(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
141 Spring Street
Lexington MA 02173
617 862 6600
Mr. W. Leon Weeks, President
Museum of Our Industrial Heritage
77 Petty Plain Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Dear Mr. Weeks:
Lucien Theriault, a Raytheon retiree recalls we started a small manufacturing
plant in Greenfield in about
1943 or 1944 to produce subassemblies for secret proximity fuze tubes which
were being used in WWII. The proximity fuze was the third most important secret weapon which helped
the Allies win WWII. The proximity fuze was in the front of anti artillery shells and mortar
shells. It housed a tiny radio transmitter which sent our radio signals to enemy airplanes. These were reflected
back to a tiny radio receiver also in the head of the shell. These reflected radio signals would
cause the shell to explode when it was near the target, hence the name "proximity fuze". It could be
set so that when near the target it would detonate. This secret invention would destroy 90% of the enemy airplanes versus
10% before. This secret invention helped turn the battle of the South Pacific in 1943, 1944 in our favor
by destroying Japanese planes which were then sinking our ships and it is also credited with wining
the "Battle of the Bulge" in late 1944 in Europe because of more precise mortar fire. The Japanese nor the German's
had the proximity fuze.
Norman B. Krim, Archivist
Copy Lucien Theriault, Archive Volunteer, joined Raytheon in 1933
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In a letter to Leon Weeks, past President of the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage, the importance of the proximity fuze is described. The radio transmitter component of the fuse was produced in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in a secretive plant owned by the Raytheon Company. The fuse was used in shells to down enemy planes during WWII. The fuze and the manufacture of its components were well kept secrets that helped win the war.
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Letter to Leon Weeks from Raytheon Company
| creator Raytheon Manufacturing Company
| date Dec 30, 1999
| location Lexington, Massachusetts
| height 11.0"
| width 8.5"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L06.030
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