Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bamford , the Russian ''FISH'' and Unteroffizier Karrenberg - Part 2

Ok so in part1 we had a look at the information presented by authors  Bamford ,Parrish and West regarding the finding by  TICOM team 1 in Rosenheim of a mysterious German unit that intercepted and reconstructed soviet multichannel  radio teletype traffic.Is this story a figment of their imagination ,are they simply parroting one another ? Nope this unit and the equipment it used definitely existed .Let’s have a look at the EASI reports and see if we can fill in some pieces of the puzzle.
Is the TICOM team mentioned  ?  Yes in EASI vol8 p53
Team #1, dispatched to the Berchtesgaden area to search for traces of the Signal Intelligence Agency of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (OKW/Chi), turned up the former headquarters of Goering’s "Research" Bureau (FA and a handful  of its personnel, secured the radio teleprinter communications train which had been attached to Field Marshal Kesselring’s headquarters, and located a German unit designed to intercept Russian non-Morse (Baudot) traffic. 
Ok so that part seems to be true. What about the use of radio teletype  by the Soviets? Didn’t  they use  code books like everyone else ? What was the point of going to such a high tech system?
From EASI vol4 p65
a. Radio teleprinter (Baudot) traffic was characteristic of the communications of the Russian General Staff to the Front Staffs (Army Group Staffs), and of that of the Front Staffs to the "Assault Armies." Russian General Staff radio teleprinter transmissions were 2-channel, as opposed to the "modulated" (i.e. probably multichannel) transmitters used from Front Staffs to Assault Armies. Also, these latter links used lower frequencies. Automatic high-speed morse transmission was possible on all such higher links, but was seldom used. (Three radio teleprinter links passing Air Force traffic from Moscow to higher Air Force headquarters were also identified.) 
Also EASI vol 4 p111
Corporal Karrenberg(of GdNA) spoke of "Bandwurm," and defined it as Russian Baudot letter "strip," not to be confused with Russian 5-letter traffic also carried on Baudot lines. The Germans did not capture any of the apparatus used but felt that it consisted of 2 parts: 1) a Baudot teleprinter and 2) a cipher attachment consisting of 5 small wheels driven by one large wheel. Depths were frequent, but the Germans did not seem to have any attempt to reconstruct the wheel patterns. The system used by the Army and Air Force and to a lesser extent by NKVD. Dr. Otto Buggisch (of OKH/Chi) went into somewhat more historical detail and stated that:
1) In 1943 (He heard), Goering's Research Bureau Forschungsamt, abbreviated FA) had claimed some success on a Russian teletype machine and had recreated the action. 2) Late in 1943 and early in 1944, OKH itself began to Intercept non-morse, 5-impulse traffic (called "Hughes" by Buggisch). The Mathematics section of In 7/VI (see Vol. V, Chapter II, on organization) worked on it; at the end of 1943, there was a "Kompromiss," and a depth of 8 messages with the same setting was created. The section was able to recover 1400 letters of pure key, and to determine that the traffic was derived from a 5-figure code. The Germans postulated a machine like the German T 43, but was not able to prove any theories they had. 3) Hollerith machinery was devised to locate depths, but in actuality only three or four more depths were found and were of no long-termed value. 4) The traffic (Buggisch thought, since he left the section in June) slumped off in 1944, and LNA took steps to improve reception.

Buggisch stressed one fact which had surprised him, that they had never had information about either of these machines (he assumed that the one the FA broke was not the same because of the difference of cycles) from PW or agent sources.The number of links, according to Corporal Karrenberg, varied according to the number of armies, with a maximum of 8. One end of link was Moscow, the other mobile. After 1944, no work was done on the traffic except on the spot. No vital clues to the system were given away by the Russians, though their security precautions were not considered good.

