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-   -   Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=14321)

Larry deZeng 16th September 2009 19:43

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
This thread seems to be full of experienced HW researchers so I am hoping someone might be able to fill me in on this wonderful resource as it exists today at Kew. 20-25 years ago I read in detail and took reams of notes from every one of the 50,000+ PRO DEFE 3 ULTRA signals to the field commands that were microfilmed in the late 1970's by Clearwater Publishing (Tampa, Florida). So here are a few questions about the HW collection as it exists today:

1) Has the British National Archives done anything about microfilming (or microfiching) the great mass of new ULTRA material released for public use beginning around 1995?

2) Huge numbers of avid U.K. Luftwaffe enthusiasts have been busy photographing the HW collection with their digital cameras for a number of years now. They take these photos home, use what information they need and then, presumably, file them away on a CD or such. Are any of these enthusiasts attempting to sell copies of these digitally photographed ULTRA messages so those of us not able to pop in and out of the National Archives at will can perhaps buy them?

3) There are a few (very, very few!) oddball individuals like yours truly who are interested in more than just Werknummern, Stammkennzeichen and who-shot-who down. I, me, we would be most interested in those intercepts that concern the Luftwaffen-Bodenorganisation units that associate them with locations, movements, activity, personnel strength and the like, this of course including signals units (Luftnachrichten-) and the units of the Flakartillerie. My assumption here is that the higher level discourse at Fliegerdivision, Fliegerkorps, Luftfotte and OKL level was in the DEFE 3 series or extracted to the Sunset summaries that are already available here in the North American colonies.

Any information will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Larry

AndreasB 16th September 2009 23:19

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
@Nick

That's how I got into HW5, I started on HW1, and ended up missing the removed papers, and the helpdesk staff pointed me towards HW5.

@Larry (Hi!)

AFAIK only naval intercepts are on microfilm.

Unfortunately for you, I think a lot of the ground stuff may have gone over phone wires instead of radio, so I would guess there is less of it. But that is really just a guess.

As for making pictures available, I'll probably do that when I have finished the book, assuming by then bandwith has become reasonably cheap. :)

@Marcel

I know nothing about 1944, I am afraid. I concur on the volume you can get through in a day, based on 1941 experience. With 6-7 folders (say, up to 1,500 images - I use a digital reflex) you are better off NOT doing a bulk order, but instead booking a camera stand, in my view.

All the best

Andreas

Larry deZeng 18th September 2009 14:47

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Thanks for your reply, Andreas. I was hoping for something a bit more encouraging but I must admit that your news is pretty much what I was expecting.

As for the non-flying units of the Luftwaffe, their exposure in ULTRA was extensive but, as you noted, perhaps not quite as extensive as it was for the flying units. But every little bit helps and I was hoping at least some of the HW material might have found its way into a transferable media format by now.

Larry

Marcel Hogenhuis 18th September 2009 22:08

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Hello Nick, Andreas and Larry,

First of all thanks for all your answers, though discouraging these are about the speed of processing all those pages. Am I correct that with some decent equipment (read: digital camera and those camera stand) it should theoretically be possible to process a month of reports in a week?

Though it might seem that one only take pictures of documents with relevant info, the speed of processing seems much lower compared with 'blindly' taking pictures of each page, regardless their content.

Larry: I do care about the ground units too (!!!), because one of the remaining blanks in my knowledge of Venlo airfield in WW-2 are the Flak-units involved with the airfield air defense, the Lw. Berge unit (if any), Landesschützenzüge and the companies of the Fliegerausbildungs Regiment and their respective commanders.

Well, at least it is clear that those HW5 files could disclose these answers and the help guide that Nick has written will help a lot !

All the best and thanks for sharing, Marcel

Nick Beale 18th September 2009 23:37

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcel Hogenhuis (Post 92419)
Hello Nick, Andreas and Larry,

Am I correct that with some decent equipment (read: digital camera and those camera stand) it should theoretically be possible to process a month of reports in a week?

Though it might seem that one only take pictures of documents with relevant info, the speed of processing seems much lower compared with 'blindly' taking pictures of each page, regardless their content.

Marcel

You could do more than a month's files in a week, I'd say. You're right that just "blindly" photographing every page could well be quicker (but at the cost of much more time when you get home, spent identifying the things you actually want). Just take some big memory cards.

AndreasB 19th September 2009 00:01

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Marcel

It really depends on your focus. For example in my case, photographing only S.E. Europe and Italy & Africa intercepts (for every day they are broken into four separate geographic areas "Northwest Europe and Germany", "Eastern Front", and those two, plus German B-Dienst and Radio beacon/frequency info), I could get through one month in a day. No selection, I simply took pictures of everything. If you have restricted time at Kew, but more time at home, that's the way to go.

All the best

Andreas

AndreasB 19th September 2009 13:40

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
2 Attachment(s)
I thought it might be useful to show other forum members a sample page of what the HW5 material looks like.

This is the cover and Page 1 of the Italy and Africa section of 4 November 41.

All the best

Andreas

Larry deZeng 19th September 2009 15:55

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Thanks for posting the two HW5 samples, Andreas. With the sole exception of Oblt. FUMKE and his unidentified Gruppe en-route to Vitebsk, all of the other intercepts in those two pages are exactly the sort of signals that were sent by Bletchley Hut 3 to the field commands and are currently in those 143 rolls of microfilm that I mentioned earlier. In fact, several of them looked familiar. I don't know which HW series currently incorporates those 50,000+ signals to the field commands, but evidently they replicate many of the HW5 signals. As the stream of daily decrypts made its way through Hut 3, the RAF officer intelligence analysts would mark those messages having tactical value for immediate retransmission to the commands in the field and off they went using the RAF's special key that employed some double encryption. For example, every X. Fliegerkorps daily report that was intercepted was among those forwarded to Middle East Command and one or two others in the Mediterranean.

L.

AndreasB 19th September 2009 16:04

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
That's correct Larry. On the HW5 pages it is indicated by a code in a sidebar on the left which commands received the messages. For some messages it would be several commands, for others it would be none.

So my guess is that HW5 contains everything, while the material you looked at contained a subset judged to be of operational value to someone.

All the best

Andreas

Nick Beale 19th September 2009 18:25

Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AndreasB (Post 92443)
So my guess is that HW5 contains everything, while the material you looked at contained a subset judged to be of operational value to someone.
Andreas

Well not exactly. As I said on my website, what they sent to commands will speak of "an officer", the HW5 version will often give you his name. All the material I amassed from DEFE3, I covered again in HW5 because there is so much extra detail.


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