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Jagdklinger
09-08-2005, 03:03 AM
Just a query for the amateur historians on the boards

What role did radio intercepts play in WWII?

I've heard about Ultra and how it helped the Allies (stealing an Enigma machine off a U-Boat which allowed them to decode all German transmissions?). Did it 'win the war' as I have seen claimed or would the Allies have won without it? What would have happened if the situations were reversed?

What sort of radio intercept work was used at a more tactical level (i.e. brigade-level etc)?

With regards to the air war, did the German planes really use Allied radio chatter to home in on their targets?

Thanks!

Lucius_Esox
09-08-2005, 03:56 AM
(stealing an Enigma machine off a U-Boat which allowed them to decode all German transmissions?).

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/cry.gif

asgeirr73
09-08-2005, 04:03 AM
If you like to see a few movies about it I can recomend Enigma whit Kate Winstlet (spelling?)
about the breaking of the keywords and stuff

And U-574 (not sure about the last number) it`s about the capture of the german uboat and the codemachine

it is the Americans who do the operation in the movie but in reality it was the English

the atlantic war hadn`t gone so well if it hadn`t been for the enigma break thru and ofcourse also on land

I don`t think the allied would have lost the war but they shortened it considrably and spared alot of people

on exactly what level the codebreaking was used I don`t know

there are a lot of books written about the subject the movie Enigma is made after one written by Robert Harris

Jaras
09-08-2005, 04:31 AM
Enigma machine was cracked in 1932 in Poland, by a modern cryptology department at the University of Poznan by three young Polish mathematicians.
Their names were: Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki & Henryk Zygalski. They proved that unbreakable code, as Germans thought, is not as unbreakable at it seemed to be.
Poland had the ability do decrypt intercepted coded German messages already before the war. Just before the beginning of WWII all the knowledge and equipment (exact copy of Enigma machine) was given to British intelligence, as a confirmation of Poland's devotion of being an allie. British intelligence did not share that knowledge even with United States intelligence agencies. Beucase it is not the knowledge that these kind of institutions share around http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
When war started Polish cryptologists were quickly evacuated through Romania to France, and by October 1939 they were reorganized and started to decrypt Enigma messages again. When Germans entered France, most of the Polish cryptologists were captured by Gestapo. Few escaped to England.
Thanks to Polish help, British had been able to understand German coded messages through entire war. This brought many victories.

More here, and even more on google:
http://www.pan.net/history/enigma/

strelnik_Sipi
09-08-2005, 04:34 AM
Enigma code was first decrypted by the Polish inteligence shortly before the war. As the war started they moved all key informations and personell to the UK. So was Ultra born. British used a special computer to decrypt the messages called "The Bomb".

Radio interception played a large role in WW2. It influenced the war in Africa and the fate of Afrikacorps in a quite dramatic way.

KRISTORF
09-08-2005, 04:40 AM
At Bletchley Park (approx 2 miles from my home) they have re-built the computer 'Collosus' that was used as part of the code breaking operation.

If anyone can, visit the part, it is full of interesting exibits.

Luftwaffe_109
09-08-2005, 04:40 AM
I recommend you also read about the Soviet "Lucy" spy-ring inside the German High Command.

It was responcible for a number of propaganda coups, not least of which include discovering the German intentions for the Kursk offensive. Along with Hitler's delaying of Zitadel in order to field some advanced German tanks which were coming into operation, this allowed the Soviets to heavily fortify the Kursk salient. These anti-tank fortifactions played a large role in defeating the offensive.

BSS_Goat
09-08-2005, 05:02 AM
Ask Hristo, he's the local pro at radio intercepts.

STENKA_69.GIAP
09-08-2005, 06:01 AM
Originally posted by Jagdklinger:
A) What role did radio intercepts play in WWII?

B) What sort of radio intercept work was used at a more tactical level (i.e. brigade-level etc)?


A) they had a huge effect - the Egnigma code was not the only one broken.

Take for example Midway - this was the Japanese attempt to finish the Pacific War with one decisive sea battle - which was their whole war strategy - expecting the Americans to sue for peace.

