In the course of WWII both the Allies and the AXIS powers were able to gain information of great value from reading their enemies secret communications. In Britain the codebreakers of Bletchley Park solved several enemy systems with the most important ones being the German Enigma and Tunny cipher machines and the Italian C-38M. Codebreaking played a role in the battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa Campaign and the Normandy invasion.
In the United States the army and Navy codebreakers solved many Japanese cryptosystems and used this advantage in battle. The great victory at Midway would probably not have been possible if the Americans had not solved the Japanese Navy's JN25 code.
On the other side of the hill the codebreakers of Germany, Japan, Italy and Finland also solved many important enemy cryptosystems both military and diplomatic. The German codebreakers could eavesdrop on the radio-telephone conversations of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, they could decode the messages of the British and US Navies during their convoy operations in the Atlantic and together with the Japanese and Finns they could solve State Department messages (both low and high level) from embassies around the world.

Radio intelligence and codebreaking played an important role not only in the military and diplomatic fields but also in the shadow war between the Allied intelligence agencies, the European Resistance movements and the German security services. In the period 1939-1941 German troops conquered most of continental Europe and the occupied countries were forced to contribute to the AXIS effort by sending raw materials, agricultural products and forced labour to Germany. Thanks to the blockade of German occupied Europe by the Royal Navy and the harsh demands of the German authorities life in the occupied areas was bleak. Discontent over German occupation led many people to join resistance movements and oppose the authorities, either by printing and distributing anti-AXIS leaflets and books, by sabotaging war production or by directly attacking the German troops and their collaborators in the government and the civil service.
The British intelligence services SIS - Secret Intelligence Service and SOE - Special Operations Executive helped organize and fund the resistance movements and they even supplied them with weapons through airdrops. Besides sending their own intelligence teams into occupied Europe and working together with the home grown resistance movements they also collaborated with the intelligence services of the European Governments in Exile , most of whom where based in London during the war.
The British agencies SIS and SOE were not the only Allied organizations sending spies into Europe and supporting the growing resistance movements. The American OSS - Office of Strategic Services also conducted its own operations in occupied countries and so did the intelligence department of the Polish General Staff.

The German security services and the Radio Defence Corps

The German agencies tasked with securing the occupied territories and opposing the Allied intelligence agencies and resistance movements were the military intelligence service ABWEHR, the political security service SICHERHEITSDIENST, the regular police ORDNUNGSPOLIZEI, the security military police Geheime FELDPOLIZEI the Radio Defence departments of the Armed Forces and the Police.

The OKW Funkabwehr

The high Command of the Armed Forces - OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) had a radio defense department tasked with signals security and the interception of illicit radio transmissions. The department was part of the OKW signals directorate and its designation was OKW/WFSt/WNV/FU-III. WNV/FU-III was a militarized organized and cooperated closely with the Army's signal service. Apart from fixed intercept and direction finding stations they also had five mobile units, the 612, 615, 616 Intercept Companies and the 1st and 2nd (GAF) Special Intercept Companies
(1). The OKW Funkabwehr was responsible for the monitoring of illicit transmissions in Northern-France, Belgium, Southern-Holland (?), Italy, the Balkans, and parts of the East Front. Regional branch offices (Aussenstellen) were established at Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Oslo, Vienna, Warsaw, Rome, Prague, Athens, Belgrade, Bratislava, Klagenfurt and Varna.
An undercover Funkabwehr station operated in Madrid, Spain and cooperated with the Spanish intelligence services.
(1) British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr', Seabourne Report IF-176 'Operations and Techniques of the Radio Defense Corps, German Wehrmacht'.

The Ordnungspolozei Funkabwehr.

The civilian police force Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) set up its own radio defense department in the late 1920's and according to postwar reports there were fixed intercept stations (Beobachtungsstellen) at Berlin-Spandau, cologne, Constance, Vienna Nuremberg, and Oldenburg plus mobile units called Polizei Funkaufklärungskompanien. During the war the organisation  was expanded in order to counter the rising numbers of Allied agents and Orpo Funkabwehr units were responsible for the monitoring of illicit radio transmissions in Southern-France, Holland, Norway, Germany and parts of the Eastern Front.
Both the OKW and the Ordnungspolizei Funkabwehr departments cooperated with the security services (3) and although there were rivalries and duplication of effort it seems that there was regular exchange of information, at top level, on agents' details and cipher systems (4). On the other hand cooperation between WNv/FU-III and Orpo field stations depended on the local conditions (5).

(2) British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr', TICOM report 1-91 'POW Interrogation Report-General Major Robert K.H. Schlake, Chief of Communications in the main Office of the Ordnungspolizei, Ministry of the Interior'.

(3) British national archive HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr', page 8 says: 'The normal channels of contact for intelligence and executive operations were, in the case of WNV/FU-III, Abwehr III and GFP, and, in the case of the Orpo units, SD and the Gestapo. This liaison appears to have worked sufficiently well for normal operational purposes.

(4) British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr' Page 7 says: 'During the year 1943 the Orpo established complete independence of the control of the OKW and this resulted in a fairly strict division of responsibility between the intercept services of the police and those of the OKW …. A distinct central discrimination and control centre was at the same time set up by the Orpo in Berlin-Spadau, the Chief of which was responsible to the CSO, Orpo and from then on the theoretical independence of the two organizations was complete. Coordination was maintained by a Joint Signals Board Berlin, under the chairmanship of the chef WNV, which dealt with matters of general organization. It would appear that in practice, however, reasonable close liaison was maintained between the two headquarters; it was al least sufficiently close for a common block of numbers to be retained in referring to commitments, for although such numbers were nominally issued by the Joint Signals Board, in practice they must have emanated from WNV/FU-III.

(5) British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr', page 6 says: 'At the outbreak of war the police monitoring units, while separately administrated, were controlled operationally by the central discrimination department of the WNV/FU-III. This unity at the centre, the result of a specific order of the Führer, was not, however, accompanied by cooperation at the outstations'. In page 10: 'The party played by the Aussenstellen of WNV/FU-III in the work of the Orpo companies varied considerably from place to place. In Norway the Oslo Aussenstelle played an active role; it received all reports of the Orpo company and arranged cooperation for it from the fighting services … On both the western and eastern fronts however, the Orpo units operated quite independently of the Aussenstellen'.

Breaking Allied agents codes.

