The DEFE3 file series (continued)

As for Luftwaffe units:

JIG TWO SIX = JG 26; KING FIVE THREE = KG 53; FOX ONE TWO TWO = FAG 122; SUGAR (or SUGAR GEORGE) FOUR = SG 4; NAN JIG THREE = NJG 3; TARE ONE = TG 1; NAN SUGAR TWO ZERO = NSG 20; but ROGER TARE ONE (“Replacement/Training”) = EJG 1.

JIG KING = Jagdkorps; JIG DOG = Jagddivision.

GAF = German Air Force

GAFIT = German Air Force Italy; GAFCIT = … Central Italy; GAFUIT = … Upper Italy; GAFSE = … South East; GAFGRE = … Greece.

There’s also the use of the £ (pound Sterling) sign for emphasis or confirmation: NOT £NOT£ TO TAKE OFF would mean “not, repeat not, to take off.” The same thing is done where they want to show the original German word they are translating: TAKE OFF WITH HEAVIEST BOMBS £SCHWERSTBOMBEN£.

The Enigma machine's (upper case-only) keyboard included neither numbers nor special German characters so "ä" was typed as "ae", "ö" as "oe" and "ü" as "ue"; "ß" was rendered as "ss" or occasionally "sz." You'll encounter these in personal names, place names and where German technical terms are included.

You will soon come across may references to STRONG INDICATIONS, FAIR INDICATIONS or SLIGHT INDICATIONS, referring to points that were uncertain. With 60-odd years of hindsight, it seems that Bletchley Park’s interpretations of these were largely accurate.

Allied Intelligence inserted comments either at the end of the message or in parentheses during it. You know it’s a comment because they always begin COMMENT.

Very rarely, you may encounter phrases such as lines from popular songs inserted into a message. My guess is that these were to defeat attempts to break into the Allied codes used to distribute Ultra intelligence. The messages were always rephrased and including unrelated text would take them even further from the original, making them more secure against breaking them via a “crib” (something the books I’ve mentioned explain better than I ever could).

Content

Anything from “FOX 122 ADDRESSED PERUGIA FIFTEENTH” through to multi-part messages reporting on the conduct and results of a particular operation.

References to earlier messages with related content are given and are very useful but you can still find some that weren’t cross-referenced.

Finding Luftwaffe material

The only sure way to do this is to work your way through the whole file until you find something that interests you. There is no index and the messages are just in the order in which they were issued. Heer, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe are all mixed together as are theatres of operations.

What you want just may not be there. If a front was quiet or enough landlines were available there was less for the Allies to intercept. There’s a lot of traffic from Yugoslavia, Greece and the Aegean but almost nothing from further East after Spring 1944 (up till then there is some Black Sea and Crimea material). Italian traffic is profuse after the Anzio landings but Luftwaffe material practically peters out by September 1944. If you relied on DEFE3 Ultra, you’d barely realise that Unternehmen Steinbock had taken place.

Generally speaking, the more messages you go through, the better the picture you build up. Don’t expect such finds will necessarily be repeated, some sources report consistently over a long period, only to vanish without warning and there is no logic to it.

digest

For anyone seeking a shortcut into late-war Luftwaffe material there are however these files:

DEFE3/1019: Ultra Air Digest Nos. 1–120, August 1944–10 December 1944

DEFE3/1020: Ultra Air Digest Nos. 121–267, 11 December 1944–7 May 1945

DEFE3/1021: Digests to Tactical Air Commands, 13 February–4 May 1945

Each individual digest in the first two of these files covers the 24 hours up to 16.00 on a given day and pulls together the intelligence gathered from the decrypts made during that period. Something that happened on (say) 1 September may be covered in a digest for a later date if the relevant message was not deciphered right away. They were compiled for Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (Forward HQ).

A digest will give an overview of current intelligence on “GAF Dispositions” and “GAF Intentions and Activity” as well as a “General” section. The authors summarise what has been learned and offer their comments on it. These are not the decrypts themselves and (based on my limited reading so far) there is very little in the way of direct quotations from them, nor are there any serial numbers of individual messages. I haven’t yet gone into the third file.

Obviously a digest by definition doesn’t tell you everything but these files offer a readymade overview of what was known from Ultra at a given time and thus some indication of what the HW5 decrypts for the day(s) in question might contain.

continued on next page…

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