Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

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Torretta13
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Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Torretta13 » 31 May 2015 22:03

Why was Axis Intel so much more susceptible to espionage than Allied Intel? You had that bloody traitor Canaris, countless leaks from Japanese intel, etc. If you as me WHERE the Axis lost this war, I would cite their subpar and unreliable intelligence organizations/units. It seems like the Allies always knew more about the plans of the Axis than vice versa. Does anyone else agree?

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Jun 2015 00:37

Torretta13 wrote:.... Does anyone else agree?
Not entirely. In general the Axis had some notable successes, and it is questionable if the Italians were any worse than the US or Britain. The Germans are at the heart of perception of Axis intel capability. The failures of the Abwehr, the failure to find the vulnerability of the Enigma system, the failure to use operationally gathered intel properly rather overshadow the successes.

The sucesses of the Axis intel services do reveal something about the Allied failures. ie: The japanese establishment of a spy network in Oahu & on the US mainland suggests a problem with the US counter intel & underlying attitudes. To be more specific...

The Abwehr did penetrate the US AT3 communications link between London & Washington DC. This from 1941 through 1942 gave access to a lot of technically low grade but very useful background material on Allied high level planning.

The Italians broke into the US embassy & acquired access to the US Army Black Code. That allowed reading detailed messages from the US military attache in Egypt concerning the daily operations of the Brit 8th Army, and other ops in the Middle East. Rommel had frequent summaries of the messages.

The Germans sent a signals intel battalion to Africa, which spent 1941 & much of 1942 successfully picking apart the 8th Army radio communications. This was a excellent supplement to the Italians penetration of the Black Code & between the two was much of the reason for Rommels successes.

German naval intelligence succeeded in breaking the British convoy code through much of 1942. The late successes of the submarines in the autum & winter of 1942 were aided by reading the messages organizing & dispatching the convoys.

Japanese Navy signals intel was quite good. Although they did not break any significant USN codes or encryption their analysis at least during 1942 gave them a lot of insight into USN movements. In April 1942 they divined enough about the nature of the Wasps movement to have ambushed the Tokyo raid. The home fleet command declined to put the fleet to sea for such a purpose, only deploying their picket ships further out.

In at least three major attacks the Germans managed a successful intel mask of their preparations. The Allies were tactically & operationally suprised on 10 May 1940, & for a number of days after. In March 1943 the 'Morning Air' offensive blindsided the US Army, as did the watch on the Rhine attack in December 1944. I expect a little research would turn up a dozen other cases where german security measures left their enemies flatfooted.

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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Jun 2015 00:44

Torretta13 wrote:Why was Axis Intel so much more susceptible to espionage than Allied Intel? ...
Management consultants have a phrase: 'The fish rots at the head first'. Hitlers management style crippled coordination between intelligence departments & confused objectives. It also caused a lot of good data or information to be ignored. ie: Signals intel units in the west copied large quantities of US & British radio traffic from the UK in the first half of 1944, but the information wen unused because hitler was focused on the info from the Abwehrs spies in Britain.

paspartoo
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by paspartoo » 01 Jun 2015 07:48

Torretta13 wrote:Why was Axis Intel so much more susceptible to espionage than Allied Intel? You had that bloody traitor Canaris, countless leaks from Japanese intel, etc. If you as me WHERE the Axis lost this war, I would cite their subpar and unreliable intelligence organizations/units. It seems like the Allies always knew more about the plans of the Axis than vice versa. Does anyone else agree?
If you're talking about spies then no. Both sides had their successes. The Germans were able to get information of great value from neutral countries. If you're talking about high level traitors then yes there were several on the German side giving information to Soviet, Polish and US intelligence. These were people who hated the Nazi regime. However you should not exaggerate the intelligence they gave to the Allies.
Torretta13 wrote:It seems like the Allies always knew more about the plans of the Axis than vice versa.
Yeah sure. Battle of France, Norway, Battle of the Atlantic, N.Africa, Eastern Front. It was always the Allies who had the upper hand... :lol:
You need to read more on the subject my friend.
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

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stg 44
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by stg 44 » 05 Jun 2015 15:46

paspartoo wrote:
Torretta13 wrote:Why was Axis Intel so much more susceptible to espionage than Allied Intel? You had that bloody traitor Canaris, countless leaks from Japanese intel, etc. If you as me WHERE the Axis lost this war, I would cite their subpar and unreliable intelligence organizations/units. It seems like the Allies always knew more about the plans of the Axis than vice versa. Does anyone else agree?
If you're talking about spies then no. Both sides had their successes. The Germans were able to get information of great value from neutral countries. If you're talking about high level traitors then yes there were several on the German side giving information to Soviet, Polish and US intelligence. These were people who hated the Nazi regime. However you should not exaggerate the intelligence they gave to the Allies.
Torretta13 wrote:It seems like the Allies always knew more about the plans of the Axis than vice versa.
Yeah sure. Battle of France, Norway, Battle of the Atlantic, N.Africa, Eastern Front. It was always the Allies who had the upper hand... :lol:
You need to read more on the subject my friend.
Were it not for traitors and ULTRA how much did the Allies really have? I know they had HuffDuff and various intelligence networks in occupied countries, plus of course the work of SOE and OSS, but it seems they got really lucky to get things like the Olso Report, the Nazi diplomat that leaked info about the Me262 in 1943, plus any number of officers, including it would seem generels, that leaked things to the Soviets and Wallies.

