With the ending of the Cold War, an increasing number of accounts of work at Bletchley Park and its out-stations has been published. The author has produced a graphic human presentation of life at Bletchley Park and is one of the last surviving codebreakers of Hut 6. Most highly recommended.
NAME: Secret Days, Codebreaking in Bletchley Park FILE: R2382 AUTHOR: Asa Briggs PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, frontline BINDING: soft back PAGES: 202 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: British School of Codes and Cyphers, Bletchley Park, Enigma, Ultra, Anglo-American code-breaking, Hut 6, secrecy, Cold War, WWII, Second World War, World War Two, intercepts, traffic analysis, pattern analysis, threat analysis ISBN: 978-1-84832-662-0 IMAGE: B2382.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zbktl3l LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: With the ending of the Cold War, an increasing number of accounts of work at Bletchley Park and its out-stations has been published. The author has produced a graphic human presentation of life at Bletchley Park and is one of the last surviving codebreakers of Hut 6. Most highly recommended. Great Britain had been a very early developer of traffic analysis, using radio/wireless intercepts. The Royal Navy had established a number of radio sites before the outbreak of World War Two. These sites monitored radio traffic from across the world and were able to locate the position of a transmitter, on land or aboard ship, by triangulation. At that time, transmissions were wireless telegraphy, using one of a number of standard code systems, such as Morse code. This was not intended to prevent a signal being read, but rather to provide a published standard code that could enable radio operators to transmit and receive quickly, and to understand the signal. During the efforts to rescue survivors of the Titanic tragedy, there are claims that efforts were delayed by misunderstandings resulting from some ships using American Morse and others using the form taught by Marconi to merchant shipping operators that became International Morse Code. The Royal Navy had no specific code-breakers at that time and, as encryption was employed for military and covert operations wireless transmissions, this meant that they were frequently unable to decode the precise meaning of intercepted traffic. However, they learned much by locating the position of a transmitter and from seeing the relative volume of transmissions. Using these techniques, the Royal Navy was able to know in advance that the German High Seas Fleet was intending to sale en mass for what was to become the Battle of Jutland. Without that knowledge the battle might have been fought close to the British Fleet at Scapa Flow and even resulted in bombardment of British ships at anchor. Taking the Royal Navy's experiences of early traffic analysis, the BSCC was established and expanded after WWI. The objective was to build a cadre of specialists who would be able to break enemy codes and learn far more from signal intercepts. By WWII, the British had developed a capability that today would be called Sigint and Elint. This required a network of intercept stations that were assigned to monitor all available frequencies, both for transmissions between enemy locations, Signals Intelligence, and to search for radar transmissions, Electronic Intelligence. In the case of the later, this was to enable the British to develop 'Window' which was metal foil strips of the wavelength of German radar that would be dropped by bombers to blank out the radar set on the ground and in night fighters. Increasing use was made of ships and aircraft as intercept stations. Also, before WWII, Polish intelligence had learned of the German Enigma machines that were being used to produce very strong encryption and description for their radio transmissions. The Poles managed to acquire some enigma machines and provided examples to the British. This was a vital head start and key to the breaking of Enigma enabling the British to learn in detail what the Germans were doing, strategically and tactically. Naturally, all of this work was highly secret and even within the British code-breaking operations very few people had anything like a full picture of the capabilities and the content of the German signals. This extended to the use of the highly sensitive material. The British might know in advance of a U-boat attack on a convoy and the progress once the attack started. However, if they responded, on the basis of this intelligence, they could disclose to the enemy that they had broken their codes, prompting a code change. As a result, painful choices had to be made and this led to higher ship losses, but an acceptable price to pay to preserve the secret of the code breaking. The author has personal direct experience of the work in Hut 6 Bletchley Park and the advantage that much of the Enigma code-breaking work has now been de-classified. He provides an absorbing account of the work within his experience and provided a wider picture from detailed research, but this is a valuable partial account. He kept his secrets until the 1970s and the whistle blower was a very rare bird in an age of patriotism and honour. This book is the first time that he wrote about his work in Hut 6. In today's world of widespread multi-format communication, the whistle-blower is rampant, which may make it difficult for readers today to fully understand how people are happy to betray friends, country and anyone for the flimsiest of reasons and, equally, may make it difficult for readers today to understand how people like the author so loyally preserved secrets even from close family for most of their lives, or why they now share their experiences. Four sisters were an example of this trust and honour. One, a mathematician, worked in the US on the Manhattan Project designing and building the first plutonium bomb. The second sister, also a mathematician worked at Bletchley Park as a code breaker and on the first electronic computers used there to automate signals processing. The third, a physicist, worked in Britain on development that led to the British hydrogen bomb. The forth, a party girl, flew warplanes from trainers to Spitfires to heavy bombers with the ATA. None of them knew during WWII what the others were doing. The ATA pilot was the first share her war experiences, the others not until the 1970s. Hardest was for the second sister, who married an American intelligence officer and moved to the US. She had to put up with the Americans crowing about inventing the electronic computer years after she had worked on the real firsts developed and built in Great Britain but which she had promise not to talk about. This welcome book lifts the lid on intriguing secrets from WWII which continued to be sensitive as Britain had to decode Russian traffic through the Cold War. The excellent text is supported by photo-plate sections including one with full colour images.