LECTURE BY SIR HARRY HINSLEY ON SIGINT
pettifer at onetel.net.uk
Sun Apr 18 09:10:32 EDT 2004
Bill Grayson makes a good point about the delays in getting WWII
Enigma intercepts to Bletchley Park.
In fact, Chicksands was the nearest Y station to Bletchley Park. It
would have taken over 2 hours to courier intercepts from Beaumanor
(Army) and perhaps 3 hours from Winchester (Navy). In retrospect, it
does seem strange that these delays could be tolerated. There were of
course some teleprinter circuits, but this involved re-keying and
availability was limited. It seems pretty clear that the bulk of
intercepts went by motorcycle.
Incidentally (& just to clarify), the bombes did not to do the actual
decryption - they were used to work out the Enigma daily
configurations using cribs derived from selected messages. The
decryption was done by keying the messages into Enigma emulators -
usually modified TypeX machines.
Regards to all,
----- Original Message -----
From: "bill grayson" <bill.grayson at auatac.com>
To: <INTELFORUM at his.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 2:22 PM
Subject: RE: LECTURE BY SIR HARRY HINSLEY ON SIGINT
> Thanks to John Bugler for the reprint of Sir Harry Hinsley's
> WWII SIGINT remarks. Sir Harry misspoke, technically, on what might
> by some as a very minor point; however, it pertains to a
> intelligence problem that bedevils us to this day. A solution
> Sir Harry commented (concerning German Enigma decrypts): " . . .
> of the rest of that 24 hours' signals from the moment you broke the
> key for the day, the setting for the day, would be read
> soon as the message was intercepted it would be decrypted."
> Sir Harry didn't mean, "as soon as the message was intercepted."
> German Luftwaffe Enigma messages were intercepted at RAF Chicksands,
> south of Bedford, by Morse wireless operators, furiously copying
> codegroups with pencils on pre-printed message forms. Throughout
> and long past 1945, none of these "Y" Service wireless operators
> plaintext lay under the Enigma ciphertexts. Message forms were
> from Chicksands to Bletchley, a 45-minute ride in the best weather,
> motorcycle dispatch riders. At Bletchley, the codegroups copied in
> had to be manually transcribed for Bombe processing. No British
> stations were capable of decrypting Enigma messages; none could be
> as soon as intercepted.
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