Cryptologic History Calendar

1918: "Colorado" Field Code Issued

Monday, September 25, 2017
Description: 25 September 1918: The "Colorado" field code was issued. Learn about American Army Field Codes in a document by William Friedman via the link at the bottom of the page.

Trench codes were codes used for secrecy by field armies in World War I. A reasonably-designed code is generally more difficult to crack than a classical cipher, but of course suffers from the difficulty of preparing, distributing, and protecting codebooks. The Americans adopted a series of codes named after rivers, beginning with "Potomac". They learned to print the codebooks on paper that burned easily and degraded quickly after a few weeks, when the codes would presumably be obsolete, while using a font that was easy to read under trench conditions.