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Why was Bletchley Park able to break the German Enigma codes?

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A.D. Kieran Williams August 2003 Why was Bletchley Park able to break the German Enigma codes? Bletchley Park was able to break the German Enigma codes for a number of important reasons. Firstly, the British were ably assisted by the Poles during the 1930s. The Polish Intelligence recruited a spy in the German Army, who supplied them with secret documents describing the Enigma machine. The Poles constructed two replica machines using this information, and in August 1939, they handed these to the British and French. This enabled Station X to understand how it worked. The machine contained three wheels with letters of the alphabet in order printed on them. ...read more.


The rotors never stayed in the same position for more than 2 days, which aided the decoding. The 'Double Indicator', a codebook issued to operators, which specified the day's settings for the machine, was not always adhered to. Some operators chose their own setting, and sent the three letters twice. This repetition gave the code breakers another way of cracking the code. The operators often used familiar letters such as HIT - for Hitler. Alan Turing and John Herivel played crucial parts in breaking the Enigma code. Turing's idea was that a machine could carry out calculations if fed information on a strip of paper. ...read more.


HIT for Hitler). 'Crib' was a correctly deciphered part of a message, which gave them clues, such as the 6am weather broadcast. In 1941, 2 U-boats were captured, and parts of the 'Dolphin' Enigma machine, the Navy's version, were found. This allowed the Dolphin code to be cracked. In 1941, aboard the U-570, the 'Shark', a 4-wheeled Enigma machine was captured, enabling Bletchley Park to crack the code that was to be used on all U boats. 'Fish', the machine that Hitler used, was coded differently to the others, and did not use Morse code. This was a problem, as no one knew what it looked like. After 2 months, Bletchley Park managed to construct their own 'Fish' and were able to decipher very important messages. ...read more.

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