DOLPHIN - UNBREAKABLE GERMAN NAVAL CODE (Illustration) World War II Film Tragedies and Triumphs Social Studies World History

Lieutenant Commander Anton Otto Fischer, U.S.C.G.R. (U.S. Coast Guard Reserve), created this painting in February of 1943.  It depicts a burning tanker in the North Atlantic. The image was depicted, among other places, in LIFE Magazine. The image has this description: “The burning tanker sends up a pyre of red flame as its crew pull away in lifeboats. The scarlet glare of the oil fire and the shimmering waves of unbearable heat will soon be replaced by bitter, numbing cold as boats leave the stricken ship behind.” Image online via Wikimedia Commons. Click on it for a better view.


The work at Bletchley Park was far-more significant than people may have realized at the time.  

By 1941, Britain seemed to be losing the war.  Even though Station X decipher experts were successful in cracking the Luftwaffe code, they were getting nowhere with the Naval code.  

The head of Germany’s navy - Admiral Doenitz - realized that he could defeat Britain by preventing the country from getting urgent supplies by damaging Britain’s sea-based lifeline.

If Doenitz and his navy could break the North-Atlantic route, nothing could reach Britain.  Germany could win the war with U-Boats.  And ... it nearly did.

After Germany created the “Atlantic Wall,” by controlling the coast of France, Doenitz built gigantic, fortified U-boat pens along the French coast. These strategic locations gave the boats easy access to the Atlantic, where they could strike without warning.  

The wolf packs of U-boats were able to sink the escort ships which accompanied the supply-carrying conveys en route to Britain.  During the Battle of the Atlantic, while naval Enigma remained unbroken, those U-Boats were able to strike at will.

As the slow-moving conveys crossed the Atlantic, wolf packs of thirty U-Boats ... or more ... bided their time, striking at the most-opportune moments.  Never knowing where the attacks would originate, convoys were at the mercy of the German submariners who attacked right, front and center.

Enigma encoding helped Doenitz to control his U-boats and plan his strategy of attacks against the Atlantic-crossing convoys.  Breaking the naval Enigma was critical to winning the war.  It was Bletchely Park’s biggest challenge.

Fully aware of that major need, and what it would take to help Britain avoid disaster, Stewart Menzies gave the naval-code-breaking job to the people working in Hut 8.  He put a brilliant mathematician named Alan Turing in charge.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 31, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"DOLPHIN - UNBREAKABLE GERMAN NAVAL CODE" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 31, 2014. Jan 19, 2020.
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