A code/breaking intercept identified the target of the attack and the time - without this the battle would have been lost.

B) Radio intercepts sometimes were used right down to detail mission planning.

First - the Enigma code not only gave away all German but all Italian transmissions.

On Malta they would know exactly which Italian ships were leaving port, at what time and with what escort. Then the number of aicraft, arming and intercept points were planned for the torpedo planes.

The planning was so detail that they also sent a dummy reconnecence mission in advance so that the Italians would not wonder how they always turned up in the right place at the right time and suspect that Enigma was broken.

Mutch broken code was not used to avoid it giving away the secret that the code was broken.

On a simpler basis radio listening was widely used.

For example the German ground crew would always test the radio before a mission. During the Battle of Britain listening stations would count the number of radio tests early morning and they would know how many enemy planes were readied up for take off.

Did this win the war?

Senceless question, the war was won by huge quantities of stubborness, pride, stupidity, bravery, incompetence, equipment, lucki, waste, cunning, creativity, cruelty, innovation.....

Why should one element be the reason for such monumental folly.

Jagdklinger
09-08-2005, 06:13 AM
movie Enigma is made after one written by Robert Harris

I think I've read a book by the same guy: "Fatherland"


Enigma machine was cracked in 1932 in Poland, by a modern cryptology department at the University of Poznan by three young Polish mathematicians.
Their names were: Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki & Henryk Zygalski. They proved that unbreakable code, as Germans thought, is not as unbreakable at it seemed to be.
Poland had the ability do decrypt intercepted coded German messages already before the war. Just before the beginning of WWII all the knowledge and equipment (exact copy of Enigma machine) was given to British intelligence, as a confirmation of Poland's devotion of being an allie. British intelligence did not share that knowledge even with United States intelligence agencies. Beucase it is not the knowledge that these kind of institutions share around Smile
When war started Polish cryptologists were quickly evacuated through Romania to France, and by October 1939 they were reorganized and started to decrypt Enigma messages again. When Germans entered France, most of the Polish cryptologists were captured by Gestapo. Few escaped to England.
Thanks to Polish help, British had been able to understand German coded messages through entire war. This brought many victories.

Thanks, Jaras - checking the link now....


I recommend you also read about the Soviet "Lucy" spy-ring inside the German High Command.

Hmmm. I read about a Soviet spy ring in Japan, years ago - is that correct?


Ask Hristo, he's the local pro at radio intercepts
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif
Actually, my initial post contained a veiled reference - that's actually what got me thinking about it in the first place. If I had more artistic talent I'd do a Hristo-sig takeoff with radar and HF/DF gear on Fw190....


On Malta they would know exactly which Italian ships were leaving port, at what time and with what escort. Then the number of aicraft, arming and intercept points were planned for the torpedo planes.

The planning was so detail that they also sent a dummy reconnecence mission in advance so that the Italians would not wonder how they always turned up in the right place at the right time and suspect that Enigma was broken.

Mutch broken code was not used to avoid it giving away the secret that the code was broken.

On a simpler basis radio listening was widely used.

For example the German ground crew would always test the radio before a mission. During the Battle of Britain listening stations would count the number of radio tests early morning and they would know how many enemy planes were readied up for take off.

Wheels within wheels... fascinating - I wonder who decided to 'sacrifice' lives in order that the secret of the code might be saved...

Thanks 4 replies!

Chuck_Older
09-08-2005, 07:02 AM
Movies are great entertainment http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

To get a real idea on what it took to decode something in WWII and how that info was used and why it sometimes wasn't used, as well as an in-depth overview of the theory of operation of the Enigma codes and cipher machines, and what ones were used by the Germans and why, read a book called "Seizing the Enigma"

asgeirr73
09-08-2005, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by Jagdklinger:
[QUOTE]movie Enigma is made after one written by Robert Harris


I think I've read a book by the same guy: "Fatherland"

Yes this one also made it to movie starring Rutger Hauer
it was about what it would have looked like if the germans had won the war

Luftwaffe_109
09-08-2005, 07:18 AM
Originally posted by Jagdklinger:
Hmmm. I read about a Soviet spy ring in Japan, years ago - is that correct?