The Radio Defense departments of the OKW and Ordnungspolizei monitored the airwaves for unidentified radio traffic and used direction finding equipment in order to locate the sites of agents transmissions. the technology of that era could not pinpoint the exact location so the fixed intercept stations were used to identify the general area and then mobile units were dispatched to find the exact building housing the agent . In some cases it was necessary to use even more advanced means such as the Gürtel Snifter, which was worn by German personnel over a coat
Allied agents kept in contact with their controlling stations through the use of undercover radio stations. The information they gathered as well as their orders from HQ were transmitted over the airwaves. Messages were enciphered with a variety of systems in order to protect the contents from the Germans. According to information available from British and German reports the main system used by the Allied agents in western Europe was the double transposition, using a poem as a 'key'.
The German security services tried to arrest enemy radio operators and capture their cipher material. Then it was possible to decipher past and current traffic and even attempt a 'radiogame'. By having access to the agents radio procedures and the cipher systems it was possible, at times, to continue their transmissions and thus learn of the plans and operations of the enemy intelligence services.
The 'radiogame' could be conducted either by the captured agent (provided he/she was willing to cooperate with the Germans) or by experienced German radio operators who could mimic the agent's radio 'fingerprint'
Apart from physical compromise agents systems could also be solved cryptanalytically, however analysis of agents ciphers was in some ways more difficult than with Allied military and diplomatic systems. Large organizations used specific cipher systems and followed certain rules. This made the work of enemy codebreakers easier in the sense that they already knew what they were up against (an enciphered codebook, or a transposition cipher or strip cipher etc) Large organizations also generated lots of traffic that could be used to find errors, repetitions and 'depths'. When it came to agents codes however these rules did not apply. There were few messages to analyze, the cipher systems were not fixed but underwent changes and each Allied agent used his cipher systems with slight modifications that made solution very difficult.
Despite these conditions it was still possible for the Germans to solve a substantial amount of Allied agents traffic through cryptoanalysis. originally the OKW Funkabwehr relied on OKW/Chi (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht/Chiffrier Abteilung) Signal Intelligence Agency of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces for the analysis of agents ciphers but it seems that since OKW/Chi was primarily engaged with the solution of diplomatic and military attaché ciphers, the agents messages received only scant attention
The ordnungspolizei Funkabwehr cooperated with Goering's Forschungsamt on Russian agents codes but this also seems to have been a limited effort on behalf of the FA

(6) British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwhr', article: 'Some aspects of the German military 'Abwehr' wireless service, during the course of World War Two', FMS P-038 'German Radio Intelligence' page 203,

(7) SOE codes and Referat Vauck, War Diary Insp. 7/VI - April 1942 mentions the double transpositioncipher; 'Agentenverfahren. Beim Westnetz waren die verfügbaren Kräfte auch weiterhin vorwiegendmit der Bearbeitung von verfahren beschäftigt, deren Schlüsse;unterlagen bekannt sind (individuelle Doppelwürfel) … Die analyse der kerngruppen führte bereits zu Erkenntnis über die unterteilung der Verkehre sowie über die Art der schlüsselunterlagen (Erstellung der würfellosung aus einem Buch oder einem gedicht)'.

(8) Radio 'fingerprint' means the distinct wat that each person taps the Morse code. For an example see 'The German Penetration of SOE: France, 1941-1944, page 51.

(9) British national archives HW34/2 'Funkabwehr' page 7 (it is possible that this is not the whole truth).

(10) TICOM report I-91 'POW Interrogation Report - General Major Robert H. Schlake, Chief of Communications in the Main Office of the Ordnungspolizei, Ministry of the Interior' TICOM report I-162 'Report on Interrogation of Kurt Sauerbier of RLM/Forschungsamt held on 31 August 1945'.

Things changed in early 1942 when the analysis and solution of agents traffic was taken over by a new department of the German Army's codebreaking agency Inspectorate 7/VI. Department 12 (Referat 12) was created to work on agents systems and pass the results to the security services and the radio defense departments.

Inspectorate 7/VI - Referat 12 (Agents Section).

During WWII the German Army made extensive use of signals intelligence and codebreaking in its operations against the Allied powers. German commanders relied on signal intelligence in order to ascertain the Allied order of battle and track the movements of enemy units.
The German Army's signal intelligence agency operated a number of fixed intercept stations and also had mobile units assigned to Army Groups. These units were called KONA (Kommandeur der Nachrichtenaufklärung) - Signals Intelligence Regiment and each had an evaluation centre, a stationary intercept company, two long range signal intelligence companies and two close range signal intelligence companies
The Army KONA units were primarily engaged with the interception and analysis of Allied military traffic but in some areas they also covered agents/partisans traffic.
In the Soviet Union KONA 6 monitored partisan traffic from mid 1943 ans was able to read their enciphered communications with Moscow. In the Balkans KONA-4 intercepted and decoded (with the assistance of Inspectorate 7/VI's Referat 12) a large volume of Tito, Mihailovic and British agents traffic.

The KONA units did not have the ability to solve complicated Allied cryptosystems. Instead they focused on exploiting low/mid level ciphers and even in this capacity they were assisted by material sent to them by the central cryptanalytic department. This was the German Army High Command's Inspectorate 7/VI.
Inspectorate 7/VI had separate departments for the main Allied countries, for cipher security, cipher research and for mechanical cryptanalysis (using punch card machines and more specialized equipment).
The war diary of Inspectorate 7/VI shows that in the first half of 1942 the solution of agents traffic was officially taken up by the department, with a summary of work on Agents systems filed under the progress report of Referat I
(12). In August the new department 12 was created to deal exclusively with agents systems. head of the department was 1st Lieutenant Dr. Wilhelm Vauck, a mathematician of Dresden University (13). According to postwar TICOM reports Dr. Vauck was a talented cryptanalyst who got along well with his subordinates (14). The strength of the unit rose from 26 people in August 1942 to 40 in December 1943. From late 1942 the unit also started sending two-man teams to regional Aussenstellen in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Praque, Oslo, Vienna, Brussles so that captured material could be exploited without delay. In November 1942 the entire department was moved close to the OKW Funkabwehr HQ at Dorf Zinna, Jüterborg and became subordinate to OKW/Chi as Referat-X (15).

(11) 'European Axis signals intelligence' Vol-4, Overview of KONA units.

(12)  War Diary Insp. 7/VI - months of April-July 1942.

(13) Ph. D. Technische Universität Dresden 1924.

(14) For example CSDIC/CMF/SD 80, page 37 CSDIC (UK) SIR 1106, Supplement - Appendix 1 and TICOM I-115, page 5.

(15) TICOM I-115, British national archives HW34/2 'The Funkabwehr' European Axis signals intelligence' Vol-3.

Available sources on the work of Referat 12.

Information on the work of Referat 12 is available from its monthly reports, included in the War Diary of Inspectorate 7/VI and from postwar interrogations of German Personnel that either worked at Referat 12 or were acquainted with their operations.
The reports of the period April 1942 - February 1944 are available from the War Diary of Inspectorate 7/VI but unfortunately the rest is missing (or are included in the files of OKW/Chi. Obviously the most reliable sources are the reports from the War Diary, however these are not always easy to interpret since they use codenames for the intercepted agents radio links.
Regarding the postwar interrogations of German Personnel, the most useful are:

a. TICOM report 1-115 by Major Mettig (head of the army's signal intelligence service in the period '41-'43.

b. CSDIC (UK) SIR 1106 by Miersemann (a member of Referat 12).

c. CSDIC/CMF/SD 80 by Lenz and Kurfess (members of Rferat 12, Aussenstelle Paris).

d. TICOM report 1-180 by Keller (a member of Referat 12).

e. Chapter Radio Counterintelligence of Foreign Military Studies P-038 'German Radio Intelligence' written by
    Lieutenant-Colonel de Bary, head of OKW Funkabwehr in the period 1942-1945.

f. Part 3 of 'War secrets in the Ether' by Wilhelm Flicke (member of the OKW/Chi intercept department).

