BA-Cryptogram-bar

Eine verschlüsselte Nachricht aus England gibt Rätsel auf. Gelingt es einem Leser, sie zu knacken? Die Chancen stehen vergleichsweise gut.

“Can you crack the code?”, fragt ein Autor auf einer Web-Seite des Britischen Nationalarchivs. Die Frage bezieht sich auf eine verschlüsselte Nachricht aus dem Jahr 1645, über die auf der besagten Seite leider keine weiteren Informationen gegeben werden. Hier ist die Nachricht:

BA-Cryptogram

Wer sich ein bisschen auskennt in der Verschlüsselungsgeschichte, erkennt sofort, dass hier ein Nomenklator verwendet wurde. Ein Nomenklator ist ein Verschlüsselungsverfahren, das für jeden Buchstaben des Alphabets sowie für wichtige Wörter je eine Zahl (oder eine Buchstabengruppe) vorsieht. Ein einfaches Beispiel:

A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, …, Z=26, HUND=99, KATZE=123, MAUS=180

Der Ausdruck HUND KATZE UND MAUS verschlüsselt sich damit in 99, 123, 21, 14, 4, 180.

In der obigen verschlüsselten Nachricht kommen hauptsächlich zweistellige Zahlen vor. Vermutlich steht jede davon für einen Buchstaben oder ein ganzes Wort. Um eine Häufigkeitsanalyse zu erschweren, kann der Verschlüssler bei manchen Nomenklatoren zwischen mehreren Zahlen für denselben Buchstaben (zum Beispiel für das E) wählen.

Nomenklatoren waren ab dem 14. Jahrhundert in Gebrauch. Im 19. Jahrhundert erreichten sie die Größe von ganzen Büchern (man spricht dann allerdings nicht mehr von einem Nomenklator, sondern von einem Codebuch). Nomenklatoren und Codebücher waren vermutlich die meistverwendete Form des Verschlüsselns der Vor-Computer-Zeit überhaupt. Ab etwa 1800 erreichte diese Technik eine Qualität, bei der auch heutige Codeknacker oft passen müssen. Ungelöste Codebuch- bzw. Nomenklator-Nachrichten habe ich in Klausis Krypto Kolumne schon öfter vorgestellt:

Meine Leser haben zwar schon so manche verschlüsselte Nachricht gelöst, doch bei Nomenklator-Kryptogrammen konnte ich bisher noch keinen Erfolg vermelden. Die Nachricht, um die es heute geht, ist allerdings deutlich älter als alle bisher vorgestellten Nomenklator-Nachrichten und verwendet nur relativ wenige Zahlen. Sie könnte also durchaus zu knacken sein. Vielleicht hat ein Leser Lust, sich daran zu versuchen. Beim Britischen Nationalarchiv dürfte man sich gegebenenfalls freuen.

Zum weiterlesen: Der Mann mit der Eisernen Maske: Wie ein Kryptologe das Rätsel (nicht) löste

Kommentare (17)

  1. #1 Richard SantaColoma
    http://proto57.wordpress.com/
    21. März 2015

    Perhaps there are some clues:

    1) I note that there are very few numbers over 100. To me this implies that it is not entirely a code, but possibly mostly a cipher using a grid system of some sort… such as a box with numerals along two sides, denoting letters.

    2) Along the left side, someone numbered the lines in pencil. Perhaps this was the translator, who may have known that the number of the line was important to the system.

    3) Several groups of characters seem to be underlined. If was done by the translator, then perhaps these are words?

    4) There is a single “9”… the only single numeral, I think. Could this be “I”?

  2. #2 Peter
    21. März 2015

    Ich frage mich gerade ob Lord Digby immer den gleichen Code verwendet hat.
    Hier ein Musterlink:
    http://cryptiana.web.fc2.com/code/digby.htm

    • #3 Klaus Schmeh
      25. März 2015

      Danke für den Hinweis. Es gibt also noch mehr verschlüsselte Nachrichten von diesem Lord Digby.

  3. #4 Hans Jahr
    21. März 2015

    My solution of the letter from Prince Maurice to Lord Digby is here:
    http://katkryptolog.blogspot.com/2015/03/vylustene-znenie-listu-z-r-1645-princ.html

  4. […] o tejto doteraz nerozlúštenej správe dozvedel od pána Klausa Schmeha, ktorý ho uverejnil aj na svojom blogu. Ako je možné vidieť, povaha použitej šifry – nomenklátora s klamačmi a homofónmi […]

  5. #6 Kent Ramliden
    24. März 2015

    I have this one pretty well solved I think. The Nomenklator used here seems typical of many I found in use during the Civil War in England 1642-45 and was solveable by cryptanalysis via likely cribs and frequency analysis. The fact that the letters and short words are arranged in sequences helps enormously. There are a couple of places where the coding is likely wrong as in For d a b l e which is coded Null For d a e le (74 89 49 20 34 45 34), etc. Some historical research can probably uncover the name of the man appointed commander of the 7 County force I believe is coded 220.

