Monday, December 7, 2009


This is coolbert:

Yet another of those eccentric but very successful British "code breakers" [cryptanalysts].

"Hugh Rose Foss . . . was a British cryptographer. He was born in Kobe, Japan where his father (Hugh James Foss) was a missionary Bishop, and he learned Japanese. He was educated at Marlborough College and Christ's College, Cambridge."

"He joined the Government Code and Cipher School in December 1924 . . . In September 1934 Foss and Oliver Strachey broke the Japanese Naval Attache cipher"

"Hugh Foss, an eccentric 6ft 5in Scot, who wore a long straggly red beard, a kilt and sandals. Foss was a brilliant, but highly eccentric, codebreaker. His first major success came in 1934 when he broke a new machine cipher used by Japanese naval attachés in their embassies . . . Foss's efforts to construct a device to read the Japanese machine cipher did not have the same degree of sophistication."

[sophistication as meaning the use of primitive but effective specialized electronic computers, a mass of assistants, working aids, an abundance of intercepted material, etc. as used against the German military version Enigma cipher machine! Foss had NONE of this?]

Hugh Foss, a Scotsman noted for his eccentricities, to include:

* Scraggly red beard.
* Wearing a kilt and sandals.
* Of almost over-powering stature.
* Also a man noted for creating and popularizing a series of Scottish country dances.

A man well versed in the Japanese language as are few persons. Born and raised [?] in Japan, speaking the tongue as would a native speaker?

As was "Dilly" Knox with German non-stecker cryptographs, Foss, able to "read" secret messages as encrypted by Japanese cipher machines, using a non-mathematical approach to do so! Employing a Rube Goldberg type of apparatus, a "thing", to do so.

"The first trial was made in the office using a brown foolscap file cover with a collar stud, a piece of string and slots cut in the cover for the letters." But the device worked.

In those inter-war years [1918-1939], the Japanese employed a series of machine cryptographs, providing in each case [?] increasing and more formidable degrees of security against eavesdroppers. These machines included:

* RED. [in prototype and standard version] As used by the Japanese Navy and Foreign Office.

"91-shiki injiki("Type 91 print machine") in 1931. The year 1931 was year 2591 in the Japanese Imperial calendar. Thus it was prefixed "91-shiki" from the year it was developed. ("Type A Cipher Machine")"

* PURPLE. Used by the Japanese Foreign Office.

"97-shiki ōbun inji-ki ("System 97 Printing Machine for European Characters") or Angōki Taipu-B ("Type B Cipher Machine"), codenamed PURPLE by the United States, was a diplomatic cryptographic machine"

* JADE and CORAL. Cipher machines used by the Japanese Navy.

"JADE was the codename given by US code breakers to a Japanese World War II cipher machine. The Imperial Japanese Navy used the machinefor communications from late 1942 until 1944"

"In September 1934 Foss and Oliver Strachey broke the Japanese Naval Attache cipher"

This was obviously the RED machine. Primitive but effective non-mathematical techniques sufficing. British eccentric triumphant over wily and unscrutable Oriental [Japanaese].

"eccentricity is a reluctance to be bound by social, spiritual, scientific, political, esthetical or any other limitations [boundaries]"

. . . .

"[eccentrics] consciously choose to live and act sometimes ignoring such boundaries, which often leads to the new steps in the development and progress of the mankind"

Exactly! Foss was an eccentric - - not accepting the normal boundaries, able to go where no one else had gone before, exceeding the bounds, quite remarkably so too!


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