Saturday, May 30, 2015

Station X the codebreakers of Bletchley Park

Michael Smith, who has worked in the intelligence service, published this book in 1998 on the activities of Bletchley Park during the Second World War. A number of other books on this topic have been published recently but it is interesting to read this account of the contribution of the codebreakers to the British war effort. Like other books on Bletchley Park quotes from people who worked at this secret establishment are used to tell the story.

The book looks at the attempts to break codes created by the many German devices used by different branches of the military. It also explores the relationship between those working at Bletchley Park and other sections of the intelligence service and particularly members of the military hierarchy, many of whom were reluctant to use the information gathered by the codebreakers. The way information gathered, when accepted, affected military battles is also described. It is stressed throughout the book the importance of ensuring that the Germans were never aware that their codes had been broken by the Allies.

Being interested in the Battle of Crete it was interesting to read how the British were able to warn the military leaders on the island of the coming invasion. Although the Allies were defeated they were able to able to delay their defeat and the number of paratrooper casualties dissuaded the Germans from repeating a similar operation elsewhere.

See also
Turing's Cathedral
Secret Life of Bletchley Park

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