Historians all set for Enigma Challenge at Bletchley Park

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GCHQ Historians will pit their wits against the team behind the Bombe Rebuild at Bletchley Park in the second Enigma Challenge later this month.

The Bombe Team will race against time – just like the real Codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War Two – to break Enigma coded messages sent by members of GCHQ’s Historical Section, who will be at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.The electromechanical Bombe machine was developed at Bletchley Park to speed up the process of deducing the Enigma machine’s settings. The three rotor machine had approximately 158 million million million possible settings, and most were changed daily at midnight. It took the Codebreakers around four hours each night to deduce the day’s Enigma settings so they could read the enemy’s messages, and the Bombe Team will attempt to match that achievement in real time. Once the code is broken, schoolchildren will send messages which the team will decipher.

Both teams will be as true to the history as they possibly can. They will use the Bombe Rebuild, which is a faithful copy of the original, built as a tribute to those who invented, built and maintained the machines which were crucial to the success of the Codebreakers.

The Enigma Challenge will be held on Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 October from 9am each day. Modern and World War Two technology will merge, as the team post live updates on Twitter throughout the event.

Follow @bombeteam to watch the event unfold. There will also be a live video link at both Bletchley Park and MOSI.

Meanwhile, the Bletchley Park Trust is in a race against time to restore Hut 11A, which was purpose built to house Bombe machines. The Trust is aiming to raise the £250,000 needed to restore this Hut in time for Bletchley Park’s re-launch in 2014. The re-launch will see the iconic Codebreaking Huts 6 and 3 restored, along with the home of the Card Index, Block C.

This work, along with some internal landscaping of the historic site, will be paid for with £5m in Heritage Lottery Funding and £2.4m match funding already raised by the Trust.