Hello Jagdklinger.

Perhaps you refer to Richard Sorge, the famous Soviet spy in Tokyo, who had informed Stalin that the Japanese had planned to strike south into the Pacific against the Americans and not westwards against the Soviet Far East? Although Stalin had not entirely trusted Sorge, confirmation from other sources led to him feeling confident in transporting Siberian divisions from the Manchurian frontier along the trans-Siberian railway to the desperate defence of Moscow.

Regards

triggerhappyfin
09-08-2005, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Jagdklinger:
[QUOTE]movie Enigma is made after one written by Robert Harris

Yes a ****ed good book. I picked it up at a local bookstore, was on sale for 24 swedish crowns(about 3 Euro). It looked dull on the outside but I read the description on the back and thought I could give it a shot as I lacked a good read. It showed up to be a really good story. I really recommend it both as a book and as a movie(Got that one on DVD too).

Max.Power
09-08-2005, 09:22 AM
I cannot recommend U-571 for any purpose other than leaving your brain at the door and giving yourself to the fantasy. It's not historically correct in any sense of the word, and I actually think it does a great dishonour to the people who actually risked their lives to recover the machine by misappropriating the nationalities of the agents who did it!

SlickStick
09-08-2005, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by BSS_Goat:
Ask Hristo, he's the local pro at radio intercepts.

As soon as I opened the thread, I knew it would eventually end up there. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b71/Big_Duke/Last_Laugh_sml.jpg

Above courtesy of John Wayne.

csThor
09-08-2005, 09:53 AM
In fact capturing an Enigma from a U-Boat didn't mean they could crack all german enigma codes within a second. Heer, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine had different code sets and all the captured Enigma could do was to give the British detailed knowledge how that Enigma worked and with the naval codebook they could crack the Kriegsmarine codes. AFAIR the Luftwaffe and Heer Enigmas were less sophisticated (didn't they use one reel less than the KM version??), but the difference in code sets still required work to crack them.

And last but not least - the Heer and the Luftwaffe had less reasons to use Enigma at all since they could rely on other means of transporting information.

LEBillfish
09-08-2005, 10:02 AM
In MacAurthur's Eagles "Ultra" intercepts and other finally declassified information really shows how much info can be obtained so you can do exactly what the enemy is NOT prepared for. Even little things such as knowing the 6th Hikoushidan is at Wewak, and the 14th Hikoudan will occupy But drome....Then hearing the "14th currently has 68th 5, 78th 2, tomorrow 50 replacements arrive"...Tells you where to hit and how knowing the 68th and 78th are part of the 14th of the 6th.

As the 4th Kokugun/AirArmy really began to make a presence in Rabual then NewGuinea, they decided to build a rather large complex of bases at Wewak far enough from the front they would be safe from all attacks.........In kind, they really had little in the way of equipment, so most of the work was done by hand...So imagine building a runway 100m wide by 2,000m long x5 and all the revetments and such to go with it...In kind, having really little in the way of supplies delivered.

Now, though Ultra intercepts and other information supposedly was kept to a circle of 4 U.S. personel by MacAurthur, It sure is odd how Kenny magically stumbled onto beginning to hammer ALL of Wewak just AFTER it was finished and filled and in ways that seemed to always catch most of the Japanese on the ground lined up being fueled and armed.

The attacks were deliberate and interesting as well......Use heavy bombers to drop 1,000# bombs directly on AAA positions. Next heavy bombers to drop large 1,000# daisy cutters with a delay that would go off after the attacks & bunker bombs to destroy the runways. Then sweep in low with Medium bombers and parafrags which are really in that condition only worthwhile on exposed lined up aircraft and equipment. Finally having the medium bombers and Fighters strafe to finish it off.

Ok, normal plan right?....Well, who bombs from high alt scattered though plentiful AAA with large bombs?.....Why hammer runways that if you had heavy equipment could be repaired in a day or 2 and more so do it in a way that considers "numerous" men working on them?.....Why bring parafrags if you're not sure the enemy is on the ground and lined up (though revetment housed planes this would work on yet only if lined up)....and why risk fighters and returning bombers to ground fire while strafing.

