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    Index: WW-II ISLAND SURVIVORS TELL STORY; I WAS THE RADIO OPERATOR; Part I, By Lt. Robert D. Gibson I WAS THE RADIO OPERATOR; Part II, By Lt. Robert D. Gibson MORSE TRIVIA, S O S? MORE TRIVIA, "MAYDAY"; Cracking the Japanese Purple Code; by Fred B. Wrixon *************************************** WW-II ISLAND SURVIVORS TELL STORY; A new book, mentions air dropping radio to downed aircraft survivors. Bill Howard Decades later survivor, savior meet By AMELIA DAVIS ¸ St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 1998 ------------------------------------------------------------------------

ELLEAIR -- Fifty-three years ago on an island halfway around the world, Lt. John McCollom and two other survivors of a military plane crash were waiting in a jungle for a savior. It was World War II, and there was everything to fear: the Japanese, an unfamiliar, treacherous terrain, native tribesmen said to practice cannibalism and the worsening of injuries suffered in the crash that killed 21 others. Three days passed and finally the survivors were spotted by a military search plane in part of New Guinea called Hidden Valley. A young Army Air Forces officer, Ed Imparato, now of Belleair, was told to figure out a way to get them out. Forty-seven harrowing days later he did. Imparato and those he rescued never met -- until noon Monday. That is when McCollom drove from his home in Delray Beach to shake Imparato's hand. "It's good to see you Ed, finally after all these years," McCollom said. Over lunch, the two men talked of the May 13, 1945, crash and its permanent effect on their lives. McCollom, who suffered only a broken rib, had a twin brother who died in the crash. Like the others, Robert McCollom is buried at the crash site. Imparato wrote a book about the incident. Titled Rescue >From Shangri-La, it was published last year. McCollom, 79, told Imparato, 81, and three friends who joined them Monday, that he had kept in contact with the other two survivors through the years. Cpl. Margaret Hastings, who was severely burned in the crash, died of cancer in 1978, he said. Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Decker, who came out of the crash with a deep head gash, broken elbow and severe burns, lives in a retirement home in Seattle. McCollom said he will join Decker for his upcoming 87th birthday. As Imparato was preparing to write his book, he traced McCollom to his winter home in Delray Beach. "I never knew who Ed was until he called me up one day," McCollom said. Imparato's book describes the 47-day ordeal before the three were air-lifted in a glider from a clearing the size of a football field. It tells how they existed on hard candy and water for five days until canned tomatoes, a radio and other supplies could be airdropped through the jungle foliage. It also tells about their first encounter with the island natives. McCollom talked about that meeting Monday. "We looked up and there over a ridge were about 30 of them lined up," McCollom said. "We smiled. They smiled. We moved a little closer. They moved a little closer." Finally, McCollom stepped forward and offered his hand to the nearly naked man who appeared to be the leader. As it turned out, these islanders were not the headhunters they had feared. They were a friendly tribe who over the course of the next weeks traded them sweet potatoes and pigs for colorful shells McCollom had requested in the airdrops. Two shells got them a pig. One shell, enough sweet potatoes for a meal. While Imparato planned their eventual rescue, military medics who parachuted into the jungle treated their injuries. Other paratroopers arrived to clear the strip of land for the glider. When McCollom and the others were well enough to hike 47 miles to the takeoff site, the rescuers were ready. "I never doubted we'd get out," McCollom said Monday. "At least I knew I would. I figured if Maggie and Ken didn't make it, I'd build a raft and float out. I'd seen a river." Now there's talk of a movie. Imparato has an agent and reported there is some interest in his book. So who would McCollom choose to portray him in a film? "Me," McCollom said. "I still have my hair." Submitted by THE WILLIAM L. HOWARD ORDNANCE TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE MUSEUM e-mail Telephone AC 813 585-7756 ********************************************** I WAS THE RADIO OPERATOR; Part I, By Lt. Robert D. Gibson Forward, The following two part series is a true story written by (then T/Sgt.) Robert D. Gibson. It was originally published in "Air Force Magazine" sometime during WW-II, and subsequently was published in a pamphlet by the Training Literature Division Scott Field Illinois "in the hopes that it might impart on the student radioman the great importance and responsibility that would be his as a flying radio operator". I reproduce it here, word for word, as it was written, for the same reasons, and