Specific ULTRA message/intercept – April 1945

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Medblue60, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. Medblue60

    Medblue60 Member

    Newbie here. I want to try and track down a specific thread or message from the Japanese Embassy in Sweden (so Diplomatic not Military) back to their Foreign Ministry. It was sent in “early” April 1945. It fell under the ULTRA umbrella classification but am not clear if its source was through US MAGIC intercepts or via Bletchley Pk etc.

    Can anyone point me in a general direction as to where to start to try and find this or where such material might be Archived pls? (e.g. Could not see anything related. on the top level National Archives research guide page)
  2. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    Series DEFE 3 is free to download, numerous files by dates, but seems to be military operations and intelligence only, digitised microfilm.

    Searching within series HW 1 , which are files at Kew, might get something, for example this refers to a Japanese in Stockholm:

    " Reference: HW 1/3683
    Western Europe: SS General Kammler, previously in charge of V-weapons and of programme for moving German aircraft industry underground, now appointed General Plenipotentiary of Fuehrer, in charge of jet-propelled aircraft programme, with staff of SS officers, Mar 27, details of production programme with locations and personalities listed.

    Japanese naval attaché, Stockholm: deteriorating UK/Soviet relations and fact that Western Allies were now fully aware of Soviet threat, problems of future of Denmark, the Near and Middle East, the Aegean Sea and China were very likely to provide the motives for third world war, Apr 7.
    Date: 1945 Apr 7
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s) "
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Might be worth considering this new book, which I had an alert for yesterday from Hurst & Co, the publishers:
    'Eavesdropping on the Emperor: Interrogators and Codebreakers in Britain's War With Japan' by Peter Kornicki.

    The publisher's summary:
    Not cheap at £25. See: Eavesdropping on the Emperor | Hurst Publishers
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
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  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Over the years I have read articles on the intelligence gained from Japanese staff in Berlin reporting back to Tokyo. They were probably in the journal 'Intelligence and National Security' (aka INS). Vaguer memory of an article on the role of Stockholm diplomatic reporting.

    I think the Index for INS is available online via: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fint20/0/0?windowSize=50&windowStart=0 It allows for searching too.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
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  5. Medblue60

    Medblue60 Member

    Thank you papier-mâché that’s brilliant!
    That IS the actual thread [Reference: HW 1/3683] that I was looking for – though I don’t know it!
    [see * below]
    The NA page;
    Western Europe: SS General Kammler, previously in charge of V-weapons and of programme... | The National Archives
    Seems to suggest that this .doc has not yet been digitised - so I guess I’ll need to book a visit…

    The reference is regarding a Soviet (Stalin’s?) plan to advance along the Baltic Coast and to side step the Western Allies and to occupy Denmark….
    Can one even begin to try and imagine how different the World would be/have been if that had happened?

    I first came across this momentous notion a few years ago from Stephen Ambrose’s “Citizen Soldiers” where it is mentioned on p465 and had “Gilbert p12” as its source. I didn’t follow up at the time, but a couple of weeks ago I remembered it and mentioned it my MIL who’d been a 9yrs old resident of Lubeck in 2nd May 45 when the British arrived. She remembers streams of German refugees struggling West, petrified of being overrun by advancing Russians. We did a minor web search and came across this article about a stand-off at Wismar about 60kn east of Lubeck :
    How A Small Group Of Canadian Paratroopers Saved Denmark From Soviet Occupation
    How A Small Group Of Canadian Paratroopers Saved Denmark From Soviet Occupation
    The article is not the best with some lazy generalisations & inaccuracies - but it does give a very interesting view of what, on the one hand was simply (?) the meeting up of the West & Eastern “Allies” – but on the other, the relatively little known (?) stand-off between a few hundred of our lightly armed paratroopers, and an entire Soviet armoured Corp with orders to advance westwards. This little encounter, to all intents & purposes, seems to have changed (or saved?) the course of world history as we know it! (Or am I being a tad melodramatic!)

    As well as mentioning that the Soviet Commander had “orders” to advance to Lubeck – beyond the agreed lines arrived at during the Feb 45 Yalta Conference - these “orders” also seem to contradict an agreement Allied Chief of Staff & Soviet Chief of Staff had arrived at only weeks earlier, regarding the linking up of the 2 armies, namely;

    “..armies from east and west were to continue to advance until contact was imminent or linkup achieved. At that point adjustments might be made at the level of army group to deal with any remaining opposition while establishing a common boundary along some well-defined geographical feature.” [Circa 21st April 1945]

    HyperWar: The Last Offensive [Chapter 19]

    That said – Wismar was actually within the agreed Soviet sphere of occupation which presumably Command knew ….