According to the NSA FOIA office they do not have any postwar interrogations of Dr. Vauck.


using the monthly reports of Referat 12 it is possible to give an overview of its successes.


Red Orchestra - Rote Kapelle

From the 1920's the Soviet Union financed and organized the creation of spy networks throughout Europe. These penetrated military, economic, political and diplomatic circles. Many of the agents were devoted communists who thought they were working for the creation of a better world. Germany was a major target of the Soviet spies, especially after power was seized by the NSDAP party. The Germans called these networks the 'Red Orchestra'.
Inside Germany there were three main spy networks in Berlin. The '
SENIOR' Network under Luftwaffe officer Harro Schulze-Boysen, the 'CORSICAN' Network under Arvid Harnack and the 'OLDMAN' Network under writer Adam Kuckhoff. These Groups were well placed to provide important intelligence to Moscow. Harnack had a high ranking position in the economics ministry and Schulze-Boysen was assigned to the liaison staff of the Luftwaffe Chiefs of Staff. From Harnack came information on the German economy such as investments abroad, foreign debt, secret rade agreements with other countries, currency deals, etc. His network also controlled an Abwehr officer assigned at OKW headquarters and a lieutenant in German naval intelligence.
Boysen position gave him access to classified reports prepared for the Luftwaffe high command.
After the German attack on the Soviet Union, in summer 1941, the closure of the Soviet embassies meant that the intelligence networks could not communicate with Moscow through the embassy personnel but instead had to use their undercover radio facilities. Their overreliance on radio communications means that too many messages were sent from the same stations and thus they attracted the attention of the Radio Defense Corps.
One such radio center was raided on 12 December 1941 in Brussels. With the aid of captured cipher material messages were decoded and names were identified. This was the beginning of the end for the Soviet spy networks in Western Europe. In June and July 1942 more cipher documents were retrieved by the Germans and the names of members of the Berlin Rote Kapelle decoded. Overall in 1942, 130 members of the Berlin Rote Kapelle networks were arrested and 49 of them executed. The leaders of the organization Leopold Trepper and Anatoly Gurevich were arrested in December 1942 and November 1942 respectively. Henri Robinson, head of the French and UK networks, was also arrested in 1942.

The report of Referat 12 for May-September 1942 show the investigation of messages of the 'Kapelle Etterbeck Kominternsender Brussels' (Brussels radio station), their solution, the identification of individual agents and cooperation with Sicherheitsdienst officials on a 'radiogame'. 

May 1942. In Spionagefall 'Kapelle Etterbeck' ….

July 1942. Durch das ez-müssige Eindringen in der Schlüsselverfahren der in Brüssel und Paris ausgehebenen russischen Agentenlinie Fyw (Rotte Kapelle-Komintern Brüssel) gelang es, úber die Tätigkeit der Agenten einem Aufschluss zu geben. Ausserdem kamen Anschriften von Personen zutage, die von den Agenten besucht wurden. Neuerbeutete Unterlagen haben es ermöglicht, einen Teil der bisher ungelösten Sprüche mitzulesen.

September 1942. Ostnetz:39 Agenten sprüche wurden in Laufe des Monats entschlüsselt oder ent siffert. Der Schwerpunkt der Arbeits verlagerte sich kurz nach Monatsbegin nach Brüssel. Ein Fernschreibgespäch mit Kommissar Giering von SD Brüssel am 2-8-1942 rechtfertigte die Beteiligung von Leuten des Referats bei das weitere Ver...nungen der Verhafteten Agenten der Sender Brüssel und Amsterdam (f y w und tee). Der Referatsleiter war von 5 - 10 September in Brüssel, um die Agenten über Einzelkeiten der Schlüsselverfahren wie Zusammenhänge der Sender und Agentenkreise zu verhören. Die Die Gefreiten Saadkoff und Rossiwal sind von 5 September an zur AusFührung und laufenden Überachung der Schlüsselarbeiten beim-Weiterspiel der Sender wie auch zur weiteren Auswertung von .. betreffenden Ergebnisses im Brüssel eingesetzt geblieben. Rossiwal ist mit Monatende zurückgekehrt, Saadkoff wird durch den Gefreiten in dem ersten Tagen des Oktober abgelöst. Durch die mitarbeit des Referatsmannes in Brüssel bleibt das Senderspiel sicher gestellt bis zur Einweisung eigner Leute der AST Brüssel, das Hauptmann von Wedel von WNV/Fu zugesagt hat.

The solution of these messages showed that the Rote Kapelle even had two agents inside Referat 12.(

Operations Eiffel and Mars.

After dismanteling the Rote Kapelle networks in Germany initiated a 'radio-game' whereby their own personnel would prepare reports and sent them using the Russian cipher systems. Anatoly Gurevich, who was second in command of the Rote Kapelle, cooperated with the Germans and thus messages and orders were exchanged between the Germans and Moscow.

These operations were called 'Eiffel' for the radiostation in Paris and 'Mars' for the radiostation in Marseille

(16) CI preliminary interrogation report (CI-PIR) N.. 120 - Richter, Rolf Werner, War Diary Inspectorate 7/VI, CSDIC/CMF/SD 80, page 18.

Report of March 1943.

Referat 12

Der Schwerpunkt der Referatarbeit lag im Berichtsmonat in ersten bei den GV-Spielen, im Osten in der Entsifferung der technischen Linie 11. Nach Paris waren im März kommandiert Gefr. bernert und Ufo Verosta, von 5-3 - 18-3 ausserdem Uffs. Uffs. Offen, der zu Vernehmungen im Spi-fall M. und M.II vom Dolmetscher arbeitet seit dem 5-3. Ofu. Lents in Paris. Zur Ablösung fuhren mit dem 24-3 Uffz. Offen und m. Faber nach Paris. Von Warna, Bulgarien, kehren unter dem 1-4 Uffz. Saadkoff and gefr. Leib nach Berlin zurück. Von Brüssel wurde Gefr. Seifert am 19-3 nach hier zurückberufen. Der Spruchumsatz des Referates betrug 394 Sprüche.

In dem Pariser GV-Spielen 'Eiffel' und 'Mars' wurden 33 Sprüche verschlüsselt, 18 entschlüsselt; im Brüsseler GV-Spiel 35 Sprüche im ganzen umgesetzt. Eindringen und Klärung

Red Three - Rote Drei.

