Cryptologic Bytes

"On This Date in History" Calendar

1918: Hudson Field Code

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

2 September 1918: The "Hudson" 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.

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