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It should not be thought that the German radio intercept services, intelligence organizations, were totally unable to "read" the secret encrypted messages of the allied forces during the Second World War [WW2].
Here is info on the German navy radio intercept unit that had a very good measure of success working against allied and Soviet naval codes during WW2. Codes as distinct from cipher.
Beobachtungsdienst. B-Dienst for short.
"The B-Dienst (Beobachtungsdienst) was a German naval code breaking organisation. During World War II, B-Dienst solved British Naval Cypher No. 3, providing intelligence for the Battle of the Atlantic, until the British Admiralty introduced Naval Cypher No. 5 on 10 June 1943."
Prior to America’s entry into the war in 1941, Germany’s Naval B-Dienst (Beobachtungsdienst - Surveillance Service) was reading:
* "a number of American encoded communications systems"
And prior to that:
"B-Dienst (a part of OKM) [OberKommandoMarine] was very successful in compromising":
* "the 5-digit Royal Navy code"
* "The British 4-digit naval code"
* "A four-digit American-British naval communications system"
Also, during the war:
"OKM’s B-Dienst was able to compromise":
* "five French naval communications systems"
* "four Soviet systems"
* "three Danish systems by 1939"
And even beyond that:
* "B-Dienst also solved a number of merchant codes. [Mersig] [merchant signals]"
German U-Boat success during the early part of the Battle of the Atlantic was due in large measure to the ability of B-Dienst to "read" the British naval and merchant marine encoded messages and do so with relatively impunity, providing Doenitz with real-time action-able intelligence! Until the TYPEX cipher machine was widely adopted by the British navy, the movement of the Royal Navy were literally an "open book"! For all that meant!
Here with a "specimen message" from the British code book illustrating the process by which a message was encoded! This particular English code [as opposed to cipher] was non-machine of course, prepared by hand, and could be further enciphered for additional security using an additive sequence. [click on image to see a better view!]
It should be noted that the German prowess in reading code systems was based more upon anything else than LINGUISTIC PROFICIENCY! High level mathematical computational ability that is needed to read MACHINE CIPHERS is not a requirement when it comes to "breaking" and "reading" messages sent in CODE as opposed to CIPHER!