Code-breaker that cracked Hitler cipher rebuilt

ONE of the greatest code-breaking achievements of the Second World War, the cracking of a cipher used by Hitler to communicate with his generals, has been celebrated at the opening of a new gallery.

A working “Tunny” machine painstakingly reconstructed using scraps of evidence, a few diagrams and photographs, will go on display as part of the new Tunny Gallery at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire.

The feat of engineering was completed in 1942 and was based on the workings of the then unseen German Lorenz cipher machine used to send encrypted messages between the German high command.

The code for the machine was broken by Professor Bill Tutte, who was working at Bletchley Park.

The development of the Colossus machine in 1944 — now recognised as the first modern computer — further helped the work of the Tunny, reducing the time spent deciphering messages from several weeks to up to four days.

Towards the end of the war up to 15 of Tunny machines in use at Bletchley Park provided the final decryption of around 300 messages a week.

The machine is credited with providing key pieces of intelligence to Allied forces during the Second World War during the D Day landings and in Italy and France.

The Tunny machines were dismantled and recycled after the war.

A team led by National Computing Museum volunteers John Pether and John Whetter rebuilt the machine.


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