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Of Enigma Machines and Windtalkers
Kirt's Cogitations™ #176

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my rantings on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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Of Enigma Machines and Windtalkers

Navajo Code Talkers Kirt's Cogitations #176 - RF Cafe

Note: TBY is portable radio equipment of low power used as an emergency replacement for TBS (Talk-Between-Ships), a very high frequency shipborne radio equipment of medium power, used for ships tactically maneuvering. DoD Image.

Perhaps with all the scares of successful hacking into presumably uncrackable, coded wireless and wired network services, a page should be taken from the World War II handbook. As any WWII history buff knows, major battles turned on the ability of the Axis and Allies cryptographic teams' ability to decipher each other's super-secret codes. Entire operations that took months of planning were suddenly thwarted by a last-minute breakthrough. Ingenious and sophisticated schemes were derived, most notable the German "Enigma Machine," which defied cracking and allowed the Germans to dominate and decimate the North Atlantic shipping lanes. Japanese spies captured many critical keys in the South Pacific theater.

All coding schemes were eventually cracked with one exception - the natural tribal language of the Navajo Indian. So unlike any other of the world's known languages was theirs that the War Department enlisted the aid of those Americans to become what would be referred to as the "Code Talkers." Patriotic members volunteered for service in areas of some of the most intense fighting to lend their on-the-spot secure communications capabilities by simply speaking their native tongue at command centers and on the front lines. So strange was the Navajo language that the enemy never figured out how to decipher it all through the end of the war. Successes at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, and Iwo Jima were attributed to the Wind Talkers unit. The Wind Talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945, serving in all six Marine divisions.

So, maybe the answer to preventing stolen credit card and bank account numbers online lies in the development of an NES (Navajo Encryption Standard) to replace NIST's current star, AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). Even the up-and-coming quantum computers that are predicted to be able to crack any existing code scheme in minutes could not touch NES in a lifetime.

Navajo Code Talkers' Dictionary

Revised 15 June 1945 (Declassified under Department of Defense Directive 5200.9)

This is a truncated list of Navajo words that are military and technical terms. Who knew the Navajos had a word for "mine sweeper" or "robot bomb.?" See the full vocabulary list here.