In the period 1941-1942 not all Rote Kapelle networks were dismantled by the Germans. In neutral Switzerland a spy group headed by Alexander Rado was able to gather intelligence on political, economic and military developments and transmit reports to Moscow via three radiostations. Two of the transmitters were in Geneva and one in Lausanne. The Germans called this network the 'Red Three' (Rote Drei) and made attempts to penetrate the organization with their agents, since they couldn't attack them directly due to Swiss neutrality.

In the second half of 1943 the Germans were finally able to convince the Swiss authorities to take action against these unauthorized transmitters and the Swiss radio security service located two of them and captured members of Rado's organization. Then they initiated a 'radiogame' using the captured radiostation and cipher material.

(17) British national archives KV3/349 'The case of the Rote Kapelle'.

The Red Three group had access to valuable information and it is possible that they had sources inside the German High Command. It seems that from 1941 till late 1943, early 1944 around 4000-5000 messages were sent to Moscow
(18). The Germans investigated this traffic but solution came relatively late in April 1943.

(18) Center of the Study of Intelligence article: 'The Rote Drei: Getting behind the Lucy Myth'.

The reports of Referat-12 and the files of Erich Hüttenhain, chief cryptanalyst of OKW/Chi, show that in February 1943 both departments started investigating this traffic (Swiss WNA net with transmitters 3112, 3106 and 3116) and both were able to solve messages in April 1943. (19)

(19) TICOM D-60 'Miscellaneous Papers from a file of RR Dr. Hüttenhain of OKW/Chi'. War Diary Insp. 7/VI - months of February-April 1943.

Referat-12  February 1943.

Betrückliche Sprüchmenges der schweizer WNA sender 3112, 3106 und 3116 wurden gesichtet und ihre Kenngruppentechnik analytisch geklärt. Ein wirksame Einbruch in dieses Material wird durch die Beschaffung der Schlüsselbücher ermöglich werden.

Referat-12  April 1943.

Euch.. glückte ein entzifferungsmässiger Angriff auf die Sprüche des Hauptagenten der schweizer Linien 3106, 3112 und 3116. Der Einbruch wird weiter vertieft. Erste Sprucheretellung am 22-4. Erkenntnisse über das benutzte französische Schlüsselbuch sind zu erwarten.

Messages continued to be solved in the following months with the report of February 1944 saying:

'65 messages of the Rote Drei were decrypted, so that now 382 broken messages are available. The order for a cipher change - transition to fixed mixed Caesars- was detected in mid-December. the change of the cipher key book happened already at the beginning of August 1942. The key for the Sissy-messages resulted in the solution of a message from December 1942'.

According to the Center for the study of intelligence article: 'The Rote Drei: Getting Behind the Lucy Myth', there are 437 decrypted messages available from German sources.

Czech MBM network.

The Czech resistance movement and the Czech intelligence service caused serious problems for the German authorities with their most audacious operation being the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, protector of Bohemia and Morovia and former head of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). However after this episode the Germans took many security measures and were generally able to keep the resistance activities under control. Keeping the Czech areas pacified was particularly important since Czechoslovakia had a developed heavy industry sector which produced weapons for the German armed forces.
In their counterintelligence operations the Germans benefitted from having the ability to read a substantial amount of the traffic exchanged between Czech IS in Britain and the Czech resistance in the occupied territories. The case has been covered in detail in Svetova Revoluce and the codes of the Czechoslovak resistance.

Polish PS networks.

In WW2 Poland fought on the side of the Allies and suffered for it since it was the first country occupied by Nazi Germany. In the period 1940-1945 the Polish Government in Exile and its military forces contributed to the Allied cause by taking part in multiple campaigns of war. Polish pilots fought for the RAF during the Battle of Britain, Polish troops fought in North Africa, Italy and western Europe and the Polish intelligence service operated in occupied Europe and even had agents inside the German High Command.
Although it is not widely known the Polish intelligence service had spy networks operating throughout Europe and the Middle-East. the Poles established their own spy networks and also cooperated with foreign agencies such as Britain's SIS and SOE, the American OSS and even the Japanese intelligence service. During the war the Poles supplied roughly 80.000 reports to the British intelligence services
(20), including information on the German V-weapons (V-1 cruise missile and V-2 rocket) and reports from the German High Command (through the agent Knopf) (21).

(20) Journal of US Intelligence Studies article: 'England's Poles in the Game: WWII Intelligence Cooperation'.

(21) War in History article: 'Penetrating Hitler's High Command: Anglo-Polish HUMINT, 1939-1945'.

The communication of the Polish IS became a major target for the German codebreakers and messages of their military attaché service, intelligence department and resistance movement were read throughout WW2. The reports of Referat-12 show that the Polish networks were called PS nets by the Germans and after investigation of their cipher procedures in Jly and August 1942 the first message of line 22 (polnischer Agentenfunk) were solved in September 1942.

Beim Sprüchmaterial der Linie 22 (polischer Agentenfunk) gelang der endgültige Einbruch in das Schlüsselverfahren, die laufende Entzifferung erbrachte. Inhaltlich wessenliche Ergebnisse und Einblicke in die Agetentätigkeit der Linie.

In November 1942 the solved cipher material was sent to the Vienna ABP office (Ausland Brief Prüfstelle-Postal censor office) so that the spy case ólczyk' could be solved and members of Referat-12 visited the Warsaw Abwehr office in order to teach their personnel how to decode messages of the line 22. According to the next report the Abwehr was only supposed to decode messages using the material provided by Referat-12, they did not have permission to do cryptanalysis on their own. In December 1942 changes in the additive procedure made solution difficult and there was cooperation with OKW/Chi. In 1943 the traffic continued to be solved despite changes in the cipher procedure. Messages of the line 22 network 'Martha' operating from Lyon, France were solved in February and in June the line 21 was also solved. In the second half of 1943 the reports show the solution of messages from the lines 6521, 6508 (Bucharest-Istanbul), 6003, 6008 and 6509. In November the team processing the Polish material remained in Berlin and came under the control of OKW/Chi. According to Major Mettig, the solution of Polish systems (especially on the link London-Warsaw) was the outstanding achievement of Referat-12

(22) TICOM report I-155 'Further interrogation of Oberst Lt. METTIG of OKW/Chi on the German Wireless Security Service (Funküberwachung'.

The Western LCA networks.

The efforts of Referat-12 were split between Eastern and Western spy networks. In the Western areas of Europe the traffic of LCA networks (radio links from the UK to France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark & Norway) was intercepted, processed and decoded. These groups were controlled by SIS and SOE or by intelligence services of European governments in Exile.
The main cipher systenm used by Allied agents was the double transposition, using a poem or a book as a 'key' generator. This system offered adequate security, provided it was used properly but was vulnerable to mistakes in encipherment and transmission errors. According to Leo Marks, head of the SOE cipher department, in July 1942 a quarter of all incoming messages were indecipherable due to 'careless coding or acute Morse mutilation'
(23) The German codebreakers also faced the same problems against these messages with the report of May 1942 mentioning transmission and encryption errors:

Im westnetz wurden Agentensprache des LCA-Netzes in französischer, enlischer und holländischer spruche entschlüsselt und übersetzt. Die Schlüsselinterlagen lagen vollständig oder teilweise vor. Erschwert wurden die arbeiten einmal durch hörfehler, dann aber auch haufig durch verschlüsselungsfehler seitens der Agenten, die sich bei dem Doppelwürfelverfahren besonders unangenehm aussichten. Im Monat Mai wurden 51 entzifferte Sprüche von 7 verschiedenen sedern an WNV/Fu abgeliefert'.

