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Who Cracked Enigma?

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  • Who Cracked Enigma?

    OK, just got done watching The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, about his work in cracking the enigma machine.

    Couple of things real quick -- this is NOT a thread about homosexuality. That was obviously a major point of the film, and even if PARTLY true, the way Turing was treated was horrible. I'm going to ask that we skip that part - this is NOT a thread about homosexuality. Got that?

    The problem is that I had done a college paper a number of years ago on this, and was fascinated by the work the Polish mathematicians had done, and Alan Turing wasn't in the picture. Could well be because he was a homosexual, I don't know, but that's for another thread. The fact is that I was left with the impression that the Poles were the brains behind cracking enigma.

    Obviously, Turing played a MAJOR role in cracking enigma, and it was fascinating watching how that all played out.

    So, in doing some factchecking, I find...


    Polish codebreakers 'cracked Enigma before Alan Turing


    Knowing how Hollywood likes to embellish certain themes, I'm really curious about the truth.

    Would the Poles have cracked Enigma without Turing?
    Would Turing have cracked Enigma without the Poles?
    Did it have to be a joint effort?

    Again - NOT a thread about homosexuality - apparently, Turing was one, was treated very badly, and ended up committing suicide. I'm extremely sad about that.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    OK, just got done watching The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, about his work in cracking the enigma machine.
    I want to know what role Cumberbatch played in cracking Enigma.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      I want to know what role Cumberbatch played in cracking Enigma.
      Smarty britches.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
        Would the Poles have cracked Enigma without Turing?
        Would Turing have cracked Enigma without the Poles?
        Did it have to be a joint effort?

        Again - NOT a thread about homosexuality - apparently, Turing was one, was treated very badly, and ended up committing suicide. I'm extremely sad about that.
        1) Yes, probably. Polish intelligence had "acquired" (read: stolen) a three-rotor Enigma from a German diplomatic pouch at some point in the early 1930s. They took it apart, photographed every single piece of it, then made an exact replica. Before Poland surrendered in November 1939, Polish officers brought it to the UK. If you had a working Enigma machine, you could use it to model what happened when you used different rotor settings. It also helped that the Royal Navy had captured an intact set of Kriegsmarine codebooks and an Enigma from U-110 in November of 1941.

        The issue with the three-rotor Enigma, however, was that the Nazis switched to a four-rotor Enigma in early 1942, which eliminated ULTRA's ability to read the Enigma codes for several months.

        2) Yes, though it would've taken a much longer period of time. What the Imitation Game left out is how important the replica proved and how the fortunes of war played an incredibly important role in breaking the Enigma code.

        3) Not necessarily, but the Polish role shouldn't be underestimated.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by psstein View Post
          1) Yes, probably. Polish intelligence had "acquired" (read: stolen) a three-rotor Enigma from a German diplomatic pouch at some point in the early 1930s. They took it apart, photographed every single piece of it, then made an exact replica. Before Poland surrendered in November 1939, Polish officers brought it to the UK. If you had a working Enigma machine, you could use it to model what happened when you used different rotor settings. It also helped that the Royal Navy had captured an intact set of Kriegsmarine codebooks and an Enigma from U-110 in November of 1941.

          The issue with the three-rotor Enigma, however, was that the Nazis switched to a four-rotor Enigma in early 1942, which eliminated ULTRA's ability to read the Enigma codes for several months.

          2) Yes, though it would've taken a much longer period of time. What the Imitation Game left out is how important the replica proved and how the fortunes of war played an incredibly important role in breaking the Enigma code.

          3) Not necessarily, but the Polish role shouldn't be underestimated.
          Thanks - that's pretty much what I've thought.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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          • #6
            Huh. All this time I was sure it was Batman who cracked E. Nygma.

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            "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
              Huh. All this time I was sure it was Batman who cracked E. Nygma.

              It was Egghead that he cracked.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                I want to know what role Cumberbatch played in cracking Enigma.
                It was me. I broke the code. Give ME the credit!

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