Enigma

More declassified information on the activities of Station X at Bletchley Park during WWII has shown that the current tensions between UK and US over military co-operation is not confined to the current distaste for sacrificing Scottish soldiers in Baghdad to help Bush’s re-election prospects. It appears Washington threw a hissy fit over the sharing of the Enigma code-breaking and thought their guys could do better. Alan Turing took a look and told them they weren’t anywhere as good as the more Heath-Robinson British approach. The US held back in revenge advances in electronics which could lead to a functional computer – not a great loss since previously declassified documents showed that Station X built their own computer instead – and actually it was the first digital programmable computer in the world. Naturally most of this didn’t make it into Hollywood where brave Americans capture and Enigma machine form a U-Boat and crack codes, despite the fact they were captured in an act of extreme heroism by British naval officers and cracked by British geniuses such as Turing, but when did Hollywood ever let fact in the way of a story? Oddly enough U-571 sank (pun intended) at the UK box office with no survivors… And the moral of this tale? Well, if there is one it’s that huge resources, enromous military and a petualnt attitude often fail to achive half as much as a quieter, softly-softly approach put together by clever folk. Something politicians and military strategists on both sides of the Atlantic should think about today.