So it seems the Russians had at least one model of enciphered teleprinter in use.A simple machine with 6 rotors.But notice what Karrenberg said : ''not to be confused with Russian 5-letter traffic also carried on Baudot lines''.Could this mean that standard teleprinters were also in use?
Let's leave that for now and go back to the German machine.Who actually built it ?  
From EASI vol 8 p33
Signal Branch tested Non-Morse intercept equipment.
Intercept equipment for Russian three-and nine-channel transmissions was designed. Success was achieved in intercepting the Baudot link between Paris and Moscow.
Hmm didn't Bamford say : ''The Russian system involved dividing the transmissions into nine separate parts and then transmitting them on nine different channels''.
So it seems it was Army Ordnance, Development and Testing Group, Signal Branch that built it:
(Chef der Heeresruestung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres Amtsgruppe fuer  Entwicklung und Pruefung des Heereswaffenamts,Waffenpruetung Abteilung 7, abbreviated Wa Pruef 7)
Army Ordnance, Development and Testing Group, Signal Branch was itself broken down into seven groups:
Group I (Wa Pruef 7/I) procured raw materials and small equipment.
Group II (Wa Pruef 7/11) developed telephone and telegraph equipment and ciphony (ciphony vas transferred to /II in 1942).
Group III (Wa Pruef 7/111) developed radio communication equipment, teleprinter, facsimile and television equipment, ciphony and cipher devices.
Group IV (Wa Pruef 7/IV) developed radio Intercept, direction finding and ciphony deciphering equipment.
Group V (Wa Pruof 7/V) developed permanent communications equipment for permanent Installations.
Section VI (Wa Pruef 7, Referat VI) developed chemical and flare signal equipment.
Group VII (Wa Pruef 7(II) developed radio remote control devices for rockets
Do we have any hint about the location of the facilities ? It could be that this equipment was installed at several intercept stations however i found this information in :
EASI vol 3 p48
Huettenhain had seen some Baudot traffic, and this had come from the intercept station at Staats. This station was conducted by the Reserve Army and was subordinate to a section of the Army Ordnance Testing Department whose work was the development of Signal Equipment. Staats also picked up Multiplex, Duplex, and Verdun transmissions and passed them to OKW/Chi. It was in operation since before the war, but its subordination indicates that the chief mission of the station was the development of equipment rather than operational intercept.
The most important question is who used it and in what manner.The Army High Command Signal Intelligence Service had a sub-section Group VI for ''Special Intercept'' .It makes sense that this unit would be using it since they were responsible for intercepting and evaluating Soviet teletype traffic.
From EASI vol 4 p15  :
Group VI, located at Potsdam under Capt. Roeder, was responsible for intercepting and evaluating special high-grade machine systems, Russian systems were handled by Section 1, with three sub-sections: Ia: interception and evaluation of Inter-Soviet State traffic; lb: intercepting and evaluation of Russian Baudot; lc: intercepting and evaluation of Russian Army traffic. Western teleprinter and automatic morse, traffic was handled by Section 2. (Interception was done in sub-section 2b, evaluation in sub-section 2a).
The interception and evaluation of special high grade machine ciphers of Russia, Britain, and the USA were assigned to Group VI of OKH/GdNA which was located at Potsdam. Section 1, dealing with Russian traffic, had three sub-sections . la Interception of Inter-Soviet State traffic, lb Interception of Russian Baudot traffic, lc Interception of Russian Army traffic. The interception of Russian Baudot traffic (called by the Russians Z-traffic) was carried on by the same personnel who had manned the Russian Baudot station at Minsk in 1942/43. In 1943, the Russian Baudot station was moved to HLS Ost at Loetzen, where it was absorbed by Section 4 of HLS Ost. When HLS Ost was absorbed by the OKH/GdNa the Baudot station became Section lb of the OKH/GdNA. Section 2 of Group VI was employed with the interception (2b)and the evaluation (2a) of British and American high grade machine Ciphers.The interception of this traffic has been carried on by Feste 3 at Euskirchen until the establishment of the OKH/GdNA, when the responsibility for interception was transferred to the central agency.The interception of wireless photography, called by the Germans Y-traffic, was carried on by a special unit of Section I of Group VI. This unit intercepted traffic from all over the world but the non-Russian channels are said not to have yielded any valuable information. Photos intercepted from internal Russian traffic, however, often contained technical diagrams and charts.
Notice that Karrenberg(quoted several times in the EASI reports) was part of the Russian Baudot research section.
Is there any reference anywhere else on the use of this kind of equipment ? Well in ''German Radio Intelligence '' i found the following :
Generalleutnant Albert Praun became Chief Signals Officer in 1944.
4. Recording Devices
When radio communication followed the example of wire communication in adopting mechanical transmission and recording procedures, the high-speed traffic of foreign fixed radio stations was at first recorded by means of wax matrix and steel wire recorders. In 1939 a further refinement was introduced in the form of the "Magnetofon," which employed an iron-oxide-coated cellophane tape. This device was used as a sound recorder by intercept units before and during the war. Short-range RI platoons were issued portable sound recorders after 1942.
For intercepting enemy messages sent over radioteletype and multiplex circuits the Germans established in I944 a special recording center which consisted of eleven special radiotelegraph intercept devices which were tied in with sixty teletypewriters. This installation was a synthesis of recent technical developments in the field of radio and of experience with high-speed telegraphy. The average daily performance varied between ten and fifteen million characters, which could be raised to fifty million by around-the-clock operation.
This special recording center furnished cryptanalysis with a large volume of reliable texts and provided complete coverage of the widely-differing types of foreign high-speed CW and multiplex traffic. These messages were solved without actually possessing enemy transmitting and receiving sets and in spite of the fact that the Russians, Americans, British, and French had highly-developed teletype systems.
Facsimile transmission by radio was in extensive use by such Russian agencies as the NKVD and the Commissariat for Transportation. A net of about forty to fifty facsimile stations, several of which were in Siberia —for instance, in Irkutsk, Tashkent, and Vladivostok - transmitted hand-written communications, typewritten texts, drawings, and weather maps. However, none of the Russian facsimile devices ever fell into the hands of the Germans. Nevertheless, the latter did succeed in intercepting Russian facsimile messages with corresponding equipment.
Up to 1941 the Russians transmitted messages via facsimile in clear text. Even after the Russians had begun to use cipher machines, the Germans still had no difficulty in finding solutions and recording almost the entire facsimile output until the end of the war
Strategic radio intelligence directed against the Russian war production effort provided a wealth of information for the evaluation of Russia's military potential. Owing to the general dearth of long-distance telephone and teletype land circuits, radio communication assumed an especially important role in Russia not only as an instrument of military leadership but also as the medium of civilian communication in a widely decentralized economy. In keeping with its large volume, most of this Russian radio traffic was transmitted by automatic means, as explained in Appendix 7. The German Army intercepted this traffic with corresponding automatic equipment and evaluated it at the communication intelligence control center. Multiplex radioteletype links connected Moscow not only with the so-called fronts or army groups in the field, but also with the military district headquarters in Leningrad, Tiflis, Baku, Vladivostock, and in many other cities. In addition, the radio nets used for inland navigation provided an abundance of information. Although this mechanically transmitted traffic offered a higher degree of security against interception, the Russians used the same cryptosystems as in the field for sending important military messages over these circuits. The large volume of intercepted material offered better opportunities for German cryptanalysis. Strategic radio intelligence furnished information about the activation of new units in the zone of interior, industrial production reports, requests for materiel and replacements, complaints originating from and problems arising at the production centers and administrative agencies in control of the war economy. All this information was indexed at the communication intelligence control center where reports were drawn up at regular intervals on the following aspects of the Russian war production effort:

