Sunday, March 30, 2014

New book on the Italian codebreakers of WWII

The book Ultra» la fine di un mito. La guerra dei codici tra gli inglesi e le marine italiane. 1934-1945 -‘Ultra’ the end of a myth. The war of the codes between the British and Italian navies. 1934-1945’, by Enrico Cernuschi has been published recently.

Cernuschi is an authority on the Italian codebreakers of WWII and he has written several books on the Italian Navy. He has also co-authored with Vincent O'Hara Dark Navy: The Italian Regia Marina and the Armistice of 8 September 1943 and the Naval War College Review article ‘The Other Ultra: Signal Intelligence and the Battle to Supply Rommel's Attack toward Suez’.

His new book presents the code war in the Mediterranean in a different light and points out mistakes and exaggerations in the previous accounts such as the official histories ‘British Intelligence in the Second World War’. There is information on the Italian codebreakers and their successes with Royal Navy codes as well as French, Greek, Yugoslav and USA communications. This played a role in the convoy battles as the Italians could reroute their ships once they had been sighted by enemy forces and were in danger of attack. On the other side of the hill the author points out mistakes in the standard accounts of the compromise of the German Enigma and Italian Hagelin C-38 cipher machines and their importance for the N.Africa campaign.

For this book the author has researched the British national archives and the ‘Archivio dell'Ufficio Storico della Marina Militare’ in Rome.  According to him the codebreaking story in the Med must be rewritten.

The online magazine analisi difesa has interviewed the author about his latest book.

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