ALPHABET NAVAJO WORD LITERAL TRANSLATION
A WOL-LA-CHEE ANT
A BE-LA-SANA APPLE
A TSE-NILL AXE
B NA-HASH-CHID BADGER
B SHUSH BEAR
B TOISH-JEH BARREL
C MOASI CAT
C TLA-GIN COAL
C BA-GOSHI COW
D BE DEER
D CHINDI DEVIL
D LHA-CHA-EH DOG
E AH-JAH EAR
E DZEH ELK
E AH-NAH EYE
F CHUO FIR
F TSA-E-DONIN-EE FLY
F MA-E FOX
G AH-TAD GIRL
G KLIZZIE GOAT
G JEHA GUM
H TSE-GAH HAIR
H CHA HAT
H LIN HORSE
I TKIN ICE
I YEH-HES ITCH
I A-CHI INTESTINE
J TKELE-CHO-G JACKASS
J AH-YA-TSINNE JAW
J YIL-DOI JERK
K JAD-HO-LONI KETTLE
K BA-AH-NE-DI-TININ KEY
K KLIZZIE-YAZZIE KID
L DIBEH-YAZZIE LAMB
L AH-JAD LEG
L NASH-DOIE-TSO LION
M TSIN-TLITI MATCH
M BE-TAS-TNI MIRROR
M NA-AS-TSO-SI MOUSE
N TSAH NEEDLE
N A-CHIN NOSE
O A-KHA OIL
O TLO-CHIN ONION
O NE-AHS-JAH OWL
P CLA-GI-AIH PANT
P BI-SO-DIH  PIG
P NE-ZHONI  PRETTY
Q CA-YEILTH  QUIVER
R GAH RABBIT
R DAH-NES-TSA RAM
R AH-LOSZ RICE
S DIBEH SHEEP
S KLESH SNAKE
T D-AH TEA
T A-WOH TOOTH
T THAN-ZIE  TURKEY
U SHI-DA UNCLE
U NO-DA-IH  UTE
V A-KEH-DI-GLINI  VICTOR
W GLOE-IH WEASEL
X AL-NA-AS-DZOH  CROSS
Y TSAH-AS-ZIH YUCCA
Z BESH-DO-TLIZ ZINC
Military Organizations Navajo Word Literal Translation
CORPS DIN-NEH-IH CLAN
DIVISION ASHIH-HI SALT
REGIMENT TABAHA EDGE WATER
BATTALION TACHEENE RED SOIL
COMPANY NAKIA MEXICAN
PLATOON HAS-CLISH-NIH MUD
SECTION YO-IH BEADS
SQUAD DEBEH-LI-ZINI BLACK SHEEP
Military Officers Navajo Word Literal Translation
COMMANDING GEN. BIH-KEH-HE (G) WAR CHIEF
MAJOR GEN. SO-NA-KIH TWO STAR
BRIGADIER GEN. SO-A-LA-IH ONE STAR
COLONEL ATSAH-BESH-LE-GAI SILVER EAGLE
LT. COLONEL CHE-CHIL-BE-TAH-BESH-LEGAI SILVER OAK LEAF
MAJOR CHE-CHIL-BE-TAH-OLA GOLD OAK LEAF
CAPTAIN BESH-LEGAI-NAH-KIH TWO SILVER BARS
LIEUTENANT BESH-LEGAI-A-LAH-IH ONE SILVER BAR
COMMANDING OFFICER  HASH-KAY-GI-NA-TAH WAR CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OFFICER BIH-DA-HOL-NEHI THOSE IN CHARGE
Countries Navajo Word Literal Translation
AFRICA ZHIN-NI BLACKIES
ALASKA BEH-HGA WITH WINTER
AMERICA NE-HE-MAH OUR MOTHER
AUSTRALIA CHA-YES-DESI ROLLED HAT
BRITAIN TOH-TA BETWEEN WATERS
CHINA CEH-YEHS-BESI BRAIDED HAIR
FRANCE DA-GHA-HI BEARD
GERMANY BESH-BE-CHA-HE IRON HAT
ICELAND TKIN-KE-YAH ICE LAND
INDIA AH-LE-GAI WHITE CLOTHES
ITALY DOH-HA-CHI-YALI-TCHI STUTTER
JAPAN BEH-NA-ALI-TSOSIE SLANT EYE
PHILIPPINE KE-YAH-DA-NA-LHE FLOATING ISLAND
RUSSIA SILA-GOL-CHI-IH RED ARMY
SOUTH AMERICA SHA-DE-AH-NE-HI-MAH SOUTH OUR MOTHER
SPAIN DEBA-DE-NIH SHEEP PAIN
Airplanes Navajo Word Literal Translation
PLANES WO-TAH-DE-NE-IH AIR FORCE
DIVE BOMBER GINI CHICKEN HAWK