This was done day in and day out from August on plus naturally keeping supplies by shipping brought in......Typically, Air units were "kept" at 0-5 aircraft out of roughly 40-50 daily no matter how many planes were brought in. Bases were hit one after another oddly always where the remaining craft had been moved to, and many of the attacks were carried out without fear of Japanese fighter interceptors attacking.

Though it never says, IMLTHO Kenny knew where, when and how to hit, it was all just too perfect. There are even reports of 40 new Ki-61 arriving and the very next day reduced to 0. Daily.....and for a year till the Japanese were driven out of all of NewGuinea.

To me though not confirmed, that is a prime example of radio intercepts being used to overwhelm your enemy.

Dew-Claw
09-08-2005, 10:07 AM
Don't forget the contribution of these (http://www.click2flicks.com/wind_talkers/wind_talkers_ch1.htm) guys.

Fliegeroffizier
09-08-2005, 12:21 PM
I spent teh beter part of 25 years in the 'business' of 'radio intercepts' while in the US Air Force..intell ops from start to finish. The total story of that aspect of intelligence and WWII has still not been told, and MUCH has still not been declassified. (weird, but true).

I've met several of the key Brits who developed the techniques and procedures, etc, during WWII. We used their experience/advice on many matters in developing certain US military intell operations in the late 60's, 70's, even 80's.

Think about the Battle of Britain, and the "story" of how great the Brit Radar was in locating incoming Luftwaffe raids, and deducing therefrom what the Specific German targets Might be; likewise, recall how accurately these radars were able to delineate fairly precisely the numbers and types of acft in many/each incoming German formation. Do you REALLY think that the very early RADAR of the time was that Accurate/Capable??? Their was IMMENSE 'behind-the-scenes' information, masked by the Radar cover-story.

As mentioned above, MacArthur (and Kenney, his Air Commander) had massive accurate intell which made them so successful(and supposedly lucky) in their SW Pacific operations. Now think about this: In order not to reveal the source of such intell, and its accuracy, often "intentional" errors would have to be made to keep the enemy off guard.....say a poorly timed attack, or an attack against a supposedly 'surprisingly' well-defend target...etc. One's own force would suffer losses in those 'feints' or 'cover-story' operations...avoidable, but 'strategically necessary, losses/deaths. It is easy to see why it would not be desirable for records of such decisions (and the intelligence upon which they were based) to come to light...ipso facto, still Classifed even 60-65 years after the fact.
IMHO.

War is hell.

NorrisMcWhirter
09-08-2005, 01:15 PM
Hi,

For anyone interested in code breaking throughout history, I'd recommend 'The Code Book' by Simon Singh as it has an excellent mix of the history and pitfalls of ciphers plus some of the theory (although it's sometimes a little 'pop') behind it.

His other book, 'Fermat's Last Theorem' is also a good read which concerns the famous French mathematician's long standing enigma...which was eventually cracked by a British mathematician.

Ta,
Norris

Crimea_River
09-08-2005, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Max.Power:
I cannot recommend U-571 for any purpose other than leaving your brain at the door and giving yourself to the fantasy. It's not historically correct in any sense of the word, and I actually think it does a great dishonour to the people who actually risked their lives to recover the machine by misappropriating the nationalities of the agents who did it!

WELL SAID!

Suggested reading for use of Ultra and impact of the its use on decision making is "A Man Called Intrepid" by William Stephenson 1976. Tough to get through, a little disjointed, but fascinating nevertheless

