Operation Moonlight Sonata: The German Raid on Coventry

By Allan W. Kurki | Go to book overview

8
Ultra and British Electronic Countermeasures

INTRODUCTION

British codebreaking and cryptography operations during World War II were headquartered at Bletchley Park, 1 located some 50 miles northwest of London in rural Buckinghamshire. This sprawling Victorian estate was purchased by the British government after World War I for the eventual purpose of housing its Code and Cipher School. The rather eclectic staff assembled at Bletchley Park referred to the grounds as BP and to themselves as the Golf, Cheese and Chess Society, derived from the acronym for the Government Code and Cipher School. During World War II, a diverse group of brilliant individuals including mathematicians, university professors, electrical engineers, chess champions, and even crossword- puzzle experts were brought together by the British government to help staff this unique facility, which was also known as Station X.

A major portion of the work done at Bletchley Park during World War II was the breaking of the high-grade German wireless traffic that was enciphered on their basic code machine, the Enigma. All branches of the German armed forces, including the Luftwaffe, used some form of Enigma to encode their radio messages. Ultra was the name the Allies gave to the intelligence they derived from reading the German Enigma traffic. The breaking of the German Enigma code was one of the major Allied accomplishments of World War II and also one of their best kept secrets.


THE ENIGMA MACHINE

The forerunner of the Enigma code machine was invented in Holland by Hugo Alexander Koch and patented in 1919. 2 It was first produced, however, in 1923 by a German engineer, Dr. Arthur Scherbius and was marketed by the Cipher Machine Corporation of Berlin. This code machine was primarily designed to be sold to

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Operation Moonlight Sonata: The German Raid on Coventry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Glossary of Abbreviations, Codenames, and Terms Used in the Text xv
  • Part I - Overview 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Coventry Before the Raid 9
  • 3 - The Raid in Brief 15
  • Part II - The German Air Force (GAF) 21
  • 4 - Gaf Development and Strategy 23
  • 5 - The Bombers and Ordnance of the Gaf 29
  • 6 - The Flying Beams 39
  • Part III - The RAF and the Battle of Britain 47
  • 7 - Raf Fighters and British Defenses 49
  • 8 - Ultra and British Electronic Countermeasures 63
  • 9 - The Battle of Britain 71
  • Part IV - The Coventry Raid 87
  • 10 - Coventry's Defenses 89
  • 11 - Advance Knowledge About the Raid 97
  • 12 - Operation Cold Water 103
  • 13 - The Raid: Operation Moonlight Sonata 109
  • Part V - The Aftermath 121
  • 14 - The Results of the Raid 123
  • 15 - Public Reaction to the Raid 129
  • Appendix A Luftwaffe 3 Bombing Report of Coventry Raid 147
  • Appendix C - U.S. Army Military Attache's Report on the Coventry Raid 153
  • Notes 157
  • Bibliography 167
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 179
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