Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Edwin Moore, Nov 7, 2019.
During the 1942 Burma campaign, Slim gave orders to his two division commanders in Gurkhali. All three of them had been officers in Gurkha regiments, and perforce, spoke the language.
In respect of Maori, I understand it has some commonality with Japanese and has borrowed from English for contemporary terms (eg 'punana' and 'motorcar'). It may have some utility at a tactical level (say during a game of rugby), but otherwise not-so-much - IMHO.
Code talking for WWI.
Translate into obscure language of your choice. (e.g. Saturday Night Drunk Pit Yakker)
Encode with standard methods.
Transmit in Morse Code.
Decode with standard methods.
Stare blankly at gibberish reviled.
Send for interpritor.
Translate into something you understand.
Russian Empire and the U.S.S.R. are indeed good choices IMHO. There are some very obscure languages in the Caucasus/Siberia with only a few thousand to a few hundred (or less) speakers.
Having a “minority language” is not the main obstacle. It has to be a really obscure language that no one in the enemy nation(s) has any fluency in and has no realistic way of translating.
Brazil, we could use Tupi code talkers.
Yeah, Welsh and Gaelic are great, until someone breaks out the Welsh-German dictionary. In the setting of an intelligence office that's probably only a matter of seconds...
You have to know what the language is first.
The Japanese could have used the Taiwanese aboriginals who inhabit the eastern portions of Taiwan. I don't know if any of the Allied Powers had anyone who could understand the Aboriginal languages of Taiwan at that time. Maybe they did, I am not certain however. joho
Pretty easy to recognize the only language with words like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in it.
I recall a story from the 90's about the German police having so much troubles fighting organized crime even after a new law explicitly allowed wiretapping suspect's phones. The problem was that the Sicilian Maffia did not speak Italian on their phones, but Sicilian dialect, which was pretty hard to understand even for mainland Italians. And there just weren't that many native Sicilian speakers in the German police force. Apparently they ran into the same problem with the Romanian gangs as well. So the problem would not be finding out the British were transmitting in Welsh, but in quickly escalating the intercepted messages to the next higher-ups that had a way of translating Welsh before the commands they intercepted were already obsolete.
Apparently the Egyptians used Nubian code talkers during the Arab Israeli wars. IDK how effective or wide spread the use was.
Maori doesn't have any commonality with Japanese--with the aboriginal Taiwanese languages @joho6411 mentions, yes (they're both Austronesian languages), though they're about as far apart as, say, English and Russian, or further--but not Japanese. Japanese is a near-isolate with only two or three other known related languages.
The borrowed English terms are an issue (but one the Navajo and other code talkers faced as well), but the real problem is that the Maori are fairly prominent and the Japanese are moderately likely to have people who know the language. Still, that doesn't make it useless as @ennobee notes.
I recall that was the second layer of code-speaking: next to speaking Navaho, the code talkers also had developed and taught each other their own lingo. So any Navaho speaker could translate a message as "our turtles need fire-water for quarter moon" but only a code-talker would know that it meant "Our tanks are about to run out of fuel by the end of the week"
The Allied success in breaking Enigma owed a lot to German operational errors. There was an officer who was stationed in the Sahara Desert next to the impassable Qattara Depression. Every day he sent in a message: "Nothing to report."
OTOH, when attempting to fake Morse code transmissions, it can be difficult to replicate an operator's "fist". The XX Commitee had to replace the purported operator of a radio sending to Germany, and IIRC explained the change in the "fist" by reporting that the operator had been injured in an accident. (IIRC, knocked down by a car during a blackout.)
In his book Most Secret War, RV Jones relates an anecdote about a German plot to give the impression of a large volume of fake radio traffic. Apparently the British listening service could tell it was all the work of one man (presumably with a bad case of RSI).
German has mile-long words too, you know.
Scouse? Oh, they used that to jam German radio frequencies.
Keeeeeem down, keeeeeem down, laeikh...
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