World War II


S - Sm

Sale, Tony.

1. "The Colossus of Bletchley Park." IEE Review 41, no. 2 (16 Mar. 1995): 55-59.

This article provides a brief history of the precursor of the modern computer, and tells of the ongoing effort to build a working replica at the Bletchley Park Museum.

2. "The Colossus of Bletchley Park -- The German Cipher System." In The First Computers: History and Architectures, eds. Raúl Rojas and Ujf Hashagen, 351-364. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2000.

3. The Colossus Computer, 1943-1996: How It Helped to Break the German Lorenz Cipher in WWII. Kidderminster, UK: M&M Baldwin, 1998.

Kruh, Cryptologia 23.2, finds that the author "tells the amazing story of how Colossus was developed and built to solve Germany's high-level secret messages enciphered by the Lorenz teleprinter cipher machine -- without seeing the actual machine." Sale also tells how a replica was built between 1993 and 1996.

4. "The Colossus Rebuild." In Colossus: The Secret of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers, eds. B. Jack Copeland, et al., 150-156. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

5. "The Rebuilding of Colossus at Bletchley Park." IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 27, no. 3 (2005): 61-69.

Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. Enigma: The Battle for the Code. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000. Rev. ed. London: Folio Society, 2005.

For Kruh, Cryptologia 25.1, the author provides "one of the most detailed accounts of how the Enigma cipher was broken.... [His] research is superb and he has written a remarkable book."

Shanahan, Phil. The Real Enigma Heroes. Stroud, UK: Tempus, 2008.

According to Peake, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), the author tells the story of the capture of U-559 and its Enigma codes. -- and, along the way, "corrects the historical record." Christensen, Cryptologia 34.3 (Jul. 2010), notes that this story "is told well and compactly elsewhere."

Showell, Jak P. Mallmann. Enigma U-Boats: Breaking the Code. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allen, 2000.

According to Erskine, I&NS 17.1, this work "examines in detail the sinking or boarding of about 13 U-boats by the Allies during the Second World War, together with the capture of some Kriegsmarine weather ships and patrol boats which yielded Enigma-related documents." However, the work "contains very little ... about the Enigma-related documents or material captured during these incidents, or their value for Sigint purposes." The reviewer concludes that Sebag-Montefiore's Enigma: The Battle for the Code (2000) "is much the better book."

Skillen, Hugh. Enigma and Its Achilles Heel. Bath: Hugh Skillen, 1992.

According to Surveillant 2.6, this work was written "as a souvenir of the international Enigma Reunion at Swan Hotel, Bedford, October 2-5, 1992." Sexton describes it as a "technical history of the development and breaking of the ENIGMA and Geheimschreiber systems."

Skillen, Hugh, ed.

1. The Enigma Symposium 1994. Pinnar, UK: Hugh Skillen, 1994.

Brown, I&NS 11.3, identifies this as a collection of papers presented at the [second] "Enigma Reunion" of 1994. The majority of the papers "focus on 'Y' work.... However, the papers also cover the Radio Security Service (RSS)" and other often neglected areas of Sigint work.

To Sexton, it is "[v]aluable for firsthand accounts of the development of the Bombes, ULTRA in the Battles of Britain and Crete and its index of ULTRA information." Kruh, Cryptologia 19.3, finds that "[t]hese first hand experiences are fascinating to read and provide many valuable insights.... The volume also contains many old photographs."

2. The Enigma Symposium 1995. Pinner, UK: Hugh Skillen, 1995.

Kruh, Cryptologia 20.3, identifies this as the report on the third Enigma Reunion. It "consists mainly of the personal wartime experiences of individuals who were involved in SIGINT activities related to the work at Bletchley Park during World War II."

3. The Enigma Symposium 1997. Bath, UK: The Looseleaf Co., 1997.

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 22.2, this collection of reports from the fourth reunion of Bletchley Park (BP) veterans "provides a variety of ... in-depth accounts of work at BP and related cryptologic events elsewhere." Pavey, I&NS 13.2, finds that the accompanying "photographs are of very poor quality[,]... some of the maps are incomprehensible[,] and there are [a] considerable number of typographic errors."

4. The Enigma Symposium 1998. Pinner, UK: Hugh Skillen, 1998.

Kruh, Cryptologia 23.2, calls this "the largest to date" of these reports on Enigma reunions. It contains "interesting wartime remembrances of work at Bletchley Park (BP) and secret operations elsewhere.... For anyone interested in first-hand accounts" of individuals "stationed at BP and other secret sites, Skillan has provided another remarkable collection." For Steury, I&NS 15.4, this book is "a veritable potpourri of information.... [It] is a fascinating peek inside a unique time and place from the equally unique perspective of those who lived through it."