to further enhance our knowledge of the events and procedures of the period. Also of interest is the stile of writing, terminology used, and the "Go Gettum Boys" sentiment the story obviously conveys. Dennis Starks; MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You Can't Ride the Beam in Combat, We flew against the Japs over Bali and Java. They chased us out of Singapore. We ran into them again flying ammunition from Northern Australia to Port Moresby. We were always outnumbered in those early days of the war and, all in all, we took quite a licking. But even then we were sure the Jap Air Force would get a good drubbing before it was over. My job was radio operator. And I know first hand that a radio operator is a mighty important man on every combat mission. If that sounds like bragging it isn't meant to be. I don't mean just me: I mean every radio operator. And I can show you what I mean. But that's getting ahead of my story--about seven months ahead to be exact. Back in November, 1941, we left the United States on what was to have been a three-week survey trip of the Ferry Command's southern route to Africa. Seven months and 696 hours of flying time later we arrived back in the United States by boat from Australia. Meanwhile, we had been in India, Singapore, New Guinea, Australia, Burma, Java and Bali. We were in Egypt when we first heard of the outbreak of war. Instructions came through to pick up Lieutenant General Brett in Cairo and take him to wherever wanted to go. And the only places he wanted to go were where the fighting was the thickest. Before I got into the Army I used to think that Generals stayed a comfortable distance away from the actual fighting. But after being with General Brett, I changed my mind. He is the "goingest" man I've ever met. We took the General to India and then to Australia where he left us and we went to Java. That's where the going really got tough. It's always tough taking a beating. But for the number of planes we had down there, we did a lot of agitating. As radio operator (I was a Technical Sergeant at the time), it was my responsibility to guide our plane in and out of the combat zones. The Dutch and British who were operating the anti-aircraft guns had very itchy fingers. If the radio man didn't send in the right recognition signals at the right time, he and his crew would probably be cited for valor, but posthumously. Some of the time, particularly when flying ammunition from Australia to Port Moresby, we flew without a navigator so we could get the maximum amount of cargo into the plane. It isn't cheerful flying without a navigator, but sometimes you just have to do it. And with air raids occurring very often, it was up to the radioman to determine whether we would be coming in under a bombardment. Ther were three signals we paid special attention to. One was QQW which meant that the sending station was having an air raid alert, The second was a QQQ which indicated that an air raid was in progress. And the most looked for was the QQZ, or "all clear". If the radioman wasn't on the beam all the time, he would be bringing his plane into his station with anti-aircraft firing at him from beneath and Jap bombers greeting him from above. Even with all our preparation and the constant watching of our assigned frequency, we got into a lot of trouble. I remember when we were trying to get from Rangoon, Burma to Bandoeng, Java. We told Batavia that we were on our way to Bandoeng. But when we got over Bandoeng we were met with some of the most terrific ack-ack fire we had ever experienced. Bandoeng didn't have a radio, no one had told them we were coming, they just weren't taking any chances. They let us have it. The only thing we could do was turn around and go back to Singapore. But that meant danger and it would probably have meant the end of us if I hadn't been luck enough to have picked Singapore's radio frequency before we left Rangoon. Actually, there was no official reason why I should have known Singapore's frequency but I had found out long before that you can't know too much when you're in the combat zone. Without those signals, Singapore would have brought us down so fast it wouldn't have been funny. Any unidentified plane, no matter what insignia, was fair bait. But to get back to the Japs and the reasons why we think we can take them. First of all, about the much talked about Jap Zero planes. I'd be a fool to say that they aren't any good--they gave us too much trouble for that. They climb at a terrific rate of speed and maneuver with precession. But a couple of burst and they fall apart... the Jap plane makers apparently don't have too much regard for their pilots. They were giving them practically no protection and very little fire power. The boys in the later model B-17s don't bother much about the Zeros. What's more, the Zeros don't mess around with the 17s. Those Japs look mighty good when they have you out numbered, but