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OT: The Enigma code - 2/19/2012 11:54:16 PM   
Footslogger


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It was the Polish people who broke the German Enigma Code. So, did the Germans use the Enigma Code right to the end of WWII?
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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/20/2012 12:11:38 AM   
Tentpeg

 

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Sorry. The Poles provided an enigima machine to the British. It was the British who eventually broke the code.

The Germans used enigma to the end of the war and were so confident in it they rarely changed the code wheels.

As I remember it was Hedley (sic) Lamar, a starlet of film, who designed a frequency hopping device to prevent radio signals from being intercepted. Her design was scribbled on the back a napkin.

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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/20/2012 12:58:37 AM   
JFalk68


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Sorry but the Poles did much more then just provide a machine. You trivialize the work of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski and all the other Poles that broke cipher in 1932 and all the data they collected before the outbreak of WW2. It was the basis of their work that allowed the work at Bletchley park. It was broken because of the Poles, plain and simple.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Tentpeg

Sorry. The Poles provided an enigima machine to the British. It was the British who eventually broke the code.

The Germans used enigma to the end of the war and were so confident in it they rarely changed the code wheels.

As I remember it was Hedley (sic) Lamar, a starlet of film, who designed a frequency hopping device to prevent radio signals from being intercepted. Her design was scribbled on the back a napkin.


(in reply to Tentpeg)
Post #: 3
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/20/2012 1:24:17 AM   
Peltonx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Footslogger

It was the Polish people who broke the German Enigma Code. So, did the Germans use the Enigma Code right to the end of WWII?


Boremann and other Nazis used it after May 1945.

Read "Grey Wolf" by S.Dunstan and G.Williams

The bones of Hitler the Russians had have been proven by DNA to have been a women. His wifes bones were the remains of 3 women with none of the 3 matching her DNA.

Hitler was a monster, its sad that he probably got away along with Boremann and many others animals.

Stalin was convinced Hitler got away and the allies were hiding him. It would appear they turned there heads the other way.

Very dry book, but makes you think.

Pelton




< Message edited by Pelton -- 2/20/2012 1:25:29 AM >


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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/20/2012 1:45:09 AM   
gradenko_2000_slith

 

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They were still adding improvements to the machine as late as 1944, so yes, I'm pretty sure Enigmas were in use up until the very end of the war.

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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/20/2012 8:10:03 AM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JFalk68
Sorry but the Poles did much more then just provide a machine. You trivialize the work of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski and all the other Poles that broke cipher in 1932 and all the data they collected before the outbreak of WW2. It was the basis of their work that allowed the work at Bletchley park. It was broken because of the Poles, plain and simple.


This is not to trivialise the contribution of the Poles, or anyone else involved in Enigma, but it wasn't a matter of just breaking a code, it was an ongoing process throughout the war, to keep up with evolution of the system. The Poles provided an Enigma machine and did much of the initial work, which showed the British what sort of cypher they had to break.

Enigma was thought to be safe because there millions and millions of potential code combinations, which the Germans were confident could not be humanly worked through. Enigma was going to be sold as a commercial coding device and wasn't that secret, it was just so complicated that even knowing what it was, would not allow the codes it produced to be broken.

The breakthrough at Bletchley Park was to build a machine (the first computer ?) that could work through millions and millions of combinations in a reasonable time. Many people, including the Poles and those who risked (and lost) their lives getting Enigma codes wheels and books out of a sinking U-boat, all contributed to a code breaking effort that continued throughout the war.

It was not so much one 'eureka' moment when the code was broken, it was a constant effort by a huge number of people, of all nationalities, to keep Allied access into Enigma open.


< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/20/2012 8:12:44 AM >


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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 1:26:01 AM   
JFalk68


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Agreed Rasputitsa, well put :)
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rasputitsa

quote:

ORIGINAL: JFalk68
Sorry but the Poles did much more then just provide a machine. You trivialize the work of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski and all the other Poles that broke cipher in 1932 and all the data they collected before the outbreak of WW2. It was the basis of their work that allowed the work at Bletchley park. It was broken because of the Poles, plain and simple.


This is not to trivialise the contribution of the Poles, or anyone else involved in Enigma, but it wasn't a matter of just breaking a code, it was an ongoing process throughout the war, to keep up with evolution of the system. The Poles provided an Enigma machine and did much of the initial work, which showed the British what sort of cypher they had to break.

Enigma was thought to be safe because there millions and millions of potential code combinations, which the Germans were confident could not be humanly worked through. Enigma was going to be sold as a commercial coding device and wasn't that secret, it was just so complicated that even knowing what it was, would not allow the codes it produced to be broken.

The breakthrough at Bletchley Park was to build a machine (the first computer ?) that could work through millions and millions of combinations in a reasonable time. Many people, including the Poles and those who risked (and lost) their lives getting Enigma codes wheels and books out of a sinking U-boat, all contributed to a code breaking effort that continued throughout the war.

It was not so much one 'eureka' moment when the code was broken, it was a constant effort by a huge number of people, of all nationalities, to keep Allied access into Enigma open.



(in reply to Rasputitsa)
Post #: 7
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 4:35:57 AM   
warspite1


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Watch the film U-571 if you want to know the true story

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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 11:06:14 AM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1
Watch the film U-571 if you want to know the true story


Yeh, lets sail an old submarine out into the Atlantic to find a U-boat in millions of square miles of sea, then back in time for tea. Wonder the Germans lasted until 1945, with Hollywood on the case.


_____________________________

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 9
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 11:38:36 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

Here is nice (albeit quite big) book in which god info can be found:



http://www.amazon.com/Codebreakers-Comprehensive-History-Communication-Internet/dp/0684831309/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329910634&sr=1-7


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 12:05:48 PM   
PMCN

 

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There was a show on the BBC where they spoke to the people who worked on the project, it was in 1998 or 1999 as it wasn't until then they were allowed to talk about their work.

The actual breakthrough came about because, and I think this was a Polish scientist who suggested this, they decided to try the inital cipher as A=A. The trivial solution. The British were initially skeptical but it turned out this was the combination the German's had selected. Which isn't so silly, when basically you think that the other person will never use it because it is clearly the trivial solution which no one would ever do. After that they started breaking the code on a regular basis helped along by two things.

1. Almost all messages started with "Heil Hitler", this should go on the list of things an evil overlord should never do.
2. A number of stations would come on air and say effectively the same thing every night. "This is Passow. It is 8 pm and all is well here." So if the code breakers were stimied they just waited for this message and then they could untangle the code. Another thing for the evil overlord do not do list.

Actually the show was a substantial revelation of a lot of things for me. The atlantic battle got intense in early 42 more to do with the introduction of a 4 wheel enigma then anything else. At that point they could no longer route convoys around wolfpacks (which they were routinely doing), and the sudden decay in losses a few months later normally attributed to better ASW weapons and whatnot is infact due to the capture of an enigma machine (and seeing it had 4 wheels). The CO of Crete was informed that an airborne invasion was planned but had to keep his deployment as if he expected a naval one (probably though this explains the heavy losses the Germans suffered in the attack). That attack was the end of large scale German airborne operations. Rommel went to his grave thinking there was a spy in the Italian High Command, there wasn't but every message he sent to Berlin was read by the British. I don't really see how you can win a war where the enemy knows what you are planning at about the same time you do.

I think anyone who has ever read anything about WW2 knows the British broke the code, but how extensively they could intercept German planning, and what they did with that information they were remarkably tight lipped about. The same is likely true for the Americans and the Japanese codes.

(in reply to Apollo11)
Post #: 11
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/22/2012 7:21:13 PM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul McNeely
There was a show on the BBC where they spoke to the people who worked on the project, it was in 1998 or 1999 as it wasn't until then they were allowed to talk about their work.

The actual breakthrough came about because, and I think this was a Polish scientist who suggested this, they decided to try the inital cipher as A=A. The trivial solution. The British were initially skeptical but it turned out this was the combination the German's had selected. Which isn't so silly, when basically you think that the other person will never use it because it is clearly the trivial solution which no one would ever do. After that they started breaking the code on a regular basis helped along by two things.

1. Almost all messages started with "Heil Hitler", this should go on the list of things an evil overlord should never do.
2. A number of stations would come on air and say effectively the same thing every night. "This is Passow. It is 8 pm and all is well here." So if the code breakers were stimied they just waited for this message and then they could untangle the code. Another thing for the evil overlord do not do list.

Actually the show was a substantial revelation of a lot of things for me. The atlantic battle got intense in early 42 more to do with the introduction of a 4 wheel enigma then anything else. At that point they could no longer route convoys around wolfpacks (which they were routinely doing), and the sudden decay in losses a few months later normally attributed to better ASW weapons and whatnot is infact due to the capture of an enigma machine (and seeing it had 4 wheels). The CO of Crete was informed that an airborne invasion was planned but had to keep his deployment as if he expected a naval one (probably though this explains the heavy losses the Germans suffered in the attack). That attack was the end of large scale German airborne operations. Rommel went to his grave thinking there was a spy in the Italian High Command, there wasn't but every message he sent to Berlin was read by the British. I don't really see how you can win a war where the enemy knows what you are planning at about the same time you do.

I think anyone who has ever read anything about WW2 knows the British broke the code, but how extensively they could intercept German planning, and what they did with that information they were remarkably tight lipped about. The same is likely true for the Americans and the Japanese codes.


Each German Enigma message had to start with a 'Key' sequence to tell the receiving station how to set up the wheels and plugs on their Enigma machine to be able to decode the message. Captured Key Sheets helped the initial effort, but later the first action each day was to break that key sequence to get into that day's messages.

The important thing is that this was not just breaking a code, it was breaking a coding method and understanding the machine and procedures used. The British at Bletchley Park got into the minds of the operators, worked out how the machine worked and replicated with electronic machines (revolutionary at the time) that could reverse engineer the code. That is an over simplification of an intensive, complex and continuous effort by 1000's of people at Bletchley Park, every day, to keep the 'Ultra' information flowing.

The Germans had such confidence in Enigma, because they thought it impossible to go through all the possible coding combinations to break a message. Even if a messages was broken, the Enigma settings were changed regularly and that would put the code breakers back to square one, therefore Enigma was safe. What they could not conceive was that the British could build electronic machines that could do the required computations at a speed that would break the messages in a reasonable time.

There were several machines involved and the British decoding system evolved, with German developments in the use of Enigma. 'Colossus' was constructed using telephone exchange components and an unsung hero is Tommy Flowers, who developed the idea of making an electronic computing machine, using some of his own money, valves and components in general use.

When the Engima/Ultra effort started, his technical ideas joined with Alan Turing's mathematical expertise, helped create the machines used at Bletchley Park. After the war the parts went back into the General Post Office (GPO) stores and Tommy Flowers got a £1000 grant, which did not even cover his own costs, nor could he use his ideas commercially, because it was so secret.

One of the contributing factors in winning the 'Battle of the Atlantic' was that the Germans could not conceive that the British had developed centrimetric radar, operating on a short enough wavelength to detect a submarine periscope, with airborne radar. German scientist had not been able to do this, so obviously the British couldn't either.

Enigma information was useful in re-directing convoys, but what drove the U-boats out of the Atlantic, after April 1943, was that they could be detected day, or night, by aircraft, which could either attack directly, or call up hunting groups, even if the U-boats were not destroyed, continuously forced to submerge, they could no longer operate effectively.

_____________________________

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon

(in reply to PMCN)
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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/23/2012 8:33:31 AM   
PMCN

 

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They would not have gotten anywhere without the (I'm pretty sure it was polish) suggestion to try the trivial solution. This was when the code breaking was done by hand, long before any mechanical or electronic aides were developed, shortly after the first enigma's were delivered to Britian after that Polish defeat. The mechanical computing machines were still 2 years or so down the road, if my memory serves but I could be a year off either way.

There were lots of reasons for the battle of the atlantic being lost by the uboats. The fact the British knew where they were is in my view the critical one. The chances of a plane blundering over a Uboat in the middle of the atlantic are tiny radar or no radar. The chance of the same plane doing so if the people putting the patrol route together are in contact with people who know where the uboat is patroling is several orders of magnitude higher. Even Sun Tzu, for all I can't stand the fortune cookies of war in general, got this one right. "When a General knows himself, and his enemy he need not fear defeat." This was the case of in the atlantic for the british except for when Donitz introduced the 4 wheel engima and until they captured one. Technical systems are nice, knowing where to look in the first place is much better.

(in reply to Rasputitsa)
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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/23/2012 9:58:46 AM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul McNeely
They would not have gotten anywhere without the (I'm pretty sure it was polish) suggestion to try the trivial solution. This was when the code breaking was done by hand, long before any mechanical or electronic aides were developed, shortly after the first enigma's were delivered to Britian after that Polish defeat. The mechanical computing machines were still 2 years or so down the road, if my memory serves but I could be a year off either way.

There were lots of reasons for the battle of the atlantic being lost by the uboats. The fact the British knew where they were is in my view the critical one. The chances of a plane blundering over a Uboat in the middle of the atlantic are tiny radar or no radar. The chance of the same plane doing so if the people putting the patrol route together are in contact with people who know where the uboat is patroling is several orders of magnitude higher. Even Sun Tzu, for all I can't stand the fortune cookies of war in general, got this one right. "When a General knows himself, and his enemy he need not fear defeat." This was the case of in the atlantic for the british except for when Donitz introduced the 4 wheel engima and until they captured one. Technical systems are nice, knowing where to look in the first place is much better.


There wasn't one solution, trivial or otherwise, it was an ongoing effort, throughout the war, culminating in the processing of 1000s of messages, on an almost industrial scale by 1000s of workers. Filtering the information, they had to sift through huge amounts of general material to make sense of the information that counted. Enigmas did not stand still and neither did the code breaking effort.

Whether any of it would have happened, without the earlier work of the Poles and others is an unproven what-if, but seeing the incredible ingenuity and huge effort that was put into Bletchley Park, I would be confident that the Enigma/Ultra story would have been similar, if a little delayed.

The war at sea, as always, was more complicated than just Enigma/Ultra, short wave centrimetric radar enabled aircraft to detect small targets at sea (they didn't just blunder - they had search patterns), High Frequency Direction Finders (HF-DF (Huff-Duff)) allowed the Allies to detect which areas to concentrate the search. Hunting groups of surface ships, not tied to convoy protection, where able cover areas where the U-boats might have been able to organise (previously the escorts were with the convoys, the rest of the sea belonged to the U-boats). Escort carriers brought tactical air power with the convoys and hunting groups. All this brought about a dramatic turn-around in the 'Battle of the Atlantic', after April 1943, as at that time as many U-boats were sunk as merchant ships, a disaster for the Germans to rival Stalingrad.

It was the same effect as the P51, making roving patrols, not just escorting bomber formations, but catching enemy fighter groups as they tried to organise for bomber intercepts. Same thing happened to the U-boats, they could be attacked anywhere in the ocean, had to spend long periods submerged, only able to make 6kts. U-boats became ineffective, loss rates unsustainable.

Enigma could save convoys from attack, by allowing re-routes, the other features actually defeated the U-boats (sank them) and drove them out of the Atlantic.

Sun Tzu would have known that knowledge alone is not enough for victory, you need knowledge and a sharp sword to win.

< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/23/2012 10:23:10 AM >


_____________________________

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon

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Post #: 14
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/23/2012 11:28:46 AM   
PMCN

 

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I never said that it wasn't. But they were getting nowhere at the start until they tried the trivial solution (trivial in the mathematical sense). They needed that start point to even begin the process of decryption, I can't recall the exact details and decryption is not a part of my job description, but after they worked out how the enigma worked they needed a starting algorithem for how the code was set up, that they didn't get from the Poles, but it was a Pole that suggested they try the trivial solution. If the Poles had not delivered to them working enigma machines I suspect they would have been a long time decoding the messages if ever. Donitz messed them up royaly by adding another wheel.

The uboats could be hit anywhere because the allies knew where they were and they steared the hunter killer groups right to them. You aren't going to win a war when the enemy has that kind of knowledge of your actions and has the ability to respond (which in 43 onwards the allies did have with all the new toys you list). The advantage of a uboat is stealth, the enemy is not supposed to know where they are, remove that and it pretty much renders the uboat impotent. And the allies knew where they were at all times because they reported daily to donitz and those radio messages were intercepted and decoded (by the end of the war) almost as fast as the Germans could do it.

Knowledge is power. That is what people forget about war games, the degree of knowledge you the player has is orders of magnitude greater than what a battlefield commander could possibly have in virtually every game I've ever played.

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RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/23/2012 11:56:47 AM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul McNeely
I never said that it wasn't. But they were getting nowhere at the start until they tried the trivial solution (trivial in the mathematical sense). They needed that start point to even begin the process of decryption, I can't recall the exact details and decryption is not a part of my job description, but after they worked out how the enigma worked they needed a starting algorithem for how the code was set up, that they didn't get from the Poles, but it was a Pole that suggested they try the trivial solution. If the Poles had not delivered to them working enigma machines I suspect they would have been a long time decoding the messages if ever. Donitz messed them up royaly by adding another wheel.

The uboats could be hit anywhere because the allies knew where they were and they steared the hunter killer groups right to them. You aren't going to win a war when the enemy has that kind of knowledge of your actions and has the ability to respond (which in 43 onwards the allies did have with all the new toys you list). The advantage of a uboat is stealth, the enemy is not supposed to know where they are, remove that and it pretty much renders the uboat impotent. And the allies knew where they were at all times because they reported daily to donitz and those radio messages were intercepted and decoded (by the end of the war) almost as fast as the Germans could do it.

Knowledge is power. That is what people forget about war games, the degree of knowledge you the player has is orders of magnitude greater than what a battlefield commander could possibly have in virtually every game I've ever played.


I don't think there is much to add, without going into a full description of the work at Bletchley Park over the duration of the war and the initial efforts before that.

With respect to the 'Battle of the Atlantic', I have not and do not intend to underestimate the effects of Enigma/Ultra information on the success of the Allies, but the battle could have been won without Enigma/Ultra, but it could not have been won without the 'toys'. It was not as simple as - 'Enigma' tells us where the U-boats are and we go out and sink them'

In the Mediterranean, there were standing orders that before a Axis supply convoy, fixed by Enigma/Ultra, could be attacked, it first had to be intercepted by a search aircraft. Only then could the attack formations be sent out. Finding a U-boat North Atlantic is not the same as finding a convoy of surface ships in the Mediterranean.

I don't think we disagree on content, but more on emphasis, I see the situation as a package, with Enigma/Ultra as an important element, but part of the whole Allied effort.

You cannot win a war with knowledge alone.


_____________________________

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“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

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(in reply to PMCN)
Post #: 16
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/23/2012 6:18:44 PM   
ajds

 

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I am not aware of the Polish contribution (and note I am one quarter Polish descent). But the British deciphered the messages using electronic computing - very much helped by poor operating procedures by German Enigma operators, who used trivial cipher settings, identical cipher settings and repetitive cipher settings. A review of the European front action timeline, alongside an Enigma codebreaking progress timeline, is very illuminating. As alluded to above with regards to the Battle of the Atlantic.

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Post #: 17
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/24/2012 8:27:21 AM   
PMCN

 

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Rasputitsa, as you say it is a question of emphisis. All the weapons in the world won't do you a bit of good if you don't know where the enemy is. If you do know where the enemy is even a substandard weapon will work. I am not dissagreeing with anything you say. My point is, and remains so, that they won the war in the Atlantic because they knew where the Uboats were reliably. You can't win a battle with a stealth system that isn't stealthy, the uboats lost once they were no longer stealthy underwarter killers. The early 42 spike in allied losses, which nearly crippled Britian was caused by one thing, the 4th wheel. Nothing the allies did except for capture a 4 wheel enigma slowed the losses down. When they could reliably detemine uboat positions again losses dropped off in less than a month. That has nothing to do with closing the air gap, new sonars, better radar, hedgehogs or any other ASW advance. The explaination consistantly given for this is the above measures...because they were hiding their code breaking efforts. Every book I read said exactly what you are saying...but that is simply a cover story one the kept for around 60 years. That is my view, and you are welcome to disagree with it but the night and day losses suffered during the period they could not break Donitz's code are darn convincing to me.

The British went through extreme efforts to hide that they broke the German code both during and after the war. Including using search planes to search for convoys they knew the location of and not changing dispositions of troops and probably a load of things we are not aware of. Rommel went to his grave sure there was spy in the Italian high command because nothing he tried could get supplies accross the med...convoys...single ships...nothing. The British were always there..."blundering into it."

As much as I don't like the fortune cookies of war, Sun Tzu's fortune cookie on "know yourself and know your enemy" is pretty darn clear... C3I is a tremendous force multiplier at the end of the day. And the war in the atlantic was just such a case.

As far as the ultra code breaking goes, they were in that BBC show talking to the people involved. The first break through was based on a polish suggestion to use the trivial solution. This is only interesting in that it is a case of "They know that we know that they know..." Basically the British assumed the Germans would never do something so obvious...the Germans either from lazyness or the rather good idea that the obvious would be dissmissed, did so. What I can't remember is how this was applied to breaking the code itself in detail but that doesn't matter at the end of the day. It is mearly something I found amusing as statement on human nature.

Anyway this is more or less a case of I say "Tor-anah, eh" and you say "Tor-On-Toe."

"ajda" the Polish acquired 2(1?) enigma machine(s) during the fighting and/or from a German traitor who originally offered it to the British and the French who turned him down. When Poland fell the people working on breaking the enigma went to England. They gave the British the machines and their work, plus that suggestion. The electronic computers showed up in 44 (give or take a year), before that there were mechanical computers. Before that were "computers"...this is a person who does the work by hand. The early code breaking was entirely done by hand. It was during this period that the routine daily messages were vital to the code breaking effort.

(in reply to Rasputitsa)
Post #: 18
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/24/2012 2:03:53 PM   
Rasputitsa


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Every book I read said exactly what you are saying...but that is simply a cover story one the kept for around 60 years. That is my view, and you are welcome to disagree with it but the night and day losses suffered during the period they could not break Donitz's code are darn convincing to me.

Paul,

There is no doubt that whilst Bletchley Park were 'into' Enigma they were able to provide information that could be used to divert convoys and reduce the losses, but that is not victory, that's just reducing losses. The victory came from sinking U-boats and eventually driving them out of the North Atlantic, as an effective fighting force. To quote Patton - you don't win wars by dying for your country, you make the other poor b*****d die for his, The U-boat personnel loss rate was 70%.

The best info from Enigma was the U-boats transmitting positions to HQ and HQ transmitting concentration areas to the U-boats, but that only gave where the U-boat thought it was, which in the cloudy North Atlantic was most probably inaccurate and only after the delay of messages being sent, received, decoded and assessed, hours, or days, later.

HF/DF gave a reasonably up-to-date bearing, two bearings from two ships gave a reasonably up-to-date fix. Centimetric radar allowed aircraft to make bombing runs on U-boats day, or night, night being the time when they were surfaced charging batteries. Knowing the concentration areas of the wolf-packs, from Enigma intercepts, gave the sub hunting forces and aircraft a great advantage, but you need to be able to make the 'kill'. Enigma information might get you to within a few miles of a U-boat, but to kill it, you need to be right on top of it, the 'toys' you referred to did that.

The information that the **PZ div is moving to Sicily in two months is very valuable information, the information that a U-boat thought it was at X position two days ago had minimal tactical value.

You just can't read an Enigma intercept and then go out and pop a U-boat, however, you could with Enigma information find a convoy in the Med, as just the sailing date and destination would allow you to work out where it could be found and this was done regularly.

I am not trying to trivialise Enigma/Ultra, but put it into a realistic perspective. Enigma/Ultra was invaluable in the Battle of the Atlantic, as in other theatres of war, but there was no 'magic bullet' in WW2, it was one part of the jig-saw, just as in the breaking of Enigma in the first place, it was a long hard battle by 1000s of people right through the war. The work started with advertising for people good at cross-word puzzles and ended with arguably the first electronic computers. The Allied code breaking effort in WW2 led to the Computer Age and here we are enjoyng it

Yes, they were hiding Enigma code breaking successes and continued to do so for many years after the war, but that does not make the rest of the Battle of the Atlantic into a cover-up. The impact of Enigma/Ultra was mainly strategic, it could have little affect on the tactical battles of the time.




< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/24/2012 2:08:56 PM >


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Post #: 19
RE: OT: The Enigma code - 2/25/2012 8:11:22 PM   
HMSWarspite

 

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This thread shows the usual simplifications of the Bletchley Park (and before) saga. The Poles were indeed the first to attack the Enigma machine, and could get breaks manually I believe. After the fall of Poland, some of their Intelligence people worked in France, until that in turn fell (must have felt like the end of civilisation, that period). Bletchley Park industrialised the effort, using the first generation of electro-mechanical devices (Bombes as they called them). However they were not the first computer as such. The second part of the effort, which was kept secret for even longer after the war, was the teleprinter code breaking, using Colossus machines. Because that part of the story was released later, the Enigma story got prominence. Enigma was very important tactically (and in the Battle of the Atlantic, as described above). But the real gold dust was the automatic transmission of encoded teleprinter messages (called Fish by Bletchley). Enigma was slow to code, manual, and used down to quite a low level in the field thus you got more low level stuff than direct orders from High Command. The teleprinters were faster and resided in higher HQs, like Athens, Vienna, Rome, and of course Berlin, and you tended to get all sorts. Consequently, breaking Enimga was like being fed the play calls a few seconds after the snap (or on a good day, before the snap). The teleprinter code was like eavesdropping on the coaching team emails while they wrote the play book before the game. Collossus, the machine created to break it, was the worlds first fully electronic programmable computer.

Hope this makes sense (especially as a Brit, the American Football analogy!)

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