Planning and construction of new factories;
Relocation of armament plants;
Coal and iron ore production figures;
Raw material and fuel requirements for industrial plants;
Tank and gun production figures;
Transportation facilities and problems;
Railway, inland shipping, and air communications;
Agricultural production;
Food distribution and rationing measures;
Manpower, labor allocation, and other relevant matters

Strategic radio intelligence thus made a slight dent in the Iron Curtain, which during the war was drawn even more tightly than at present, and offered some insight into the operation of the most distant Siberian production centers and the tremendous war potential of that seemingly endless expanse of land.
Combined with what Karrenberg said i take this to mean that the Russians also used unenciphered radio teleprinters and sent messages after first enciphering them with their standard 2-part codebooks(used by armed forces).Since the Germans had success with most of them it's reasonable to assume that they would be able to read a lot of that traffic.
Praun also mentions the Staats facility :
''An experimental station for observing radio signals and for developing new intercept equipment was established by the Army Ordnance Office at Hillersleben-Staats....During the year 1944, for instance, twenty-four new techniques in enemy radio communication were observed and the development of corresponding countermeasures was immediately undertaken. At the experimental station the volume of recordings, which were made available to the cryptanalysis and evaluation sections of the Armed Forces Cryptographic Branch and the Evaluation Control Center of OKH, averaged ten million transmissions a day.''

The only thing that's left is to find  the identity of the unit in Rosenheim.Is it possible it was  a sub-section of Group VI ?
It seems so  : vol4 p54 
During the last months of the war, the internal intercept units of the GdNA were also disrupted. The units of Croups I and V moved with the other groups of the GdNA to Erfurt and then to Bad Reichenhall.The intercept unit of  Group VI which had been covering high grade machine traffic at Potsdam was moved to Stuttgart and from there to Rosenheim.The equipment was buried in the cellar in the surrounding neighborhood of a house, the Pioneer-Kaserne, in Rosenheim where it was later found by TICOM interrogators.
Parrish says : '"a little twenty-year-old German sergeant had the group well under control and working like beavers. They had one of the sets all set up and receiving traffic."
I think Karrenberg and his party were the ones in Rosenheim.Also from Parrish  ''On June 2 Whitaker was ordered to take six of the OKW-Chi prisoners to the Albrechtstrasse jail in Wiesbaden, where they were to be confined until official papers came through authorizing their being taken to England''
There was a CSDIC(Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre)  in Wiesbaden .Report IF-123 (CSDIC interrogation )mentions Karrenberg and Erdmann,Grubler,Hempel,Schmitz,Suschhowk .They are all listed as belonging to Group VI(apart from Erdmann,no info on him).So i assume that the German Sgt was Karrenberg.He is actually mentioned as a sergeant in vol 9 p 46.
Final piece of evidence is a report in vol 4 p225 :
IF-162  '’Report on Preliminary Evaluation of German Equipment for interception of Russian Multichannel teletype circuits’’ 
In part 3 i'll share my  info on the post war use of this equipment by the Army Security Agency.

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