TORPEDO PLANE TAS-CHIZZIE SWALLOW
OBS. PLAN NE-AS-JAH OWL
FIGHTER PLANE DA-HE-TIH-HI HUMMING BIRD
BOMBER PLANE JAY-SHO BUZZARD
PATROL PLANE GA-GIH CROW
TRANSPORT ATSAH EAGLE
Ships Navajo Word Literal Translation
SHIPS TOH-DINEH-IH SEA FORCE
BATTLESHIP LO-TSO WHALE
AIRCRAFT TSIDI-MOFFA-YE-HI BIRD CARRIER
SUBMARINE BESH-LO IRON FISH
MINE SWEEPER CHA BEAVER
DESTROYER CA-LO SHARK
TRANSPORT DINEH-NAY-YE-HI MAN CARRIER
CRUISER LO-TSO-YAZZIE SMALL WHALE
MOSQUITO BOAT TSE-E MOSQUITO
Technical Terms Navajo Word Literal Translation
AERIAL BE-ZONZ STINGER
AIR NILCHI AIR
AIRDOME NILCHI-BEGHAN AIRDOME
ALERT HA-IH-DES-EE ALERT
ALLIES NIH-HI-CHO ALLIES
AMMUNITION  BEH-ELI-DOH-BE-CAH-ALI-TAS-AI AMMUNITION
AMPHIBIOUS CHAL FROG
ANGLE DEE-CAHN SLANTING
APPROXIMATE TO-KUS-DAN APPROXIMATE
ARMOR BESH-YE-HA-DA-DI-TEH IRON PROTECTOR
ARMY LEI-CHA-IH-YIL-KNEE-IH ARMY
ARTILLERY BE-AL-DOH-TSO-LANI MANY BIG GUNS
ASSAULT ALTSEH-E-JAH-HE FIRST STRIKER
ATTACK AL-TAH-JE-JAY ATTACK
BANZAI NE-TAH FOOL THEM
BARGE BESH-NA-ELT BARGE
BARRAGE BESH-BA-WA-CHIND BARRAGE
BARRIER BIH-CHAN-NI-AH IN THE WAY
BASE BIH-TSEE-DIH BASE
BATTERY BIH-BE-AL-DOH-TKA-IH THREE GUNS
BATTLE DA-AH-HI-DZI-TSIO BATTLE
BAZOOKA AH-ZHOL BAZOOKA
BIVOUAC EHL-NAS-TEH BRUSH SHELTER
BOMB A-YE-SHI EGGS
BOOBY TRAP DINEH-BA-WHOA-BLEHI MAN TRAP
BORNE YE-CHIE-TSAH BORN ELK
BUNKER TSAS-KA SANDY HOLLOW
CABLE BESH-LKOH WIRE ROPE
CALIBER NAHL-KIHD MOVE AROUND
CAMP TO-ALTSEH-HOGAN TEMPORARY PLACE
CAMOUFLAGE DI-NES-IH HID
CANNONEER  BE-AL-DOH-TSO-DEY-DIL-DON-IGI BIG GUN OPERATOR
CAPTURE YIS-NAH CAPTURE
CENTER ULH-NE-IH CENTER
CHANNEL HA-TALHI-YAZZIE SMALL SINGER
CHARGE AH-TAH-GI-JAH CHARGE
CHEMICAL TA-NEE ALKALI
CIRCLE NAS-PAS CIRCLE
CIRCUIT AH-HEH-HA-DAILH CIRCUIT
CLASS ALTH-AH-A-TEH CLASS
COAST GUARD TA-BAS-DSISSI SHORE RUNNER
CODE YIL-TAS PECK
COLUMN ALTH-KAY-NE-ZIH COLUMN
COMBAT DA-AH-HI-JIH-GANH FIGHTING
COMMUNICATION   HA-NEH-AL-ENJI MAKING TALK
CONTACT AH-HI-DI-DAIL COME TOGETHER
CONVOY TKAL-KAH-O-NEL MOVING ON WATER
COURSE CO-JI-GOH COURSE
CRAFT AH-TOH NEST
DASH US-DZOH DASH
DEFENSE AH-KIN-CIL-TOH DEFENSE
DEGREE NAHL-KIHD DEGREE
DEPARTMENT HOGAN DEPARTMENT
DETONATOR AH-DEEL-TAHI (OR) BLOWN UP
DISPATCH LA-CHAI-EN-SEIS-BE-JAY DOG IS PATCH
DISPLAY BE-SEIS-NA-NEH DEER IS PLAY
DUD DI-GISS-YAHZIE SMALL DUMMY  
ECHELON WHO-DZAH LINE
EMERGENCY HO-NEZ-CLA EMERGENCY
ENGINE CHIDI-BI-TSI-TSINE (E) ENGINE
ENGINEER DAY-DIL-JAH-HE ENGINEER
ENLIST BIH-ZIH-A-DA-YI-LAH ENLIST
EQUIPMENT YA-HA-DE-TAHI EQUIPMENT
EXPLOSIVE AH-DEL-TAHI (E) EXPLOSIVE
