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The Imitation Game Movie About Bletchley




 
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Author Topic: The Imitation Game Movie About Bletchley  (Read 2460 times)
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AB3L
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« on: February 07, 2015, 10:25:46 AM »

We finally got a chance to see this movie yesterday and highly recommend it. There looked to be some HRO sightings in the monitoring room for some radio interest.
The claim at the end of the movie was that they saved two years of fighting and millions of lives despite not giving up the secret and stopping immediate attacks. What a tremendously tough position to be in for the development team!

Bob
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W1ITT
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 10:44:21 AM »

While doing some work over in England a couple years ago, I visited Bletchley Park.  It's well worth the time and very small expense.  The displays are pretty much set up as recreations of the time, and do indeed include some nice boat-anchor radios.  Collossus is there, and the site has been preserved, as much as possible, to maintain that classic wartime British appearance.
In addition, the RSGB has a very well appointed modern ham station, with a nice "science museum" set up and some hands-on interactive demonstrations of radio theory.  It's definitely the sort of thing that might serve to spark even a smart-phone-internet-all-the-time youngster's interest in amateur radio.
By the way, this visit was on a drizzly Sunday, following a hamfest (rally as they call them) and flea market at a nearby animal rescue shelter.  The Brits seem to run their hamfests generally on Sundays, and start them at 10AM.  Isn't that about when our fests start packing up for the day? 
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n1ps
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 10:07:24 PM »

I have seen the movie trailer and it looks like it would be worth viewing.  Would love to visit Bletchley...so quite envious Norm.  There have been a number of books and movies about Bletchley and company over the years.  A remarkable story.  I always wondered what Churchill could have said about Ultra, the decoded intelligence.  The fact that Bletchley even existed was not released until nearly a decade after Churchill had left the earth. 

The Germans put too much trust in their ciphers.  Mathematically the machines, mostly rotor types, were nearly impossible to decode.  However, poor operating practices by field operators allowed the people at Bletchley time to find the keys.  I should also point out that the Poles were the ones who actually broke the codes.  It was their gift to the Brits when Poland was overrun.

I had the pleasure of working on a very similar machine to the Enigma in Uncle Sam's flying circus.  The KL7 was a more sophisticated cousin (nephew?) of the Enigma with some electronics and a few more rotors.  In the 60s and 70s, the KL7 was used by military field units and was supplied to all the NATO members for teletype traffic between all the embassies.  What we did not know at the time is the Russians were listening and decoding our traffic all along.  Every word.  A guy named Walker walked right into the Russian embassy (through the front door no less) and gave them the key tables. 

So it turned out we were just as bad as the Germans a generation earlier as far as operating practices.  People got lazy and never changed the keys.  Personally I hated the thing...it was always breaking down with poor contacts issues. 

But....back to the original post, I do want to see the movie.  Hope I dont put anyone to sleep reading this dribble  Cool

Peter

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Steve - K4HX
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 11:11:50 PM »

I've been near Bletchley numerous times and never took the time to visit. I'm regretting that now since I don't know when I'll be back.

Did the movie give any credit to the Poles who did much of the initial work in breaking the Enigma before their country was overrun? IIRC, their work and some Enigma copies were snuck out by the French.
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 11:24:02 PM »

That's my understanding, too. Interesting story of how the Poles came to get the info and build their machines.The Brits came through in breaking the daily keys and decoding messages almost in real time. Description was that Bletchley was reading messages destined for Hitler before he was reading them.

The other challenge was being able to to use the ULTRA intel without tipping off the Germans that their codes had been broken. Creative coincidences and other methods did the trick.
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