Some hardly known aspects of German military communications during World War Two

This paper was presented at the DEHS 2008 autumn meeting held at Shrivenham 



Synopsis (at page 1)

During the previous DEHS meeting held on 18 October last year at Shrivenham, it appeared to me - that everything that had happened outside Britain does barely exist, including a degree of animosity towards the US[1]. It has to be pointed, though, that the same may be said from the other side of the Ocean, where a similar lack of appreciation for what had happened abroad is also eminent. I truly believe, that historical distortions should be corrected.  


My aim this time is to discuss aspects on - what was the philosophy behind German military communications and why have they commenced it this way?

Some aspects have been dealt with in previous papers, and will be omitted when appropriate. It is, nevertheless, unavoidable that some has to be referred to again.[2]


To state it frank and clearly, the aim (meaning) of this contribution is only to be considered from the perspective of fair historical interest and from the point of view of electronics engineering. The immoral implications of war, in particularly WW I and II, is always bearing in my mind!   



©Arthur O. Bauer

Diemen, 11 October 2008



I.          Introduction

New ways of apparatus construction and design owing to revolutionary new components and metallurgy


II.        Pre-war Army (Heer) and Air Force (GAF) demands

Autarky a necessity

Army communication demands


III.       Interception service


IV.       Tank communication (Guderian)


V.        Special Navy requirements

            Submarine communication objectives

Introduction to:

Organisation of submarine communications

Was Enigma a secure system?


           VI.              Conclusions



[1] Whether we like it or not, without America’s impetus Britain never would have gained victory. Whereas communists might have ruled, sooner or later, most of continental Europe, and Churchill knew it!

[2] Available on my website  please activate top button: ‘Synopsis’ on “The significance of German electronic engineering in the 1930s”. Which paper was given at the international IEEE Conference on “100 Years of Electronics” at Bletchley Park in June 2004. Which latter is an enhanced version of my previous paper given at the IEE Conference on “100 Years of Radio” (Savoy Place, London, September 1995).




Keywords: Aspects of German Army communications; manpack radios (Feldfunk Geräte); MWE c; RV2P800; RV12P4000; RV12P2000; FuG25a die-cast module photo; Dr. Walther Ratenau - secret side letter to the Treaty of Rapallo of 1922; IG Farben; C. Lorenz AG.; Telefunken; 100 WS; UKWEe - 10 WSc; Interception receiver - Funkhorchempfänger: FuHEc; some of Mr Farrar's paper of 1947; 2 photos of General Guderian during the 1940 Campaign in France - one without and one with an enigma cyphering machine notice that the plug-board section has been camouflaged by means of a white (cardboard-strip?) - this photo was originally taken by PK-photographer Mr. Borchert!; Photo of a 1928 commercial Enigma; Naval map (Planquadratkarte) of the Western Hemisphere; Table of the Leitwerknetz, the wireless organisation involved in German off-shore and U-boat operations; Kernével (Lorient); B-Bar short signal message (ββ); Scheldule of "Tagesappelle and Vortagsappelle; Table to the various Funkschaltung-Leitnummern; some to the signals during ONS 5 picked-up on board of H.M.S. Pelican on 6 May 1943; Enigma message received by H.M.S. Hurricane on 25 November 1942; Was Enigma a secure system? Regard the MEOB calculations on the maximum permutations possible >1024 ! OP-20G in the US did considerable work on brealking of the daily 3 and 4 rotor enigma machine. After mid 1943 the tendency was that most work was cabled to the US ....


My reflection, as is stated at the end of this paper (page 24):


I would like now to point at a facet that not often is associated to wartime history.


If we leave out the direct war engagements, there is another very significant point which has to be considered, and that is – the complete absence of a form of “democracy”. When we look back in history, even the recent one, then there is one striking aspect and that is - that prosperity on the long run can only being achieved, when a state is democratically governed. Look, for instance, to the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, where they established world’s first multi-national “VOC” (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), since 1604. One might say, hold on, in those days they did not have real democracy. That is to some extent true, but there existed a fairly kind of freedom to (jointly) decide commercially on business facts only (entrepreneurship)[1] hence, decision was not based on dogmatism (state canon). France, under Napoleon Bonaparte was doomed to fail, as what mainly counted was Napoleon’s dogma. An example of our recent past – look to what happened to the communists in Russia and Eastern-Europe, during the previous century. All failed to gain prosperity. China would have been trapped in the same manner, should it not have changed the way in which decisions are being engendered, although, they still have a (very) long way ahead.      

Last but not least, the best example is Britain!


[1] To some extent, the great achievements of the Roman Empire may also be regarded an example, including their ultimate (imperative) decline.



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