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Military and intelligence history mostly dealing with World War II.

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    I’ve added a link to the Dupuy Institute blog.

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    Interesting report from the NATO online archive:






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    Two very interesting reports detailing the main Japanese diplomatic and naval cryptosystems of WWII are available online via the Australian National Archives website.
    To view the reports go to the National Archives site, click on ‘RecordSearch’, then click Advanced search for items and next to ITEM BARCODE enter 12127133 for the diplomatic report or 859305 for the Naval report.


    1). The first report is titled ‘Special Intelligence Section report - Japanese Diplomatic ciphers’ and covers the codes and ciphers used by Japan’s Foreign Ministry, their characteristics and the success that the Anglo-American codebreakers had with each one.







    2). The second report covers the codes and ciphers of the Imperial Japanese Navy and it is titled ‘Volume of technical records containing details of codes and cyphers’. The unofficial title is ‘The Jamieson report’.


    Note that one of the systems mentioned is the JN-87 strip cipher. The Japanese thought so highly of the US M-138-A strip cipher that they copied it and used it with certain modifications!








    Acknowledgements: I have to thank Professor Peter Donovan for informing me of the ‘Jamieson report’.


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    I’ve written about the compromise of the French War Ministry’s FLD code by the codebreakers of the German High Command's deciphering department – OKW/Chi, however up to this point I hadn’t been able to find the official designation of this cryptosystem.

    Recently I’ve discovered some clues that might clear things up.


    According to the available sources this cryptosystem was used for ‘the cypher traffic between the French War Ministry and the army groups, armies and home authorities’.


    The new finding aid to the TICOM collection of the German Foreign Ministry’s Political Archive has certain entries that read:


    NR 3684 – ‘F4ZCUW 110’ German notes on the above French Defense Area cipher


    NR 3615 – F4ZCUT’ German notes, 1931, on French code as above, used by the Defense Areas HQ’s from Schliersee.


    The finding aid also mentions the French code F-90 which might have been the predecessor to F-110.


    The French code F-110 is mentioned in one of Erich Huettenhain’s reports:





    What was the French designation for the system that the Germans called F-110?


    Possibly Code R.A.


    The finding aid says:


    NR 1736 – Code RA, French military code sheets and instructions for use. Various dates 1933-39 March and July 1940-42 from Schliersee.


    Why do I think that Code RA was used by the French War Ministry and the Army Groups?


    In the book ‘KODY WOJNY. Niemiecki wywiad elektroniczny w latach 1907–1945’, p1.046 there is a copy of a French report dated 16 April 1940.


    It says:


    Un code R.A. avec additif et son procede de surchiffrement (clef ZERO S.2.) pour permettre de correspondre a l'Intérieur de la Métropole avec les Autorités et Etats-Majors dotés de ce document (notamment commandants d' armes).

    Google translation:


    R.A. a code with additive and process for its super-encryption (key ZERO S.2.) To allow a match the interior of the metropolis with the authorities and with staffs of this document (including commanders of weapons).


    I hope my friends in France will look into this case. I can’t solve everything by myself!

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    Update: German decodes of the London-Grenoble traffic can be found in pages 793-877 of ‘KODY WOJNY. Niemiecki wywiad elektroniczny w latach 1907–1945’. They date from July 1943 to October 1944 and are signed ‘Szef II Oddzialu Sztabu’, ‘Marian’, ‘Alfred’, ‘Szef Ekspozytury II Oddzialu Sztabu’, ‘Lubicz’, ‘Vox’, ‘Los’, ‘Rawa’, ‘Klemens’, ‘Major Zychon’, ‘Mikolaj’, ‘Bernard’, ‘Biz’, ‘Zenon’.



    Update: German decodes of the Bern-London traffic can be found in pages 878-916 of ‘KODY WOJNY. Niemiecki wywiad elektroniczny w latach 1907–1945’. They date from October 1942 to September 1944 and are signed ‘Szef II Oddzialu Sztabu’, ‘Darek’, ‘Gano’, ‘Hugo’, ‘Mak’, ‘Orkan’, ‘Espe’, ‘Jerzy’

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    Recently released TICOM material can be found in the TICOM collection of the German Foreign Ministry’s Political Archive.

    I have uploaded the excel finding aid here


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    Unfortunately their response was ‘a thorough search of our historical files was conducted but no records responsive to your request were located’.