paspartoo
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by paspartoo » 05 Jun 2015 18:16

stg 44 wrote:
Were it not for traitors and ULTRA how much did the Allies really have? I know they had HuffDuff and various intelligence networks in occupied countries, plus of course the work of SOE and OSS, but it seems they got really lucky to get things like the Olso Report, the Nazi diplomat that leaked info about the Me262 in 1943, plus any number of officers, including it would seem generels, that leaked things to the Soviets and Wallies.
Allen Dulles got intelligence from Hans Bernd Gisevius and Fritz Kolbe. The Kolbe material was important since it included German reports from various officials in occupied countries. But i don't think that any of that material was war winning. You mentioned the Oslo report but so what? Would the Germans have produced nuclear weapons if the Allied had not received that information?

The Poles had two agents in the OKW and OKH but both were caught.

The Soviet intelligence networks Rote Kapele and Rote Drei sent a lot of information to Moscow. What was their effect on the war? How much of the information was accurate? How much was outdated? Did Moscow trust them?

I think all the talk about traitors is exaggerated.
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

steverodgers801
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by steverodgers801 » 05 Jun 2015 23:39

The resistance provided quit a bit of local intel.

Torretta13
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Torretta13 » 08 Jun 2015 01:28

I guess I am just pissed about Canaris, guys. Never was a traitor more justly hanged!> :O

Rob Stuart
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Rob Stuart » 08 Jun 2015 02:26

Torretta13 wrote:I guess I am just pissed about Canaris, guys. Never was a traitor more justly hanged!> :O
It surprises me that anyone would have this opinion, as it implies that Hitler's rule enjoyed some kind of legitimacy and that every member of the German opposition was a traitor. By 1944 it was clearly in Germany's best interest that it lose the war as soon as possible, and it seems to me that the July 20 plotters were patriots and held the moral high ground. Were the people who deposed Mussolini traitors? If someone in North Korea deposed Kim Jong-un, freed the North Korean people and organized an election, would he be a traitor? If people in America revolted against the constitutional government would they be traitors, or would they be known 200 years later as "the founding fathers"?

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Marcus
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Marcus » 08 Jun 2015 16:05

Please stay on topic.

/Marcus

toque
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by toque » 09 Jun 2015 08:29

Whilst it is certainly true to say that the Axis did have occasional successes, the simple truth of the matter is that they were generally outclassed when it came to intelligence matters. Why that should be so is an interesting question.

I suspect that it comes down to the nature of the regime and national characteristics.

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Poot
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Poot » 11 Jun 2015 06:57

Needless to say (because of the ultimate result of the war), intell was only one aspect of a victorious package of capabilities brought to bear by the Allies. The success enjoyed by Giskes and his Abwehr agents against the Dutch Resistance and the SOE made it look like the latter were amateurs who stumbled into a professional arena.

Not to take anything away from the SOE's successes, but everything that Buckmaster touched seemed to go sideways in rather disastrous form...

Pat
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 12 Jun 2015 23:14

Poot wrote:...
Not to take anything away from the SOE's successes, but everything that Buckmaster touched seemed to go sideways in rather disastrous form...

Pat
Refresh my memory, I cant recall Buckmaster in the literature I've read.

Thanks

gambadier
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by gambadier » 13 Jun 2015 08:14

Netherlands was the one place where SOE failed, due to GE counter-int. In the rest of the world it was reasonably successful. Not forgetting that intelligence was not their function, SOE's job was 'special operations', their name was a bit of a clue, and Gubbins was an expert, he really had written the book on the subject (well before the start of WW2, having studied it following his experience as a counter-terrorist intelligence officer in the early 1920s in Ireland). SIS was primarily responsible for foreign intelligence operations using HUMINT. Of course you could argue that the Allies' greatest counter-intelligence success was preventing GE from discovering that the Enigma coding system had been broken.

paspartoo
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Re: Why was Axis intelligence less reliable than Allied Intel?

Post by paspartoo » 13 Jun 2015 09:15

gambadier wrote:Netherlands was the one place where SOE failed, due to GE counter-int. In the rest of the world it was reasonably successful.
:lol: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for- ... p_0001.htm
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

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