Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New article on ULTRA in the Med

A very interesting article regarding the effects of ULTRA intelligence against the Italian Navy’s supply convoys is available from the Naval War College Review.

The article is ‘The Other Ultra: Signal Intelligence and the Battle to Supply Rommel's Attack toward Suez’ by Vincent P. O'Hara and Enrico Cernuschi. The authors are critical of the view that codebreaking allowed the Brits to sink Rommel’s supplies and stopped the Axis advance towards Egypt.
According to the authors: ‘This article examines the impact of intelligence in the war against Axis shipping in the two months leading up to the battle of Alam el Halfa, which concluded on 2 September 1942. It demonstrates that Ultra information was not always accurate or timely and that Hinsley overstates Ultra ’s impact by crediting it with sinkings that had nothing to do with either signals intelligence (SIGINT) or traffic to Africa. It also casts light on the role of the Italian navy’s intelligence service, the Servizio Informazioni Segreto (SIS). The SIS provided intelligence that often offset the timely and relevant Ultra SIGINT that Britain did possess. Its code breakers enabled Supermarina, the operational headquarters, located in Rome, of the Regia Marina, the Italian navy, to read, often in less than an hour, intercepted low-grade radio encryptions from British aircraft, and, more slowly, first-class ciphers from warships and land bases. Supermarina’s communications and command system disseminated information in near real time, thereby amplifying the operational value of its SIGINT. This is a fact that the British were unaware of at the time and that has remained virtually unknown since.

No comments:

Post a Comment