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The Military Encryption United Kingdom Technology

Bletchley Park Codebreaker Honored 57

Posted by timothy
from the after-due-consideration dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "England has awarded Raymond Roberts, one of the nine cryptanalysts responsible for breaking the Nazi Tunny code machine, (also known by the German designation Lorenz cipher machine) the MBE. Roberts is the last surviving member of the team which cracked the German army's cipher machine functionality, much like others at Bletchley broke the better-known Enigma machine."
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Bletchley Park Codebreaker Honored

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  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @11:49AM (#42419699) Journal
    Seriously, given that the UK probably would not exist today if not for this man's work, an MBE is too little too late.
  • by loufoque (1400831) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:51PM (#42420639)

    Turing is not getting knighted because he's dead, not because he was homosexual.

  • Re:public/private (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NF6X (725054) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:35PM (#42420961) Homepage

    I remember a talk about Bletchley Park where I asked whether the germans had any codebreaking work. I still have not heard nor seen a word of it anywhere at all.

    I read an account recently about German cryptanalysis of the US M-209 machine [wikipedia.org], which happens to be one of my favorites [nf6x.net]. I don't remember where I read it, though. I'll reply again if I find the link before my mind wanders too far. It is my understanding that Allied forces were aware that Germany could break the M-209 cipher, but used it for low-level traffic because the machine was so convenient for widespread field use, where we wouldn't want to risk capture of our higher level cryptosystems. Low-level tactical information often is only of value to an enemy for a short period of time; i.e., a message about a small troop movement that will happen in an hour isn't very useful the following day after it has already happened. Thus, if you believe that your enemy requires a day to break one of your codes, that code can still be useful for messages that would only be of value to them for a few hours.

    If I recall correctly, Germany did do codebreaking work against the Allies, but didn't achieve the same level of success that the Allies did against their codes.

    If you would like to try your hand at cryptanalysis of the M-209 and related machines, take a look at this ongoing M-209 Crypto Challenge [jfbouch.fr]. I solved the first problem in the series, but then had to quit working on the challenge because of other stuff that came up. I may go back and work through the other problems when I have some free time.

  • by TwobyTwo (588727) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @05:28PM (#42422067)
    I have had the great pleasure of corresponding with Captain Roberts over the past couple of years. Not only did he and his team make an extraordinary contribution to winning WWW II, he has worked tirelessly since the declassification of the Tunny work to get recognition for the many others who contributed heroically and anonymously. It's quite amazing to talk with someone who had the experience of decrypting Adolph Hitler's personal communications, hours after they were sent. Note that most of the work done by Capt. Roberts and his team was done by hand. Colossus eventually helped with some steps, but not at first, and even then many steps remained to be done manually. At 92 Capt. Roberts remains very engaged and passionate about the work done at Bletchley. If there's a concern, it's that he should have been recognized for his work then, as well as for his recent publicity efforts, and one can make the case that MBE doesn't nearly recognize the magnitude of his contribution. Congratulations, Jerry!

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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