(23) 'Between Silk and Cyanide: A codebreaker's war, 1941-1945' page 192.

In the period July-August 1942 work continued on the call-sign system of the LCA nets and the output of messages increased substantially, with 158 messages solved in June, 146 in July and 136 in August. In September important documents of the Belgian intelligence service were captured and decoded.
In November 1942 the unit examined cipher material captured during operation 'DONAR' (Funkabwehr radio finding operation in Vichy France, that took place in September 1942) and messages from the cases 'OPPIDANA' and 'Marc-Luc Baumann'. The December 1942 report mentions spy cases 'VOLTAURE ENTREPRENEUR' and 'LE CHENE', with the latter concerning and English officer.

Donar-Fall  Le Chene: Schlüsselgedicht lag vor, nicht dagegen die Agentenzahl, die der Agent, ein englischer Offizier, sich preisgab. Er gelang, die vierstellige Agentenzahl mit Hilfe des Gedichts und einer Kerngruppenstatistik auf analytischen Wege zu erstellen. Aufarbeitung des umfangreichenSprüchmaterials wiederum in Berlin. Für die Entschlüsselung einer zweiten von gleichen Afu (Agentenfunk) betriebenen Linie waren in Vernehmungsberichten der französischen Polizei erwähnte  Unterlagen von Bedeutung.

Pierre Louis Le Chêne was born on 14 June 1900, the son of French parents. In 1922 his parents retired and returned to France. Le Chêne worked for a while at the American Express Travel Agency in Nice and Monte Carlo, where he married a Frenchwoman. During the German invasion in 1940 Pierre, his older brother Henri, and his sister-in-law Marie-Thérèse, left France for England on the last boat leaving from Bayonne. He served in the London Fire Brigade. He then volunteered to join the Special Operations Executive in the footsteps of his brother Henri and sister-in-law Marie-Thérèse. On the night of 30 April/1 May 1942 he was parachuted near Loches to assist Edward Zeff in the Lyons area, as a radio operator of the SPRUCE network, successively headed by Georges Duboudin and Robert Boiteux . He worked there for six months, often changing his place of transmission. In October and November 1942 several radio operators were arrested, and Le Chêne remained the only radio operator in the sector, however on 9 November 1942 he was located by a German radio-direction van, having transmitted well beyond the safe period, and was arrested by French police accompanied by Gestapo agents. He was taken to the police station in Lyons for two weeks, then handed over to the Sicherheitsdienst headquarters in Avenue Foch in Paris, then moved to Fresnes prison. He was the first British officer to be interrogated by the notorious SS Captain Klaus Barbie, head of the Gestapo in Lyons, but did not betray anyone. In 1943/1944 he remained in solitary confinement to 10 months, then deported to Mauthausen concentration camp, where he was subjected to the notorious “stairs of death” in which prisoners were forced to climb 186 steps while carrying a 50 kg block of granite, leading to many deaths. After 10 months he was transferred to Gusen I where he endured even worse physical and mental torment: sorting internees for the gas chamber, mass executions, and accumulation of corpses. When he was liberated by the Americans on 6 May 1945 he weighed only 38 kg and was ill with typhoid. He was brought back to England and spent 10 months in convalescence.

In early 1943 cipher material from operation 'DONAR' was processed with 262 messages solved in January and 350 in February. According to the February report the Funkabwehr operation 'DONAR' uncovered 12 agents lines in Southern France. The same report mentions spy cases 'MATROSE', 'MARSEIELLE-2', 'SPITAELS' and the organization 'Pilgerchor'.

Tätigkeitsbericht: Die bearbeitung West arbeitete das Sprüchmaterial der im Súdfrankreich ausgehobenen Afu-Linien, darunter der Linie 'UE', weitgekend auf. In Paris wurde das GV-Spiel 'EIFFEL' weitergeführt und 28 Sprüche umgesetzt, in Bordeaux die Schlüssel der Linien 'FA' und 'MG' klargestellt, die gleichfalls weitergespielt werden. Von 12 Linien, die im Zuge des Donarunternehmen ausgehoben worden sind, wurden Schlüsselunterlagen teils sichergestellt, teile analytisch geprüft. Vernehmungen zum Spi-Fall 'Matrose', dessen drei Linien mit dem verkehres 'Marseille-2' zusammenhängen, sind im Gange. In Berlin gelang die Erstellung zweier Schlüsselgedichte der Verkehre 'LY' und 'GE' aus den Wechselrufzeichen eines Monats. Bei 'LY' war ein Einbruch mit Hilfe des Gedichtes in die Entschlüsselung noch nicht möglich, da drei bis vier Agentenzeichen den Verkehr in mehrere Teile zerfallen, erscheint das Aussicht auch gering. Bei 'GE' wird die Ermittlung der Agentenzahl voaussichtlich zum Erfolg führen. Weiter gelang der Entzifferung, das Verfahren aufzudecken, danach ein beschlagnahmtes Material der Agentenorganisation 'Pilgerchor' verschlüsselt war, und dieses zu entschlüsseln. Daneben wurden im Spi-Fall 'Opitaels' erbeutete Aufzeichnungen entziffert (einfacher 2z-Cäsar). Laufend wurden sie Sprüche der norwegischen Afu 'ZQ', 'ZBR' und 'GOBB' im klartext umgesetzt. Umfang und Ausbeute der Entschlüsselungsarbeit ist allgemein um ein mehrfaches gewachsen. Die Monatleistung der Bearbeitung West belief sich auf 350 Sprüche.

In April und May 1943 messages from Western agents were solved, including from Lyon and Toulouse and there is mention of an Italian radio-game. The spy cases mentioned are: 'JURA'. 'MIRAKEL', 'BONAMOUR', 'BARON-STYR', 'GROSSFURST' and 'MIRANDA'. It is clear that the Funkabwehr was engaged in several radio-games using captured agents and cipher material.

In June the ciphers of the spy networks in Paris and Corsica were clarified and information was uncovered on the codebooks used by the Belgians IS. In July the large number of arrests of resistance members in France required the participation of members of Referat-12 in the interrogations and the examination of the captured cipher material. These operations led to the solution of agents systems and the decryption of large numbers of messages. the spy cases mentioned are 'VICHY-WELLE', 'NILO', 'COPA', 'JOHANNES' and 'BARON-STIR'.
In August 1943 the continued expansion of the LCA networks led to an increase in the number of Referat-12 personnel detached to work in Southern-France. The output of the Berlin office regarding the LCA-nets was 152 messages and the spy cases mentioned are: 'NILO', 'ORLEANS', 'HERMES' and 'VICHY-WELLE'.

