Never too busy to pick-up a new idea, or to try out a new weapon, some
German scientists in World War II experimented with noise as a means of
causing fatalities among troops of the enemies of the Reich. Such was the
discovery of Allied observers who investigated the more technical aspects
of the Nazi war effort.
Near the little town of Lofer, the Germans had established a small
experimental station intended originally for research on problems concerned
with mountain artillery. Eventually, however, this station became devoted
to experiments in connection with lethal sound.
Experiments were carried on by a Dr. Richard Wallauscheck, the assistant
director for technical research. His last and best design for a sound weapon
consisted of a parabolic reflector slightly over 10 1/2 feet in diameter, with
a sound combustion chamber mounted to the rear of the reflector.
Into this chamber methane and oxygen was fed through two nozzles. The
mixture of gases was exploded within the chamber, and the sound of the
explosion was intensified and projected by the parabolic reflector. Explosions
were continually initiated by the shock wave from preceding explosions
at a rate of 800 to 1,500 per second.
The main lobe of the sound intensity pattern had a 65-degree angle of
opening. At a distance of 60 meters (198.5 feet) from the generator, the
sound intensity has been measured at a pressure believed sufficient to kill a
man after 30 to 40 seconds exposure. At greater ranges, perhaps up to 330
yards, the same pressure, while not lethal, would be very painful and would
probably disable a man for an appreciable length of time.
The operator of the device is housed in a wooden cabin at the rear of the
machine and wears a soundproof helmet.
The weapon has a very doubtful military value, chiefly because of lack
of range. The whole machine is large and unwieldy. Unlike some
experiments carried on by the Germans, no actual tests were made with human
beings acting as guinea pigs. Perhaps this indicates that the Germans
themselves did not have too much faith in the device as an effective and