FAIL CHA-AL-EIND FAIL
FAILURE YEES-GHIN FAILURE
FIELD CLO-DIH (F) FIELD
FILE BA-EH-CHEZ FILE
FLAME THROWER   COH-AH-GHIL-TLID FLAME THROWER
FLANK DAH-DI-KAD FLANK
FLARE WO-CHI LIGHT STREAK
FLIGHT MA-E-AS-ZLOLI FOX LIGHT
FORCE TA-NA-NE-LADI WITHOUT CARE
FRAGMENTATION   BESH-YAZZIE SMALL METAL
FREQUENCY HA-TALHI-TSO BIG SINGER
GARRISON YAH-A-DA-HAL-YON-IH TAKE CARE OF
GASOLINE CHIDI-BI-TOH GASOLINE
GRENADE NI-MA-SI POTATOES
GUARD NI-DIH-DA-HI GUARD
GUIDE NAH-E-THLAI GUIDE
HALF TRACK ALH-NIH-JAH-A-QUHE RACE TRACK
HEADQUARTER NA-HA-TAH-TA-BA-HOGAN HEADQUARTER
HIGH EXPLOSIVE  BE-AL-DOH-BE-CA-BIH-DZIL-IGI POWERFUL SHELL
HIGHWAY WO-TAH-HO-NE-TEH HIGH WAY
HOSPITAL A-ZEY-AL-IH PLACE OF MEDICINE
HOSTILE A-NAH-NE-DZIN NOT FRIENDLY
HOWITZER BE-EL-DON-TS-QUODI SHORT BIG GUN
ILLUMINATE WO-CHI (I) LIGHT UP
IMPORTANT BA-HAS-TEH IMPORTANT
INFANTRY TA-NEH-NAL-DAHI INFANTRY
INFILTRATE YE-GHA-NE-JEH WENT THROUGH
INSTALLATION    NAS-NIL IN PLACE
INTELLIGENCE    HO-YA (I) SMART
INTENSE DZEEL STRENGTH
INTERCEPT YEL-NA-ME-JAH INTERCEPT
INTERFERE AH-NILH-KHLAI INTERFERE
INTERPRET AH-TAH-HA-NE INTERPRET
INVESTIGATE NA-ALI-KA TRACK
JUNGLE WOH-DI-CHIL JUNGLE
KILL NAZ-TSAID KILL
KILOCYCLE NAS-TSAID-A-KHA-AH-YEH-HA-DILH KILL OIL GO AROUND
LAUNCH TKA-GHIL-ZHOD LAUNCH
LIAISON DA-A-HE-GI-ENEH KNOW OTHER'S ACTION
LIMIT BA-HAS-AH LIMIT
MACHINE GUN A-KNAH-AS-DONIH RAPID FIRE GUN
MAGNETIC NA-E-LAHI PICK UP
MANAGE HASTNI-BEH-NA-HAI MAN AGE
MANEUVER NA-NA-O-NALTH MOVING AROUND
MAP KAH-YA-NESH-CHAI MAP
MAXIMUM BEL-DIL-KHON FILL TO TOP
MECHANIC CHITI-A-NAYL-INIH AUTO REPAIRMAN
MECHANIZED CHIDI-DA-AH-HE-GONI FIGHTING CARS
MEDICAL A-ZAY MEDICINE
MEGACYCLE MIL-AH-HEH-AH-DILH MILLION GO AROUND
MERCHANT SHIP   NA-EL-NEHI-TSIN-NA-AILH MERCHANT SHIP
MESSAGE HANE-AL-NEH MESSAGE
MILITARY SILAGO-KEH-GOH MILITARY
MILLIMETER NA-AS-TSO-SI-A-YE-DO-TISH   DOUBLE MOUSE
MINE HA-GADE MINE
MINIMUM BE-OH (M) MINIMUM
MINUTE AH-KHAY-EL-KIT-YAZZIE LITTLE HOUR
MISSION AL-NESHODI MISSION
MORTAR BE-AL-DOH-CID-DA-HI SITTING GUN
MOTION NA-HOT-NAH MOTION
MOTOR CHIDE-BE-TSE-TSEN CAR HEAD
NAVY TAL-KAH-SILAGO SEA SOLDIER
NEGATIVE DO-YA-SHO-DA NO GOOD
NUMBER BEH-BIH-KE-AS-CHINIGH WHAT'S WRITTEN
OBSERVE HAL-ZID OBSERVE
OFFENSIVE BIN-KIE-JINH-JIH-DEZ-JAY    OFFENSIVE
OPERATE YE-NAHL-NISH WORK AT
ORDNANCE LEI-AZ-JAH UNDER GROUND
PARENTHESIS ATSANH RIB
PERCENT YAL MONEY
PERIOD DA-AHL-ZHIN PERIOD
PERIODIC DA-AL-ZHIN-THIN-MOASI PERIOD ICE CAT
PERSONNEL DA-NE-LEI MEMBER
PHOTOGRAPH BEH-CHI-MA-HAD-NIL PHOTOGRAPH
