The “proximity fuse” was a technological marvel of its time. Produced under enormous time pressure and urgency to save lives, it is often called one of the three most important technological advances that helped win World War II. Award-winning author Jamie Holmes talks to us about it and his new book, 12 Seconds of Silence: How a Team of Inventory, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon.
Jamie Holmes, 12 Seconds of Silence: How a Team of Inventors, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon
The riveting story of the American scientists, tinkerers, and nerds who solved one of the biggest puzzles of World War II—and developed one of the most powerful weapons of the war
12 Seconds of Silence is the remarkable, lost story of how a ragtag group of American scientists overcame one of the toughest problems of World War II: shooting things out of the sky.
Working in a secretive organization known as Section T, a team of physicists, engineers, and everyday Joes and Janes took on a devilish challenge. To help the Allies knock airplanes out of the air, they created one of the world’s first “smart weapons.” Against overwhelming odds and in a race against time, mustering every scrap of resource, ingenuity, and insight, the scientists of Section T would eventually save countless lives, rescue the city of London from the onslaught of a Nazi superweapon, and help bring about the Axis defeat. A holy grail sought after by Allied and Axis powers alike, their unlikely innovation ranks with the atomic bomb as one of the most revolutionary technologies of the Second World War. Until now, their tale was largely untold.
For fans of Erik Larson and Ben Macintyre, set amidst the fog of espionage, dueling spies, and the dawn of an age when science would determine the fate of the world, 12 Seconds of Silence is a tribute to the extraordinary wartime mobilization of American science and the ultimate can-do story.