Monday, March 12, 2012

Overview of KONA units

When reading reports on German signals intelligence the word KONA often pops up. These units were the Signal intelligence regiments of the German army’s Signal intelligence agency. Each was assigned to an army group and was responsible for intercepting and decoding enemy traffic. From all the reports i’ve read it is obvious that they were a force multiplier for the army. They enabled the Germans to monitor and anticipate enemy moves.

An overview of the KONA units is available from ‘European Axis signals intelligence’ vol4 , chapter 3.

From pages 17-18:

11. The organization of the typical Signal Intelligence Regiment

The basic element of the field organization of the German Army signal intelligence service was the Signal Intelligence Regiment (Kommandeur der Nachrichtenaufklaerung, abbreviated KONA). Each Army Group was provided with a Signal intelligence Regiment (KONA), which had control over all signal intelligence units in the area governed by the Army Group. If, as was the case with KONA 4 and KONA 7, the Signal Intelligence Regiment was attached to a Commander  of the German Armies stationed in an area, the Signal Intelligence Regiment  had control of all the intelligence units within the area of that command.

There were, of course, variations in the organization and manner of operation of the various Signal Intelligence Regiments corresponding to differences in personnel, equipment, and operational responsibilities. The typical component parts of a Signal Intelligence Regiment, however, were; One Signal Intelligence Evaluation Center (Nachrichten Aufklaerung Auswertestelle, abbreviated NAAS), designed to work with KONA headquarters at Army Group level; usually one Stationary Intercept Company (Feste Nachrichten Aufklaerungsstelle, abbreviated Feste), designed to work at Army level; usually two Long Range Signal Intelligence Companies (Nachrichten Fernaufklaerung Kompanie, abbreviated FAK), designed to work at Army level; usually two Close Range Signal Intelligence Companies (Nachrichten Nahaufklaerung Kompanie, abbreviated NAK), designed to work at Army Corps level; each Close Range Company usually had two or three Close Range Signal Intelligence Platoons (Nachrichten Nahaufklaerungszug, abbreviated NAZ), designed to work below the NAK but still at Army Corps level.

In 1944, the Signal Intelligence Battalion (Nachrichten Aufklaerung Abteilung, abbreviated NAA) was introduced into the organization of the KONA. These battalions were small administrative units, which acted as coordinating units at Army level.


KONA - Kommandeur der Nachrichtenaufklärung - Signals Intelligence Regiment

NAAS -  Nachrichten Aufklärung Auswertestelle - Signal Intelligence Evaluation Center

Feste - Feste Nachrichten Aufklärungsstelle -Stationary Intercept Company

FAK - Nachrichten Fernaufklärung Kompanie - Long Range Signal Intelligence Company

NAK - Nachrichten Nahaufklärung Kompanie - Close Range Signal Intelligence Company

NAZ - Nachrichten Nahaufklärungszug - Close Range Signal Intelligence Platoon

NAA - Nachrichten Aufklärung Abteilung - Signal Intelligence Battalion (from 1944)

1 KONA = 1 NAAS  + 1 Feste + 2 FAK + 2 NAK

1 NAK = 2 or 3 NAZ

History of KONA units:

KONA units 1-5 were created prior to operation Barbarossa.

KONA 1: Assigned to Army Group South – Eastern front

KONA 2: Assigned to Army Group Center – Eastern front

KONA 3: Assigned to Army Group North – Eastern front. At the end of the war captured by the Russians at Courland.

KONA 4: Assigned to the German armies in the Balkans.

KONA 5: Operated in Western Europe throughout the war. Up to February 1943 was the only KONA unit in the west.

KONA 6: Activated in 1941 as an Eastern unit. Based in the Crimea during the Summer ’42 campaign. Then it was assigned the interception of partisan traffic. In early 1944 was reassigned to the West.

KONA 7: Activated in February 1943, assigned to the German armies in Italy.

KONA 8: Formed in October 1944 and assigned to Army Group South – Eastern front.

KONA Nord: Created in February 1945 from units of KONA 2. Assigned to Army Group North – Eastern front.

NAA 11: Special unit. Assigned to the German 20th Mountain Army in Finland. In matters of signals intelligence was directly subordinated to HLS Ost (Intercept Control Station East).Cooperated with Finnish signals intelligence.

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