Seizing the Enigma, The Race To Break The German U-Boa Codes, 1939-1943

This is a revised edition of the outstanding and most complete account of cryptography and the Enigma machine. There have been claims that the work of code breakers shortened the war by two years, but it can be argued that it first avoided defeat and then made victory possible – Most Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Seizing the Enigma, The Race To Break The German U-Boa Codes, 
1939-1943
FILE: R2531
AUTHOR: David Kahn
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Frontline
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES:  387
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, 
computers, encryption, decryption, enemy decision loop, codes, code-
breaking, Bletchley Park, BCCS, Station X, Station Y, Enigma

ISBN: 978-1-52671-145-8

IMAGE: B2531.jpg6
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/k9baf8m
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This is a revised edition of the outstanding and most 
complete account of cryptography and the Enigma machine. There have 
been claims that the work of code breakers shortened the war by two 
years, but it can be argued that it first avoided defeat and then 
made victory possible – Most Highly Recommended.

The story of codebreaking in WWII has only emerged relatively 
recently and what has emerged is not the full story. That is simply 
the importance of codebreaking techniques that continue to be 
relevant. It was only in the closing stages of the Cold War that 
information began to emerge. The work to break German codes 
continued to be valid in breaking Soviet codes and one reason for 
that is the adoption by the Soviets of German work on encryption 
that was captured at the end of WWII. What the Soviets did not 
appreciate was the extent of British expertise in breaking German 
cryptography.

The full story of the efforts to crack the German Enigma system is 
gripping. It was not just a case of assembling a group on unusual 
individuals, many of whom were good at crossword puzzles, and then 
thinking of ways to decrypt enemy communications. Initially the 
German Enigma system placed cryptography on a whole new level. The 
early work to acquire and understand the machines was carried out by 
Polish intelligence officers before WWII and, by handing the results 
of their work to the British code breakers, it boosted British work. 
However, there was a need to acquire later machines, code tables, 
operational practices and develop machines that could automate and 
speed large parts of the work of decryption. It was a complex and 
interlocking network of actions, any of which could break the whole 
project. Then, the work began opening German secrets and the next 
challenge was how to use the intelligence without signalling to the 
enemy that their codes were broken. Had they known, the Germans would 
have started again with different systems, requiring the British 
code-breakers to start all over again. Time was always the enemy 
because much of the intelligence had a short value life.

Enigma was ironically an obsolescent device by the start of WWII. 
It was cracked by wordsmiths in a similar manner to WWI 
code breaking. This included the use of cribs, where the code 
breakers arranged to create a noteworthy event and then wait to 
pick up its reporting on Enigma. That provided known information, 
words that could be extracted to provide a means of decrypting the 
rest of the message and then use the knowledge to break other 
transmissions. That required very sensitive radio receivers. One 
reason that the Germans failed to spot signs of their code being 
broken was that British receiver technology was ahead of the Germans 
and allowed distant weak radio transmissions to be intercepted 
beyond the range that the Germans expected.

The cryptography at Bletchley Park was greatly aided by the capture 
of code books and transmission schedules from U-boats and German 
surface ships. It was also greatly aided by the first electro-
mechanical programmable devices developed at Bletchley Park to 
speed the processing of intercepted signals. When the Germans 
introduced the successor to Enigma, the code breakers were already 
prepared to move to the next level where a math based cryptography 
system, using radio teleprinters, was deployed this system was 
decomposed without ever seeing a machine and its different nature 
understood by numerical analysis. That required the code breakers 
to design and build the first electronic semi-programmable 
computers to process intercepted messages.

The author has set out all of the critical elements of the Enigma 
story and German Naval codes, providing some valuable sketches of 
the key individuals, completely absorbing and well-documented.