    *=Null
    My Lord,
    Your Ipp? of thi 30 prisent came eaven now to my hands, wee heard not a word of 70 41 98 61 34 41 63 61 59 35 73 63 55 42 98 68 53 64 41 42 68 172 [ * t he r e t o r n e * o f t he S c o t t s horse].
    Tho beeing severall places 74 89 49 20 34 45 34 [* for d a b(e) l e] betweene 70 41 99 79 70 83 20 1 50 110 [* t his and * Be a w d ly] I conceiv 8 41 15 68 34 45 34 68 69 34 125 94 20 47 16 21 61 49 73 41 96 70 76 [i t u s l e s s e to have a g u a r d * t here * *].
    The last intelligence from the league before Hereford was that they resolved to assault thi towne yesterday. Since then I have not heard anything 76 41 98 25 110 53 45 63 68 34 125 47 34 20 41 98 61 79 94 20 32 64 15 34 | 1000| 172 [* t he y ly c l o s e to g e a t he r and have | 1000 | horse.]
    My Lord Ashly certifyed mee the 23 prisent that 7 countyes are associated and 70 41 98 25 80 71 73 49 61 21 1 103 47 77 21 45 41 98 8 61 189 68 [* t he y are * * d r a w in g * a l t he i r force s] . Those countyes 53 21 59 51 22 57 34 89 41 98 78 62 34 45 35 9 55 35 63 55 98 61 34 89 49 70 [c a n m a k e for t he * r e l i e f e o f He r e for d *].
    And in order to that 94 21 43 44 63 8 59 41 34 49 41 98 8 62 [ have a p p o i n t e d t he i r]
    generall 73 220 64 59 41 13 8 61 68 88 45 20 68 41 81 [ * (220=a name) o n t h i r s day l a s t at]
    Usk, Abergaveny and Crickhowell: 90 41 98 59 54 37 42 98 28 80 [ from t he n c e t he y are]
    designe 70 49 125 51 63 15 35 [ * d to m o v e ] speed 8 110 79 125 61 35 69 41 67 60 42 98 54 64 59 55 9 60 36 68 66 56 98 60 34 89 50 68 13 10 61 34 [i ly and to r e s t o r t he b o n f i r e s o f He r e for d s h i r e] purpose 110 125 14 103 50 36 62 41 98 68 54 63 41 42 69 90 41 98 11 62 89 20 47 103 48 [ ly to h in d e r t he S c o t t s from t he i r for a g in g]
    I shall speedily acquaint my Lord Ashly with 70 99 51 20 9 34 69 41 25 34 69 50 36 68 12 48 59 38 70 76 77 [ * His M a j e s t y e s d e s i g n e * *]
    Having not time to mention other perticulers, I rest you(r) ???? very affectionate friend.
    Worcester 31 Aug 11 a Clock MAURICE
    Beacuse of formatting problems here in the blog I will send the Nomenklator Table in a separate email but here is the skeleton structure as solved in this cryptogram.

    1 w
    8-12 i
    13-14 h
    15-16 u/v
    20-22 a
    25-28 y
    32 b
    34-38 e
    41-42 t
    43-44 p
    45 l
    47-48 g
    49-50 d
    53 c
    54 c/b
    55 f
    57 k
    59 n
    60-62 r
    63-68 o
    68-69 s
    70-78 Nulls (maybe one exception)
    79 and
    80 are
    81 at
    83 be
    88 day
    89 for
    90 from
    94 have
    96 here
    98 he
    99 his
    103 in
    110 ly
    125 to
    172 horse
    189 force
    220 a commander’s name

  6. #7 Kent Ramliden
    24. März 2015
  7. #8 hans jahr
    24. März 2015

    Thanks, Kent. First I seek king Charles I. and Henrietta Maria ciphers. Background information to be found at: http://cryptiana.web.fc2.com/code/charlesi.htm
    I found later, that none of homophone or nomenclator ciphers is the right one. My solution for this letter was based on the similar characteristics like I found on the website. Its priority of solution Code equivalent for 220 is “rendezvous”.

