another message arrived: Five more bogeys had been sighted off the coast of Maine. It looked as if this might be the real thing—an atomic sneak attack. Commanders ordered a full-scale alert. Fighters were scrambled and Air Force bombers prepared for a retaliatory strike.

    And then nothing happened. The vapor trails over Alaska disappeared, along with the supposed enemy bombers. The unknowns over Maine were identified as off-course civilian airliners. Faster than it had begun, the threat vanished. ....

    To read the rest of the story:

    AmericanHeritage.com / The Dew Line
     
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