Writing in Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age (Oxford, 2012), B. Jack Copeland acknowledges that Cmdr. Denniston built Bletchley in the early years 1937-1939, though he proved unsuited to the task of managing 10,000 and getting their needs met by arguing for more money and more people. Also, it was late in 1941 when Turing and many others wrote to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, not Turing alone in mid-year. Such quibbles satisfy historians, but do not change the impact of the story.
|You can buy a real one. |
Some fetch a 6-figure price.
(They also sell replicas - and are not alone in that.)
Moreover, different than the portrayal, it was common for all of the cryptanalysts to continue work on the previous day’s cipher traffic until the next round of communiqués arrived. They knew of stock phrases - such as ending each message with "Heil Hitler" - because that was long since a basic tool of diplomatic and military cryptanalysis: date at the top; "Your Excellency"; etc.
Turing called his manual labor “Banburismus” after the long sheets of paper made in Banbury. But Turing called Clarke’s method “Dillyismus” after Dillwin Knox, the World War One cryptologist who revealed the Zimmerman Telegram.
|In a scene stolen from the future, |
a tank crushes an (empty) Tommy helmet.
|He is not really Turing and it is not really his Bombe|
but it was still a good movie.
The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay. New York: Plume (Penguin Group), 2012. (Originally published in the UK as The Secret Life of Bletchley Park (Aurum Press).) This retelling of the capture of Enigma wheels from the U-110 has some inaccuracies. The book says very little about Joan Clarke, though quite a bit about Mavis Lever (later Batey), who also worked on the Naval Enigma.
The Ultra Secret: the first account of the most astounding cryptanalysis coup of World War II – how the British broke the German code and read most of the signals between Hitler and his generals throughout the war by F. W. Winterbotham, New York: Harper and Rowe, 1974. This book broke the story. It is not from the viewpoint of Bletchley Park, and has no mention of Turing.
Engima: How the German Machine Cipher was Broken, and How it was Read by the Allies in World War II by Wladyslaw Kozaczuk, edited and translated by Christopher Kasparek, University Publications of America, 1984 (Warsaw: Ksiazka I Wiedza, 1979). Polish mathematicians had begun a theoretical analysis as early as 1932. The Turing-Welchman Bombe was an extension of the Polish Bomba; it was not Turing's universal machine.