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  #1  
Old 05-30-2020, 11:49 PM
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Default Cold War Field Telephones

So, you've got yourself a settlement but the nasty OPFOR are monitoring your hand-helds? No worries, here's something to string between your bunkers.

Field Telephones.

Battery-powered hand sets appeared to all be able to run of external power, usually in the 3 volt range. Most phones seem to have a hand crank to enable ringing at the other end if not used with a switchboard. Nearly all these phones, you can probably assume it is all of them, are sound-powered. The only reason you need to use power is to ring the buzzer. If you don't have a dedicated switchboard, and let's be honest you won't, a simple task will be to rig up a series of switches that exclude or include lines for multiple use. In this case it's possible to have "party lines" of multiple phones.

German

FF OB/ZB (Introduced late 1950s)
Requires 2x D-Batteries
5.0kg

SFT800 (Introduced early 1980s)
3.6kg

USA

TA-1
Sound-powered
1.2kg

TA-43
Requires 2x D-Batteries
5.0kg

TA-312 (Introduced late 1960s)
Requires 2x D-Batteries
4.35 Kg

USSR

TA-57 (Introduced 1957)
Requires 1x 1.5v Battery
2.5kg
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2020, 12:02 AM
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One of the cool things you can do with field telephone is find an isolated barbed wire fence (they're all over the place in Texas), set up a prearranged time, hook your wires to the fence, unless there's break in the wire, you can easily get a signal to carry up to 5 miles or more, Start with the bottom wire and work up at a given interval until both sides have connection.
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Old 05-31-2020, 02:02 PM
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Just an FYI, having used the TA-312s a lot, you do not need the batteries, they just make it work better. With out them you still get a signal (just weaker), and it will still ring (just quieter). with out the batteries they are a it worse then the TA-1 (also used it a lot), but we used them lots with out the batteries. I believe that where it becomes a issue is when used over very long distances. I have never used them over more than a single spool of wire or two at the most (1/2 mile or less). I have never used the TA-43n so not sure if it is the same or not.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:52 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDAT View Post
Just an FYI, having used the TA-312s a lot, you do not need the batteries, they just make it work better. With out them you still get a signal (just weaker), and it will still ring (just quieter). with out the batteries they are a it worse then the TA-1 (also used it a lot), but we used them lots with out the batteries. I believe that where it becomes a issue is when used over very long distances. I have never used them over more than a single spool of wire or two at the most (1/2 mile or less). I have never used the TA-43n so not sure if it is the same or not.
They're identical except for the EXT/INT switch and U-79/U Connector, which the TA-43 doesn't have. Some of the TA-312s were rebuilt TA-43s.
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:49 PM
David269 David269 is offline
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Default Manual for Soviet TA-57 field telephone

Hey. Does anyone have a link to a site where I can get an English translation of the Soviet TA-57 field telephone manual? Cheers!
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2021, 10:21 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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I didn't find an English translation of the TA-57 manual, but while poking around looking for it I did find this table of field telephones from 1898 to 2003.
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Old 12-07-2021, 06:11 AM
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Nice list!
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vespers War View Post
I didn't find an English translation of the TA-57 manual, but while poking around looking for it I did find this table of field telephones from 1898 to 2003.
That's simply awesome.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:52 AM
Nyrond24 Nyrond24 is offline
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Used the UK pc 404 for all my field work, we must have buried hundreds of miles of d10 cable over the years, always wondered what it grew into.
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Old 12-13-2021, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
One of the cool things you can do with field telephone is find an isolated barbed wire fence (they're all over the place in Texas), set up a prearranged time, hook your wires to the fence, unless there's break in the wire, you can easily get a signal to carry up to 5 miles or more, Start with the bottom wire and work up at a given interval until both sides have connection.
Hmm. Interesting hack to some exercises, where I specifically was out in the field tracing enemy field telephone lines and snipping them at repeated irregular intervals. I will definitely try it if I get one up close again!
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Old 12-14-2021, 02:47 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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You mean "isolated barbed wire fence" like cattle fences? That's a cool trick we didn't learn in training. But those would be all over the place in Europe, too. Just make sure it's not under power.
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Old 12-14-2021, 04:14 PM
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You can thank CSM Vallente GA Mills (who was in Special Forces before his tour as an ROTC instructor) for that one. He had each of the group of cadets that was with him try it, and it works. Signals get faint after about seven miles, but under that it does work. When I moved to active duty, my fellow soldiers thought it was just awesome; they never heard of it either.
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Old 12-14-2021, 05:03 PM
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Default Speak of the Devil (on a field telephone)

Just watched a video about the Ukrainian front [trench] lines in the Donbass region and, in it, the reporter (a USAF vet) explains why Ukranian forward positions use field telephones instead of radios or cell phones. You can probably guess the reasons, but it's explained at about 6:30 in the following clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Flf1grUWCU

That's one pro of field telephones. The big con is that they can be severed by shell fire and vehicle traffic, and tapped by enemy infiltrators. During the Vietnam War, SOG ran missions in Cambodia and N. Vietnam where the objective was to insert listening devices and transmitters in NVA field telephone lines.

On a very tangential note, my wife's grandfather (RIP) was a linesman in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded. He spent four years in Cabanatuan POW camp (and makes an appearance in Hampton Sides' book about the raid to liberate the camp, Ghost Soldiers).
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2021, 04:32 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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For entrenched positions, field telephones are definitely the way to go. Their electromagnetic footprint is extremely low and you don't need generators etc. So you reduce a lot of observability and dependence on outside factors. The cons are there, of course, as you mentioned, but that's negligible. Especially when the frontlines move so little as they do in Donbass.
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