Unsolved ciphertexts from World War II (3)
Heute geht es um sieben weitere ungelöste Verschlüsselungen aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Lassen sich diese dechiffrieren? Kennen meine Leser weitere?
Thanks to comments from various Cipherbrain readers, I was able to improve my list significantly. Armin Krauß, for example, solved the diary of Emil Klein. The Rilke cryptogram was identified as non-cryptologic. Max Bärtl has found the plaintexts to some double box messages. The SS radio message is likely to be a forgery.
Today there are seven other unsolved messages from World War II. The numbering starts with 9, after I left off with cryptogram no. 8 in the last article.
9. Airplane message
I found the following encrypted message on Reddit, where it was posted by a user named “StalkerSchuhart”:
It is a message that the British intercepted from an airplane and then forwarded to the deciphering experts at Bletchley Park. I first read the year as 1943, but my readers thought it was 1948, which would make this text not a World War II cryptogram, but I will leave it in this list anyway.
As far as I know, little is known about what happened at Bletchley Park after World War II. It is all the more interesting to have such a document sent there three years after the end of the war.
Here is a transcription of the secret text:
39715 92953 13200 86129 51788 93871
84287 00611 98160 09494 51732 30474
The following part could be an identifier:
DTG: 120229Z NCR 3879 3 11 49
I know hardly anything about this cryptogram so far. Maybe my readers can contribute something.
10. French cryptogram
The following message, originating from France, was also posted on Reddit:
Unfortunately, I have no background information on this either. On top of that, the writing on the crumpled paper is difficult to read.
11. M-209 messages from France
The M-209 was the most widely used encryption machine by U.S. forces during World War II. It was also used in France after D-Day.
French crypto-historian Jean-François Bauchaudy has tracked down three French M-209 messages from 1944 in a French military archive and described them in “Cryptologia.” He has deciphered two of the cipher texts, the third is still unsolved:
Bauchaudy made the following transcription of the message:
Priorit_e P 1038/CH
Hirondelle _a Estelle
Du Quartier g_en_eral de la 7i_eme arm_ee _a la 1_ere Arm_ee Franc¸aise.
Conform_ement aux ordres rec¸ues, du 6i_eme groupes d’arm_ees, tout
le personnel du 4i_eme SFU terminera son service imm_ediatement et
se pr_esentera sans d_elai au quartier g_en_eral du 4i_eme SFU, 58
Boulevard des Belges, Lyon. 272345A
XYUXP IRONDELE A EST DES BEGES LYON
28058-KKAFD-IKLRS ADAGY UKXFD SOFYJ QROWP LKFVP SUPPI QMSXX
MSZPE EPVPD MPPQV VOIJH NQBFT UKYCZ ORPWZ GKVFD MTTSQ KEBQG
PQKYU ESUBZ PAXMI KPWXB INRTY EUMMI MBWFP SRXTX VEENE YZDAZ
ARBUX WHYQW ULWNE KYNWM TZSZA DQSNH ASVKV YFFWL SPYTU WXGFJ
WYJXY DIKXP QBUQN FVNDW AXERQ YEBII RNKYI VGUXA NANLQ YQKUQ
SIPBH HSAPE OHEWU PMWEO BQKYX YTOYF ISWTZ KKAFD-IKLRS
The plain text part is as follows in English:
Priority P 1038/CH
Swallow to Estelle
From the headquarters of the 7th Army to the 1st French Army. In
accordance with the orders received from the 6th Army Group, all 4th SFU
personnel will finish their service immediately and will report without delay
to the 4th SFU Headquarters, 58 Boulevard des Belges,
To crack this message, you need some knowledge about the M-209. Maybe someone will manage it.
12. Spanish Enigma message
Via Google I found the following (alleged) Enigma message from Spain in 1937, described in an article:
This news is not from World War II either, but otherwise fits the context. I have not yet taken a closer look at the article mentioned, so I don’t know too much about this message. I will of course gladly accept hints from my readers.
13. Japanese consular message
Norwegian crypto history expert Frode Weierud provided me with three Japanese diplomatic messages in 2017. The first of these was sent on January 29, 1940:
BBBTT YIXBA YIVYL OXUAB ARPBO UJTNU ASZAF UKURL YORAY MAXAD EWDKY IBEKY WITOS WIYVU MAMAN REKTI ASTCA EUKIM IVYDE UCHRE CEXLO HUNAL OXUAB ARXPU WIFOH IGAEB
The second message is dated December 23, 1939:
JAPANESE ETC BBBTT GASAN AVKOY GATVI RUNUV PYECS GARWY ADFAK ITDEX MAXAD YORAY TOVSE ATUMK IDEUW DEAGS OULYR FUWME URGBE FVSGE DEAGS
The third message is dated December 17, 1940:
