Wolfgang Rahn
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Abwehr efter reorganiseringen i Mars 1938

  • TheCentral Division (also called Department Z—"Abteilung Z" or "die Zentrale" in German): acted as the controlling brain for the other two sections, as well as handling personnel and financial matters, including the payment of agents. Throughout Canaris's tenure it was headed by Generalmajor Hans Oster.

The Foreign Branch, ("Amtsgruppe Ausland" in German) (later known as Foreign Intelligence Group) was the second subdivision of the Abwehr and had several functions:

  • liaison with the OKW and the general staffs of the services,
  • coordination with the German Foreign Ministry on military matters, and
  • evaluation of captured documents and evaluation of foreign press and radio broadcasts. This liaison with the OKW meant that the Foreign Branch was the appropriate channel to request Abwehr support for a particular mission.

Abwehr I. II. & III. constituted the third division and was labeled "counter-intelligence branches" but in reality focused on intelligence gathering. It was subdivided into the following areas and responsibilities:

I. Foreign Intelligence Collection (further subdivided by letter, e.g. Abwehr I-Ht)

G: false documents, photos, inks, passports, chemicals
H West: army west (Anglo-American Army intelligence)
H Ost: army east (Soviet Army intelligence)
Ht: technical army intelligence
I: communications—design of wireless sets, wireless operators
K: computer/cryptanalysis operations
L: air intelligence
M: naval intelligence
T/lw: technical air intelligence
Wi: economic intelligence

Attached to Abwehr I. was Gruppe I-T for technical intelligence. Initially Abwehr I-K was an offshoot technical research unit, a small fraction the size of its British counterpart, Britain's Bletchley Park. Its importance later grew during the war to match its British counterpart in size and capability.

II. Sabotage: tasked with directing covert contact / exploitation of discontented minority groups in foreign countries for intelligence purposes.

Attached to Abwehr II. was the Brandenburg Regiment, an offshoot of Gruppe II-T (Technical Intelligence), and unconnected to any other branch outside of Abwehr II. Gruppe II-T.[4]

III. Counter-intelligence division: responsible for counter-intelligence operations in German industry, planting false information, penetration of foreign intelligence services and investigating acts of sabotage on German soil. Attached to Abwehr III. were:

IIIC: Civilian Authority bureau
IIIC-2: Espionage cases bureau
IIID: Disinformation bureau
IIIF: Counter espionage agents bureau
IIIN: Postal bureau

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