Traffic (H-Force Book 3)
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Call Signs and Frequencies. They were changed once during the day and once at night, at which time the frequencies also were changed. Call signs were based on an arbitrary combination of letters and digits and were selected from a call sign list that changed monthly. The Germans were unable to determine whether any definite system was employed for the choosing of the call signs. They did notice, however, that during the course of a month a call sign used by a given radio station might be repeated without the succession of call signs which had followed at the time of the previous occurrence.
Traffic between corps and divisions took place with a periodic change of call signs, but on fixed frequencies.
This fact aided the intercept tasks of the German Signal Intelligence. Frequencies used were in the 2,,kilocycle band: i. The call sign systems and the time of change differed from corps to corps as there was no over-all unification in their communication systems, and this fact vas a great aid to the German Signal Intelligence in identifying the various units.
Each radio link had two different frequencies for use during the day and two different frequencies for use at night. The night frequencies lay in the 3,, kilocycle band; the day frequencies between the 5,, kilocycle band. As the seasons of the year advanced the day frequencies gradually moved up to a maximum of 10, kilocycles. Address and Signature Groups. In these messages the signature group was next to the last one before the message number group.
This signature group was constant and served to identify the headquarters of the originator, each headquarters having a 3-digit designation. Two zeros inserted in front of the 3-digit signature designation completed the 5-figure group. Since no other Russian 5-figure traffic contained similar groups, this signature was the most essential characteristic for the identification of the traffic of the Long Range Bombers.
The traffic vas further identified by two address groups contained in the preamble of the messages.
These address groups were likewise 3-digit groups, repeated periodically, one of them designating the unit and the other the section. In front of the address group appeared the symbol "ADR" address. In front of the signature group appeared the symbol "SIG". Pre-arranged Message Forms. These messages contained data on regimental reports of locations, strength, and aircraft serviceability.
One type of these pre-arranged message forms was "Form 1": a dally report sent by division to corps, containing regimental strengths in personnel and aircraft. The text of the messages consisted of unenciphered numbers proceeded by a 2-digit null, resulting in a four or five digit group. The ' following is an example of such a message.
The second group 13 50 contains data on personnel strength—the details of which were never definitely determined by the Germans. The last nine groups through refer to aircraft strength and must be read in units of three groups.
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After again removing the two nulls of each group, the first gives total number of planes; the second group the number of serviceable planes; and the third group the number of unserviceable planes. In this case 23 32, 24 30, 25 02 indicates there is 32 planes total; 30 serviceable, and 02 planes unserviceable. The second unit of three groups, i.
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In this case there are a total of 29 planes, of which 28 are serviceable and 1 unserviceable. The last three groups i.
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In this case, a total of 3 planes, of which 2 are serviceable and 1 unserviceable. Another pre-arranged message form, known as "Form 4," was sent every fifth day by division to corps, and by corps to Air Army. Here again the text of the message consisted of numbers in the clear slightly camouflaged by a two-digit null in front of each group.
An example is as follows:. Message being reported by the th Regiment; located at 46, a grid system of coordinates not too difficult to solve this system, changed monthly ; 14 aircraft type; serviceable aircraft; 29 aircraft unserviceable; 03 and 40 give details of personnel strength which the Germans never could, fully understand. The two types of pre-arranged message forms given above were the two main sources of Information for the German Signal Intelligence in gaining information of the organization, order of battle, location, and aircraft strength of the Russian Long Range Bomber Forces.
Operations Reports. These messages contained details as to the number of aircraft taking part in an attack, the target, time and altitude over the target, weight of bombs dropped according to type, results observed by flying personnel, details of German defenses, details of Russian losses, and observations of weather conditions. Quite often messages from corps to division containing operational orders were also intercepted. These messages contained details as to the target, the time of attack, and the altitude of attack, and often afforded ample time for German counter-measures to be effected.
The division also reported to corps the number of aircraft to participate in the attack, as well as the time of take-off. This information provided the Germans with a valuable and reliable basis for route-tracking. Airfield Serviceability Reports.
Airfields locations were given by using a 6-dlgit grid reference system. The serviceability was indicated by constant 4-figure groups designating "serviceable," "partially serviceable," and "unserviceable. Orders for Use of Navigational Aids. When these messages were intercepted it could be taken as a definite indication of a forthcoming operation.
If no messages were intercepted it could be interpreted that no attack was to be anticipated during that day or that night. Weather Messages. These weather messages often mentioned in the clear the names and locations of Russian meteorological, stations. Thus probable location of the radio station could be made. The Russian weather messages could be recognized easily by the German Signal Intelligence Service because of message preamble characteristics, by random use of the letter "X" within the text, and by the absence of message number and delivery groups.
In the early part of the war the Russians transmitted weather messages in the clear quite frequently. Later in the war all the messages were enciphered. A large number of Russian weather messages were intercepted by the Germans.
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The contents of these messages, when decrypted, served two purposes. One purpose was to brief the German air crews on the weather conditions in Russia; the other purpose was to obtain advance warning of impending Russian operations. If a "winds aloft" message was intercepted by the Germans in the middle of the day, it could be taken as an indication of an impending air operation by the Russian corps transmitting the message. Air to Ground Traffic. It was therefore a rather simple task, because of this lack of uniformity, for the German Signal Intelligence Service to identify the various individual corps by their call signs and frequencies.
Each regiment, as well as each aircraft, was allotted two different frequencies: one for transmitting and one for receiving. The aircraft of each regiment were divided into two groups, I each group transmitting on its own frequency. The frequencies of the ground stations, in general, lay between 2, and 3, kilocycles, while the frequencies of the aircraft] were between 3, and 3, kilocycles. The aircraft of the IV Guards Corps of the 18th Air Army, whose units were equipped with American B planes, and therefore had American radio sets, used frequencies between 1, and 2, kilo-cycles.
Call signs on these air-to-ground nets remained in use for several months; the various call signs being repeated at irregular intervals of 5, 6, or 7 days. The regimental ground stations used 2-or 3-letter call signs, while aircraft used 1-or 2-letter call signs with numerical suffixes. These suffixes referred to the pilot rather than to the aircraft, and were allocated by either the commanding regiment or commanding division.
When the suffixes were allocated by the commanding regiment the numbers of the suffixes ran from 1 to 32; when allocated by the commanding division they ran from 1 to The German Signal intelligence Service could identify regiments after a short period of time because they also used special CQ call signs.
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Tuning and Take-off Traffic. The tuning traffic furthermore was transmitted by one of the frequencies allotted for this purpose and was easily intercepted by the Germans. Thus, the beginning of an operation could be recognized immediately, because the end of the tuning traffic indicated that the take-off was to begin.
In those divisions which had aircraft equipped with radio-telephone sets the noise of the engines being warmed up could be heard by the German operators, and this also served as an additional source of early warning. In the radio-telephone traffic, instead of using the complete call sign, only the numerical suffix was used.
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Direction-finding Traffic. QDR requests magnetic bearing in relation to station. This fact aided the German Signal Intelligence Service in their route-tracking of the Russian Air Force because the Russians, instead of flying feint courses as did the Americans and British, usually flew a direct course to the target. Therefore, these direction-finding fixes sent by the ground stations could be taken as the actual course of the bombers and permitted the Germans to make a reasonably accurate target prediction. The direction-finding traffic between aircraft and ground stations did not possess any special characteristics as the bearings were given in the clear with little attempt at camouflage.
The ground stations of the IV Guards Corps of the 18th Air Army used two nulls before a three-digit group indicating course bearings; e.