Over the years, I have collected copies of Feld-Hellschreiber telegrams from World War 2. They are shown below in chronological order.
- [August 1941]
- [February 1942]
- [September 1943 (Italian Army)]
- [November 1943]
- [January 1944]
- [May 1944]
- [July 1944]
- [September 1944]
- [October 1944]
- [December 1944]
- [March 1945]
Several examples of telegrams printed with Siemens-Hell start-stop machines (T.typ.72 "GL", T.typ.73 "AGL", and T.empf.39 "L") are on this page.
Latest page update: 22 March 2018
©2004-2018 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.
The four "practice" messages below are Appendix 1-4 from a personal Hellschreiber manual (ref. 1) that was written in 1940 by Rudolf Heinrich, soldier in the Luftnachrichten Signal Corps of the Wehrmacht:
Figure 1: Ruodlf Heinrich's practice Hell-gram sheets
(source: ref. 1, incl. full-size images)
The Hellschreiber message below (originally encrypted with a Lorenz SZ40 "Enigma" machine) was intercepted by the British at Bletchley Park, on 14 August 194, on 6408 kHz. It is from a transmission between the German stations in Vienna and Athens. Intercepted messages were glued onto a "W/T Red Form" sheet (W/T = Wireless Telegraphy). The picture to the right shows that the form is actually red, to indicate its secret nature. This particular "Red Form" has an intercepted encrypted Morse-code message from 1943 - the last transmission from the German battleship "Scharnhorst", before it was sunk. Ref. 2, 3, 4.
Figure 2: Intercepted encrypted Hellschreiber message (left)
(source: Fig. 1 in ref. 4)
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 1 February 1942. It is a telegram from the Heersegruppe Mitte (Army Group - Center) that fought on the eastern front (Soviet Union). The telegram is a notification that the Führer has awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to colonel Karl Hermann Arndt (1892-1981). At the time, Arndt was Commander of the 511th Infantry-Regiment (through 10 January 1943). He later became Generalleutnant (lieutenant-general) and was also awarded the "Oak Leaves".
Figure 3: Message of 31 january 1942
(source: courtesy Chris Van Kerckhoven; used with permission)
Figure 4: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 3
Italy signed an armistice with the Allied forces on 3 September 1943 (published 5 days later). General Antonio Gandin and his Acqui Division of the 7th Army, were located on Kefalonia island on the west side of Greece. He was instructed by the Italian High Command to not attack the Germans unless attacked by them. On September 11, he was instructed to consider the German troops as hostile. He refused to surrender to, and cooperate with the Germans. During the morning of September 15, the Luftwaffe began to bomb the Italian positions on Kefalonia with Stuka (Sturzkampflugzeuge) dive bombers - as witnessed by the telegram below:
"situation at 16:00 hours - fighting continues, several Stukas fought off by our artillery".
On 21 Sept 1943, the Acqui Division was decimated by the German troops, esp. by the notorious Gebirgsjäger Regiment, who had been ordered to not take any prisoners. During the fighting, over 1200 Italian troops were killed. Some 5000 were killed off after their surrender. This event is referred to as the Acqui Massacre or the Cephallonia Massacre. On September 24, General Gandin and his staff were executed by the Germans.
Figure 5: Telegram from General Gandin of 15 September 1943
(source: courtesy Ferruccio Parri Archives of the Istituto Nazionale per la Storia del Movimento di Liberazione in Italia (INSMLI), Milan, Italy; used with permission)
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 13 November 1943. It is a telegram from Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein of the Heersegruppe Süd (Army Group - South) to congratulate Corporal Günther Bartsch with being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Bartsch belonged to Nr. 2 Company, 110 Panzergrenadier Regiment, 11th Panzer Division, 47 Army Corps, 8th Army (1st Panzer Army), Army Group South.
(source: ref. 5)
Figure 7: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 6
The Feld-Hell Fernschreiben (telegram) was sent on 31 January 1944 by General Wenck to Major-General Wisch, congratulating the latter with his promotion. General Wenck was Chief of Staff of the 1st Panzer Army and youngest general in the German Army during WWII; Major-General Wisch was Commander of the 1st SS Division LSAH.
Figure 8: 1944 Hell-telegram from Gen. Wenck to Major-General Wisch
(source: courtesy M. Lippl; used with permission)
Figure 9: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 8
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 15 May 1944. It is a telegram from Generaloberst (colonel-general) Georg Lindemann of the Heersegruppe Nord (Army Group - North) to congratulate Major Rudolf Alstadt with being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (nr. 3118). Alstadt belonged to 1st Battalion, 380 Grenadier Regiment, 215 Infantry Division, 28 Army Corps, 18th Army, Army Group - North.
