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The Solving of a Fleissner Grille during an Exercise by the Royal Netherlands Army in 1913

Karl de Leeuw
University of Amsterdam / Informatics Institute, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Ingår i: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2018

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 149:12, s. 49-54

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Publicerad: 2018-06-13

ISBN: 978-91-7685-252-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)

Abstract

In 1885 the General Staff of the Royal Netherlands Army had adopted a variant of the turning grille devised by Edouard Fleissner von Wostrowitz as a means for encrypting messages, exchanged by telegraph between the General Headquarters and commanders in the field. Some staff members harbored serious doubts about the security of this device, however, and during a military exercise in 1913 it was solved with surprising ease by an army captain. The matter was investigated by a committee of staff officers, concluding that the army lacked the expertise to judge matters like this. It recommended the training of a staff officer for this purpose in particular. The outbreak of the First World War was to speed up the decision process, but – against all odds – the newly trained experts were not drawn from the ranks that had demonstrated their talent for code breaking a year earlier, because these were destined to follow different career paths altogether.

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Referenser

Edouard Fleissner von Wostrowitz. 1881. Handbuch der Kryptographie. Seidl & Sohn, Wien, Austria. Carl Friedrich von Hindenburg. 1796. Fragen eines Ungenannten ¨uber die Art durch Gitter geheim zu schreiben. Archiv der reinen und angewandten Mathematik III: 347–351, V: 81-99.

David Kahn. 1967. The Codebreakers. The Story of Secret Writing. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, USA.

Wim Klinkert. 2017. ’Espionage Is Practised Here on a Vast Scale’. The Neutral Netherlands, 1914-1940.

Floribert Baudet et al., Perspectives on Military Intelligence from the FirstWorldWar to Mali. Between Learning and Law. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, The Netherlands, 23-54.

Karl de Leeuw and Hans van der Meer. 1995. A Turning Grille from the Ancestral Castle of the Dutch Stadtholders. Cryptologia, XIX(2), 153-164.

Karl de Leeuw. 2015. ’The Institution of Modern Cryptology in the Netherlands and the Netherlands East Indies, 1914-1935.’ Intelligence and National Security, 30: 26-46.

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