A British Intelligence Malfunction.

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Urmel
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Re: A British Intelligence Malfunction.

Post by Urmel » 21 Feb 2021 00:14

Andy H wrote:
20 Feb 2021 17:38
Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Feb 2021 16:52
Hi Andy H,

Have you a few examples?

In the UK it was long put about that Churchill was warned in advance about the Coventry air raid, but chose not to warn Coventry in order to protect his intelligence sources. However, we now know this was not the case, so I am inclined to question such stories.

Cheers,

Sid.
Hi Sid

Not to hand, Id have to go looking for them.
There are equally numerous accounts of the British not acting on Italian code breakthroughs, unless they could conspire a decent reason that wouldn't point the Italians into checking on their code security. Thus several Italian convoys to NA arrived safely because the British decided not to ambush them.

The Coventry one is one I've heard but never put any store by it, given the limited gains versus the potential negatives going forward in terms of intelligence.

Regards

Andy H
I'd really like to see a citation for that, it's the first time I hear that. Especially 'numerous'. I have serious doubts about that.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: A British Intelligence Malfunction.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Feb 2021 04:22

Urmel wrote:
21 Feb 2021 00:12
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Feb 2021 02:46
This searching for leaks reminds me of German Admirals Raeder & Donitz thinking the unexpected submarine losses and dodging convoys were from leaks picked up by the French underground.
ABE - Anything but Enigma

https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2 ... ry-harder/
The Navy leaders did add Steckers, a fourth rotor, and some improved procedures to assure Enigma security.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: A British Intelligence Malfunction.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Feb 2021 05:04

Urmel wrote:
21 Feb 2021 00:14
I'd really like to see a citation for that, it's the first time I hear that. Especially 'numerous'. I have serious doubts about that.
I have seen numerous 'claims', always in second & third had sources. History Channel tier stuff. The origin was in 'The Ultra Secret' by F. W. Winterbotham. In that 1974 publication there was the claim of Churchill cynically ordering Coventry not be defended to preserve ULTRA secrecy.

Some historians have made a effort to find a basis for these claims. What their evidence is: A Luftwaffe message was intercepted ordering the plan to attack Coventry that same day, night actually. I can't recall if they determined if the message was decrypted in time or not. Next there seem to have been radio messages intercepted, from the airgroups. These were not Enigma encrypted but were messages sent in low level tactical codes and aircrew voice language. Largely instructions between the airfield raid stations to aircraft and between the aircraft. Most of that was trivia concerning forming the bomber groups and getting them on their routes on time, but there were hints about the target. The Brits regarded the Luftwaffes signals security as lax & aircrew radio chatter as excessive. They typically knew a raid was forming before the approaching aircraft appeared on the radar

So, if these two items are correct: there was possible decrypt warning of Coventry as a target approx 12 hours ahead, and radio intercepts indicating a attack was airborne. Now here is the question. What besides a standard air raid warning could be given to the authorities of Coventry? Such a warning was sent there, as well to other cities in the region. Evacuation? Was there a plan ready to evacuate the current population? How effective would a planned evacuation be on 12 hours notice? If there was no plan was attempting to evacuate the city on 12 hours notice even practical? It has to be considered that by the time the attack order was decrypted & sent to the city there would likely ten or fewer hours to actually evacuate.

The raid folks focus on was on the night of 14 November 1940. Previous there had been a series of small raids starting in August, that killed close to 200 people and injured over 800. Some 500 twin engined bombers were sortied on the 14th, carrying a combination of marker, explosive, and incendiary bombs. Not clear to me how many tons of ordnance was carried, Perhaps 700 metric tons? The civilian death toll is estimated at between 550 & 600, with another 1200+ injured. If the population of the target area was 55,000 that amounts to .036. I see a estimate of the bomb shelter capacity of Coventry as 33,000. The casualties would be .055 of that. Would a hasty evacuation have actually saved anyone, or created a vulnerable and unsheltered evacuation tail of ten or fifteen thousand persons?

Since Coventry did receive a air raid warning & the shelters were occupied its reasonable to dismiss the claims warning was withheld to 'protect the Enigma secret'.

Andrew Arthy
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Re: A British Intelligence Malfunction.

Post by Andrew Arthy » 21 Feb 2021 11:23

Hi,

Nick Beale carried out a very thorough examination of the Coventry raid and ULTRA here: http://www.ghostbombers.com/1940/Coventry/cov_01.html

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com/earticles

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Andy H
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Re: A British Intelligence Malfunction.

Post by Andy H » 21 Feb 2021 16:17

Urmel wrote:
21 Feb 2021 00:14
Andy H wrote:
20 Feb 2021 17:38
Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Feb 2021 16:52
Hi Andy H,

Have you a few examples?

In the UK it was long put about that Churchill was warned in advance about the Coventry air raid, but chose not to warn Coventry in order to protect his intelligence sources. However, we now know this was not the case, so I am inclined to question such stories.

Cheers,

Sid.
Hi Sid

Not to hand, Id have to go looking for them.
There are equally numerous accounts of the British not acting on Italian code breakthroughs, unless they could conspire a decent reason that wouldn't point the Italians into checking on their code security. Thus several Italian convoys to NA arrived safely because the British decided not to ambush them.

The Coventry one is one I've heard but never put any store by it, given the limited gains versus the potential negatives going forward in terms of intelligence.

Regards

Andy H
I'd really like to see a citation for that, it's the first time I hear that. Especially 'numerous'. I have serious doubts about that.
Hi Andreas

If your looking for a specific page in a specific book I cant, sorry.

My post was made in regards to the Italian usage of the Hagelin cipher machine from late 1940.
This wasn't used for high-grade traffic but it covered shipping movements inc all NA convoys.
The Germans later in 1941 urged the Italians to keep using it, as they wrongly believed it more secure than their hand ciphers.
This allowed the British and later the Allies to pick and choose which convoys to attack dependent on a number of criteria, one of which was continued security around accessibility to Hagelin information, without arousing suspicion that it was compromised.

I will bear your doubts in mind and hopefully find something more specific for you in the future.

Regards

Andy H

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