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British Industrial History

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Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development

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A department of the Admiralty responsible for the development of various unconventional weapons during World War II. Referred to as DMWD, known colloquially as "Wheezers and Dodgers".

1941 The department was established, taking over from the Inspectorate of Anti-Aircraft Weapons and Devices, which had been set up in 1940 to advance radar and other devices for anti-aircraft and other purposes.

Its research and experiments were carried out by officers based in universities, in research establishments, and in

It had its own experimental establishments, HMS Birnbeck at Weston super Mare, and the Frythe at Welwyn, which it took over from the Inter-Service Research Bureau in 1945. Its staff were also located in universities and research establishments.

Work included:

  • Anti-aircraft research, providing devices such as vertical rocket mountings
  • Anti-submarine research, producing radar deflectors and decoys, etc
  • Amphibious assault research, producing nets for landing craft, Hedgehog device for clearing beaches of mines, etc.
  • Flame throwers
  • Investigated camouflage for vessels
  • Panjandrum
  • Radio control
  • Rocket-propelled Target glider
  • Rockets for launching grapnels
  • Grasshopper - mass firing of rockets from adapted landing craft.
  • Water hammer

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] Photos from Nevil Shute's career