The History of Hut Eight

number of wheel orders was restricted by wheel order rules. It was however extremely rare for us to be unable to keep all the machinery busy even in latter days when there were very large numbers of bombes both here and in America.

CHAPTER IV.                    CRIBBING.

The Beginning of the Crib Room:

Autumn of 1941 found us at last approaching a position where there was some hope of breaking Naval Enigma with regularity. For the first time we had read, in June and July, a fairly long series of days and the traffic was heavy enough - in the region of 400 a day - to make Banburismus practicable.

Hut 8 immediately began to increase in numbers so as to be able to staff 3 shifts for an attack on current traffic and before the end of the year our senior staff numbered 16. Rather curiously this was the highest total it ever reached. As methods improved and as we ourselves became quicker and more skilled, we found ever increasing difficulty in keeping busy and by the end of 1942 our numbers were already on the decline. Although the number of keys to be broken and the volume of traffic rose steadily, we reduced ourselves by March 1944 to a staff of 4 with which we were able to keep the situation under control for the rest of the war.

Autumn of 1941 saw the birth of the Crib Room as an independent body from the Banburists, an important date as the Cribsters were to outlive the Banburists by 18 months and cribbing was to become the only means of breaking after the introduction of the 4 wheeled machine.

It is interesting to note here that by this time cribbing was accepted as a natural part of Hut 8 work - earlier we have seen that it was considered separate from 'cryptography' and the function of Naval Section. No one now would dispute that the only possible arrangement was to have the cribbing done by people who understood the whole problem of breaking enigma, though the more 'crib conscious' people there were in Naval Section and the more suggestions they sent over the better. We shall have more to say in due course on the crib-consciousness of the Z. Watch and their admirable cooperation.

Earlier in the year, as we have seen, days had been broken on cribs obtained from the operator's log of the Lofoten pinch


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