5. The Enigma Symposium 1999. Pinner, UK: Hugh Skillen, 1999.

For Kruh, Cryptologia 23.2, "[t]his is the biggest and possibly the best of the always excellent Enigma Symposium reports." It provides "an eclectic mixture of 30 articles by participants in the signals intelligence war in Europe, the Far East, and Australia."

6. The Enigma Symposium 2000. Pinner, UK: Hugh Skillen, 2000.

Kruh, Cryptologia 25.1, calls this "a potpourri of fascinating talks, memoirs, and personal reminiscences of Enigma related experiences plus other significant World War II events.... Many of these papers are especially valuable because they are based on personal experiences."

7. The Enigma Symposium 2002. Pinner, UK: Hugh Skillen, 2002.

Kruh, Cryptologia 27.1, sees this as "an excellent report on the Ninth Annual Enigma Reunion.... These vignettes are especially valuable because they mostly represent the first-hand experiences of the narrators."

Smith, Michael.

1. "Bletchley Park, Double Cross and D-Day." In Action This Day: Bletchley Park from the Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer, eds. Ralph Erskine and Michael Smith, 278-300, 496-498. London and New York: Bantam, 2001.

2. "Bletchley Park and the Holocaust." Intelligence and National Security 19, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 262-274.

The author takes issue with the conclusions in Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (1998). According to Smith, Breitman argues in his work "that British codebreakers knew Nazi police operating behind the German troops invading the Soviet Union were murdering thousands of Jews but that they and the British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who read the messages, did nothing about it." Smith disagrees with Breitman's interpretation and declares that "both the Bletchley Park code breakers and Churchill are innocent of the charges laid against them."

3. "How It Began: Bletchley Park Goes to War." In Colossus: The Secret of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers, eds. B. Jack Copeland, et al., 18-35. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Smith, Michael.

1. The Emperor's Codes: The Role of Bletchley Park in Breaking Japan's Secret Ciphers. London: Bantam, 2001. [pb] New York: Penguin, 2002.

Jacobsen, intelforum, 17 Jun. 2001, says that "[t]his book grossly exaggerates the British and Dominion cryptologic successes against the Japanese navy during and preceding WWII. It is an Anglophilean attack against well established American successes.... Smith's failure to list page number citations makes it difficult or often impossible to verify his sources. He 'cherrypicks' many of his sources to support his more outrageous allegations when a thorough review of the same sources shows the opposite viewpoint."

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 25.1, this "excellent book" highlights the work of John Tiltman and Eric Nave in breaking Japanese codes. The author will "raise the ire of the U.S. Navy with his claim that the vast majority of Japanese codes and ciphers were broken ... by British and Australian cryptanalysts." Bath, NIPQ, Summer 2001, finds this to be "an interesting book ... [that] has something for everyone with an interest [i]n the subject or the times." After dismissing some of the more outrageous claims for this book, Mercado, I&NS 16.2, finds that "Smith offers in greater detail than ever before the story of British code breakers working against Japan."

2. "An Undervalued Effort: How the British Broke Japan's Codes." In Action This Day: Bletchley Park from the Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer, eds. Ralph Erskine and Michael Smith, 127-151, 475-479. London and New York: Bantam, 2001.

Smith, Michael. The Secrets of Station X: How the Bletchley Park Codebreakers Helped Win the War. London: Biteback, 2011.

Hamer, Cryptologia 36.2 (Apr. 2012), believes it is the author's "many small vignettes" involving the people "that turn this book into an interesting treatise," as there is little new here.

Smith, Michael. Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park. London: Channel 4 Books/Macmillan, 1998. New York: TV Books, 1999

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 23.3 & 24.1, Smith "provides an engaging history" of Station X from the summer of 1939 to June 1946. The "work is distinguished by [the author's] widespread use of 'first hand' comments, descriptions, reports, and personal stories from the people who were there." A Publisher's Weekly, 20 Dec. 1999, reviewer says that "this page-turner is a deeply satisfying parable of the power of humane intellect to defeat evil; it's also a stunning re-creation of one of the most important chapters in the war."

West, IJI&C 12.4, calls Station X "a highly readable, if short, historiography of life at Bletchley Park." For Steury, I&NS 15.4, "there is little here that will be new to the serious student of intelligence history." The author "seems reasonably sound concerning events in Bletchley Park.... [But he] becomes unreliable when he strays outside the estate." The reviewer concludes that "[a] book this superficial might prove useful for a high-school research paper, but will have little value for more serious study."

Smith, Michael. "The Very Simple Cipher Which 'Snow,' the First Double Cross Agent, Was Given by His German Controllers." In Action This Day: Bletchley Park from the Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer, eds. Ralph Erskine and Michael Smith, 441-443. London and New York: Bantam, 2001.

Smith, Tommy J. Ultra in the Battle of Britain: The Key to Success. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1980.

Return to Ultra Table of Contents