A small but crucial part of WWII was recreated in Bletchley Park's computing museum over the weekend, with coding veterans and modern day computing enthusiasts firing up Hitler's Lorenz SZ42 encryption device -- and laughing afresh as our Colossus proto-computer once again hacked its messages to pieces.
The Lorenz was the updated version of the Enigma machine, one with 1.6 quadrillion possible combinations of key. This particular example used in the demo was loaned to the National Museum of Computing from its home in Norway, where it was paired with the eBay Nazi Teleprinter and used to once again try to keep messages encoded and secure.
It failed because we, as in people like Bill Tutte and engineer Tommy Flowers, were way better at computers than them, so much so that Bill managed to guess how their machine worked without even seeing it. Hence helping to turn the tide in the war. Speaking in the understated tones we expect from our surviving war heroes, Margaret Bullen -- who helped build the original Colossus -- said: "Hitler would've been furious if he had known, we were decrypting the messages even before his generals were." [SCMP]