when you are strong enough to fight they often run like hell. Once over Java we were flying a heavily armored LB-30. Fifteen Japs came down us and our gunners opened up. All but three of them left in a hurry, and those didn't hang around very long. The japs seem to like being heroes but they don't like getting bullets tossed at them. The Zeros I saw were not particularly fast. One time in an armed B-24 on the way to Rangoon, we saw three Zeros about five miles away. Major Paul F. Davis for my money the hottest pilot in the Far East, pushed the plane down to tree-top level and we started running. They chased us for 50 miles and were still five miles away. Up in the high Altitudes, around 30,000, the Zeros don't have enough soup to make more than two passes at you. They don't like to dive because it's tough pulling their flimsy planes out. Over Bali one bright morning, a lot of Japs jumped one of our ships out of the sun. Just as one of them came in on their rear gunner, his gun jammed. So he fired his flare gun right in the Jap's face. They never saw one guy get out of a place in such a hurry as that Jap did. On another occasion, the blankets they had piled in the back of the ship accidently caught on fire. They tossed the burning blankets out of the ship and the Japs high-tailed it for home. They must have thought we had a new kind of secret weapon. One thing the Japs could do well was strafe our planes on the ground. In the early days, communications were pretty bad and we got a lot of surprise air attacks. It was especially bad around Port Moresby. That New Guinea town is located in a sort of valley with mountains around it. The Japs could come tearing over the mountains before we had an inkling that they were around and they'd give us hell on the ground. *********************************************** I WAS THE RADIO OPERATOR; Part II, By Lt. Robert D. Gibson The Japs did very little night bombing and their bombers seemed slow compared to our models. They invariably flew with a lot of pursuit protections. Their pursuit planes looked mighty potent from a distance--lined up and flying in smart style. But when you went in with our heavy bombers and started blasting away. it was "you take high road and I'll get to Tokyo before you." I don't want to sound as if we can wipe the Japs out of the skies with two 17s and a 24. Many Japs are hard, fearless fighters. But when we get anything near numerical equality down there, I'll bet a ten-day furlough that they'll be easy pickings. Does a radio operator need gunnery training? The answer is that in combat you are a gunner first and a radio operator afterwards. You can't fight this war with dots and dashes. On a tactical mission, you can't have a weak link because the Japs will find it soon enough. Gunnery means self-preservation. Next to being able to man a gun, the most important job the radioman has to do is to pay strict and constant attention to his assigned radio frequency. This can't be over-emphasized. You have to glue yourself to that frequency even if there is a complete silence. And you have to take it fast. When the sending stations shoot out the information, they don't take a long time to do it. In many cases, they don't have a chance to repeat their instructions, especially when they're telling you there's an air raid in progress. One day we were peacefully flying from Soerabaja to Bandoeng. The radio had been dead for a long time. Suddenly, and for no more than a second, the flash came in that they were having an air raid. We had to turn out to sea and wait for the all clear. If any radioman had let his attention wander from that frequency for just a split second, the plane would have come into Bandoeng under Jap bombing. Here in the States it's quite different. You can ride the beam and somebody gives you the weather reports. But in combat, you're on your own. And the more able you are to adapt yourself to all sorts of new conditions, the longer you are going to live. Every time you get in a new country, you get a new code to work with. And you have to know it cold. You can have the best damned fighting crew in the Air Forces but if you don't know your code and recognition signals, brother, you're through. And the business about adapting yourself to new conditions is mighty important. We left early one morning to go from the Gold Coast to El Fasher, Egypt, and we didn't realize we were losing time going east. Before we got to El Fasher it was dark. I took three first -class bearings and El Fasher was completely blacked out two miles away. They were taking bearings on us but our radio compass wasn't designed to pick up C.W. If he was shooting bearings on us, I figured, why couldn't that situation be reversed? So we turned the plane to the right and our indicator moved to the right. That showed we were going away from the station. We made a 180-degree swing back on coarse and came right in. Another time, going from Australia to Port