The piece of paper that fooled Hitler


GROUP II/IA refers to the German agent transmitting the message and their controller. Madrid is where the message was sent from with a German Enigma encryption machine.

RSS 128, 130/9/6/44

128 tells us the code was the 128th message picked up by the British Radio Security Service (RSS) that day. 130 is the number of the agent listening in.

TFC on 12896 kcs at 1050 GMT 9/6/44
AUI on 9288 kcs at 1107 GMT 8/6/44

The message was sent twice, on 8 and 9 June 1944, at different times from stations AUI and TFC, call signs the Germans changed every day.


This was message number 267 from Madrid to Berlin that day.


HEROLD is the German codename for a senior German army officer, probably Gen Alfred Jodl, based in Berlin.


Code for a figure, unknown to the British, who the agent believes should be informed of the memo’s contents.

V ALARIC ARABEL meldet 9ten Juni aus GOLFPLATZ ueber FELIPE

“V ALARIC ARABEL reports 9 June from GOLFPLATZ via FELIPE”. V means secret agent. Alaric Arabel is the German codename for Juan Pujol Garcia – a Spanish businessman and British double-agent who the Nazis believed was running a network of spies in the UK for them. Golfplatz is the German code for Britain, Felipe is Pujol’s handler.


These are the names of three entirely fictious spies for Germany who, Pujol writes, have told him that large numbers of Allied troops remain gathered in southern England. This, Pujol says, means the initial D Day landings were just a “red herring”. Of course, this is disinformation.


Pujol writes that the “critical attacks” are still to come, most likely to be focused on Pas de Calais in northern France. In truth, this is a bluff on Pujol’s part, intended to keep German forces away from the rearguard of the actual invasion sites in Normandy.


Here Pujol quotes AMY, another fictitious agent, telling him that there were 75 divisions in England before the France landings – meaning more were still to come. The Germans have no idea that this is untrue.

It was an audacious double-cross that fooled the Nazis and shortened World War II. Now a newly-released document reveals the crucial role played by Britain’s code-breaking experts in the 1944 invasion of France.

A fascinating story – and I agree with the comment at the end that suggests that the work of Bletchley Park and British heros should be taught in schools.

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