Allgemeines: Durch dem immer breiteren Ausbau des LCA-Agentennetzes auf Französischen Boden wachsen die Aufgabes für die dort eingesetzten Entzifferer. Um eine stätigere Arbeit zu gewährleisten, wurden die bisher nach Paris und Lyon Kommandierten sämtlich zur Aussenstelle Südfrankreich versetzt. Die seither bei dieses Sonderkommando tätigen zwei Mann des Referates namentlich Uffz. Offers, haben an den Aushebungen und Vernehmungen im weitverzweigten Lyoner und Marseiller Agentennetz wesentlichen erfolgreichen Anteil. Neun Mann des Referates wurden danach nach dort abgegeben. Weitere Verminderung des Mannschaftbestandes durch Austauschen innerhalb der Gruppe liess die in Berlin bewältigte Spruch… gegenüber dem früheren Monaten etwas zurückgehen.
Tätigkeitsbericht: In Paris liefen erfolgreich weiter die GV-Spiele EIFFEL, MARS, NILE, ORLEANS und HERMES. Der Sprüch umsatz betrug 43 Sprüche. Vernehmungen ziu den Fallen NORMANDIE-HERMES Linien 9559, WNA - Verkehr 3018/3014 erbrachten weitgehende Klärung von SchlUsselverfahren. Im Fall VICHY-WELLE wurden bei Aushebungen neue Überschlüsselungstafels und ein neuer Orginalcode sichergestellt. Schlüsselunterlagen der in Limoges und Marseille kürzlich ausgehebenen Afus werden bearbeitet, ebenso wird die Vernehmung eines Sonercodes in Fall NILA-SORBONNE geklärt. Zwei neue Briefcodes des belgischen MD wurden duch Vernehmungen aufgedeckt. Material zum Code KOMVEAU Service wurde in Paris erledigt. Zum Code REBEKKA soll das Buch beschafft werden.

From September 1943 the reports do not have as much information on ongoing operations but instead give a short summary of the characteristics of the spy cases and lines of the LCA nets. Output of solved messages increased, with 166 decoded in September, 538 in October, 352 in November aan 277 in December.

Kriegstagebuck für die Zeit von 1-10 bis 31-10-1943.

Tätigkeitsbericht: Bei dem im Westen laufenden G.V. Spielen betrug der Sprüchumsatz.

In Paris (MARS, EIFFEL und ORLEANS) 21 Sprüche.
In Brüssel                                     24 Sprüche.

Für folgende Agentenzeichen und Linien kennten die Schlüsselverfahren geklärt werden.

Fall ALLIANCE (Oberst Faye): FRE, DB.

Verein. Widerstands Eew. N. Frankreich, (OGM): STU, OQ.

Defense de la France: WMA, NRF, XPA, QBI, XPY.

Fall Diana (Linie 35D): Kein besonderes Agentenzeichen.

Linien 9346, 9429, 9525, 9653
: OFL.
Linie 9661: OKP.
Linie 5511: Kein besonderes Agentenzeichen.
Linie 5516: Kein besonderes Agentenzeichen.
Linie 9677: PUB.

In Berlin sowie durch die nach Frankreich abgestellten Entsifferer wurden insgesamt 538 Sprüche gelöst.

Belgischer M.D.: Der Code Alain wurde vollständig Entsiffert, in den Code GP ein Einbruch erzielt. 12 Blätter Spi-Material wurden danach entschlüsselt und übersetzt.

Linie 6521, 37 Sprüche.
Linie 6008,  4 Sprüche.
Linie 6509, 13 Sprüche.
Linie 6005, 27 Sprüche durch Erweiterung des im Vormomat erzielten Einbruche in die Wurmtabellen.
Zur in Bukarest ausgehobenen Linie 6509 wurde ausserdem umfangreiche Beutematerial entschlüsselt und übersetzt.

Linie 11, 11 Sprüche.
Imp de com. 100 Sprüche.

Rote Drei: Ausser der Entsifferung zurückliegender Sprüche wurden die Linien 3112 und 3116 laufend mitgelesen. 70 Sprúche.

Gesamtsprüchansatz des Monat: 800 Sprüche.

The spy cases mentioned in the period September-december 1943 are 'ALLIANCE', 'VICHY-WELLE', 'SORBONNE', "ACHSE', 'ORTRUD', 'DEFENSE DE LA FRANCE', 'DIANA', 'WALZER', 'HADES', 'PICCOLO', 'ZEUS' and 'BACCHUS'.

There is no report for January 1944 but the one from February says:
'In the O.U. Zinna were processed the traffic of the LCA network with the agent callsign QYZ, WOS, RCJ, SFY, PYM, ROY, SIA, OIN, REF, furthermore the lines 9171 (SAM), 9811 (VY, RQ), 175 (SPE), 9853 (RGE) and 9815 (without Ag.Z.). Among the latter, cipher documents werereceived from the colleques detached to the branch control centre in Paris (Aussenstelle Paris). Further, in the case 'NORMANDY' address material that turned up was deciphered and the courier cipher (Playfair) was reconstructed. 8 courier letters of the Belgian ND (Nachrichten Dienst = Intelligence Service) and further address material were deciphered (ez. mässig - entzifferungsmässig gelöst).

The department itself deciphered 372 messages from the LCA network. In the ongoing 8 GV plays (GV= Gegen Verkehr, counter traffic, radiogame) in the region of Paris 101 messages were deciphered and enciphered.

Unfortunately the use of codewords for the spy cases makes it impossible to know which Allied country's networks and agents were compromised by Referat-12. Still some information is available from the interrogations of German intelligence officers who served in occupied France. The Abwehr officer Hugo Bleicher mentions the cases 'GROSSFÜRST' and 'OPPIDANA' in his postwar interrogation
(24). Regarding 'GROSSFÜRST', in 1943 Bleicher was able to penetrate the French DONKEYMAN network, headed by Henri Frager and controlled by SOE. Since this case appears in the May 1943 report of Referat-12 it is possible that through his agents he was able to get access to the group's cipher material.

(24) British national archives KV2/166 'Hugo Ernst BLEICHER, alias VERBECK, CASTEL, HEINRICH and other aliases: based mainly in Paris'.

Case 'OPPIDANA' concerned the Belgian resistance movement. According to Bleicher the Germans learned that in November 1942 the leader of a resistance group would travel by train from Brussels to Liege to meet the local district commander. Both were arrested, the leader's wireless radio set found and about 10 arrests were made in Brussels.


In the period 1940-1944 Belgium was occupied by German troops and ruled by a Military Administration. According to the reports of Referat-12 important documents of the Belgian intelligence service were captured in September 1942 and after solution of the cipher they revealed the addresses, activities, camouflage and means of communication of an organization (Ardennen Kapelle) operating throughout the country.

