Enigma Re-created

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by jacobtowne, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Cloak and dagger business. From BBC Online, Sept. 6th, 2006.

    WWII Nazi code-break re-enacted

    World War II veterans are preparing to show the public how they cracked the Nazi Enigma codes for the first time since VE Day in 1945.

    A team of 60 enthusiasts has spent 10 years building a working replica of the code-breaking machines that were used to decipher thousands of Nazi messages.

    The machines were all dismantled in 1945 and no design drawings survived.

    Later this month the replica will be shown at Bletchley Park in Bucks - where the original codes were cracked.

    John Harper, who led the project, said it took so long because there were "so many parts to it".

    "The whole thing was to build it as authentically as possible - so we were very lucky that GCHQ provided us quite a few drawings of individual parts.

    "The difficulty was that we couldn't get any assembly drawings so we had to re-create those."

    'Worked beautifully'

    About 10,000 people worked at Bletchley Park at the height of the war - mostly from the Women's Royal Naval Service.

    One former employee was 82-year-old Jean Valentine, who described how the original machines "worked beautifully" and sounded like "lots of knitting machines".

    She said all of the employees at the code-breaking station worked on a "need to know basis".

    "I knew what I was doing but I didn't know what anyone else was doing."

    At the time, Prime Minister Winston Churchill commended the women's discretion, reportedly praising them as "the geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled".

    And it was Churchill who, after the war had finished, ordered the machines to be destroyed to keep them out of the wrong hands.

    Many permutations

    The code-breaking machine - known as the Turing Bombe - was the brainchild of mathematicians Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman.

    The Nazi Enigma codes had baffled British and Polish cryptographers because there were so many millions of permutations.

    At the start of the war the code-breakers used Polish machines but later Turing and Welchman redesigned them to enable more than 3,000 enemy messages to be decoded every day.

    It is thought the intercepted messages helped the Allies to defeat the Nazis in several crucial battles - so shortening the war by as much as two years.

    Simon Greenish, director of Bletchley Park Trust, said the war-time facility was "one of the 20th Century's great stories".

    "What was done at Bletchley has affected all our lives in one way or another because World War II would not have ended when it did if it wasn't for Bletchley," he said.

    The reconstruction project will be open to the public from July 2007 - although people will be able to see the machine in action at the Churchill and Enigma Reunion weekend on 23 and 24 September.


    BBC NEWS | UK | WWII Nazi code-break re-enacted
  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Very interesting saw the piece on the bbc news this morning!
  3. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    I heard t on a wonderful new invention.....
    The Radio
  4. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Wish I could get down there for the get together at the end of the month.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I can't believe they've actually got it finished!
    Have you seen the thing? it's utterly mad, the optical tape-reader thingy quite shocked me for a 60 year old design. Thing I liked best in the shed it's sat in was a great big box labelled "valves - dead".
    Top blokes, fantastically skilled and obviously obsessed to have even attempted it.

    Wonder if it's still sat in the same rickety looking shed it was? I'd have thought it near impossible to move it.
  6. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    Its something like 6ft by 6ft
  7. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Bletchley's well worth a visit. It's hard to take in that this place had thousands working in it and no one twigged what was going off. As a matter of interest I wonder how long a modern computer would take to work out the computations - obviously a lot less - how much less?
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Yep, be cool to see it in action.
  9. spidge


    Putting it into perspective, I was told that the rooms of computer generation used to put man on the moon could now be executed by a modern day laptop.
  10. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    And a recent Mercedes Benz model has more computer power than the moon lander!

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