Moresby, we were given just enough gas to make the 800-mile jump in a heavily loaded B-17. It was the radioman's job to bring the plane in. If we varied from the course to any extent, our gas would run out over the ocean. In cases like that the radioman has just got to be on his toes. Generally speaking, it's a smart idea to have your plane identification down pat. In the South pacific, some or our planes were scaring hell out of our own boys because they looked like Zeros. But it wasn't all work. You get your share of laughs. One day off in Darwin, for instance, when we decided to go to the movies. They showed us a James A. FitzPatrick travelogue about Bali. Filmed in peacetime, it ended with the usual--"and now with fond reluctance we take leave of the sunny isle of Bali." Fond reluctance, hell, we took leave of sunny Bali 10 minutes before an air raid. *********************************************** MORSE TRIVIA, S O S? What does S O S stand for? The Answer: Believe it or not, S O S, the international distress signal, doesn't stand for anything. Some people think that it stands for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls," but it's just not true. Those famous three letters don't stand for a thing. In fact, they were only chosen to indicate distress because they're easy to communicate in Morse code: three dots, three dashes, three dots, and because of their distinctiveness. (Source: "Knowledge in a Nutshell" by Charles Reichblum) *********************************************** MORE TRIVIA, "MAYDAY"; Why do pilots say "mayday" when they're in trouble? The Answer: You see it in movies all the time. A plane has some technical trouble and starts to nosedive, so the pilot grabs the radio and shouts "Mayday! Mayday!" leaving the audience wondering what the month of May has to do with the plane's predicament. Actually, the word "mayday" has nothing to do with the month of May. Instead, it comes from the French word "m'aidez," which means "help me," an appropriate thing to say when your plane nosedives. (Source: The American Heritage Dictionary) Neat. The actual pronunciation for "aidez" is... ay-day. "Help me" is... ay-day MWA (Aidez-moi) Actually, I like the French version of what to say when your airplane takes a final nosedive... MERDE! (aka the 4-letter word that starts with S and ends with T, and is often the last thing a pilot is heard to say in the "black box" voice cockpit recorder...) We now continue with the petty bickering of the proposed FCC reclassification of our licenses. :-) _Ray_ KB0STN *********************************************** Cracking the Japanese Purple Code; by Fred B. Wrixon The following is taken from the November 1997 issue of WORLD WAR II magazine. Several weeks ago I accidently sent a MIME encoded version of this excerpt to the list (I was sending it to my little brother as he wanted a copy to show our grandfather). Although I requested that this posting be ignored, some backchannel traffic expressing interest in this article has prompted me to repost it. This excerpt is my Holiday gift to those on the list. I have found this magazine to be a valuable resource for those who have an interest in World War II, and would urge list members to subscribe. As always, questions or comments are welcome. This will be my last excerpt for a good while as I have now finished my graduate work and am beginning the great job search. Happy Holidays to all!!! Edward Wittenberg ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Undercover American cryptanalysts successfully cracked the Japanese diplomatic code known as 'Purple.' By Fred B. Wrixon The efforts by U.S. cryptanalysts to break the Japanese codes between 1935 and 1939 especially the diplomatic code nicknamed "Purple" by the Americans, were called "Magic." Cracking the Japanese code was one of the crucial factors in the Allied victory in World War II. Once deciphered, the code provided the Allies with invaluable details on Japanese movements and attack plans. The coded messages were originally produced by a Japanese cipher machine called 97-shiki O-bun Injiki, or Alphabetical Typewriter 97. The name was based on the year of its invention, 1937, which was year 2597 according to Japan's ancient calendar. The 97 was better known as the Purple machine because the code it generated was called Purple by the Allies; the choice of that code name has yet to be fully explained. The Japanese had every reason to cover their dispatches with cryptic shields in 1937. They were deeply involved in a war with China, were forming alliances with bellicose Germany and Italy, and were rearming their Pacific island possessions in anticipation of a large-scale expansion. They had also been jolted by revelations that the United States had been reading their private telegrams for 16 years before the 97's creation. Americans first began reading Japanese messages during a naval disarmament conference in Washington, D.C., beginning