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Acoustic Detection Post

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An elderly resident of the area recalls an Acoustic Detection Post located at the Buthkollidar corner during the early part of World War II, in the Bullwood area approximately two miles south of Dunoon.

The equipment was described as having two large sound collectors, which looked like giant megaphones. The post was described as being used to constantly scan the sky and detect the sound of aircraft approaching from the distances.

Practical Application of Sound Mirrors

Acoustic detection of approaching aircraft was all but defunct by the start of World War II, having been developed first during World War I. Although the technology had shown promise to begin with, by the time of the second conflict aircraft speed had advanced to the extent that the time between detection and arrival of enemy aircraft was down to a matter of minutes at best, and ultimately of no real value. The systems were 'blinded' by any ambient noise near the detectors, which would drown out the distant sound, and the development of radar finally rendered them obsolete.

A possible explanation of the post identified above would be that the plausible story about aircraft detection could have been deliberately leaked and perpetuated, while the intended target for the observers would have been the approach to the Firth of Clyde. The system would have been much more effective over the shorter distances involved, and where the normal patterns of background noise would have been familiar to experienced operators. Under such conditions, it is possible that they could have monitored the area during hours of darkness, when a U-Boat could have attempted to penetrate the area and its defences unseen. Any uncharacteristic sounds, motors, bubbles/divers etc could have signalled an alert.

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