Contributions and effectiveness of Bletchley park and it's code-breakers

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by worthatron, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. worthatron

    worthatron Member

    At the start of Bletchley park in the 2nd world war, the code-breakers were thought to have little to contribute to the war effort and so were dismissed by top brass. However, after cracking enigma and the Luens scyther (pardon my spelling) etc. they managed to intercept such important messages as the German battle plans for the battle of Kursk and pass them onto the Russians.
    To me, these acts are the most important things to be contributed to the war.
    Also Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers who contributed ideas to this computer age.


    Anyone have anything else to contribute to this thread?
     
  2. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Hugh Trevor Roper and pals at RSS were breaking codes before Bletchley managed it.
     
  3. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Much of what was decrypted at the time is still a little known subject - examples are that some of the German departmental codes, i.e. Police, Security, Railways etc - were read with regularity this would have given some indication as to German intentions - however with all such material a balance has to be struck as to the use of the material and also the timeliness of the item being decrypted - an enormous task for those concerned at the time due to both the ciphers in use and the sheer volume of material to work on.
     
  4. paspartoo

    paspartoo Junior Member

    The main success stories of BP were:

    1). Reading the Italian Hagelin C-38 which gave information on Axis convoys in the Med.
    2).Reading the U-boat Enigma key in 2nd half 41 and from Dec '42 onwards.
    3).Reading Rommel's Enigma keys from 2nd half 42.
    4).Reading messages on the Lorenz SZ42 teleprinter during 1943-45.

    It would be best not to exaggerate the effects of these breaks. It's best said that they provided good information to the Allied leadership although by itself none of these events was war winning.
     
  5. ethan

    ethan Member

    Interesting topic, and not one with which I am particularly familiar.

    Max Hastings calls the code-breaking at Bletchley Park 'The Outstanding British achievement of the War', though he also shows how knowing the enemy's intentions didn't always help.
     
  6. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Hugh Trevor Roper and pals at RSS were breaking codes before Bletchley managed it.
    Actually it was Hugh Trevor-Roper and E.W.B. Gill alone. They were amateur cryptanalists and in early 1940 they broke some Abwehr signals that had been encrypted using simple manual ciphers. Bletchley took the work on and issued the first Abwehr decript in April 1940. Although of interest this has nothing to do with the breaking of the three wheel and later four wheel Enigma machines.
    It would be best not to exaggerate the effects of these breaks. It's best said that they provided good information to the Allied leadership although by itself none of these events was war winning.
    On the contrary, one cannot exagerate the effect of the breaking of the Enigma machine nor the later and more complex Lorenz machine used for enciphering 'Tunny' traffic. The intelligence derived from these, and from 'Fish', hand ciphers, and the Italian and Japanese codes, collectively known as 'Ultra', had a huge impact on the Allied conduct of WW2. To give but one example, the first defeat of the U-boats in the second half of 1941 was achieved entirely on the basis of Ultra.
     
  7. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    though he also shows how knowing the enemy's intentions didn't always help.

    Very true, as Churchill and Wavell found out - Rommel did not follow orders to the letter (sometimes disregarded them all together) and this threw them off balance at times.
     
  8. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    We are shearing information on network with computers, Bletchley park FTW. ( I know that is over simple.)
     
  9. chris48

    chris48 Junior Member

    Hi A Dutch book on Enigma came out last year. It is very well documented. It contains a list of many messages that were send to the respective HQ's. They are indicated by acronyms, some of which I know. TG stands for 21st Army Group i.e. FM Montgomery. But some acronyms are unknown to me. These are : WV and LP and PK. Can you help please Thank you Chris V
     

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