Abe Katsuo (1891-1948)

Abe Katsuo was a former chief of naval intelligence and War College instructor who was assigned as naval attaché in Italy in early 1941. He was reassigned to Germany in the spring of 1943 as Japanese naval representative on the Tripartite Military Commission and chief of all Japanese naval attachés in Europe.

However, Abe was unwittingly a major contributor to Allied victory, for he carefully followed German preparations for D-Day and radioed this information to Tokyo using the Coral encryption machine. The Americans broke Coral in March 1944, and Abe's reports were extremely useful to Allied intelligence during the Normandy campaign. American code breakers in Washington sardonically called him "Honest Abe", a play on a nickname for Abraham Lincoln.

Abe fled to Sweden when Germany collapsed and was interned, but became involved in putting out peace feelers to the Allies. Nothing came of it at the time.

Service record

1912-7-17 Midshipman     
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 10th in a class of 144. Assigned to CL Soya
1913-5-1   CL Yahagi
1913-12-1 Ensign BC Ibuki
1914-12-28   BB Kirishima
1915-12-13 Lieutenant junior grade     
Torpedo School Basic Course
1916-6-1   Gunnery School Basic Course
1916-12-1   CL Yakumo
1917-8-23   DD Arare
1918-12-1 Lieutenant
Gunnery School Advanced Course
1919-12-1   DD Isokaze
1920-6-3   DD Sawakaze
1920-12-1   Adjutant, 2 Fleet
1921-11-18   Instructor, Gunnery School
1922-12-1   Naval College A Course
1924-12-1 Lieutenant commander     
BB Nagato
1925-4-15   Resident in U.S.
1927-8-20   Navy General Staff
1927-10-1   Staff, B-NA, Navy Department
1928-12-10 Commander  
1930-12-15   Staff, 2 Fleet
1931-12-1   Instructor, Naval College
1932-2-2   Staff, 3 Fleet
1932-11-15   Instructor, Naval College
1932-12-1 Captain  
1933-9-20   Chief, S1, B-NA, Navy Department
1935-10-30   Navy General Staff
1935-11-5   Attendant to Plenipotentiary, London conference
1936-3-16   Commander, Tama
1936-11-16   Commander, Ryujo
1937-12-1   Commander, Kaga
1938-4-25   Chief, N3, Navy General Staff
1938-11-15 Rear admiral
1939-1-26   Trip to Europe, U.S.
1939-5-10   Chief, N3, Navy General Staff
1939-10-10   Navy General Staff
1939-10-18   Director, B-NA, Navy Department
1940-10-15   Navy General Staff
1940-11-13   Trip to Europe

Attache, Italy
1942-11-1 Vice admiral
1943   Tripartite Military Commission, Germany
1945-5   Moved to Sweden
1948-5-26   Dies

References (accessed 2007-11-12)

Materials of IJN (accessed 2007-12-20)

Prados (1995)

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