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  #41  
Old 11th November 2009, 18:55
TCO TCO is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

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Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
Several months ago, a couple of people here asked if I would write a guide to using Ultra intelligence (deciphered signals) for Luftwaffe research.

I've finally done it and it's now posted on the Ghostbombers website.

P.S. New pages on the site will be designed for a screen 1024 pixels wide instead of 800.
Hello Nick,

great "handbook"! We exchanged some ULTRA-reports years ago!

Kind Regards,
Mario
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  #42  
Old 11th November 2009, 19:03
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

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Originally Posted by odybvig View Post
At my last stay at NA, I scanned (with a camera) following files
AIR40/2687 and AIR40/2697, both mentioned at Nick Beales page: http://www.ghostbombers.com/various/...tra_3.html#top

I have organized each of them as a singel pdf. file.

Anyone care for a copy?

Olve Dybvig
www.luftwaffe.no
Hello Olve, I would be grateful, if you could send me a copy too?
I focus on Luftwaffe-sorties on the Remagen-bridgehead and assume this period must be covered.

Thanks for your support in advance!
Mario
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  #43  
Old 12th February 2010, 01:44
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

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Originally Posted by Marcel Hogenhuis View Post
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?
Hi Marcel,

as an example, a couple of years ago I photographed all of the CX/MSS/R reports for the period 1 January - 23 May 1945 (covered by files HW 5/640-703). This took around two days, and equates to 6,700 pages. In terms of the CX/MSS/T material, I'd previously purchased a set of DEFE 3 microfilms for the same period, and used these to identify relevant CX/MSS/T signals, which could then be ordered individually from TNA. Although this route was costly, I found it easier to be able to go through the microfilms on more than one occasion at my leisure and this probably halved the number of photos I had to take when actually at TNA.

Cheers

Rod
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  #44  
Old 12th February 2010, 01:56
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

Hi Everyone,

as a side note, DEFE 3/573 contains are series of signals that were NOT generally telexed to commands (instead they were forwarded to specific individuals) and not transcribed into the main volumes of HW 5.

This was mainly because of the increased sensitivity of the material. Although not strictly relevant to the Luftwaffe, these signals do relate to reports of crashed Allied aircraft where personnel names were mentioned and to PoW matters in general (for example, reports concerning the mass migration of PoWs in the last months of the war).

Has anyone seen a file in the HW series that could be the "HW 5' equivalent of this DEFE 3 microfilm?

Cheers

Rod
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  #45  
Old 12th February 2010, 02:01
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

Hi Rod,

Back in the late eighties/early nineties I brought in all the DEFE 3 series via interlibrary loan and sat at my desk at home in front of my microfilm reader and typewriter over a 3 or 4 years span extracting everything of interest, mostly order of battle, unit movements, operational activity and such. Then, in the late nineties, the PRO began opening up the HW 5 material and I developed an immediate craving for what I thought would be even richer and better than DEFE 3. I had a long wait but recently a good friend and colleague began sending me some of the HW 5 decrypts so I could see what I had missed. Apparently, not much. From a purely operational, order of battle standpoint, I am now convinced that the really important, comprehensive material is in DEFE 3. HW 5 seems to be the backwash material that Hut 3 did not determine met the criteria to be forwarded to the commands in the field for their use. Perhaps I just got into a bad run of HW 5, those I examined being from the May - July 1941 period.

What say you, Rod? Would you agree or do you feel otherwise?

Cheers,

Larry
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  #46  
Old 12th February 2010, 03:51
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

Hi Larry,

thanks for the interesting comments.

My own experience, working with the 1945 DEFE 3 and HW 5 ULTRA material is that:

(a) HW 5 essentially contains the fuller versions of everything that is in DEFE 3. I have found at times that going to the HW 5 version can be useful, especially when wanting a more accurate transcript of a report, more specific information, or when the DEFE 3 signals contain slight errors of interpretation (one example off the top of my head is a DEFE 3 signal that interpreted a passage as referring to 'Abschüsse' when the HW 5 version clearly meant 'armament attacks' with onboard weapons). Obviously, in terms of specifics about personnel, WM, claims and losses, DEFE 3 is useless. I much prefer to see the fuller HW 5 signals for strength returns, as sometimes, information can be better understood, and the less accurately decrypted parts are more clearly identified. An example of the benefit of HW 5 is found in the few Fliegerkorps IX. (J) operations reports that are a part of the 1945 ULTRA. While the information can be found in many cases in the OKL FüSt Ic Reich Luftlagemeldungen at the BA/MA, the ULTRA material provides the times of operations, and sometimes, information that just doesn't appear to be elsewhere (some of the only real solid documentary info on claims by Oblt. Welter, for example).

(b) HW 5 contains a lot of signals that were NOT transmitted to the Commands (and hence are not in DEFE 3). Again, this info is usually of a limited and specific nature (WN, losses, claims, information about personnel etc).

(c) the specifics in HW 5 are most useful when combined with documentary information from both public and private sources, not only in filling in gaps, but also as a measure of verifying information. As an example, I have used ULTRA, along with surviving Flugbücher and KTB as a source for verifying the accuracy of British Y Service reports.

