Cracking Codes

Bletchley Park and the Enigma Cypher

Finding out about Enigma

Enigma was a Nazi-German coding machine first adopted by financial experts, to hide any planned product campaigns or 'secret ingredients'.
The Polish first got hold of some plans for the Enigma in December 1932, where their spies at a German base got hold of old blueprints.
In 1938, the Poles handed their copy of Enigma to the Brits and the French, and the race was on - who could create the Enigma Cypher copy with the most accuracy?

Using Enigma

Enigma is an incredibly complex machine. It was mostly changed by the three metal cogs which could be altered in various ways to end up providing over a million different keys.
Despite the difficulties in starting to gain accuracy, only simpler mistakes were made. One infamous mistake was a planned mass bombing raid of a north London military base. Spies successfully sent in a coded message, Enigma decoded and had found a date and time. Fighters were put on station and were prepared to send into the air at 8:30 pm GMT, however the fatal mistake Enigma decoders made was that they forgot about the time difference between the two countries, the bombing raid actually commenced an hour earlier!

The Turin Bombe code-breaker

The Bombe was designed as a result of more advanced codes coming into fashion. The Turin Bombe breaker was the ultimate machine, being able to de-code messages of around 200 characters long in less than an hour! The Bombe first came into use in mid 1940, where the full testing took place. Nearly all passed with flying colours and saved many lives in the Battle of Britain, the Naval Forces, and the Armies too.
The creator of this code breaker was Alan Mathison Turing. Turing was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. He was incredibly influencial in the making of code breaking machines generally, and for his service to the Allies in WW2 for code breaking, was awarded an OBE and later and FPS.


Thomas Harold Flowers was a British engineer. during WW2, he designed the first programmable electronic computer: Colossus.
Whats better, is that Colossus could break the new and encrypted messages the Germans used. This top secret computer came into service at the end of 1943 and was used to break German telex traffic, encrypted with the Lorenz SZ40/42 machines. Although Colossus operated two years earlier than the publicly well known American ENIAC, it never received the proper credit due to its top secret status during and after the war. It was only in the late 1970's that information about this wonderful machine became available. Unfortunately, this magnificent machine is hardly mentioned in history books.