BBBTT GEAYU EETRA UKURL AWYCZ SOGLA FUWME BYZAK NYWHI EWAYO FOIWA MUIJU DEAHT FUWME BYZAK URHAC URTWE FUWME AIRKA NYAYI DYRAP ABFYS FUWME EIYEV AWYCZ SOGLA FUWME AZSYE EHXOG KISUZ UKROL IBCAD FOISF BETVE UKURL GAXUP URGEH YORAY ARORG GAYOV COWDY KAWLE TAIFD CIZIN NEMNE ERUUL NOVZE IOSPO TAASY TAIFD NYWHI OEWFY GEAYU UJTNU IVYDE RHUYS YIAVE IBRYZ KUYAX SJYUL ITYOM IBAHZ CRIPI SYYEX IHALD POFFU HAJWU STOWU SIMAP UGZED GUNVI HGNHI CIZIN EWIHP IPDFU SEYGO ITDEX HERYD ODYLB EGNHI OTOYN ROAHW CITFE ABIGY TUXFU IBOWA UJTNU EHAOD BYBDU MAXAD AIRKA RHOKN IBAPT KULGE CEXLO EWIHP DYFLA BUYHB CYJAZ MAXAD UARKY HIPYJ ELUWU MUJRO NOENV THODO URGBE ASLAC ABWOF AIRKA JYZYM TAISP IXVLE EBMBE TRIGI NIYWR YORAY GEWBO ABKAD MAXAD IDRET IBAHZ UAKOV JYZYM CUFMY FOFUK OFGEN URHAC GYODS IBBOR JUSOS UNWYT OYCXE ROUYA OPYFT MAXAD TAISP UHUXO FEDYS UHTWO OFHYH IFSRI MAXAD EIGLI RHUSM GYJWE DEAGS OASPU OLKYW LYDAV FAWXU IYXGY AWYCZ AIRKA NOBYK DUNVY SLORI ITDEX ETZGI HADGI EKXEL UKPUH HAEHI MAXAD EGPOM ----- UGSUM BYOOJ JYZYM CUGUP MOODD UKPUH SIDFE UGLVI JUSOS UOJIR CHITO NICXO ULFTE OVCYC HADGI IVOFD EGTWE EGNHI CEWAR SVINT GHUNG NEUWR MYILN UHNAL ERKWY UHPDA FYIKT OYCXE OEWFY YPZUX SYLIC CUWDY AMZYW AIRKA TEVLA ----- EGNHI FOHZA EKBLI DEAHT ABVUZ NEMNE AMZYW EISOZ KUPKE IDBEK KIULN ITIOD TEVLA SHISY omful QUAME KGYML MGNQL PRLBZ MHJTG PRLCY MHJBN MHINN PRLSH MHJTG PRLTG MHJHT PRLYB MHITT PRUOD prpjk MHIZZ PRYAK MHJBN PRYOZ MHIXX PSAXU MHIVV MHIPP PSURU MHINN PSUXA MHIJK PSYDO MHIFG PSYKI PSYVW MHHZN PSYZY MHIDE PTAAK MHHRS PTALI MHHXY MHHJL PTATE MHHGE PTAYW MHGWY PTEKE MHGSU PTIBE POFAB MHKFG POFAC MHJDP POFAE MHJBN POFAG MHHLA MHFUX POFAZ MHHZN POGOE MHHTU NZNNZ PRUOD PTIBE BEPST POFAM CRKHZ MRHIH NQNYO LERCR ASMNR NROQT GVEXJ HXCWX AZHIB AIFQH NROQT GMEZC MRHIH GPEMR LLFMI NROQT LCSON DNCIQ GHVAT LLHNT Japanese Consul
Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the background of these messages. There are probably considerably more of them. Maybe with Frode’s help I can blog an update sometime.
14. Swedish ciphertexts
Dan Girard has thankfully pointed me to a collection of Swedish messages. He wrote me the following about it:
It contains police reports about radio messages intercepted in the course of the effort by the General Security Service – Radio Control Department to detect illegal radio transmitters operating in Sweden. Some of these reports include the ciphertexts of the intercepts, most of which were found to be from outside Sweden, mainly German or Russian military messages.
There are 5 messages which from their formats appeared to be Wehrmacht (Enigma I) messages; and 24 others that looked like naval Enigma (M3) messages. I’ve broken the 5 Wehrmacht messages, which turned out to be from the Luftwaffe, and 14 of the Naval Enigma ones; but there are still 10 naval Enigma messages that I’ve been unable to break. Six of these are on page 37 of the pdf, two are on page 39, one is on page 40 and one on page 70.
Also, on page 78 there is a message in three parts which appears to be a German message enciphered with a transposition cipher, possibly a double transposition. The combined letter-frequency count closely matches that of the plaintexts of the German army Enigma messages broken by Frode Weierud, Geoff Sullivan and Olaf Ostwald. It’s beyond my capability, but perhaps some of your readers like George Lasry, Nils Kopal and Arno Wacker might like to have a go at this; although the combined length of the three parts might not be enough for their method to have a chance.
I think I will write a separate blog article about these documents soon.
15. Geheimschreiber-Nachricht aus Schweden
George Lasry pointed out to me that I don’t have an unresolved Geheimschreiber message on my list, although I have blogged about it. The Geheimschreiber (officially: Siemens & Halske T52) was the Germans’ main teletype encryption machine during World War II.
George provided me two years ago with a pamphlet from a Swedish intelligence agency describing its accomplishments in World War II (there is an English and a Swedish version). In it is the following secret scribe message:
To my knowledge, no one has solved this cryptogram yet.
As a result of my three articles as well as numerous reader comments, I can thus present the following list of 15 unsolved cryptograms from World War II:
- Bullet cryptogram
- Schleswig-Holstein telegrams
- Köhler cryptograms
- SS radio message (probably a fake)
- Carrier pigeon message
- Doppelkasten messages (partially solved)
- Enigma message (Karpathen)
- Enigma message (Thetis)
- Air plane radio message
- French message
- French M-209 message
- Spanish Enigma message
- Consular messages
- Swedish messages
- Geheimschreiber messages
Many thanks to all who have helped to bring some order to this exciting but confusing topic.
The list is certainly not yet complete. In particular, there are undoubtedly several more Enigma messages from WWII that remain unsolved. In addition, some of the cryptograms mentioned may have been solved by now. Even though this three-part article series is now over, I hope that my readers can help me to expand and improve the list.
If you want to add a comment, you need to add it to the German version here.
Further reading: Die Slidex: ein Low-Tech-Verschlüsselungswerkzeug aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg