Enigma

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report2me4

Airman
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Sep 19, 2006
I have read a lot about how Enigma virtually won the war for the allies, if that is the case how come, given that they were meant to know German plans before the Germans themselves, the war lasted for so long and the allies performances were often average to say the least. Anyone any thoughts?

Marty
 
Logistics...

Here is a picture of the Enigma by the way. I took it at the French Military Museum in Paris when me and my wife went to Paris a few weekends ago.
 

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Back to my original post though.

The war lasted so long due to logistics and the fact that the German military was a very disciplined and well trained and equiped military.

You have to get all the equipment needed to do an over the water invasion and fight a continental war like that. You cant just attack a military of several million soldiers and thousands of tanks with a couple thousand men and a few Shermans.
 
that's an earlier one yes because it has 3 dials? after we got one off U-110 they introduced a fourth dial and boy were we pissed ;)

but i wouldn't say that knowing the enigma codes won us the war, yes they were vital but other forms of communications were used and we couldn't intercept every message, and even then sometimes unknown codewords were used...........
 
I was just a bit fed up hearing about Bletchley Park - If you had a strong force on an island (Crete) and you new all the plans that it was going to be invaded by a not so strong force (who didnt have heavy weapons to speak of) surely a nit wit could have defeated them???? I know there is the business about picking what you can use without giviing the game away but at that stage of the war Churchill would have pimped his granny for a victory. I have a feeling that if the Germans had half the intelligence that enigma provided the allies, then they would have walked it.
 
One significant limitation was that nothing would be done to let the Germans know that we had the ability to read the codes.
Crete is a good example. We did know the time and the plans for the attack but we were already deployed to counter a seabourne invasion. To redeploy for an airbourne invasion for no reason could have given the secret away. As it was we were not allowed to change the deployment until the first troops were on the ground and by then, its to late. General Freyburg was heard to comment, hear they come, dead on time.

Another example was off Malta. Destroying the German supply ships was all important. On a number of occaisions we knew from intercepts that a convoy had sailed. However we were not allowed to attack them unless the ships had been spotted using conventional methods.
 
Marty,
You raise an interesting point.
For most of the war, both the German and Japanese communications were quite well
known to their foes.

To answer your question, you need to think on the two basic levels...
Strategic vs. tactical.

It was utterly vital to the British that the breaking of the Enigma coder not be known.
Obviously it meant loss of life on a tactical level.

The complete information of german units, locations, status, who was on leave, etc., etc. was being broadcasted to the world on a daily basis. The strategic value of losing this data might be hard to comprehend when you are sitting in a foxhole, but think from Churchhill's position.

And the British didn't let their Allies know everything either.

I have also wondered why it took the allies so long.
 
so long to crack the Enigma codes you mean? because they were bloody good! within each setting there are several million different possabilities and, whilst all codes can be broken down into a mathematical formula and as such no code is unbreakable the computer of the day (i use the singuler because Kollosus was the only decent one around) wasn't up to the job and it'd take humans years, but with an Enigma machine there's no code breaking involved, you just tap in the latter in the message, it'll give you the actual letter and in no time you can, with no effort, get an entire message..........
 
report2me4 said:
I have read a lot about how Enigma virtually won the war for the allies, if that is the case how come, given that they were meant to know German plans before the Germans themselves, the war lasted for so long and the allies performances were often average to say the least. Anyone any thoughts?

Marty

Perhaps without cracking these codes the war may well have been much longer? Maybe it was actually shortened because of Bletchley Park's work?
 

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