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* Home > Codes and Ciphers > Enigma > Colossus
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Catalogue reference: FO 850/234; photo of Colossus, 1943 (link to an enlarged view)
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Photograph of Colossus, 1943
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(Catalogue reference: FO 850/234)  
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Cracking the Enigma code
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In January 1943 Tommy Flowers, a Royal Post Office engineer, was sent to Bletchley Park to build an electronic machine to decipher the Lorenz cipher, a complex encryption system used by Hitler and the German High Command.

Over the next nine months, along with a few dozen technicians, he built the first large, high-speed, electronic valve programmable logic calculator. It measured 5 metres long, 3 metres deep and 2.5 metres high, and was assembled from telephone exchange parts.

Colossus could process 5,000 letters per second. It enabled the Allies to eavesdrop on the German High Command before D-Day. The deciphered high-grade signals intelligence was known as ULTRA and it provided critical information on troop positions in Normandy before the Allied invasion began on 6 June 1944.

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Cracking the code  
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