SlickStick
09-08-2005, 05:48 PM
I love these types of threads. They are usually quite informative and teach me things I never knew about WWII or enhance what I already did know. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Unfortunately, everytime I learn something new, I forget something I already knew. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

blakduk
09-08-2005, 07:58 PM
Did radio intercepts win the war...? No.
Could the war have been won without them...? No.
Breaking the codes of the axis forces was one of the many elements that made victory over them possible.
One of the key reasons the codes were broken was the sloppy way the axis powers used them. The operators of the enigma machines often transmitted at predictable times about mundane matters that allowed valuable insights for the Bletchely park crew to decipher.
Also, the snatching of the enigma machine was not from a U-Boat (by US forces) but from a german navy ship (by UK forces) that was based in the north atlantic reporting on the weather- it was a brilliant operation not so much that it captured the machine but it gave the allies access to the contemporary code books.
Without the codes being broken the battle of the atlantic would have been lost to the U-boats- they often hid the fact the position of the U-Boat had been identified by code breakers by sending a recon plane to just the right spot to start patrolling. Thus when the u-boat was spotted credit was given to the airforce and the subturfuge wasnt revealed until very recently.

berg417448
09-08-2005, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by blakduk:
Did radio intercepts win the war...? No.
Could the war have been won without them...? No.
Breaking the codes of the axis forces was one of the many elements that made victory over them possible.
One of the key reasons the codes were broken was the sloppy way the axis powers used them. The operators of the enigma machines often transmitted at predictable times about mundane matters that allowed valuable insights for the Bletchely park crew to decipher.
Also, the snatching of the enigma machine was not from a U-Boat (by US forces) but from a german navy ship (by UK forces) that was based in the north atlantic reporting on the weather- it was a brilliant operation not so much that it captured the machine but it gave the allies access to the contemporary code books.
Without the codes being broken the battle of the atlantic would have been lost to the U-boats- they often hid the fact the position of the U-Boat had been identified by code breakers by sending a recon plane to just the right spot to start patrolling. Thus when the u-boat was spotted credit was given to the airforce and the subturfuge wasnt revealed until very recently.



Actually a U-boat (U-505) WAS captured at sea 4 June 1944 west of the Azores by U.S. Navy Task Group 22.3, after being forced to the surface by depth-charge attack. Boarding parties from destroyer USS Pillsbury and later the light aircraft carrier USS Guadalcanal kept the U-boat afloat, and it was eventually towed to Bermuda.

Enigma machine and 900 pounds of documents and code books were collected.

Of course, the British captured theirs much earlier in the war.

http://www.msichicago.org/exhibit/U505/exhibit/b_artifacts/

blakduk
09-08-2005, 08:45 PM
berg417448- thanks for the link, i hadnt been aware of that event.
I can understand why they were so keen to have the Germans believe the sub was sunk rather than captured. The last thing they wanted was the axis forces to change all their codes at that time (only a couple of days from D-day!)

vanjast
09-09-2005, 12:49 AM
Originally posted by Max.Power:
I cannot recommend U-571 for any purpose other than leaving your brain at the door and giving yourself to the fantasy. It's not historically correct in any sense of the word, and I actually think it does a great dishonour to the people who actually risked their lives to recover the machine by misappropriating the nationalities of the agents who did it!

That's Hollywood for you. It's a business decision to have a nationlist slant otherwise they would not make a profit. Now if Michael Moore brought out a similar movie I'd rather see this, than the Hollywood one http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

Xiolablu3
09-09-2005, 01:37 AM
Originally posted by Luftwaffe_109:
I recommend you also read about the Soviet "Lucy" spy-ring inside the German High Command.

It was responcible for a number of propaganda coups, not least of which include discovering the German intentions for the Kursk offensive. Along with Hitler's delaying of Zitadel in order to field some advanced German tanks which were coming into operation, this allowed the Soviets to heavily fortify the Kursk salient. These anti-tank fortifactions played a large role in defeating the offensive.


I read something totally different, the 'Lucy' ring involved people from nations all over the world but primarily from Switzerland.

And that the Soviets got the date and details of the Kursk offensive from the Western allies.

I guess it depends who you believe.