in November 1921. During the meetings, diplomats from Japan and other nations conferred by cable with their overseas capitals. Those exchanges were not confidential, and they had been read, in a number of instances, by Herbert Yardley and his Cipher Bureau staff. Yardley was a World War I Army veteran of the Military Intelligence Division, MI-8. After the war, he began working for the newly formed Cipher Bureau, which was created in 1919 as a joint operation between the U.S. State and War departments. The bureau came to be known as the American Black Chamber, named after the European mail-interception rooms of earlier centuries. Yardley had the secret cooperation of cable companies in New York City, a key junction of world communications. The bureau's discoveries were sent to U.S. diplomats in Washington by a daily courier service. When he had first begun trying to break some sample Japanese communiques, Yardley had not found it easy. After months of painstaking study, however, he had awakened from a fitful sleep and realized that he finally understood a group of two-letter code words. Yardley and his bureau associates were then able to read many of Tokyo's messages, which discussed numbers and types of warships, how Japan would negotiate at the 1921 disarmament conference and what limits she would accept. That specialized knowledge was very helpful to U.S. negotiators. They used it to gain a clear advantage over Japan in the limits placed on ships and tonnage by the Five-Power Treaty, which also was signed by Great Britain, France and Italy in 1922. Throughout the 1920s, the United States and Japan warily observed each other's naval maneuvers and conducted audio surveillance with improving radio technologies. From the Philippines to Guam, Hawaii and Puget Sound in Washington state, the U.S. Navy had set up listening posts to monitor the airwaves for military and diplomatic communiques. The U.S. Army called their stations monitor posts. They included Fort Mills in the Philippine capital of Manila, Fort Shafter in Hawaii and the Presidio in San Francisco. The monitor posts and their operations did not meet with everyone's approval, however. By the late 1920s, domestic cable companies were becoming uncooperative. Also, Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson cast airwave eavesdropping and deciphering activities in an unfavorable light. In 1929, Stimson stopped State Department funding for the Cipher Bureau, which then closed. About that action, Stimson later said, "Gentlemen do not read each others' mail....The way to make men trustworthy is to trust them." But when Stimson served as Secretary of War in the 1940s, he reversed that opinion and began to read decoded intercepts. With no steady employment to support his family in the Depression-dominated 1930s, Yardley made a desperate decision. In serialized Saturday Evening Post articles and a book, The American Black Chamber, he wrote a controversial expose of his code and cipher breaking. The book caused a sensation in Japan, which then followed the lead of other countries and adopted a new coding system using devices that provided multiple choices of alphabetical replacements. Mechanical shifts and electrical impulses greatly varied the alphanumerical substitutions for original letters. One such machine was built to cover two primary foreign office channels, one for world capitals and the other for the Far East. Some historians refer to it as the Angoolki Taint A, "Cipher Machine Type A." While there is some uncertainty about the machine's actual name, all agree that it was certainly technically advanced for the 1930s. Cipher Machine Type A was connected to electric typewriters for plain message input and for encrypted output. A wired disk called a rotor (some accounts say there were two) provided multiple alphabet substitutions. The rotor principle employed an insulated substance like rubber that was formed in a circle 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Around its circumference were electrical contacts linked randomly with wires that were connected to other contacts on the rotor's opposite face. The rotor was positioned between insulated plates implanted with contacts to match those on each disk's face. One plate was connected to the input typewriter keys representing plain letters, and the other plate was linked with the output cipher typewriter keys. Each touch of an input typewriter's key sent an electric current through the contacts on each face of the plates and rotor to the output cipher key. At one time in the machine's early years, a list of 240 indicators provided many choices for the rotor's starting position. The electric circuit routes were varied in two other ways. First, a device called a pinwheel with 41 pins, some movable, altered the rotor's rotations and thereby its contact points. Second, a plugboard with double-ended plugs was entered twice by the encrypting current - the first