    In September and October I received two more letters from the NSA and State Department FOIA offices:


    1). Professor Novopaschenny was head of the Russian section of Germany’s OKW/Chi (deciphering department of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces). Novopaschenny was a former cryptanalyst of the Tsarist Navy and after the rise of the Communists he fled Russia and found work as a codebreaker in Britain (possibly for the Police/Scotland Yard). In the 1920’s he went to Germany where he met Wilhelm Fenner and together they reorganized OKW/Chi along mathematical/analytical lines.


    In 2014 I requested any postwar reports/interrogations of dr Novopaschenny but it seems none are to be found as the response from the NSA FOIA office was ‘a thorough search of our files was conducted but no records responsive to your request were located’.


    Fortunately there seems to be more information available online!


    According to the recent Wikipedia page on Novopaschenny he was arrested by the Soviet authorities at the end of the war and died in 1950 in a camp near the Belorussian city of Orsha.


    An unhappy end for a fascinating individual.


    2). In 2015 I wrote the essay The compromise of the State Department’s strip cipher – Things that don’t add up…about the US cipher material transmitted from Finland and Germany to Japan during WWII.


    These were solved alphabet strips and key lists for the US M-138-A cipher system.


    The M-138-A cipher was used by the State Department for messages classified SECRET and (later in the war) CONFIDENTIAL.


    These messages revealed that a large number of alphabets had been compromised, specifically the circular strips 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4, 0-5 and the specials 10-3, 10-1, 18-1, 4-1, 7-1, 33-1, Vichy, 38-1, 22-1, 20-3 (or 20-4) and 25-4.


    That’s why I wrote:


    These were just the strips mentioned in the Japanese traffic and not necessarily the only strips solved by the Axis (15). Yet the EASI volumes do not mention them. Nor do they mention which systems were solved by the Finnish codebreakers even though they had a detailed report on the subject. 


    There is also no mention of specific embassies such as Moscow and Bern, whose messages were known to have been read by the Germans through the material found in the OKW/Chi archives and the OSS reports.


    The EASI volumes are dated May 1946, so it is understandable that they only had general information on Axis codebreaking activities. Processing all the captured material would have taken years. Yet most of the information on the strip cipher was available since early 1945 (16). With the cooperation of the State Department it should have been easy to identify which embassies used these strips and for how long.


    After I wrote the essay I decided to investigate further so I requested the relevant information on the embassies that used these strips from the State Department’s FOIA office.


    The response I received this month says:


    Based on the subject matter of your request, we searched the record systems most likely to maintain responsive records: the central Foreign Policy Record Files and the Retired Inventory Management System records. After a thorough search of these systems conducted by professional employees familiar with their contents and organization, no records responsive to your request were located.’



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  • 11/03/16--06:36: Interesting articles
  • So far it’s been a slow year…

    Here are some academic articles that I found interesting:


    1). From Journal of Intelligence History: ‘Turkey’s intelligence diplomacy during the Second World War






    6). From International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence: ‘Tolkachev Evidence Still Skimpy


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  • 11/07/16--01:35: Update
  • I’ve added the following:


    Military Intelligence Code No11 was a 5-letter codebook, printed in 1933. It was enciphered with substitution tables.


    Source was the book ‘The history of codes and ciphers in the United States during the period between the world wars part ii. 1930-1939’.



    Under Military systems


    The Military Intelligence Code No5 had been printed in 1918, Military Intelligence Code No9 in 1919, Military Intelligence Code No10 in 1927, Military Intelligence Code No11 in 1933 and Military Intelligence Code No12 in 1935.


    The War Department Confidential Code No1 was introduced in the 1930’s. It was not a new codebook but rather the old Military Intelligence Code No5, provided with a new title page and supplement.


    It seems that the War Department Confidential Code No2 also followed this system. According to a 1943 message of the Japanese military attaché in Hungary the War Department Confidential Code No2 was the same as the Military Intelligence Code No12.


    Under Diplomatic and OSS systems



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  • 11/09/16--00:17: Top Kek


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  • 11/10/16--02:34: Ahahahahah

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  • 11/14/16--10:44: Ok last one....




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  • 11/17/16--00:59: Update
  • I’ve added the following in Soviet cipher teleprinters of WWII:

    Information from the War Diary of Inspectorate 7/VI


    More details are available from the monthly reports found in the War Diary of Inspectorate 7/VI.