    Although not specifically mentioned in the ‘warhisrtoryonline’ article, this direct military action (movement to Wismar etc.) was the result of this specific ULTRA intercept. Ambrose also mentions that Montgomery was (typically?) resistant, when order by Eisenhower, to turning his troops north to the Baltic, when all eyes were still presumably on Berlin.

    This may all be a lot more common knowledge to some of you, but it blew me away somewhat…the ’what if it had happened + thank GOODNESS for Bletchely etal’ etc.

    Has anyone else come across other references or research into this Soviet plan re occupying the Baltic Coast & Denmark?

    [Excluding the Bornholm Island occupation]
    Other refs from western allies side – no mention of ULTRA plus a few inconstancies;
    Operation Eclipse - https://www.historylearningsite.co....war-two-and-eastern-europe/operation-eclipse/
    Operation Eclipse - Operation Eclipse - Wismar

    [ * - So literally. half an hour after reading your post this AM - papier-mâché, the Postie arrived with a ‘World of Books’ order containing the above mentioned Sir M. Gilberts “The Last Day of the War”. I immediately turned to p12 and there was the N.A. Reference: HW 1/3683 you mentioned…. All being well I will post a copy of Gilberts p12 & reference here.
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  6. Medblue60

    Medblue60 Member

    p12 Martin Gilberts “The Last Day of the War”

    Attached Files:

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  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Medblue: a fascinating insight into how that war ended. As has been said many times before, how wars end are much more interesting than how wars start, and the above narrative fortunately kept within the final act theme. So thank you to the Canadians in 1945.

    HW 1 is not a series I have ordered from at Kew: the files I usually look at do not have such detailed descriptions of the contents in the Kew index, so it is really thanks to a staff member at Kew that I was able to search within the series for "Stockholm" and find the file.

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  8. Nick Beale

    Nick Beale Member

    If you can get to the National Archives, ULTRA material from Japanese diplomatic messages can be found in files:

    HW 20/389: Reports of a political or politico-military nature, from diplomatic, commercial or military attaché sources, in the BAY/VL, /KV, /XL and /HP series (30 March–20 December 1944)

    HW 20/390: Reports of a political or politico-military nature,from diplomatic, commercial or military attaché sources, in the BAY/BT and /KO series (22 Dec 1944–3 Oct 1945)​

    I have not looked at many of these, just a couple that bear on the Luftwaffe's operations.

    Each HW 1 series file contains the decrypts that were brought to Churchill's attention on a given day day.

    Re papiermache's comment that "Series DEFE 3 is … digitised microfilm": that's true but for a few years (late 80s to early 90s) the messages were actually available on paper. The pages were very flimsy and each seemed to be a different size, which made leafing through them very slow going. Digitisation was real boon. DEFE 3 only begins in early 1941, when sending intelligence to overseas commands became necssary - the reports are described as the "Cairo Series".

    There are many different threads within DEFE 3 including the Luftwaffe/Army traffic, Naval traffic (which subdivides into surface, U-boat, Mediterranean and Black Sea series) and Italian traffic — or those are the ones I've looked at, anyway. The dates of the files are the dates the decrypts were issued, not the dates the Aix messages were sent.

    In other series you can find intelligence service, police and (I believe) Reichsbahn traffic as well. All those are in hard copy only.

    For the best Luftwaffe and Army material, series HW 5 (also hard copy) is the place to go. These are the texts from wich the reports to overseas commands were summarised and will often contain much more detail, as wel las some incidental stuff which is interesting to the researcher. This series runs to 703 bound volumes, covering the whole war.

    Theres' a guide to using ULTRA for Luftwaffe research on my website, covering the DEFE 3, HW 1, HW 5 and HW 11 series. It may help more generally as ULTRA is written in a "language" all its own, which you need to get the hang of.
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  10. Medblue60

    Medblue60 Member

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  11. Medblue60

    Medblue60 Member

    Thank you - that is most helpful and a great lead to tey and find out the detail & source

  12. Nick Beale

    Nick Beale Member

    Correction: "the dates the Aix messages were sent" should read "… Axis messages …".
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