  8. #9 hans jahr
    24. März 2015

    For information, images of enciphered letter and clear text from the book of British official papers:
    First part of enciphered letter:
    http://postimg.org/image/b9inp0cud/
    Second part of enciphered letter:
    http://postimg.org/image/jme18ux3b/
    Official “clear text” of letter:
    http://postimg.org/image/qo8sqz2mp/

  9. #10 hans jahr
    24. März 2015

    Book of the official documents, previously mentioned by Kent Ramlinden is available as “Calendar of State Papers, Domestic series, of the reign of Charles I 1645-1647”:
    https://archive.org/details/cu31924091770325

  10. #11 hans jahr
    24. März 2015

    From book I mentioned above:”The whole of the deciphered letters which are given in full in the Supplement to this Preface are written in the numerical cipher, and, as only brief notices of them could be given in the body of the work, they are here printed in their entirety ; the keys having been supplied through the kindness of Colonel J. S. Rothwell, R.A. to whose skill in this matter the historical student will for ever be indebted”
    So, first person, who are cryptanalyzed this one and also others enciphered letters was Colonel John Sutton Rothwell from The Royal Artillery:
    http://www.thepeerage.com/p4962.htm#i49612
    Sorry Kent, we are not first and alone at all:)

  11. #12 Kent Ramliden
    24. März 2015

    Very nice work Hans! I think you have easily beaten me on all fronts (timing, correctness of solution and background research!)

    I thought it was a very interesting cryptanalysis project. Such a nomenklator solvable for sure, but much help also by Prince Maurice not using it very well, for example very limited selection spread in the “e” sequence, over emphasis also on “98=he” and a bit slack in his NULL patterns to name just some.

    Also interesting that given all the historical references that the National Archives claimed not to know the content of the note.

    If you are interested in the English Nomenklators I can share some slightly later information with you as I have been working in on reconstructing a much more difficult one, being a Foreign Office one between the British ambassador in Moscow and the Minister in London around 1708-1709. This is closer to rebuilding a code book but there is also a lot of material.

    All the best!

    Kent

  12. #13 Klaus Schmeh
    25. März 2015

    Hans, Kent: Thank you very much, you did a great job!!
    It seems, this cryptogram is completely solved now. I am proud to have such great codebreakers among my readers.

  13. #14 Kent Ramliden
    26. März 2015

    Thank you Klaus. Delighted to participate in your distinguished blog, and fun to have the opportunity to work on “live” ciphers like this one.

    Yes, I think we can say it has been solved and the items referred to seem to make sense in the historical context.

    “The retorne of the Scotts horse” likely refers to Major General David Leslie’s large (4000 horse) Scottish cavalry force which had been sent away from Hereford by the Covenanter commander Earl of Leven (Alexander Leslie) to deal with the Royalist Marquess of Montrose in Scotland. They did not return. (Both Leslies were extremely competent veterans of the 30-Year War in Germany btw).

    The” fordable” places would be on the River Severn between “this=Worcester and Bewdley” to the northeast of Hereford.

    The mustering of troops from the “7 counties” at Usk, Abergavenny and Crickhowell would appear to refer to activities in Wales, well southwest of Hereford. These forces were then supposed to move NE into Herefordshire and at a minimum limit the foraging of the remaining Scottish cavalry which Prince Maurice estimates is still above 1000. What appears to be written “Lord Ashly” would in fact likely be “Lord Astley”, the King’s overall infantry commander.

    Meanwhile King Charles left Oxford (to the southeast of Hereford) the day before, on August 30 with a force and marched toward Hereford.

    With the situation deteriorating up in Scotland, his main cavalry force already on his way there, and Royalists converging on Hereford, Earl Leven raised the siege, departed Herefordshire and headed up toward Scotland.

    King Charles entered Hereford on Sep 4. Still lost the war though.

  14. […] in discussion under Mr. Schmeh’s blog it has been found, that book of the official documents, entitled: “Calendar of State Papers, […]

  15. #16 Hans Jahr
    26. März 2015

    Thanks, Klaus and Kent for your help. I incorporated many thougts to my first blog post in English language. You may my “first shot” check out at: http://katkryptolog.blogspot.com/2015/03/solution-of-enciphered-letter-from-1645.html
    I would like to cooperate with Kent and Klaus at least once more. It was big fun. :)

  16. #17 Klaus Schmeh
    31. März 2015

    Kent Ramliden hat mir freundlicherweise eine ausführliche Beschreibung der Entschlüsselung zur Verfügung gestellt: http://scienceblogs.de/klausis-krypto-kolumne/files/2015/03/Prince-Maurice-Cipher-1645-Kent.pdf
    Vielen Dank!