Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What cases am I going to cover this year?

Although I’ve written essays about the most interesting cases of cryptologic history, there are a few cases that I have not been able to cover in detail.

Unfortunately in order to write about them I need access to material from the NSA’s FOIA office or from the US and German archives.

If all goes well and I receive this material then I will be able to write about the following cases:

1). Forschungsamt

The Air Ministry’s Research Department - Reichsluftfahrtministerium Forschungsamt was one of the major intelligence organizations of Nazi Germany.

It was created by Hermann Goering as his personal intelligence agency in 1933 and during the period 1933-45 the Forschungsamt monitored telegram, mail and telephone traffic in Germany and also intercepted and decoded foreign radio traffic.

Unfortunately we do not know many details about their wartime work. ‘European Axis signals intelligence vol 1 - Synopsis’, p21-2 says that no evidence of their cryptanalytic successes was found and that less than 1% of the FA’s personnel were interrogated.

Much later, in the early 1950’s, two TICOM reports on the Forschungsamt were written by former members drs Kröger, Huppertsberg and Kurtzbach.

TICOM reports DF-240 and DF-241 should have interesting information. If the NSA’s FOIA releases them I’ll be able to write a detailed report on the operations of the Forschungsamt.

2). Japanese diplomatic cipher TOKI

In order to protect its diplomatic communications Japan’s Foreign Ministry used several cryptologic systems during WWII. In 1939 the PURPLE cipher machine was introduced for the most important embassies, however not all stations had this equipment so hand systems continued to play an important role in the prewar period and during the war.

Both the Anglo-Americans and the Germans solved the J-19 FUJI code in the period 1941-43. In summer ’43 FUJI was replaced by three new systems. The transposed codes TOKI and GEAM and the enciphered code ‘Cypher Book No1’.

TOKI was used in the period 1943-45 and it was similar to J-19 in that it was a code transposed on a stencil. Just like its predecessor it was solved by the Anglo-Americans and the German codebreakers. The US designation was JBA and the designation in Pers Z files (decryption department of the German Foreign Ministry) was JB-64.

If all goes well and I receive the relevant material I will write an essay on TOKI.

3). M-209 update

The M-209 cipher machine was used in WWII by the US armed forces as a medium level cryptostystem. I’ve given a summary of the German solution of this device in The American M-209 cipher machine however I’m going to be adding information in some paragraphs.

I’m also waiting for some files from NARA. If I receive them then they should contain a lot of new information.

4). Croat Enigma

I’ve already written about this case in German codebreakers vs Enigma but this time I will write a more detailed essay using the information contained in the war diary of Inspectorate 7/VI.

5). Swiss Enigma

I’ve given a summary of German work on the Swiss diplomatic Enigma cipher machine in German codebreakers vs Enigma but this time I decided to investigate further so I’ve copied more material from the archives.

Unfortunately that wasn’t enough and in order to write about this case I will have to wait till the NSA’s FOIA office releases the relevant files (TICOM reports I-31, DF-240, DF-241).

6). M-138-A cipher

If the NSA’s FOIA office releases more TICOM reports and if they contain new information on the compromise of the State Department’s M-138-A cipher then it might be possible to write more about this very interesting case.


  1. Christos,
    This all looks fantastic. I very much look forward to reading your work. I assume you read Russian. Do you read German as well. In any event, thanks for this fantastic site.

    1. No I don’t read either Russian or German, although simply by going through the Inspectorate 7/VI war diary so many times I’ve learned the meaning of many terms so I can look at a page and understand the main points (in very general terms).
      Thankfully there’s google translate.