at the keyboard and rotor input and the second at the rotor exit and the output typewriter. This resulted in a form of inverse substitution with concealing letters. There are also some descriptions of a Cipher Machine Type A with a "half rotor" process. In this version, a rotor had a fixed shaft bearing 26 "slip rings," linked with the electrical contacts and slipped around the shaft, maintaining the electrical circuits when the rotor was moved. In the full- and half-rotor versions, a central purpose was to encipher separately a six-vowel and 20-consonant division of letters. These were the 26 letters of Romaji, a Roman alphabet. Though an awkward system, it was used by the Japanese for easier transmissions of their ideographic writing. The resulting ciphertext crossed the airwaves as groups of five letters preceded by sets of five digits. This system was a dauntingly complex challenge for the U.S. Army code-breaking team in 1936. The code-named it "Red" and used statistical and alphabetical charts, lexicons, stacks of graph paper and mostly pure brainpower to try to break the code. The team belonged to the Army Signal Corps' new Signal Intelligence Service (SIS), which worked in the Munitions Building in Washington, D.C. Led by famed cryptologist William F. Friedman, the team included among its more prominent members Frank Rowlett, Solomon Kullback, Abraham Sinkhov, Robert Femer, Genevieve Grotjan and Albert Small. From the letter and number pattern of the dispatches, the SIS staff discerned the six-and-20 division of vowels and consonants that identified the Romaji style. They also applied lessons reamed from U.S. Navy analysis of a Japanese navy machine that enciphered the syllables of kata kana, a type of Japanese code similar to Morse code. It was Rowlett who first lifted the Red code's cover. He put together some unusual aspects in a series of three transmissions. When he mentioned his ideas to Kullback the following morning, the two began to make headway. According to historian David Kahn, they had found parts of plain text that spelled "oyobi"ŽJapanese for "and." By early 1937, full decryptions were available to the resident and top policy-makers. Then in 1938 intercepted dispatches indicated that a new mechanism would supplant the Red code machine. The SIS learned in February 1939 that the new process was about to be activated for Tokyo and its embassy exchanges. The use of the Red system to make this announcement and others was a crucial mistake, since decipherable Red messages included phrases that were repeated in text sent by the new Alphabetical Typewriter 97. The first of those new dispatches was intercepted in March 1939. The 97 was developed by naval Captain Risaburo Ito. He had also helped design the Red code machine and, ironically, had translated Yardley's articles about his code- and cipher-breaking successes. Ito no doubt tried to make the new mechanism impenetrable. The 97 operators also used electric input and output typewriters. They applied a three-letter code for numerals and punctuation and had two code books, the Ko for basic instructions and the Otsu for special plugboard settings and switches. The plugs provided wiring variety like the Red system, but the switching arrangement was new, a special adaptation of telephone technology. Rotary-type phone equipment was arranged in banks of six-level, 25-point stepping switches (also known as uniselectors). Their main function was to direct incoming current from an input terminal to one of a series of output points. The outgoing terminals were usually in the form of a fan-shaped arc. The input-output current contacts were made by a device called a wiper. Each stepping unit was a switch with six levels, and each level had 25 steps. Every level operated independently, though the connecting wipers all had coordinate movements. Thus input current was sent a choice of 25 potential output points by stepping the wiper on that level to the point of the output terminal. With each wipers having multiple "arms," the process could repeat itself if the switch was a rotary type. When a wiper arm left terminal 25, another arm moved to the first terminal on that level. Such automatic systems for linkages between phone lines were a standard process by the 1930s. Ito and his associates made them a primary cryptographic aspect of the 97 by having the switch banks replace the rotor system. Instead of the rotor and pinwheel movements, message input impulses were substituted (enciphered) as the uniselectors, and wipers sent the current among the multiple outlet terminals. Added complexity came from retaining the plugboard aspect and some of the six-vowel, 20-consonant arrangements. Later U.S. analysis found that the groups of six were not always vowels. The plugs were again double-ended (or inverted), and that brought the current through the board twice. The plugs were also assigned vowel and consonant positions. A vowel impulse