A Conversation for Alan Turing - Computer Scientist

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Post 1

manolan

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How Enigma was actually broken

Post 2

Phil

There are quite a few sites which tell the story of the Enigma codebreaking. Interesting as you say.


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 3

Munchkin

A wee point, but wasn't the original Bombe developed by a Pole? I think Turing then developed on it.

Oh, and while I am here I recomend Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, which is a cracking book which has some interesting stuff on Bletchley Park and codes.


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 4

Phil

Yes it was the poles. They also were the first to intercept an enigma machine and do the initial cryptanalysis on it. The machine that was recovered from the U-Boat was a later version (more rotors and they could chose which ones from a set).


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 5

Mr Prophet (General Purpose Genre Guru)

The notable achievement of the Bletchley cryptanalysts was breaking the Enigma on an industrial scale, using computer technology years ahead of its time, which was all broken up after the war to maintain secrecy. Britain was apparently keen to keep its mastery of Enigma secret because a lot of our allies were still using captured Enigma machines for diplomatic and intelligence communicatons.

There was an excellent series on Bletchley Park - on BBC or Channel 4, I forget which - called Station X. I only caught a little of it, but it was very well made.

My favourite anecdote about the Enigma capture is that - after securing the U-boat and establishing that they had in fact lucked out and recovered an intact set of code books - the leader of the boarding party sent back to his ship for tea. It may be b*****ks, but it's certainly very British (and properly so).

The Prophet


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 6

Sho - gainfully employed again

My experience of the British Military Intelligence community suggests that sending for tea is what they always do when it's tea time, and, usually, one-time code pad sheets are folded neatly into squares and used as coasters. (I'm not sure if that's an official secret or not, so don't tell anyone!)


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 7

Mr Prophet (General Purpose Genre Guru)

It's precisely this kind of thing that makes me proud to be British.

The Prophet.


How Enigma was actually broken

Post 8

Sho - gainfully employed again

Part of our training was a trip to look at the enigma machines. Pity they're not original though.


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Post 9

Researcher PSG

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