    In July 1943 a report by dr Pietsch says that the examination of Russian Baudot material revealed cipher teleprinter traffic and an effort was made to copy this traffic either by LNA (Leitstelle der Nachrichtenaufklärung in Loetzen) or Staats (Wa Pruef 7/IV C). Processing was to be carried out at Referat 13:

    (2) Die eingehende Beobachtung der Baudot-Aufnahmen ergab, daß neben normalen Klar- und Chitexten auch Material anfällt, daß als eigentlicher Fernschreibschlüsselverkehr anzusprechen ist. Es wurden Maßnahmen verabredet, um das Material in einer zur Bearbeitung geeigneten Form (Lochstreifen, Einbeziehung des Verständigungsverkehrs) nach Berlin zu bekommen. Eine tiefergehende Bearbeitung dürfte nur an Ort einer Empfangsstelle (LNA oder Staats) möglich sein. Ob man jedoch beim Fehlen jeder Geräte-Kenntnis über primitive Feststellungen hinauskommen kann, bleibt abzuwarten. Über die weitere Entwicklung wird Referat 13 berichten.


    In August ’43 the tapes with the Baudot traffic were examined but investigations could not be carried forwards due to the limited traffic and the many errors due to bad reception.

    In September ’43 dr Pietsch and dr Doering (head of Referat 13) met with their Forschungsamt counterparts Councilors Paetzel and Kroeger (the FA’s cipher machine specialist), to discuss the Soviet cipher teleprinter problem.

    Investigations continued and in November ’43 the analysts of Referat 13 succeeded in solving a long message and recovering the pure ‘key’:

    6. Russischer Baudot--‐Verkehr. Es gelang, für einen längeren Spruch den reinen Schlüssel zu erstellen und damit den Geheimtext zu lösen. Schlussfolgerungen über den Bau und die Wirkungsweise der Schlüsselfernschreibmaschine konnten bisher nicht daraus gezogen werden.


    In December ‘43 the departments were renamed, with Referat 13 becoming Referat b2. A second message was solved and investigations continued:

    6. Russischer Baudot--‐Verkehr. Aus einem zweiten Spruchmaterial wurde stückweise der reine Schlüssel ermittelt. Weitere Materialen wurden laufend untersucht.


    In February and March ’44 departments b1 (general research into cipher machines) and b2 (former 13) worked on the teleprinter problem, examining the Soviet 4-letter and 5-letter Baudot traffic and the movement of the cipher wheels of the device:

    Referat b1

    3. Russischer Baudot--‐Verkehre: Neu in Angriff genommen wurde die Untersuchung von russischen 4B--‐ und 5B--‐Sprüchen, die in Baudot--‐Fernschreibverkehren auftreten. Die Untersuchungen befinden sich noch im Anfangsstadium.


    Referat b2

    5. Russischer Baudot--‐Verkehr: Die Untersuchungen über die gegenseitige Abhängigkeit der einzelnen Impulse des reinen Schlüssels wurden an weiterem Spruchmaterial fortgesetzt.


    In April ’44 department b1 stated that through analysis of the indicator groups the Soviet Baudot traffic could be subdivided into three distinct groups. The first being probably a cipher machine unlike the second and the third unclear:

    3. Russischer Baudot--‐Verkehre: Durch Kenngruppenuntersuchungen gelang Trennung des Materials in drei Gruppen, von denen die erste im Gegensatz zur zweiten möglicherweise von einer Maschine stammt, während das dritte Verfahren völlig ungeklärt ist.


    The report of department b2 shows that there was a meeting at Wa Prüf 7 to better organize the interception of this traffic. Investigations on the recovered pure key continued.

    In the following months investigations continued but no breakthrough was achieved. There were complaints about the limited traffic intercepted.

    In December ’44 four messages in depth were solved and pure key analyzed:

    Russische Baudot verkehre

    Aus dem anfallenden material könnte ein kompromiss von 4 phasengleichen sprüchen  gefunden werden, der zum grössten Teil gelöst wurde. Mit Untersuchungen am reinen schlüssel wurde begonnen.


    In January ’45 investigations of the recovered pure key continued and in February more in depth messages were solved:

    Russische Baudot verkehr

    An der lösung weiterer phasengleicher sprüche wurde gearbeitet; ausserdem wurden die untersuchungen am reinen Schlüssel fortgesetzt.


    The last report, of March ’45 says that investigations continued:

    Russische Baudot verkehr

    Die untersuchung der russischen Baudot-verfahren wurde fortgesetzt.

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    In the period 1941-44 the cryptanalysts of the German army’s codebreaking department Inspectorate 7/VI investigated the security of the Enigma cipher machine.

    I’ve copied the relevant passages from the War Diary of Inspectorate 7/VI and as soon as I get some accurate translations I’ll post the text.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the files of the period 1939-40. However it is clear from the TICOM reports DF-190 that the double encipherment of the indicator was identified as a security weakness and that’s why it was changed in 1940.

