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back to article Spain donates Enigma gear that kick-started Brit code-breaking

A pair of historic Enigma machines used during the Spanish Civil War have been donated to Britain. The machines played a role in an untold chapter of British wartime code-breaking history: the early 20th-century kit encoded messages that, once intercepted, helped boffins crack German military encryption at Bletchley Park in the …

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almost puzzled

An article about Enigma, code breaking, Bletchley Park... and not mentioning Turing. Either John is a homophobic dinosaur or Turing did not add any relevance to that article. Well, the latter was, at least recently, hardly ever a reason...

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Re: almost puzzled

> Well, the latter was, at least recently, hardly ever a reason...

Well, this time it is. The article is about events in 1937. Turing didn't start work at BP until 1939.

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Stop

Re: almost puzzled

Oh FFS, not everything is a slight against Turing. In terms of breaking Enigma, Turing was nowhere near the first to do it - he joined Knox's team (who was mentioned).

Presumably you're of the simplistic view that "Enigma" = "Bletchley" = "Turing". The initial cracks of a (weak) Enigma were done in Poland, the findings handed over to the Brits when it became clear Poland would fall to Germany and generically broken by Knox, as mentioned in the article. Turing helped to break Naval Enigma, and also designed the British Bombes that automated the cracking.

It's actually far more complex than what I've just wrote, so I suggest you stop seeing homophobia everywhere, go to Bletchley and learn about it - I'd also suggest looking at the memorial to Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki.

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Boffin

Re: almost puzzled

I had the idea that it was more like the Poles cracked it (by brute force, but they did crack it), then built the bombes, then realized they were going to get 0wned when the Germans beefed up the Enigma scramblers and sent all their research to the Brits right before they got themselves 0wned.

Then GCHQ built up on this (enter: Knox), but the really damn good speed up was thanks to one Alan Turing who designed the bombes that didn't depend on the repeating day-key.

Oh yes, I've read a lot on this.

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Happy

GCHQ

GCHQ already have an Enigma machine, what do they want another one for? Be best given to a museum or given to Bletchley Park as well.

(and who else is thinking of doors with "beware of the Leopold" notices on...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: GCHQ

Because they are different Enigma machines which have four rotors and no plugboards.

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Coat

Mr cynical again

"Nobody entered there because it was very secret"

More likely that they couldn't find the key, and no-one could be arsed to go and get a new one or break the door down.

#justsaying

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Re: Mr cynical again

Mañana, mi amigo. Mañana estar bien.

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Happy

Re: Mr cynical again

In Cornwall, they'll do it drekkly.

It means the same as Mañana; only it doesn't convey quite the same sense of urgency.

8-)

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Quote of the year

'Well if it is so secret, perhaps there is something secret inside.'

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Anonymous Coward

the really good stuff

Is behind the door labeled "boring stuff

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FAIL

A historian. Not "AN historian", A historian.

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bep

Cribs

Breaking enigma also required 'cribs' which usually had to be obtained in the field at considerable risk to life and limb - it wan't just an exercise for 40's nerds.

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Facepalm

Re: Cribs

Sorry, but that is complete tosh. A "crib" is some plaintext that the cryptanalyst knows/believes to be widely used by the encryptor. The Poles knew that the |Germans stuck an X on the end of the word AN to avoid confusion (no spaces) so ANX was a 'crib'. An informed guess doesn't usually entail risk to life and limb.

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Anonymous Coward

These people really are unbelievable.

I went to Bletchley Park, and thankfully didn't come across Colossus until after lunch. Otherwise I'd have starved my children. I've not done it before or since but was so impressed, that I gave all my money as a donation.

I met this guy there, it was like a scene from the Val Kilmer film, "Top Secret" where she describes building a rudimentary shelter from palm fronds and snot, except he built a Colossus, Tommy Flowers like, from the remains of BT's aging electromechanical telephone exchanges.

I truly recommend every adult go there, but don't take your kids until they're old enough to understand how close we came to losing.

It was the best day out I've ever had. Made Al Ambra look like a day out at burger king. We truly owe these people, and all those who provided the data, our entire existence.

(and it can be an historian, it depends on how you say it. If it's to be said "An 'istorian, gallic fashion then it is spelled "An historian." and you drop the aitch, and if historian is pronounced with a hard "H", then it's "A historian" - both are valid British English, so far as I'm aware.)

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Big Brother

Wartime story

Reminds me of a story my father once told me about his wartime experiences. He was a young draughtsman, fresh out of college, doing "secret stuff" for the govennment. One day he was told to collect his draughting tools and accompany a soldier to a secret location. Then he was ushered into a room with armed guards at the door, and told to make full engineering drawings of the "thing" in the room. After finishing, he had to hand the drawings to one of the guards and then forget that the incident had ever occurred (on pain of death).

He described the "thing" to me as being a bit like a typewriter, but incorporating a series of numbered wheels. Even in the 1980's he was nervous about talking about it.

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