Xiolablu3
09-09-2005, 01:44 AM
Originally posted by Jaras:
Enigma machine was cracked in 1932 in Poland, by a modern cryptology department at the University of Poznan by three young Polish mathematicians.
Their names were: Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki & Henryk Zygalski. They proved that unbreakable code, as Germans thought, is not as unbreakable at it seemed to be.
Poland had the ability do decrypt intercepted coded German messages already before the war. Just before the beginning of WWII all the knowledge and equipment (exact copy of Enigma machine) was given to British intelligence, as a confirmation of Poland's devotion of being an allie. British intelligence did not share that knowledge even with United States intelligence agencies. Beucase it is not the knowledge that these kind of institutions share around http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
When war started Polish cryptologists were quickly evacuated through Romania to France, and by October 1939 they were reorganized and started to decrypt Enigma messages again. When Germans entered France, most of the Polish cryptologists were captured by Gestapo. Few escaped to England.
Thanks to Polish help, British had been able to understand German coded messages through entire war. This brought many victories.

More here, and even more on google:
http://www.pan.net/history/enigma/

The Poles cracked it on its easiest setting, ie its least coded. With the settings on A to A , B - B which the germans used when they first got the machine. The stuff is still coded but not encrypted very highly.

As the war went on the Germans used higher and higher settings which required computers and long codebreaking sessions to break, hence Bletchly Park.

If you read up on how enigma worked, wiring one letter to another letter, you will understanfd what I mean.

Kocur_
09-09-2005, 09:43 AM
The Poles cracked it on its easiest setting, ie its least coded. With the settings on A to A , B - B which the germans used when they first got the machine. The stuff is still coded but not encrypted very highly.

As the war went on the Germans used higher and higher settings which required computers and long codebreaking sessions to break, hence Bletchly Park.

If you read up on how enigma worked, wiring one letter to another letter, you will understanfd what I mean.

Enigma cracked by R├┬│┼╝ycki and team had this wiring used to ciphering. What was changed in spring of 1939 was adding two new ciphering reels. Decoding messages took now more time than previously, and there were not enough "cryptographical bombs" to decipher it within reasonable time.

Later on Brithish in Bletchley Park developed new methods of decoding Enigma messages, including linguistic analisys, but that relied on huge amount of previously decoded messages. Also Collosus was little more than much faster and efficient "bomb".

One thing stands: if Poles didnt break it and pass knowledge on the Enigma idea and know-how on decoding it, including elecromechanical decoding devices to the Allies, Enigma most probably would not have been cracked. Cracking it was possible only by a mathematician, and for example British government decoding team had NONE before they learned about Enigma from Poles. Next thing British did was hiring Alan Turing http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I highly recommend the book mentioned by NorrisMcWhirter:


For anyone interested in code breaking throughout history, I'd recommend 'The Code Book' by Simon Singh as it has an excellent mix of the history and pitfalls of ciphers plus some of the theory (although it's sometimes a little 'pop') behind it.

Luftwaffe_109
09-09-2005, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

I read something totally different, the 'Lucy' ring involved people from nations all over the world but primarily from Switzerland.

And that the Soviets got the date and details of the Kursk offensive from the Western allies.


I think this is incorrect. If you have any information otherwise please post it.

According to what I've read, Lucy was a Soviet spy ring which operated from the relative safety of neutral Switzerland. My understanding is Lucy was most likely a German dissident living in Switzerland called Rudolf R├┬Âssler who worked with the Soviets.

Lucy had given the Soviets the information and some details about an assualt on the Kursk Salient, however it could not give them the exact date of the attack.

Regarding your claim that information about Zitadel was recieved from the Western Allies and not the Soviet Lucy ring. Perhaps you are refering to intelligence forwarded by the British Military Mission in Moscow to the Soviets regarding information they had received about a possible Kursk Offensive via Luftwaffe Enigma translations from Bletchley Park? This occured in late March and confired what the Soviets had previously found from the Lucy spy ring.

I'm not sure exactly how much the intercepts of Luftwaffe transmissions were able to tell the Western Allies about the Kursk Offensive. I doubt it would be as detailed as Lucy, but I don't know for sure.

The Lucy spy ring was only a small part of a much larger Soviet spy ring named "Red Orchestra". At its height, the network carried out intelligence collection operations in Germany, France, Holland and Switzerland. The Red Orchestra spy ring consisted of three main branches. These were the network in France, Belgium, and Holland, the network in Berlin, and a the network of agents known as the "Lucy Ring," that operated from the relative safety of neutral Switzerland.

