returning to the thread subject
4) that British had a way to know in advance about the Italian plans (espionage was suspected, Enigma decoding was not)
Alongside Signor Cernuschi's Flights of Fantasy, he does seem to have done some actual historical work of value and his book with co-author Vincent O'Hara "The Other Ultra" is reviewed by the US War College review 2013 O’Hara, Vincent P. and Cernuschi, Enrico (2013) "The Other Ultra,"Naval War College Review: Vol. 66 : No. 3 , Article 9. Available at:https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-r ... l66/iss3/9
Here are some relevant excerpts from the review. There is no doubt some writers (mainly British) have over-emphasised Bletchley-Park's importance in the overall picture and exposure of both B-Dienst and Italian decoding successes is long overdue to regain some balance.
It also casts light on the role of the Italian navy’s intelligence service, the Servizio Informazioni Segreto (SIS). The SIS provided intelligence that often offset the timely and relevant ULTRA SIGINT that Britain did possess. Its code breakers enabled Supermarina, the operational headquarters, located in Rome, of the Regia Marina, the Italian navy, to read, often in less than an hour, intercepted low-grade radio encryptions from British aircraft, and, more slowly, first-class ciphers from warships and land bases. Supermarina’s communications and command system disseminated information in near real time, thereby amplifying the operational value of its SIGINT. This is a fact that the British were unaware of at the time and that has remained virtually unknown since.
SIS manned 150 radio-interception stations throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East and operated motor fishing vessels in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as spy ships. As the war progressed Section B became the navy’s most important source of intelligence, and its personnel grew from two dozen in 1940 to over two hundred by 1942, within an overall SIS staff of about a thousand. The SIS handled the bulk of naval intelligence activity in the Mediterranean, because German Abwehr (military intelligence) efforts were concentrated on Allied Atlantic radio traffic and Russian signals. Past practice had established a procedure wherein the Axis partners made a joint effort to crack high-value messages via teleprinter link between the two navies’ intelligence services. Such coordination, however, diminished with time, and by July 1942 cooperation was minimal: the Germans considered the Italians undisciplined, the Italians found the Germans arrogant, and neither trusted the other.
This detailed examination of SIGINT’s role—both British and Italian—in the traffic war fought during these critical months suggests that Great Britain’s offensive use of SIGINT was largely negated by Italy’s defensive SIGINT. ULTRA did not deny the Axis armies the supplies they needed to reach the Nile—if indeed a lack of supplies was the cause of the Axis failure. This reality is obscured by the fact that historians have overreached for evidence to prove the power of signals intelligence
However when unshackled from Mr O'Hara's restraining effect Signor Cernuschi has apparently gone into full revisionist anti-British overdrive and published Ultra: La fine di la Mitro (the End of the Myth) in which his assertions of lies and cover-ups by British writers on Ultra's successes are given full rein. Italian language commenters https://www.altomareblu.com/ultra-mito- ... chi/?br=ro
have highlighted his dismissal of even eminent Italian writers like Professor Santorini “Il vero traditore – Il ruolo documentato di ULTRA nella guerra del Mediterraneo”, Mursia, 1981 (The true traitor – ULTRA’s documented role in the Mediterranean war at sea). who acknowledged the damage ULTRA did.
In Warship 2018 he has written an article which I am looking forward to reading:
“Breaking ‘Ultra’: The Cryptologic and Intelligence War Between Britain and Italy 1931-1943” (Enrico Cernuschi). Debunks some of the myths that have arisen from the successes of ‘Ultra’ and provides information on some largely ignored exploits of Italian codebreakers.
All the best