Figure 10: Telegram of 15 May 1944
(source: ref. 5)
Figure 11: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 10
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 12 July 1944. It is a telegram prepared at 22:50 and sent the next day at 12:31 by station HORX to station HEHXB of the 9th Army/Army High Command (9. Armee/Armeeoberkommando, AOK 9). Starting 5 July 1944, this Army was involved in Operation Citadel ("Unternehmen Zitadelle") - the Wehrmacht's third and final summer offensive in the Soviet Union. The offensive was called off by A. Hitler on 12 July 1944, ending the largest tank battle in history. The telegram lists the current strength of the headquartres battalion (officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), enlisted men, officials) and equipment (firearms, Flak cannons, field kitchens, cars, trucks (lorries), motorcycles, horses, horse-drawn carts).
Figure 12: Telegram of 12 July 1944
(A full-resolution pdf of these two pages is here)
Figure 13: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 12
Below is a transcribed telegram of 15 September 1944, from the headquarters (Gen. Kdo.) of the 88th Army Corps, during the eastward retreat in Belgium. Part of the Hellschreiber telegram is attached.
Figure 14: Transcribed telegram of 15 September 1944
(source: ref. 7)
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 19 October 1944. It is a telegram from the Führer (FRR) A. Hitler (or from his office, on his behalf) to Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte (1907-1944), awarding the latter the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The award date is 30 September 1944. The Knight's Cross was the highest award for recognition of extreme bravery or leadership on the battle field. In total, only 900 "Oak Leaves" were awarded.
Figure 15: Telegram of 19 October 1944
(source: courtesy Chris Van Kerckhoven; used with permission)
Figure 16: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 15
This Hell-telegram (like the preceding one) was sent by the "Fernschreibstelle" (teleprinter terminal) with the identifier H0WXD, and received/printed by terminal HFAXD. A Feld-Hell machine with the HFAXD identifier has survived to this day:
Figure 17: Feld-Hell machine with callsign HFAXD
(original unedited photo: courtesy M. Schuk in the USA; used with permission)
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 11 December 1944. The telegram is classified as "SSD Geheim", i.e., "urgent message, secret". It was prepared at noon and sent at 13:00 to station HACXL. The short telegram is about the briefing of Maj. Luedke at the staff of Infantry General Johannes Block. It is signed by Maj. Muntau and Maj. Rikowski.
Figure 18: Transcript of 11 December 1944
(A full-resolution pdf of this telegram is here)
Figure 19: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 18
The Feld-Hell telegram below is dated 22 March 1945. It is a telegram from Generaloberst Kurt Student to congratulate Hauptmann (Captain) Eduard Georg Hübner with being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 17 March 1945. Hübner was Captain and Commander of the Stormbattalion of the Paratrooper Army, 116 Panzer Division, 47 Panzer Corps, 1 Paratrooper Army, Army Group H.
Figure 20: Telegram of 23 March 1945
(source: ref. 6)
Figure 21: Transcript of the telegram in Figure 20
- Ref. 1: "Der Typenbildschreiber Tbs 24a – 32", Rudolf Heinrich, 1940, 26 pp.
- Ref. 1A: here is the original German document, handwritten primarily in Sütterlin script (copyright Yuri Desyatnik; used with permission).
- Ref. 1B: here is a German version, transcribed to modern script by R. Gellhaus (edited by me, Frank Dörenberg)
- Ref. 1C: here is an English version (the above transcribed German version, translated into English by me, Frank Dörenberg).
- Ref. 1D: for linguistically inclined readers, here is a version that has both the transcribed and the translated version, side by side.
- Ref. 2: "The "Tunny" Machine and Its Solution" (document partially declassified in 2007), John H. Tiltman, 15 pp.
- Ref. 3: "The Tiltman Break", Friedrich Ludwig Bauer, Appendix 5, pp. 370, 371 in "Colossus: the secrets of Bletchley Park's codebraking computers", B. Jack Copeland (ed.), Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 019284055X, 462 pp.
- Ref. 4: p. 388, 389 in "Decrypted secrets: methods and maxims of cryptology" [pdf], Friedrich Ludwig Bauer, 4th ed., Springer Verlag, 2007, 525 pp.
- Ref. 5: "Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945. Teil III: Infanterie A-Be", Franz Thomas, Günter Wegmann, Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück 1987
- Ref. 6: "Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht, 1939-1945. Teil II: Fallschirmjäger", Franz Thomas, Günther Wegmann, Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück 1986
- Ref. 7: "Kriegstagebuch des LXXXVIII. Armeekorps", Band 4, Teil 2, Anlagenband A (Appendix Vol. A to Vol. 4, Part 2 of the "War Diary of the 88th Army Corps"
External links last checked: March 2016