Commander F. Ashe Lincoln was one of the leading figures in the investigation branch of the Royal Navy that was dedicated to working out the secrets of Germany’s ever more advanced mines and torpedoes and finding ways to disarm them and to counter them. This was one of the more dangerous research jobs of the Second World War, and several of Lincoln’s colleagues were killed while trying to disarm the weapons they were investigating.
The job fell into three main areas. First any intact mines or torpedoes had to be located, disarmed and any booby traps removed. Second the way in which they were meant to work had to be discovered - magnetic, acoustic or other. Third and most important was to find some way to deal with the new threat, either by making it less likely that they would be triggered (degaussing ships so they didn’t trigger magnetic mines), or finding ways to sweep them. On the other side the Germans were always introducing new booby traps or methods of making minesweeping more difficult (such as adding a ‘counter’ so that a mine would only go off after a set number of ships had passed, in the hope that they would survive an attempt at minesweeping, and then sink an Allied ship in what was believed to be a cleared channel. Trying to solve this sort of problem certainly got Lincoln dangerously close to the front, when the other minesweeper in a pair was sunk while he was at sea.
This is a fascinating tale, told with modesty and humour, but covering a remarkable career in one of the most important branches of the scientific war.
1 - How It All Began
2 - The First Magnetic Mine
3 - Early Detective Work
4 - DTM Investigation Section is Formed
5 - A New Danger - The First Acoustic Mine
6 - Luck Assists but Death Strikes
7 - We Discover a New Mine
8 - The U-570
9 - To Sea With the Champion Minesweeper
10 - We Hunt The Enemy
11 - The First Japanese Torpedoes
12 - The Seine Bay Invasion Mystery
13 - The Discovery of the Acoustic Torpedo
14 - Across the Rhine
Author: Commander F. Ashe Lincoln QC, RNVR
Year: 2017 edition of 1961 original