Das Sprückmaterial der ausgehebenen 'Adennenkapelle' Funker Bodson und Sterckmans, nicht inbegriffen in dem vorgesammten 64 Sprüche, brachte eine neue Entsifferungsaufgabe, deren Lösung besondere Kombinationangabe und gründliche Ez-Erfahrunge erforderte. Die Sprüche enthielten Klar- und Chitext gemischt.Wachtmeister Kohler, im zusammenarbeit mit den unteroffizieren Offen und Taaks, gelang es, hier ein besondere, bisher kaum bekanntes Schlüsselverfahren aufzudecken. 5 x 5 Buchstabenquadrat mit Losungswort 'sigarettes belges' bei vorgegebenen Einsatzpunkt, Verschlüsselung von 5. textgruppen nach Zeilen Zeilen- und Spaltesiffers der Quadrat in zwei untereinander zu setzende 5e gruppen, Rüchschlüsselung der Spaltes im Buchstaben. Der Erfolg lohnte über Nrwarten: binnen weniger Tage kam ein umfangreiches bedeutsamen Anschriftematerial am Licht, das eine über ganz Belgien verzweigte Organisation nachwies und aufschluss gab über deren Tätigkeit, Tarnung und Verständigungsmittel. Zur Aushebung dieser Organisation sind damit umfassende Unterlagen gegeben.

In June 1943 more information was uncovered on the codebooks 'Marius No.4', 'Aqua', 'Mort', and 'Go' of the Belgian IS (Intelligence service).

Ein z.Zt. im Fall 'Matrose' durch einen der Entzifferer sichergestelltes Notizbuch des Agenten GRAPIN
(*) konnte nunmehr entsiffert werden Es enthielt Adressenmaterial. Duch vernehmung der in Paris einsitzenden Agenten ANTOINE und LAURENT (Belg N.D. Linie 9425) wurden folgende Briefcodes des belg. N.D. geklärt:
Code Marius No.4
Code Aqua
Code Mort
Code Go
Die 4 dazugehörigen Bucher liegen auch vor. Das Chi-Material wurde entschlüssel bezw. soweit dies durch Antoine in Paris bereits gesehen war, nachgeprüft. Noch nicht geklärt is der Code 'JENDEL' der weiter analytisch bearbeitet werden muss; die völlige Bestätigung der bisherigen analytischen Ergebnisse durch die ebige Vernehmung ist deshalb recht wertvoll.

* Maurice Grapin, Alliance network.

In July the Belgian codes 'Jendel' and 'Vinci' were solved analytically and in September and October more Belgian messages were decoded, revealing addresses. The report of February 1944 says: '8 courier letters of the Belgian ND and further address material were deciphered'.

Danish agents traffic is mentioned in the reports of September and October 1942 which mention the transmitter GUD: September 1942 says 'Der dänische Agentsender GUD, der die Arbeit des vergrämten senders ONB weiterführte, war ausgehoben worden; die von ihm vorliegenden Sprüche konnten beschleunigt entziffert werden.

The report of March 1943 mentions the clarification of the traffic of the Danish Communist Part: 'ein nach Berlin gesandter, durch Schlüsselmängel entstellter Rest von Sprüchen des Senders der dänischen kommunistischen Partei wurde geklärt erledigt'.

… kin nach berlin gesandter, duch Schlüsselmängel entstellter Rest von Sprüchen des Senders der dänischen Kommunistischen Partei wurde geklärt erledigt.


The solution of Norwegian agents traffic is mentioned in the reports of November-December 1942 and February 1943. In november the cipher of the transmitter NZYN was solved and due to difficulties with the Norwegian language assistance was received from a member of Referat-2 (UK ciphers) who was fluent in Norwegian.

In das Schlüsselverfahren des norwegischen Agentensenders NZYN gelang es einzidringen. das Schlüsselgedicht konnte in den bei der Aufhebung sichergestellten Liederbüchern ermittelt werden. Das Auftreten norwegischer
...dartlicher Wendungen erschwerte anfangs die Arbeit; durch Beisiehen einen gründlichen Kenners des Norwegischen von Referat-2 kam die Entzifferung in raschen Fluss.

In December processing of the NZYN material was continued and in February 1943 the report says that the messages of the spy lines XQ, ZBR and GOB were turned into plaintext.

Balkan Networks.

British liaison officers in the Balkans.

The British authorities kept in contact with the resistance groups in the Balkans (Tito, Mihailovic, ELAS movements) through liaison officers sent by the intelligence services SIS and SOE. These small teams transmitted traffic by radio to their controlling stations in Cairo, Egypt and Bari, Italy. The cryptosystems used were double transposition and the War office Cypher, enciphered with one time pads.
Some of the encoded radio traffic of British officers in the Balkans was exploited by the Germans. they were able to read messages both through captured material and by cryptanalysis.
The report of Referat-12 for June and July 1943 mention the solution of British Balkan traffic to Cairo with the indicator GESH.

June 1943.

Ein erster ez. Mässiger Einbruch erfolgte in den von Kairo gesteuerten englischen 2.

Blatt2 z. Krtgb. Ref.12 fur Juni 1943

Englischen Balkanverkehr mit der Kenngruppe 'GESH' (Rufz. ZYT - CMX). An der Vertiefung des Einbruche wird gearbeitet.

The solution of British liaison officers traffic seems to have been taken over by Referat-6 (Balkan department) since their reports of the period June 1943 - November 1944 mention the decoded British messages from Yugoslavia and Greece.


Greece was occupied by the Axis powers in April 1941 and in the period 1941-1944 many resistance and spy groups were formed to oppose the German, Italian and Bulgarian authorities. In April 1943 messages of the Greek spy lines 5303, 5324 and 5329 were solved.

In Süddoctratt wurde ein griechisches Agentensendernetz der Bearbeitung erschlossen, die Linien 5303 und 5324 werden bereits mitgelesen, 5329 ist noch in Arbeit. In die Sprüche der Kenngruppe 59410, die auf allen genannten Linien auftritt, gelang es entzifferungmässig einzudringen.

In May 168 messages were solved and in June-July the lines 5300, 5364 and 5337 wete processed with 61 messages decrypted. The report of August 1943 says that 8 Greek messages were solved.
It seems that some of the compromised traffic belonged to the SOE Prometheus network. According to British and German sources in 1943 the communications of captain Koutsogiannopoulos net (Agent Prometheus-2) were compromised and the Germans were able to set a trap for members of his group

(25) British national archives HW40/76 'Enemy exploitation of SIS and SOE codes and cyphers: miscellaneous reports and correspondence, FMS P-038 'German Radio Intelligence'.

This event is mentioned by Colonel de Bary in FMS P-038 'German Radio Intelligence', page 206.

To paymaster Lt. Dudley-Smith.