DEFE 3, for me, has been most useful in identifying and cataloguing T series reports as a part of research (i.e. the Nachtjagd and RAF British Command losses and raids). In other words, it shows what is available. For the more 'important' T reports, I obtained the HW 5 version, and have found these preferable to the DEFE 3 version, especially when quoting operational reports, as has been done extensively throughout the 1945 narratives in Volume 2 of The Nachtjagd War Diaries.

Cheers

Rod
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  #47  
Old 12th February 2010, 09:54
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

HW5 disappointing? More like a revelation. I spent about 15 years accumulating DEFE3 material and always with the sense that they knew more than they were telling - but fearing that the fuller versions no longer survived. The frustration is that I probably worked about three years with that material before I realised HW5 was now available (although, as it transpires, it would have made almost no difference to the content of my NSG 9 book).

The big differences are (as Rod said) in the seemingly trivial material not passed to commands but that complements other information one has; that individual aircraft can often be identified; and perhaps most importantly that people are named (rather than DEFE 3's "an officer previously with SG 4"). Of course, as with any research it's how all the different sources add up that matters but HW5 makes a huge contribution.
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  #48  
Old 12th February 2010, 14:20
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

Thanks Rod and Nick. Your comments confirm my take on the comparison of DEFE 3 with the HW 5 material. The usefulness of the latter depends largely on one's interests and objectives and for those pursuing individual aircraft Werknummern, deliveries to the front, crashes, requests for parts and the like it is a very valuable resource. Also for those working on some particular time frame, front or geographical area where they can afford to carry out their research until the last stone is turned. HW 5 is interesting to read through, too, since it provides an unfiltered insight into the more mundane aspects of the air war from the Luftwaffe's end of it. But most importantly from the viewpoint of a historian, ULTRA fills in many of the numerous gaps that were created by Göring's vengeful order to destroy the remaining Luftwaffe records which was carried out the first five days of May 1945 by Oberst Mittmann, Kdr. Teilkommando Süd/8. Abteilung Genst.d.Lw.
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  #49  
Old 12th February 2010, 22:25
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

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Originally Posted by Larry deZeng View Post
ULTRA fills in many of the numerous gaps that were created by Göring's vengeful order to destroy the remaining Luftwaffe records which was carried out the first five days of May 1945 by Oberst Mittmann, Kdr. Teilkommando Süd/8. Abteilung Genst.d.Lw.
Hi Larry, I think that it is purely in relation to the destruction of the preponderance of Luftwaffe records that makes ULTRA seem like a 'holy grail'. While it does fill in many gaps, it obviously has severe limitations when one starts to look for either an all-encompassing view of a particular campaign or command, or for details of very specific actions. Then it becomes pot-luck whether there is much of use. I find that ULTRA is most rewarding when it is combined with information from other surviving documentary sources. Also, to put it bluntly, one must shift through a lot of crap to find the odd nugget, if researching a specific area of interest.

Although I expect that the years 1943-44 are probably more fruitful in terms of decrypts in my area of interest, for the 1945 period most of the unit-level Nachtjagd decrypts relate to NJG4 (predominantly I. and III. Gruppe), with a small number of decrypts from other Gruppen, so that out of NJGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc, there is little information (other than the odd strength return or loss report) on the majority of the Nachtjagdgeschwader. I also find it amusing that a run of decrypts for some units occur when they are having little operational success (like not flying on operations or not meeting the enemy), but abruptly end, sometimes on the very day, when they see major combat!

Cheers

Rod
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  #50  
Old 13th February 2010, 01:36
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

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I also find it amusing that a run of decrypts for some units occur when they are having little operational success (like not flying on operations or not meeting the enemy), but abruptly end, sometimes on the very day, when they see major combat!
Now that's spooky, Rod! The common thread that I usually found was ULTRA's silence when the front was quiet in an established area. As soon as the front in that area was disrupted by heavy Allied bombing or by a ground offensive, ULTRA would come alive due to the interruption or destruction of landline connections that forced units to fall back on their radios. ULTRA was always at its best during theater-scale offensives and retreats and in areas without landline infrastructure.

Re your Nachtjagd conundrum, part of the explanation lies with the comprehensive establishment of RV (Richtverbindungs-; not recreation vehicle ) networks throughout Germany by summer 1944. This gave the Germans a fallback communications system so they didn't have to resort to their radios. For example, just in the Frankfurt-Darmstadt area in October 1944 there were RV-Stellen at Erbenkopf, Feldberg, Montabauer, Hohe Wurzel, Bierstadt, Darmstadt, Limburg and Dulag Oberursel. These were operated by 3- and 4-man crews from Ln.-RV-Abt. z.b.V. 11 (mot). Perhaps those two Gruppen from NJG 4 were in an area not yet covered by the RV net or maybe they did not have the equipment yet to plug into it.

You are doing some great analysis there, Rod, keep it up! Your comments have been very interesting.

Larry
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