Voglio aggiungere anche una curiosità per numismatici. Nel 2007 la banca nazionale polacca ha coniato tre monete celebrative da 100, 10 e 2 Złoty per ricordare il 75 anniversario della decifrazione del codice Enigma. Sulla moneta da 10 compaiono i nomi di Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski e Jerzy Różycki i matematici del General Staff Code Bureau 4 che nel 1932 avevano "crakkato", per primi, il sistema di cifratura implementato dalle macchine tedesche.
E già che ci siamo, andatevi a leggere il lungo post sulle stazioni spionistiche (number stations) e su Enigma che l'amico palermitano Dario - con ilquale ci siamo scambiati alcuni messaggi da Favignana - ha pubblicato sul suo blog Sonic Frequencies. Dario recentemente ha inviato alcuni commenti qui su RP; si sta per laureare in Scienze dell'informazione e vuole diventare radioamatore.
July 25, 2008
Commander Alec Dennis: wartime destroyer captain
As an officer in the destroyer Griffin in April 1940, Alec Dennis commanded the party that boarded a German-manned trawler off the Norwegian coast and captured documents that were important to an understanding of the German Enigma encryption machine and the Allies’ future ability to read Ultra intelligence.
At 1000hrs on April 13, 1940, Griffin was patrolling off the Norwegian coast when her lookout spotted what was, from the evidence of her flag, ostensibly the Dutch fishing vessel Polares.
Griffin’s skipper, John Lee-Barber, had already been apprised by another British warship in the vicinity of the fact that a German armed trawler was posing as a neutral fishing boat, and he signalled to the “Polares” to heave to. A whaler was lowered, and Dennis and his boarding party pulled across to the trawler, noticing with some apprehension as they approached what had appeared to be the trawler’s seaboat was in fact a canvas mock-up concealing a deck gun. As Dennis’s party scrambled aboard he noticed in addition that two torpedo tubes were concealed under a pile of fishing nets.
The true identity of the trawler was confirmed when one of the sailors, cowed by the well-armed appearance of the boarding party, blurted out “German ship”. Dennis subsequently established that she was in fact Schiff 26, en route to Narvik with a cargo of guns and ammunition for use in the Norwegian campaign.
That one of the boarding party, who had been sent by Dennis to man the bridge, stumbled and accidentally discharged his pistol — fortunately out of sight of any of the Germans who were crowded on the well deck — made it appear doubly that the British had come onboard in a “shoot on sight” mood, and the trawler’s crew meekly surrendered.
In the meantime Dennis became aware that others among their number were busy throwing overboard two large sacks containing cipher ducuments and a machine. The latter sank at once, but the documents remained on the surface and Griffin’s gunner, Florrie Foord, immediately dived from the destroyer’s quarterdeck into the sea after it. For some tense moments it appeared that neither the bag, now becoming rapidly waterlogged, nor Foord might be seen again. The first line thrown down to him parted and he sank out of sight. Coming to the surface he managed to grasp hold of a second line and, at length, both he and the precious documents were hauled to safety from the icy water.