552      Group 11/26
           Athens to Berlin
SPL      RSS 87/7/2/43
1899    ? on 10295*kcs       1336  GMT    6/2/43

Most secret. Urgent PN.88 at once. No. 42. For III F 5, Ref. our WT message of 5/3. No. 101/43 Most secretin re. unearthed* ??arry transmitter, to be called PROMETHEUS Undertaking in future. Perfect contact established with answering station on 5/8 at 1100 hours and following messages received.
1) We shall set down British Officer and articles of equipment in the AVION district (province of MESSINIA). Tell
ARDARISH he is to wait if necessary from the 13th to the 24th of February. Give (or please give us signals) London will give password information by broadcast only on the night of setting down. As  sea signal (Seasignal) 6 explaining. Did the equipment dropped in October fall into the hands of the Italians Hsa the Italian garrison of this aerodrome been reinforced and is the (T) territory safe?

23/your 87. Please ask CHRIST. Send (or, I will send) report by courier  in sealed envelope addressed to FANTENSON, British Consul in ISMIR (SMYRNA) in order to ensure definite understanding later. Please convey to him (?) likewise  (23 letters missing) and tell him that I am now stationed in Smyrna and a at his service. His information is just being passed on to KDIE.
Addandem AST Athens. ANDARTES means 'rebels'. CHRIST is the covername of an English Officer who is at present in rebel territory. Italian AST has been brought in. AST asks for instructions soonest the nature of the reports which are to be transmitted.
                                                                                                           III F No. 108/43 Most Secret

* ausgehoben - dis.evered and captured.

'Here is an example of the procedures which had to be used in radio counterintelligence: A Greek officer landed surreptitiously from a submarine in the vicinity of Athens in order to obtain military information. He attempted but failed to establish radio contact with the British central control station in Cairo. German radio counterintelligence intercepted his calls, sent a fake reply pretending to originate from the British central control station, and instructed the officer to switch to an emergency frequency. The officer was assigned a new mission with the promise that a submarine would pick him up at a specific place. The officer and four companions unsuspectingly climed aboard a motor boat of the German Navy which was disguised as a submarine!'


During WW2 Bulgaria tried to remain neutral but the German conquest of the Balkans led to a shift towards a pro Axis policy. Still Bulgarian troops did not take part in the invasion of the Soviet Union and when in December 1941, under German pressure, the Bulgarian Government declared war on the UK and the USA this was mostly a diplomatic gesture. Since Bulgaria and the Soviet Union were not al war there was a large Soviet Embassy in Sofia that served as the centre for Soviet intelligence activities in the country. The German radio defense agencies monitored the traffic of Soviet agents and of the Soviet consulate in Varna.
The reports of Referat-12 show that Bulgarian illicit radio traffic was investigated since October 1942 (including the traffic of the consulate in Varna) and messages of the spy lines 3136, 3135 and 3111 were solved in April 1943.

In Varna und Sofia wurden von Uffz. Saadkoff und Gefr. Neih, nach dort bis zum 20-4 kommandiert, die Schlüssel mehrerer Linien aufgedeckt; 40 Sprüche der Linie 3136, 10 von 3135 und 6 von 3111 entschlüsselt. Weitere bearbeitung erfolgte und erfolgt in Berlin, vordringlich der Linie 3504.

More were solved in the following months, with 27 decoded in May, 21 in June and 5 in August 1943.

According to Wilhem Flicke the Soviet intelligence service had several spy groups operating in the country, gathering intelligence from Bulgarian military and government sources. In 1943 the illicit Bulgarian traffic was decoded and through direction finding operations the station was tracked to the outskirts of Varna. Then with the cooperation of the Bulgarian police it was possible to arrest the spy group, whose leaders were the Bulgarain citizens Stoinoff and his wife Milka

(26) 'War Secrets in the Ether' part 3, pages 215 - 229.


In the course of WW2 the German authorities had to combat countless resistance groups in occupied Europe. If that wasn't enough the intelligence services of Britain, Soviet Union, USA, Poland and of the European Governments in Exile were also sending spy teams and supporting the resistance groups in every way possible. In this shadow war the German security services came to rely more and more on signals intelligence and codebreaking. In the period 1939-1945 the radio defense departments of the armed forces and the Order Police were expanded and a new agent section was created in the Army's codebreaking department Inspectorate 7/VI. Referat-12 was a small unit and had to use unorthodox methods in order to solve Allied agents codes and ciphers but from the available reports it's clear that they were able to process a lot of material each month and thus played a big role in the German counterintelligence efforts. In May-December 1942 their monthly output averaged 159 messages and in 1943 this went up to 630. The only available report of 1944 says: 'Total output of the unit in the month February 819 messages'.
The department never had more than 30-40 people and some of them were always detached to the regional offices. yet they were able to solve the ciphers of the Soviet networks Rote Kapelle and Rote Drei, they helped neutralize the Czech resistance by solving the messages of the MBM net, they read messages of the Polish resistance movement and intelligence service and in the West they decoded lots of traffic from several Allied groups in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway.
These achievements are impressive, considering the small size of the department. In 1944 it is possible that they continued to solve large volume of agents traffic since the OKW/Chi activity report for the period January - 25 June 1944 says that 6000 agent messages had been handed over to WNV/Fu-III

(27) TICOM report DF-9 'Captured Wehrmacht Sigint Document: Translation of Activity Report of OKW/Chi for the period 1st January to 25th June, 1944'.

The work of the decoding group suffered in consequence of conditions caused by bomb damage. It must however be emphasized that the total output of this group fully met the demands made on it, in spite of the fact that the decoders had to work throughout nearly the whole winter in unheated rooms, for the most part without windows and doors.

NOTE: + a VN (VERLAESSILICHE NACHRICHT) is an intelligence item promulgated on the bases of a decoded signal.
b) The work accomplished by the decoding department is best demonstrated by the number of VN actually produced, after sorting and rejection of unimportant texts by:
January '44 1795
February     1860
March         1466
April           1951
May           2122
1-23 June   1656
The 6000 agents' messages handed to Fu-III are not included in these figures.

On the other hand our knowledge of OKW/Chi activities versus agents ciphers is limited and it is possible that these numbers refer to their own separate effort

(28) Helmut Muller, head of the French department of OKW/Chi said in TICOM report I-174 'Preliminary Interrogation Report on O.R.R. Müller of OKA/Chi' that he worked on the traffic of underground movements in Europe. Also 'European Axis signals intelligence' Vol.3, page 69 says about the OKW/Chi activity report: 'It is not clear whether the 6000 agents' messages, which, deciphered and translated, formed a portion of the production claimed for OKW/Chi in the Kettler report of June 1944, were actually turned out by OKW/Chi or by Vauck (Referat-12). It is more likely, however, that Vauck had nothing to do with these messages and that they were actually part of Kettler's own organization.

More research is necessary in order to identify the cryptosystems used by Allied agents, the work of the German agencies OKW/Chi, Inspectorate 7/VI and Forschungsamt versus agents codes and the effect they had on German counterintelligence operations.

Name source unknown, date of publication 02-08-2015.

TICOM Reports.