Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Analysis of the Asia Minor campaign of 1919-1922

Impressive analysis of the Asia Minor campaign of 1919-1922 (in Greek):

I’ve always been interested in the Asia Minor campaign but unfortunately the books I’ve read so far tended to lack an in depth analysis of why the Greek forces failed to defeat the weakened Kemalist army.

The essays posted at the aforementioned site clearly point out the underlying problems of the Greek armed forces: the lack of professionalism of the officer corps, the rigid planning at the operational and strategic level and the lack of support between infantry, artillery and cavalry.

Great stuff!

Sunday, January 6, 2019


In The American M-209 cipher machine I added info on the unit NAASt 7 and the section:

Invasion of Sicily

In July 1943 US and British troops invaded the island of Sicily and after more than a month of fighting defeated the Axis forces and captured the island. However the German forces were able to avoid a total defeat by retreating in an orderly fashion through the Strait of Messina.

It seems that during the fighting in Sicily the Germans managed to capture a valid keylist of an M-209 network and thus read current US military traffic (14). 

The war diary of Inspectorate 7/VI says that in July ’43 the captured material allowed the continuous decryption of the traffic with indicator ‘ID’ and the results were communicated to NAAst 7.

The report of August ’43 says that messages of the ‘ID’ network could be decoded till mid month and after that it was still possible to find several cases of indicator reuse and thus solve the traffic of those days cryptanalytically.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The plan for 2019

After spending quite a lot of time and money researching these cases I think it’s time to wind things down.

During the year I’ll be checking books and articles on WWII history and cryptology but I will not embark on any new projects. Nor will I post as often as in past years.

Instead I’ll wait for the processing of my remaining FOIA cases with the NSA and State Department.

The two files are the TICOM report I-40 (from the NSA) and the Henriksson report (from the State Department).

There will also be a conference in late 2019, the NSA’s 2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History.

There might be some interesting presentations in this event.

Sometime during the year the first authorized history of GCHQ will be published. It seems that archival material will also be released to the UK national archives.

I will keep an eye out for interesting information. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Cancellation of my NARA FOIA cases

After being treated poorly one time too many I’ve decided to cancel my two FOIA cases with the US National archives (‘Interrogation of mr Hayashi’ and the two missing reports of NAASt 5).

In the past I simply said nothing because I wanted the file but now I’m too old for this shit.

Overview of 2018

This year I continued to research several cases of cryptologic history, I copied material from the US and UK national archives and I received reports from the NSA’s FOIA office. I also received some interesting files from friends of mine.

1). Original information was presented in the following essays:

2). I posted a presentation of the book The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa and a Q&A with the author.

3). I uploaded the following files:

4). I updated the following essays:

The British Interdepartmental Cypher (added a pic of the ID codebook)

Rommel’s microwave link (added a link and info on patent US2211132A)

The Japanese FUJI diplomatic cipher 1941-43 (added info from TICOM DF-31B)

The Soviet K-37 ‘Crystal’ cipher machine (added info from TICOM DF-217)

The American M-209 cipher machine (added the paragraph ‘M-209 vs Enigma’)

Allen Dulles and the compromise of OSS codes in WWII (added information from the Higgs memorandum)

5). I added links to several interesting sources:

Overall this was a productive year and many important files were located. There remain a handful of reports that I’m waiting for to be declassified. Hopefully that will happen in 2019.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Reports on enemy successes against US cryptosystems

I have uploaded the file ‘Reports on enemy successes against US cryptosystems’.

The source was US National archives - collection RG457 - Entry 9032 - box 1.367 - NR 4263.

There is an interesting report in that file concerning the German exploitation of the US M-209 cipher machine in late 1944 and early 1945:

NA 7 Sigint HQ was the Signal Intelligence Evaluation Center of KONA 7 (Kommandeur der Nachrichtenaufklärung - Signals Intelligence Regiment) covering Italy.

According to TICOM report IF-272 only two reports of KONA 7 survived WWII. These were E-Bericht IV/44 and E-Bericht I/45.

Unfortunately I don’t know where to find them.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


In the The American M-209 cipher machine I’ve added the following under ‘Additional information’:

M-209 vs Enigma:

Regarding the cryptologic strength of the M-209 machine versus the plugboard Enigma, the expert on classical cipher systems George Lasry (15) has stated:

One comment about the security of the M-209. The claim that the Enigma is more secure than the M- 209 is disputable.

1) The best modern ciphertext-only algorithm for Enigma (Ostward and Weierud, 2017) requires no more than 30 letters. My new algorithm for M-209 requires at least 450 letters (Reeds, Morris, and Ritchie needed 1500). So the M-209 is much better protected against ciphertext-only attacks.

2) The Turing Bombe – the best known-plaintext attack against the Enigma needed no more than 15-20 known plaintext letters. The best known-plaintext attacks against the M-209 require at least 50 known plaintext letters.

3) The Unicity Distance for Enigma is about 28, it is 50 for the M-209.

4) The only aspect in which Enigma is more secure than M-209 is about messages in depth (same key). To break Enigma, you needed a few tens of messages in depth. For M-209, two messages in depth are enough. But with good key management discipline, this weakness can be addressed.

Bottom line – if no two messages are sent in depth (full, or partial depth), then the M-209 is much more secure than Enigma’.

I also added Lasry’s M-209 articles in the notes: