Nazi Code Breaking..No Biggie

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Rocketeer, Nov 19, 2007.

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  1. Well, someone had lots of time on their hands.. seems that a Ham operator from Germany who dabbles in writing programmes for computers took on the task of deciphering WWII Nazi codes using his laptop while pitted against a re-built Collossus WWII Computer.. kind of unfair, given the supposed evolution in computing this century..

    but, to me.. it wasn't that big a revelation.. , I mean 60 years later and a PC takes 2 hours to break the code while the Collossus took 3 hours 35 minutes...
    pretty good for last century technology..[ not to mention the complexity of the Nazi codes.. ]
  2. 2 hours? It says less than a minute on the Wiki !
  3. But can Collossus surf for porn? I think not!

    Game, set and match to PCs!
  4. Only if you want to see Betty Grable and Vera Lynn in green monochrome.
  5. I bet Collossus doesn't crash as often as Windows does. :)
  6. Joking aside, what I would really like to know is how they managed to rebuild colossus when the plans were supposed to have been destroyed after the war. A fact confirmed by Tommy Flowers who designed and built it from scratch, as he admitted to taking all the plans to the boilerhouse and burning them in the furnace and all the machines were broken up.
  7. Sod that it took 60 years and 2 mins for the box head.
  8. you've just got to want it really badly. if you cant, you obviously dont care about it enough.

    seriously, i doubt the british army/government didnt make a sneaky copy at some point. that machine played a massive part in winning the war, how likely is it that they would allow it to be destroyed for ever?

    either that or they got a group of boffins together in a room and said, 'you can only use stuff available during ww2, now make me a code breaker or no afternoon tea for a year'

    no reason a clever chap couldnt re-invent it. obviously it wouldnt be identical, but with descriptions from people who saw it and such, you could probably make one as close as it makes no odds.
  9. Living near Bletchley Park, I have listened to the story of the rebuild: yes, absolutely everything was destroyed after WW2, on the orders of Churchill himself: so secret was the entire thing, that one couple who married after the war, only discovered they had both worked at Bletchley when they met at a reunion: neither one even faintly suspected the other of working there.

    Also yes - they did re-create it from first principles: in part making intelligent (inspired?) guesses about the mechanisms.
  10. According to the book “Station X” some went to GCHQ as it was thought that the code machines used by the Germans may find new homes in foreign embassies. That was why it was kept secret.

    I have lent my copy to the in law so can’t give chapter and verse.
  11. Some what? ULTRA machines, or Bombes? (if this thread is about the Bombes - Colossus was a different machine: see below)

    The former were v portable, (typewriter size). The latter weren't.

    From the Bletchley website:
  12. I cannot believe that GCHQ would have thrown anything away...

    Call me cynical, but my pet theory goes something like this...

    Allies are left at the end of the war with a load of ex Nazi cypher technology, which they could break. After the war, as part of the reconstruction of the western world, western governments present reforming governments with recycled cipher machines. The process continues into the 50's with cipher technology being given to emerging nations as empires break up...

    The fact we could break these cyphers was always an official secret, however just to make sure, Churchhill issues the "destroy everything" edict, which is given to everyone who worked for BP during the war, and who can now say - yes we could break mechnical ciphers, but we no longer can.

    Core technology of colossos etc now disappears into the depths of the West Country and is used for the next 40 years until mechnical cypher systems become obsolete in the 90s...

    Nod is then given to the folk in the BP museum that it is OK to reconstruct colossos, and "my oh my" suddenly plans "appear" out of technicians tool boxes...

    Off to get my new tinfoil hat fitted...

    HE (Cynical) 117
  13. No, but the service dollies who serviced the machine area found it very hot (thousands of valves and all that), so would partially disrobe and even set up clothes lines to dry their undies. Allegedly

    I wonder where they are now ?
  14. . . . in my mind's eye . . . . . :wink:
  15. Aeroflot doesn't crash as much as Windows!