entered the input terminal and was sent to one of the 25 output points. Then each of the levels of the switch had six output wires linked the plugboard's inverted vowel positions that were themselves purposely rearranged or permuted. The consonant letters had other routing varieties too, with different numbers of switches affecting the input-output patterns and the plugboard order. The SIS team compared Red and 97 intercepts and tried to discover the latter's new secrets. For a time, the Navy's OP-20-G code-breakers capably aided them until concerns about Japan's naval cryptosystems required their full attention. Two pivotal SIS discoveries eventually helped pierce the Purple haze. The staff had determined that Purple had aspects of the Red's six-and-20 letter divisions, but the efforts to define these arrangements were time-consuming. Then, in 1935 a new team member from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Leo Rosen, found a faster way to test possible letter substitutions and variations. He used telephone selector switches the very process fundamental to the unseen 97! Another major cryptanalytic breakthrough was made in September 1940 by Genevieve Grotjan, who identified pivotal intervals between message letters and their ciphertext equivalents. Locating such patterns helped reveal how the positions of letter replacements were advanced in the Purple code. Grotjan's discovery formed a real foundation upon which the other staff members helped build. Their combined efforts led to the first two solutions of Purple on September 27, the same day that the Tokyo-Berlin-Rome Tripartite Pact was signed. The next advance involved building analogs of the Alphabetical Typewriter 97. Two were constructed by Rosen at a cost of $684.65 in the autumn of 1940. Each was a maze of wires and clattering relays inside a black wooden box, and they did indeed speed solutions. Other analogs were built by the Navy, and some were given to tin British to avoid decryption transfer delays Though Tokyo's foreign office communiques carried many clues about impending conflict with the United States, no known Purple decryption conveyed specific facts about Pearl Harbor as a certain war target. But the December 1941 disaster did lead to a greatly increased demand for signals intelligence. (Some credit the term "Magic which refers to U.S. efforts to break Japanese codes between 1935 and 1939, to Friedman who called his team magicians.) Germany had warned Japan that some Japanese codes had been compromised before Pearl Harbor. It seems incredible that Japan's leaders failed to alter the 97 significantly or replace it at some point after full-scale hostilities began. Of course, embassy traffic was not intended to convey active military details. But skilled analysts could learn much from such clues as the sites contacted, number of messages exchanged, policies discussed and even offhand opinions about current events in different combat zones. Indeed, Purple experts gained immensely valuable information from a diplomat at the highest Axis levels. He was Hiroshi Oshima, Japan's Berlin ambassador and a former military attache. His careless communiques divulged top Nazi secrets. Oshima's Purple coded cables to Tokyo provided details about many political, economic and military matters during the early war years. In late October 1943, Nazi concern about an Allied invasion of Europe was increasing. Oshima toured Germany's own defense line, the Siegfried Line, and its European Westwall fortifications. Oshima's lengthy comments about defensive preparations were coded and radioed to Tokyo. The intercepted messages revealed facts that combined - with information from spies, resistance groups, aerial photography and intelligence gained from the Ultra operation that broke German ciphers directly benefited General Dwight Eisenhower's plans for the June 1944 D-Day invasion. Oshima continued his reports as the war dragged on, trying to make the best of the Reich's ever-worsening prospects. When returned to Tokyo after the war, he reportedly denied that he had sent messages detailing German defenses. Interestingly, the only intact portion of a 97 ever found was located in the ruins of Japan's Berlin embassy. When hostilities ended in September 1945, the facts about Purple's solution gradually emerged. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall wrote that it "contributed greatly to the victory and tremendously to the saving in American lives." *********************************************** (The preceding was a product of the"Military Collector Group Post", an international email magazine dedicated to the preservation of history and the equipment that made it. Unlimited circulation of this material is authorized so long as the proper credits to the original authors, and publisher are included. For more information conserning this group contact Dennis Starks at,
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