An update on the bombe and its story from John Harper

The bombe’s were a key part of the code breaking effort. The machine here has received it’s phoenix badge (originally chosen by the WRENs), John’s also delighted that the Mechanical Engineers Institute saw fit to gave an award to the reconstructed machine this year. Steven Fry came to visit, as did the Antiques Road Show, Richard Dawkins, and a Channel 4 documentary on Turing. It’s been quite a year!
More recently a fourth diagonal board has been added – giving the machine some more of it’s original capabilities. They have also added 3 more drum types, which added the capability used to break surface codes, beyond just the codes used by the army. They now run regular demonstrations (mostly Sundays and many Saturdays) of how some of the most important messages were decoded. It’s quite something to see the machines in action. Huge amounts of noise an movement. Working with the machines was fatiguing work, undertaken on long shifts. Head here to see a couple of video clips of the bombe in action.

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