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    In The Irish Government Telegraph Code I’ve added some decrypted Irish diplomatic messages from 1944.

    Source was the German Foreign Ministry’s Political Archive - TICOM collection – File Nr. 795 Irland 1944 Entschl. Verkehr (übersetzt) zw. d. versch. Irischen Botschaften.







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    In The ciphers of Czechoslovakia’s government in exile I’ve added the following in the paragraph ‘Report on the compromise of the communications of the government in exile’:


    The report ‘Dopady lúštenia šifrovacieho systému čs. londýnskeho MNO z rokov 1940-1945 na domáci odboj’, can be found in the archive of the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica and in the Central Military Archive at Prague.




    In the report Cigan analyzed the Czechoslovak STP cipher and found it insecure. In addition he proved the compromise of Czechoslovak ciphers by examining reports from the office of the high ranking SS official Karl Hermann Frank.


    A report from November 1944 had a summary of Funkwabwehr (Radio Defense) operations and it said that during the previous month 8 radio links, whose cipher procedures could be solved, were kept under observation. Of special interest was traffic between the Protectorate and London regarding the preparations for the uprising.


    In the month of October a total of 488 messages were solved and 8 cipher keys derived for the STP cipher.




    In pages 37-41 Cigan directly compared the Funkawbehr decodes with some of the Czechoslovak telegrams found in the country’s national archives.


    For example messages exchanged between the Minister of National Defense General Ingr and Ján Golian and Jaroslav Krátkýin the Protectorate and with Heliodor Píka in Moscow.  



    The author’s conclusion was that the use of insecure ciphers during wartime played an important role in undermining the operations of the Czechoslovak resistance movement and these events should be acknowledged by the country’s historians

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  • 12/18/16--00:13: Overview of 2016
  • During the year I continued to research several cases of cryptologic history. I got material from the US, British, German and Czech archives, I helped a lot of researchers by giving them information/files and I’ve also received some interesting material from my friends.

    In January I had a look at some Unanswered questions of WWII cryptology and I presented information on the Compromise of a US cipher teleprinter in 1944.












    In December I added information from the report ‘Dopady lúštenia šifrovacieho systému čs. londýnskeho MNO z rokov 1940-1945 na domáci odboj’ in my essay on The ciphers of Czechoslovakia’s government in exile.


    Hopefully in 2017 I will be able to cover the few remaining cases of cryptologic history that interest me.


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    In January 2016 I wrote a summary of the progress I had made in researching some very interesting cases of cryptologic history.

    What is the state of these cases a year later? Let’s see.


    1). US State Department M-138-A strip cipher


    In 2016 I wrote:


    This case has been (by far) the most difficult of those I’ve had to research. Despite this I was able to make real progress in 2015. I located the report ‘JAT write up - selections from JMA traffic' and used it to write an essay on the material transmitted from Germany and Finland to Japan, I received the report  I-89 ‘Report by Prof Dr. H Rohrbach of Pers Z S on American strip cipher’ and wrote Compromise of the State Department’s M-138-A strip cipher and the traffic of other US agencies.


    Also during the year I managed to find a lot of material on the Finnish codebreakers and their work on the M-138-A strip cipher. Regarding the Carlson-Goldsberry report the NSA’s FOIA office has managed to locate it but releasing it will take time.


    In 2016 I was able to find more information on how the M-138-A cipher system was used by the State Department and I presented this information in New developments in the strip cipher case. I also added dr Huttenhain’s statements on the solution of the M-138-A cipher, from his unpublished manuscript ‘Einzeldarstellungen aus dem Gebiet der Kryptologie.


    Unfortunately the TICOM report DF-15 ‘Reports of group A’, that I expected would have details on the solution of the M-138-A cipher by the codebreakers of the German Foreign Ministry, simply says in page 5:


    SV: In the summer of 1941 A-Group received through OKW a photographic copy of the Instructions for Use and 4 series of strips by means of which a number of messages could be deciphered.


    SV means Streifenverfahren = strip cipher system.


    Regarding the Carlson-Goldsberry reportthe NSA’s FOIA office still hasn’t declassified it.


    2). NKVD 5th Department codebreakers


    As far as I know no new information is available on the wartime operations and successes of the Soviet codebreakers.


    3). Referat Vauck success


    In 2016 I wrote:


    After locating the reports of Referat 12 i was able to write the detailed essay Allied agents codes and Referat 12. I’ve also requested the postwar interrogation reports of Dr Wilhelm Vauck from the NSA. However locating and declassifying them will take some time.


