Sunday, January 1, 2017

Unanswered questions of WWII cryptology – progress report

In January 2016 I wrote a summary of the progress I had made in researching some very interesting cases of cryptologic history.

What is the state of these cases a year later? Let’s see.

1). US State Department M-138-A strip cipher

In 2016 I wrote:

This case has been (by far) the most difficult of those I’ve had to research. Despite this I was able to make real progress in 2015. I located the report ‘JAT write up - selections from JMA traffic' and used it to write an essay on the material transmitted from Germany and Finland to Japan, I received the report  I-89 ‘Report by Prof Dr. H Rohrbach of Pers Z S on American strip cipher’ and wrote Compromise of the State Department’s M-138-A strip cipher and the traffic of other US agencies.

Also during the year I managed to find a lot of material on the Finnish codebreakers and their work on the M-138-A strip cipher. Regarding the Carlson-Goldsberry report the NSA’s FOIA office has managed to locate it but releasing it will take time.

In 2016 I was able to find more information on how the M-138-A cipher system was used by the State Department and I presented this information in New developments in the strip cipher case. I also added dr Huttenhain’s statements on the solution of the M-138-A cipher, from his unpublished manuscript ‘Einzeldarstellungen aus dem Gebiet der Kryptologie.

Unfortunately the TICOM report DF-15 ‘Reports of group A’, that I expected would have details on the solution of the M-138-A cipher by the codebreakers of the German Foreign Ministry, simply says in page 5:

SV: In the summer of 1941 A-Group received through OKW a photographic copy of the Instructions for Use and 4 series of strips by means of which a number of messages could be deciphered.

SV means Streifenverfahren = strip cipher system.

Regarding the Carlson-Goldsberry report the NSA’s FOIA office still hasn’t declassified it.

2). NKVD 5th Department codebreakers

As far as I know no new information is available on the wartime operations and successes of the Soviet codebreakers.

3). Referat Vauck success

In 2016 I wrote:

After locating the reports of Referat 12 i was able to write the detailed essay Allied agents codes and Referat 12. I’ve also requested the postwar interrogation reports of Dr Wilhelm Vauck from the NSA. However locating and declassifying them will take some time.

The NSA’s FOIA office has stated this year that ‘a thorough search of our historical files was conducted but no records responsive to your request were located’.

Thus it seems that dr Vauck was not interrogated by the Anglo-Americans at the end of WWII.

4). Forschungsamt information

According to the NSA’s FOIA office my case concerning the release of reports DF-240 and DF-241 is in the final review queue.

5). German Enigma investigations

In 2016 I wrote:

The reports of the German Army’s codebreakers on the Enigma are available from government archives in the US and Germany. Unfortunately no one has read and commented on them.

The Inspectorate 7/VI reports are in the US National Archives and Records Administration, collection RG 457 - entry 9032 - boxes 1405-1409. I don’t have the means to check these boxes for the Enigma reports (plus they’re in German).

However I do have the Inspectorate 7/VI war diary and I’ve copied the passages dealing with research on the security of the Enigma cipher machine. As soon as I get some accurate translations I’ll post the text.

6). Japanese Purple and Coral cipher machines

I haven’t seen any new information on the possible solution of these cipher machines by the German codebreakers.

7). Soviet diplomatic code

I haven’t seen anything new on the possible solution of the Soviet diplomatic code by the Germans.

8). M-209 decoding device

My previous statement still stands:

 ‘I have to say I’m still surprised that this device has not received any attention from historians and/or the media!’ 

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