The Lucy Ring, perhaps the most important and famous branch of the Red Orchestra, possessed some very important sources of information. These sources are thought to includ Lieutenant General Fritz Theile, a senior officer in the Wehrmacht's communications branch, and Colonel Freiherr Rudolf von Gersdorff, who eventually became intelligence officer of Army Group Center on the eastern front (although of course this is still very much disputed). The Lucy Ring provided Stalin with very accurate information on German intentions regarding operations on the Ostfront. The Germans apparently knew of the existence of a Soviet spy ring operating in fairly high levels of the Reich Government administration as early as 1941. However, like many counterespionage cases, it was only after two years of painstaking investigation that the case was finally broken.


Regards

jarink
09-09-2005, 09:53 PM
Wow, how'd I miss this thread until now?!? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Since so much has already been said about strategic intercepts and code breaking, I'll focus on the tactical side of things.

There was nowhere near the kind of battlefield EW (Electronic Warfare) back in WWI as what is seen today. Much of the reason, of course is that battlefield radios and radars were as common back then. Even in the most modern equipped army (the US Army), field phones were the primary form of comms down to the Battalion and even Company level. Radios, when available, were bulky, heavy and short-ranged. Because of this, there were used more often in armored or mechanized infantry units.

Still, there are cases where informal communications EW would sometimes come into play. An obvious example of this is the use of Native American radio operators in the Pacific, their language itself being the code. I haev also read some accounts of where battlefield comms were either listened in on or intruded upon to gain information and spread misinformation (mainly in Europe since there were a lot more soldiers on both sides that knew the enemy's language).

The other part of communications EW that saw it's start in WWI was direction finding. "Huff Duff" (HF-DF) was the term used to describe the US and British efforts in the use of direction finding equipment on Kriegsmarine High Frequency radio comms. Doenitz demanded daily reports from all his U-boat capitans and the Allies were able to pick up on many of these transmissions on an array of receiving stations. Each station would note the bearing to the transmitter to a central control center. At the control center, the LOBs (lines of bearing) from several startions would be combined and indicate the likely location of the transmitter where they crossed. Given that HF signals scatter quite a bit, this would rarely do moer than indicate the presence of a sub in a roughly 100 square mile areea. Still, it was better than finding out a sub was around when it sank something!

As for non-communications EW, the use of radar and the countermeasuers used against it (mainly chaff and jamming) were almost exclusive to the air war. Radar was used by several navies, but mainly as a gunnery aid instead of a reconnaisance tool. There was also quite a bit of andvancement in radio navigation and it's countermeasures. The allied use of nav and bombing aids like "Oboe" and H2S greatly increased the effectiveness of both RAF and USAAF heavy bombers. The Germans used both meaconing (the use of false radio beacons to interfere with of give false readings) against these systems as well as glide bombs that were to home in on the transmissions from the radio stations themselves. They were not altogether successful.

Battlefield EW most definitely did not win the war. As stated previously, strategic EW made a significant, even critical difference in many theaters.

ImpStarDuece
09-09-2005, 10:17 PM
If any of you have a spare 20 minutes or so, there is an excellent web site that spells out the entire Polish contribution to the initial decrypting of the Enigma code and the continual efforts of Bletchely park to re-break it as it evolved during the war.

Breaking the Enigma code (http://www.avoca.ndirect.co.uk/enigma/index.html)

Enjoy, its seriously good reading!

Xiolablu3
09-10-2005, 01:37 AM
Luftwaffe 109 , that sounds correct to me as everything I have written can be explained by your post.

I guess what I have are the 'bare facts' without the details filled in.

Ie Lucy was from Switzerland but they didnt put in that they were a Soviet operation etc.

It sounds like what I have read/heard is a 'Western view' of trhe lucy spyring.

Good read thanks.

Luftwaffe_109
09-10-2005, 02:41 AM
No problem Xiolablu3, glad I was of assistance. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Jagdklinger
09-10-2005, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by jarink:
Wow, how'd I miss this thread until now?!? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Since so much has already been said about strategic intercepts and code breaking, I'll focus on the tactical side of things.

