Women’s Royal Naval Service Wore Only Underwear to Crack Enigma

bletchley1.jpg

From an article about the Colossus computers used at Bletchley Park, England, during World War II, the machines used to crack the German Engima high command’s cypher:

Despite early worries, valves proved to be extremely reliable. Colossus’ designers realised that most valve failures were caused when machines were turned on and off; therefore the Colossi ran almost uninterrupted from the time of its installation to the end of the war. Such was the prodigious amount of heat pouring from the machine that the Women’s Royal Naval Service operators were reduced to working in their underwear!

Swoon. If there are no pictures to be uncovered, I respectfully request some fan art. (Rule 34 editions optional.) Then let’s follow up with a retrospective with the original woman operators today, modeling their literal granny panties.

The Birth of Modern Computing [Open2.net via Reddit]

Image: IEEE

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7 Responses to Women’s Royal Naval Service Wore Only Underwear to Crack Enigma

  1. semiotix says:

    You say you want to help in the war effort? Very well. We’ll need you to do arithmetic for 16 hours a day in your underwear. Come now, stiff upper lip and all that. There’s a good girl.

  2. nrkn says:

    “Then let’s follow up with a retrospective with the original woman operators today, modeling their literal granny panties.”

    Let’s not.

  3. Torchwood says:

    the 21st century is where everything changes…. um..right, Granny panties?

  4. Justin Marrington says:

    Heh heh. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    Bear in mind this is the same war ministry that funded a secret department specifically for writing particularly salacious dirty stories and distributing them among the German troops. The intent was to ‘distract and demoralise’.

    This was the department that famously (in a ‘I can’t believe this was before Phtoshop’ way) drew a penis into a famous photograph of Hitler, to make it look like he was masturbating. Again to demoralise the enemy. And guess what? It was a servicewoman who had to do that, too :-P

  5. Anonymous says:

    Slight correction. The Colossus machines were not used to crack the Enigma code, famous for its use by U-boat packs. They were designed to deal with a separate code system used by the German high command. The “computers” used to crack Enigma were multiple small “bomb” units. See any of the books, plays, graffiti, and panegyrics devoted to the works of Blessed Alan Turing and his followers for further information.

  6. iRoy says:

    Slight correction to the slight correction, you mean “bombe” not “bomb”.

  7. Scuba SM says:

    Reading that story makes me wonder… The more things change, the more they stay the same. When my P4 is working hard, I’m often reduced to working in my underwear as well. On the plus side, it really cuts down on the gas bills in winter…

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