    The NSA’s FOIA office has stated this year that ‘a thorough search of our historical files was conducted but no records responsive to your request were located’.


    Thus it seems that dr Vauck was not interrogated by the Anglo-Americans at the end of WWII.


    4). Forschungsamt information


    According to the NSA’s FOIA office my case concerning the release of reports DF-240 and DF-241 is in the final review queue.


    5). German Enigma investigations


    In 2016 I wrote:


    The reports of the German Army’s codebreakers on the Enigma are available from government archives in the US and Germany. Unfortunately no one has read and commented on them.


    The Inspectorate 7/VI reports are in the US National Archives and Records Administration, collection RG 457 - entry 9032 - boxes 1405-1409. I don’t have the means to check these boxes for the Enigma reports (plus they’re in German).


    However I do have the Inspectorate 7/VI war diary and I’ve copied the passages dealing with research on the security of the Enigma cipher machine. As soon as I get some accurate translations I’ll post the text.


    6). Japanese Purple and Coral cipher machines


    I haven’t seen any new information on the possible solution of these cipher machines by the German codebreakers.


    7). Soviet diplomatic code


    I haven’t seen anything new on the possible solution of the Soviet diplomatic code by the Germans.


    8). M-209 decoding device


    My previous statement still stands:

     ‘I have to say I’m still surprised that this device has not received any attention from historians and/or the media!’ 


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    Although I’ve written essays about the most interesting cases of cryptologic history, there are a few cases that I have not been able to cover in detail.

    Unfortunately in order to write about them I need access to material from the NSA’s FOIA office or from the US and German archives.

    If all goes well and I receive this material then I will be able to write about the following cases:

    1). Forschungsamt

    The Air Ministry’s Research Department - Reichsluftfahrtministerium Forschungsamt was one of the major intelligence organizations of Nazi Germany.

    It was created by Hermann Goering as his personal intelligence agency in 1933 and during the period 1933-45 the Forschungsamt monitored telegram, mail and telephone traffic in Germany and also intercepted and decoded foreign radio traffic.

    Unfortunately we do not know many details about their wartime work. ‘European Axis signals intelligence vol 1 - Synopsis’, p21-2 says that no evidence of their cryptanalytic successes was found and that less than 1% of the FA’s personnel were interrogated.

    Much later, in the early 1950’s, two TICOM reports on the Forschungsamt were written by former members drs Kröger, Huppertsberg and Kurtzbach.

    TICOM reports DF-240 and DF-241 should have interesting information. If the NSA’s FOIA releases them I’ll be able to write a detailed report on the operations of the Forschungsamt.

    2). Japanese diplomatic cipher TOKI


    In order to protect its diplomatic communications Japan’s Foreign Ministry used several cryptologic systems during WWII. In 1939 the PURPLE cipher machine was introduced for the most important embassies, however not all stations had this equipment so hand systems continued to play an important role in the prewar period and during the war.


    Both the Anglo-Americans and the Germans solved the J-19 FUJI code in the period 1941-43. In summer ’43 FUJI was replaced by three new systems. The transposed codes TOKI and GEAM and the enciphered code ‘Cypher Book No1’.

    TOKI was used in the period 1943-45 and it was similar to J-19 in that it was a code transposed on a stencil. Just like its predecessor it was solved by the Anglo-Americans and the German codebreakers. The US designation was JBA and the designation in Pers Z files (decryption department of the German Foreign Ministry) was JB-64.

    If all goes well and I receive the relevant material I will write an essay on TOKI.

    3). M-209 update


    The M-209 cipher machine was used in WWII by the US armed forces as a medium level cryptostystem. I’ve given a summary of the German solution of this device in The American M-209 cipher machine however I’m going to be adding information in some paragraphs.

    I’m also waiting for some files from NARA. If I receive them then they should contain a lot of new information.

    4). Croat Enigma

    I’ve already written about this case in German codebreakers vs Enigma but this time I will write a more detailed essay using the information contained in the war diary of Inspectorate 7/VI.

    5). Swiss Enigma


    I’ve given a summary of German work on the Swiss diplomatic Enigma cipher machine in German codebreakers vs Enigma but this time I decided to investigate further so I’ve copied more material from the archives.

    Unfortunately that wasn’t enough and in order to write about this case I will have to wait till the NSA’s FOIA office releases the relevant files (TICOM reports I-31, DF-240, DF-241).

    6). M-138-A cipher


    If the NSA’s FOIA office releases more TICOM reports and if they contain new information on the compromise of the State Department’s M-138-A cipher then it might be possible to write more about this very interesting case.

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    Good analysis from Eli the Computer Guy


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