There was nowhere near the kind of battlefield EW (Electronic Warfare) back in WWI as what is seen today. Much of the reason, of course is that battlefield radios and radars were as common back then. Even in the most modern equipped army (the US Army), field phones were the primary form of comms down to the Battalion and even Company level. Radios, when available, were bulky, heavy and short-ranged. Because of this, there were used more often in armored or mechanized infantry units.

Still, there are cases where informal communications EW would sometimes come into play. An obvious example of this is the use of Native American radio operators in the Pacific, their language itself being the code. I haev also read some accounts of where battlefield comms were either listened in on or intruded upon to gain information and spread misinformation (mainly in Europe since there were a lot more soldiers on both sides that knew the enemy's language).

The other part of communications EW that saw it's start in WWI was direction finding. "Huff Duff" (HF-DF) was the term used to describe the US and British efforts in the use of direction finding equipment on Kriegsmarine High Frequency radio comms. Doenitz demanded daily reports from all his U-boat capitans and the Allies were able to pick up on many of these transmissions on an array of receiving stations. Each station would note the bearing to the transmitter to a central control center. At the control center, the LOBs (lines of bearing) from several startions would be combined and indicate the likely location of the transmitter where they crossed. Given that HF signals scatter quite a bit, this would rarely do moer than indicate the presence of a sub in a roughly 100 square mile areea. Still, it was better than finding out a sub was around when it sank something!

As for non-communications EW, the use of radar and the countermeasuers used against it (mainly chaff and jamming) were almost exclusive to the air war. Radar was used by several navies, but mainly as a gunnery aid instead of a reconnaisance tool. There was also quite a bit of andvancement in radio navigation and it's countermeasures. The allied use of nav and bombing aids like "Oboe" and H2S greatly increased the effectiveness of both RAF and USAAF heavy bombers. The Germans used both meaconing (the use of false radio beacons to interfere with of give false readings) against these systems as well as glide bombs that were to home in on the transmissions from the radio stations themselves. They were not altogether successful.

Battlefield EW most definitely did not win the war. As stated previously, strategic EW made a significant, even critical difference in many theaters.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif Nice post, Jarink - I was just going to solicit contributions to the tactical side of things...

FI-Aflak
09-10-2005, 02:47 PM
many people (myself included) feel that the code breaking effort made by the allies made the difference between victory and defeat in both theaters.

In the European Theater, Bletchly Park in the UK was the main base of operations, they broke the enigma (before any machine was captured. The effort to capture machines was continued because if the brits suddenly stopped caring about getting their hands on an enigma machine, the german's would have been able to deduce that the enigma was as broken and worthless as it turned out to be).

Having full access to german radio transmissions gave us several crucial advantages - we could find and destroy u-boats because we could read their orders. We could already pinpoint their location by using a coupld very directional radio antennas and finding them whenever they surfaced to radio home.

We knew their convoy routes and contents, we also knew what was most needed by the enemy in a given theater. We had broken enough codes that we knew what rommel was the most irate about not having and which convoys were carrying said item. Then we would just sink them.

We could route convoys around the positions of known-U-boats.


In the pacific theater the code breaking effort was at least equally beneficial. The first major naval battle after Pearl was the Battle of the Coral Sea. We had not broken japanese code wide open by that point, but enough information was extracted from enemy radio transmissions that we were able to get our fleet to more or less the right place at the right time and force a draw. Only a month later the battle of midway was fought, a battle in which the US knew enemy fleet positions and destinations. We held all the cards thanks to radio intercepts, we couldn't help but win. Many consider midway the turning point in the pacific war.

w00t for math geeks! they win wars!

Aaron_GT
09-11-2005, 01:43 AM
many people (myself included) feel that the code breaking effort made by the allies made the difference between victory and defeat in both theaters.

It probably shortened the war, but even without cracking Enigma the Allies probably had enough men and industrial production to keep the Axis forces at bay until the development of the atomic bomb. Once that had been developed then the fate of the Axis would definitely have been sealed.