Georges Jean Painvin (French: [ʒɔʁʒ pɛ̃vɛ̃]; 28 January
1886 – 21 January 1980) was a French cryptanalyst during the First
World War. His most notable achievement was the breaking of the ADFGVX
cipher in June 1918.
Before the First World War, Painvin taught paleontology and geology as
well as playing the cello as a hobby. He performed cryptanalytic
work for the French army after a chance encounter with a member of the
French Bureau de Chiffre.
In June 1918, the German army was preparing for a final push to cover
the 100 kilometres that separated it from Paris. The Allies needed to
know where the German attack would come. Painvin managed to break an
ADFGVX enciphered message, which read: "Rush munitions. Even by day if
not seen." This message indicated where the German offensive was to
take place, and the allies managed to defeat the German attack. In
attempting to break the
ADFGVX cipher Painvin lost 15 kg in
After the war, he returned to teaching and became president of several
companies, as well as of the
^ David Kahn, The Codebreakers - The Story of Secret Writing, 1967, ISBN 978-0-684-83130-5, Ch. 9. ^ David Kahn, The Codebreakers - The Story of Secret Writing, 1967, ISBN 978-0-684-83130-5, Ch. 9.
Singh, S. The Code Book, Fourth Estate, 1999. ISBN 1-85702-889-9
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 2463183 ISNI: 0000 0000 1074 9622 SUDOC: 07371061X BNF: cb11228967r (data)
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