Weird alien sounds designed to terrify and panic

In 1969, Alfred Mardarello et al. were granted a patent for a "noisemaking device" which could be attached to a missile. When the missile was fired and flying through the air, their gadget would create "weird, alien sounds" intended to terrify the enemy. From their patent:

The invention relates to a projectile that is adapted to produce frightening noises while in flight, whereby such alien sounds will have a terrrifying effect on people nearby.

The psychological effects of weird or unexpected noises, which accompany an artillery projectile or missile, have been explored in many ways, prior to this invention, with minimum results. The Germans, in World War II, attached a noise producing device to aerial bombs, somewhat similar in construction to the organ pipe. A high pitched noise was created. This could be used only on large bombs and was too massive for use on artillery projectiles...

The insufficiencies of the prior art are overcome by the noisemaking adapter of the instant invention. The adapter ring is so designed that they attach to an existant missile without requiring modification of said missile. Centrifugal force, as a result of the spinning motion of the missile after being fired, causes the noisemaking arms or fins to extend and to produce weird, alien sounds of such magnitude as to be heard over a substantial area. The psychological effect, to create panic to those in the vicinity, is thus effected.

I have no idea if this patent was ever used in combat. But I don't really understand the point of making something that's already terrifying (a missile) even more terrifying by having it produce weird, alien sounds. Isn't the terror of the missile itself enough?

I guess it was part of the psychological warfare effort during Vietnam. See also Ghost Tape Number Ten.

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 11, 2021
     Category: 1960s | Weapons | Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults





Comments
IIRC the sound of incoming mortar rounds was terrifying to soldiers since there was no defense against them dropping into fox holes. If the rounds didn't make noise then it was the wump of the launch.
Posted by phil on 07/11/21 at 06:18 AM
They say "missile" (generically), but they mean artillery round, which spins due to the rifiling in the barrel. Rocket-missiles don't spin. I wouldn't load this junk into my cannon unless I was wanting it to blow up.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/11/21 at 11:47 AM
Another noise maker was the Stuka JU 87R Dive Bomber during WWII. It had a specially designed siren designed into the aircraft.
Posted by Steve E. on 07/11/21 at 03:05 PM
Generally, one would not hear a noise coming from the approaching object in flight. Once it had passed the waves would be audible. I think that this is one of those vanity patents, filed for the record but in all probability not practical.
Posted by KDP on 07/11/21 at 04:26 PM
@KDP -- Unless it's supersonic, there is noise. It's usually not much because little is often generated in that direction. The siren on a Stuka addressed that problem. Also, during WWII, people could hear 'buzz bombs' coming (pulsejets are incredibly noisy) (the terror kicked in when they went silent because that meant the engine shut off, and it was about to fall).

I suspect this invention wouldn't have been terribly effective for very long -- people would quickly learn the difference in sound between coming right at you or going to left or right. Also, unless it's incredibly balanced, it stands a good chance of altering the flight slightly.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/13/21 at 12:07 AM
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