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Author Topic: How good was the German equivelent of Bletchly park  (Read 1861 times)

Offline syhprum

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During WWII Germany had many brilliant scientist and engineers working for them but they made some ghastly mistakes such as miscalculating the amount of U235 required for a nuclear bomb and trying to make an atomic pile with impure graphite.
The list is very long of failings in tactics and basic science but I wonder how good their decoding of British and American communication was from our Enigma like machines.   
« Last Edit: 16/08/2012 21:49:44 by syhprum »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: How good was the German equivelent of Bletchly park
« Reply #1 on: 16/08/2012 23:19:07 »
Undoubtedly the Germans and Japanese had worked on cracking American and British Codes.

The British and Americans used a machine called SIGBA, which according to this, was never cracked by the Germans.  Perhaps one of the differences was that the Germans used the Enigma on their ships and Subs, and a couple of the Enigma machines and code books were stolen by the Allies. 

Not having a SIGBA machine certainly would have put the Germans at a disadvantage.

The other thing that the Americans did, at least in the Pacific was the Navajo Code Talkers, which not only was spoken in an obscure American Indian language, but was also encoded.  The Japanese apparently figured out that it was Navajo based.  They had captured a Navajo soldier who was unfamiliar with the code, and unable to crack it.  The code itself sounds simple enough that a good cryptographer should have been able to utilize the captured Navajo Indian to crack the code, but apparently they never put all the parts together.  Keeping in mind that the code was apparently an English code superimposed on the Navajo language so a translation of Navajo to Japanese would not have worked.

One of the other things the British did was they kept secret the fact that they had stolen a couple of Enigma machines, and in fact chose not to act on all of the information that they intercepted so that the Germans would not deduce a serious security breach.
« Last Edit: 16/08/2012 23:43:42 by CliffordK »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: How good was the German equivelent of Bletchly park
« Reply #2 on: 17/08/2012 00:32:28 »
I found some notes on the British Typex.

Although a British test cryptanalytic attack made considerable progress, the results were not as significant as against the Enigma, due to the increased complexity of the system and the low levels of traffic. A Typex machine without rotors was captured by German forces during the Battle of France and more than one German cryptanalytic section proposed attempting to crack Typex; however, the B-Dienst codebreaking organization gave up on it after six weeks, when further time and personnel for such attempts was refused. One German cryptanalyst stated that the Typex was more secure than the Enigma since it had seven rotors, therefore no major effort was made to crack Typex messages as they believed that even the Enigma's messages were unbreakable.

So, the British tried (unsuccessfully?) to crack their own code.

At some point, the Germans captured a partial machine, but didn't have adequate government support to crack and reverse engineer it.

I would have to think that considering the cost of the war, running an elite cryptography unit would be a cheap investment.  However, there may have been multiple levels of code encryption, and apparently the British and Americans used their code machines less than the Germans used the Enigma....  which likely meant a second tier of codes that may have been cracked.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: How good was the German equivelent of Bletchly park
« Reply #3 on: 17/08/2012 03:48:28 »
I would not have thought that getting hold of actual Enigma machines was too much of a problem as they were presumably available thru normal commercial sources before the war, The Germans made the great mistake of not realising their limitations and the importance of rigorous operating procedures.
« Last Edit: 17/08/2012 21:18:03 by syhprum »
 

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Re: How good was the German equivelent of Bletchly park
« Reply #3 on: 17/08/2012 03:48:28 »

 

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