closing tag is in template navbar
timefactors watches



TZ-UK Fundraiser
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Synchronize watches

  1. #1
    Guest

    Synchronize watches

    I know there a lot of military and ex-military personnel here so maybe someone can give me an answer. You see in war films the chap in charge of the unit about to undertake a daring raid say "ok gentlemen synchronize watches, it is now xx hours". Does that really happen? Or is there a "master" clock somewhere in the barracks or is it less formal than that?

    Best wishes

    Julian

  2. #2
    Master Jim:'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Aotearoa
    Posts
    3,227
    I'm always astonished at how quickly they all do it in the movies. Surely some of them will have to wait the best part of a minute to get the second hand to 12.00.

    Or am I missing something? :roll:

    Cheers,

    Jim

  3. #3
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Posts
    199
    It was done when split second timing was important, like setting of explosions at the same time or meeting at the naafi bar before last orders.

    I was a diver in the Royal Navy, so ensuring your watch even remotely told the correct time was important, there were a few times when I got a watch from the stores and just put it on later realising it was about 8 hours behind :shock:

  4. #4
    In order to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, it is better to key off some signal, I would think. Such a signal might be a whistle; a flare; a command (via radio, hand signals, flags, lights, etc); or a bang (small arms, big guns, or explosives). Relying on syncronized watches seems to me the least good option, used when there can't be any comms, or public signal.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  5. #5
    Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Essex, innit - know what I mean.
    Posts
    2,430
    Blog Entries
    1
    Watches are always synched as an integral part of an O group. This is then usually combined with some other form of signal. Ultimately in any offensive someone always has to fire first and everyone tasked joins the the party.
    Out to you
    James

  6. #6
    Master
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,740
    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier
    In order to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, it is better to key off some signal, I would think. Such a signal might be a whistle; a flare; a command (via radio, hand signals, flags, lights, etc); or a bang (small arms, big guns, or explosives). Relying on syncronized watches seems to me the least good option, used when there can't be any comms, or public signal.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Makes sense now-days, with small and rugged communications equipment/radios, for a silent synchonized action. Just look at the SF or SEALS with noise cancelling throat mics, and in-ear receivers. But it wasn't that long ago, certainly as recently as the 1980s, the technology just wasn't there, or at least not reliable enough (though I'm sure they had it before we got it for use in our cell phones). But all the other options you give, if the synchronized action wasn't an an open attack, might/would attract the attention of the enemy. And even if it was an open attack, you would probably want the enemy to be as "unaware" as long as possible.

    Many reasons to want synchronization to not draw an attack. Perhaps you want to have a diversion, but not something that might alert the enemy of an attack (after all it's better to avoid the fight), let's say at one end of a compound (perhaps a stack of oil drums falling down), to draw off attention, but you need to be sure that you, or the other person(s) are in place before the start of the diversion. None of the examples, other than the radio, is a very good signal to give if you want to escape detection yourself, at least at this time. I'm certain there are other examples too, for wanting to synchronize some action, without some loud sound or highly visible sign.

    I'm willing to bet there isn't a whole lot of "sychronize our watches" going on today, but I'm sure there was in the recent past.

    P.S. And this puts me over the 500 posts mark, and I notice it's now colonel (I was wondering where the demarcation was).

  7. #7
    Even public signals can lead to "interesting" results. There is a scene in Band of Brother concerning a fire fight during Market Garden. Winters tells his guys to go on his signal, red smoke. Being a lead from the front type of guy, he thows the smoke cannister and charges. Unfortunately, it takes a while for the cannister to start working. So, his guys are waiting for the smoke (perhaps thinking he has a devious secret plan? ;)), and there he is charging all alone, with some important bit of him hanging out. But, eventually the smoke goes and so do his guys.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    PS What make me remember the scene isn't the close call because of failed equipment. Shit happens. Rather, it is the demonstration of a really special kind of trust. He never looked back. (Which is why the scene is there, of course.)
    RLF

  8. #8
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    15,965
    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier
    In order to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, it is better to key off some signal, I would think. Such a signal might be a whistle; a flare; a command (via radio, hand signals, flags, lights, etc); or a bang (small arms, big guns, or explosives). Relying on syncronized watches seems to me the least good option, used when there can't be any comms, or public signal.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    At the golf club where I play we occasionally have to start groups off from all tees at the same time. The captain uses a shotgun to signal to all when to tea off. Works very well, but if you're on the first tee (where he fires the gun) it doesn't half make your ears ring. :D
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  9. #9
    Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Essex, innit - know what I mean.
    Posts
    2,430
    Blog Entries
    1
    Not wanting to get all poncey and I know and you dont etc etc :wink: , but watches are/ should be - synchronised during orders, it forms part of the process and as any current, or ex-mob will I am sure agree, the Army loves processes. It is generally with good reason though. I will agree though that there are generally other signals combined to signal when to go in, e.g. break squelch or similar, but with modern df'ing even this has dangers.
    Out to you
    James

  10. #10
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Göteborg, Sweden GMT +1
    Posts
    978
    Another reason why syncronizing watches is not commonly used today is that watches worn today are more reliable. In my current position on platoon level in a rapid-reaction infantry company, I "know" every ones watches are fairly the same. So far I have never received, nor given, an order depending on minute exact timing.

    "Hold your postions until quarter past." "Be there and there prepepared to do this by ten to." "Orders will be given there at xx thirty." I am yet to hear: "This has to be done by xx.18.32!" The reason why times seldom are exact is that there are many circumstances are influencing. The "enemy" beeing one.

    In conclusion: watches worn today are reliable and precise, super-precise time is not needed.


    As an extra anecdote from the last exercise:
    Our platoon leader wore his new Nike (digital) watch. New and given as a gift from his fiancé, seemed like a watch for the duty; tough, legible and background light.
    The watch syncronized it self to some other none-existing time zone once in a while. When he dove for cover and landed in a swampy spot the watch gave up for half an hour and then came back to life.
    So much for a Nike watch.

    I wore a Traser Diver, trustworthy and a legible at any light and any time. Thats my military watch as of that exercise, and my PRS3 as a backup watch.

    rgds,
    /joakim+/

  11. #11
    today most military operational units not to mention air/naval crafts are computerised with systems that run on GPS time so if you have a valid GPS soltion you have syncronised time, if not there is probably somebody who does, so you can get it from who ever and update your own time.

    regards

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •