III. The Teams‎ > ‎

Team 1


As the impending collapse of Germany loomed, TICOM sent teams south to Bavaria. Just a few days before the German surrender, TICOM team 1 was dispatched from Bletchley Park, under the command of Wing Commander  O. Oester, RAFVR as the officer in charge. Among the Americans, Lieutenant Commander Howard Campaigne, USNR was the senior officer along with US Army  Lieutenants Paul Whitaker, Selmer Norland, Arthur Levenson and Captain L.T. Stone.  An additional dozen TROs would join Team 1 on a temporary basis during this mission, which covered much of southern Germany and Austria, mopping up the remnants of a number of German SIGINT organizations.


            On 9 May, TICOM achieved a coup by discovering the last location of the RLM/FA (Forschungsamt), better known as ‘Goering’s Research Bureau’, the Nazi Party’s in-house cryptologic service. Allied intelligence was largely ignorant of this organization, and the nature of its operations was unknown. The FA disbanded before the American Army arrived, and most of its documents burned. However, a table of organization for the FA was found, and a few days later two of its leaders, Gottfried Schapper and Erwin Rentschler were picked up and interrogated.


 A major goal of this team was to capture intact a T-52 Geheimschreiber (secret writer), a sophisticated, on-line encrypted teletype device that was used to generate one of the family of German high command ciphers codenamed FISH by the British. Although BP after years of effort and the use of one of the world’s first computers had broken FISH, the FISH machine was of great interest to Allied intelligence. By the second week of May, near Berchtesgaden, a US officer turned over to the team a captured convoy of four German signal trucks, complete with FISH machines and their operating personnel, which turned out to be Field Marshal Kesselring’s communications train. Tester and Levenson decided to accompany the convoy on the long drive back to the channel ports, guarded by their own prisoners.


            While Tester and Levenson went on their adventure across war-torn Europe, the rest of the TICOM team moved further east to Rosenheim to interview some prisoners that had served in OKH/GdNA, the SIGINT agency of the German Army. Members of that agency’s Group VI, they were specialists in the interception of Soviet radioteleprinter traffic. Anxious to avoid being turned over to the Russians, they revealed the existence of a device designed to intercept a Soviet high-level communications channel that split the message onto nine different parts transmitted on a multiplexed circuit, making it very difficult to detect. This device, later labeled the ‘Russian FISH’, was buried nearby. The next day the Germans dug up 7 ½ tons of equipment and materials and set it up to demonstrate to the TICOM team. By the end of the first week in June, this device and its accompanying German technicians were sent back to England to be set up at an operating station 15 miles from Bletchley Park.


            Another major opportunity arose in the capture of the Feuerstein Laboratory on a small mountain near Ebermannstadt, which conducted research and preliminary development of experimental communications equipment. Its director Dr. Oskar Vierling, was picked up and interrogated.  He proved cooperative, reassembled most of his staff and put them back to work, allowing TICOM to exploit the target.



           As for OKW/Chi, Team 1 had another stroke of luck on 20 May. Major McIntosh, along with Campaigne, Whitaker, Norland, Carter and Coolidge traveled to Strub, a village near Berchtesgaden, the site of a barracks that temporarily housed a headquarters of OKW. While investigating a storeroom holding old Abwehr reports, the team found a locked room containing the abandoned private baggage of a number of staff officers, including that of a Major Nielson, operations officer for the Chief Signal Officer, OKW. In his bag were a number of top-secret documents, including one laying out the order of battle of OKW/Chi, a 1944 activity report for this agency, and an order outlining the coordination and allocation of the work of OKW/Chi. This proved to be the first hard documentation TICOM discovered relating to this organization.

     Stone and McIntosh

            The next day team members Dr Pickering, Lieutenant (JG) Coolidge and Lieutenant Whitaker made a brief stop at Lake Schiliersee to seek traces of OKW/Chi, which proved fruitless.


            By the time the team wrapped up their business in the first week of June they had investigated a wide variety of targets including: the remains of the FA (Forschungsamt), headquarters of the OKL (German Air Force), and various locations at the Berghof such as Boreman’s office, Hitler’s house and air raid shelter, and Goering's office and residence, and the Vierling research lab. Captured equipment included the ‘Russian FISH’, the radio teletype intercept receiver designed to capture high level encrypted Soviet signals, and Field Marshal Kesselring’s communications trucks, code named “Jellyfish” by TICOM. A hoard of useful documentation that enriched the Allies’ knowledge of both German and Soviet SIGINT practices was also discovered.  This mission turned out to be TICOMs greatest success.

TICOM Team 1 personnel: 

*Oeser, O. W/Cdr. RAFVR. (Chief TRO)

*Campaigne, H. Lt.Cdr. USNR (Deputy Chief)

Barringer, H. Capt. AUS.

Carter, T. Capt. IC.

Cockerell, H. Lt. RNVR

Coolidge, J. Lt. (j .g.) USNR

Crowe, R. Major AUS.

Donahue, O. Major AUS

Eldridge, J. Major AUS

Formantak, C. Capt. AUS

Lawrance, I. Capt. IC.

Levenson, A. 1st lt. AUS.

Lively, J. 1st Lt. AUS.

Maxwell, I. P/O. RAFVR.

*Mcintosh, A. Major IC.

*Norland, S. 1st Lt. AUS.

Pickering; F. Lt.Col. IC.

Rood, l. Lt.Col. AUS.

*Rushworth, E. Major IO.

*Sayres, G. F/Lt. RAFVR.

*Stone, l.Capt. AUS

*Tester, R. Major IO.

*Whitaker, P. 1st lt. AUS.

* Original Team 1 personnel, the others were attached for varying periods.


Final Report of TICOM Team 1.

National Archives and Record Administration, College Park (NARA). RG 457, Entry 9037 (Records of the NSA), Box 168.


Oral History Interview with ARTHUR J. LEVENSON

NSA-OH-40-80 November 25, 1980, Ft. Meade Maryland, National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History