PILL BOX BI-SO-DIH-DOT-SAHI-BI-TSAH  SICK PIG BOX
PINNED DOWN BIL-DAH-HAS-TANH-YA PINNED DOWN
PLANE TSIDI BIRD
PLASMA DIL-DI-GHILI PLASMA
POINT BE-SO-DE-DEZ-AHE PIG POINT
PONTOON TKOSH-JAH-DA-NA-ELT FLOATING BARREL
POSITION BILH-HAS-AHN POSITION
POST SAH-DEI POST
PROBABLE DA-TSI PROBABLE
PROBLEM NA-NISH-TSOH BIG JOB
PYROTECHNIC COH-NA-CHANH FANCY FIRE
QUESTION AH-JAH EAR
QUICK SHIL-LOH QUICK
RADAR ESAT-TSANH (R) LISTEN
RAID DEZJAY RAID
RAILHEAD A-DE-GEH-HI SHIPPING POINT
RAILROAD KONH-NA-AL-BANSI-BI-THIN    RAILROAD
RANGE AN-ZAH DISTANCE
RATE GAH-EH-YAHN RABBIT ATE
RATION NA-A-JAH RATION
RECONNAISSANCE  HA-A-CIDI INSPECTOR
RECONNOITER TA-HA-NE-AL-YA MAKE SURE
RECORD GAH-AH-NAH-KLOLI R-E-ROPE
REGULATE NA-YEL-N REGULATE
REPORT WHO-NEH GOT WORD
RIFLEMAN BE-AL-DO-HOSTEEN RIFLEMEN
ROBOT BOMB A-YE-SHI-NA-TAH-IH EGG FLY
ROCKET LESZ-YIL-BESHI SAND BOIL
ROUTE GAH-BIH-TKEEN RABBIT TRAIL
SABOTAGE A-TKEL-YAH HINDERED
SABOTEUR A-TKEL-EL-INI TROUBLE MAKER
SAILOR CHA-LE-GAI WHITE CAPS
SCHEDULE BEH-EH-HO-ZINI SCHEDULE
SCOUT HA-A-SID-AL-SIZI-GIH SHORT RACOON
SEAMAN TKAL-KAH-DINEH-IH SEAMAN
SECRET BAH-HAS-TKIH SECRET
SECTOR YOEHI (S) SECTOR
SECURE YE-DZHE-AL-TSISI SMALL SECURITY
SEIZE YEEL-STOD SEIZE
SHELL BE-AL-DOH-BE-CA SHELL
SIGNAL NA-EH-EH-GISH BY SIGNS
SIMPLEX ALAH-IH-NE-TIH INNER WIRE
SNIPER OH-BEHI PICK 'EM OFF
SPACE BE-TKAH BETWEEN
SPECIAL E-YIH-SIH MAIN THING
SPEED YO-ZONS SWIFT MOTION
SPORADIC AH-NA-HO-NEIL NOW AND THEN
SPOTTER EEL-TSAY-I SPOTTER
SQUADRON NAH-GHIZI SQUASH
STRATEGY NA-HA-TAH (S) STRATEGY
STRIKE NAY-DAL-GHAL STRIKE
SUBMERGE TKAL-CLA-YI-YAH WENT UNDER WATER
SUPPLY SHIP NALGA-HI-TSIN-NAH-AILH SUPPLY SHIP
SUPPORT BA-AH-HOT-GLI DEPEND
SURRENDER NE-NA-CHA SURRENDER
SYSTEM DI-BA-TSA-AS-ZHI-BI-TSIN SYSTEM
TACTICAL E-CHIHN TACTICAL
TANK CHAY-DA-GAHI TORTOISE
TANK DESTROYER     CHAY-DA-GAHI-NAIL-TSAIDI  TORTOISE KILLER
TARGET WOL-DONI TARGET
TERRAIN TASHI-NA-HAL-THIN TURKEY RAIN
TERRITORY KA-YAH (T) TERRITORY
TORPEDO LO-BE-CA FISH SHELL
TOTAL TA-AL-SO TOTAL
TRACER BEH-NA-AL-KAH-HI TRACER
TRAFFIC DIAGRAM HANE-BA-NA-AS-DZOH DIAGRAM STORY LINE
TRAIN COH-NAI-ALI-BAHN-SI TRAIN
TRANSPORTATION  A-HAH-DA-A-CHA TRANSPORTATION
TRENCH E-GADE TRENCH
TROOP NAL-DEH-HI TROOP
TRUCK CHIDO-TSO BIG AUTO
UNIT DA-AZ-JAH (U) UNIT
VICINITY NA-HOS-AH-GIH THERE ABOUT
VISIBILITY NAY-ES-TEE VISIBILITY
VITAL TA-EH-YE-SY VITAL
WAVE YILH-KOLH WAVE
WEAPON BEH-DAH-A-HI-JIH-GANI FIGHTING WEAPON
ZONE BIH-NA-HAS-DZOH ZONE

 

 

Posted October 6, 2020

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