Wednesday, May 18, 2016

March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe

Friday 15 March 1940

15 March 1940 Turing Bomb Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park Bombe.
Winter War: The Finnish Diet ratifies the Moscow Peace Treaty 145-3 (52 abstentions) on 15 March 1940 after Prime Minister Risto Ryti states:
Finland, as well as the whole of Western civilization, is still in the greatest danger, and no one can say what tomorrow may bring. We believe that by choosing peace we have acted in the best way for the moment.
The Soviet troops receive a different message:
The mighty force of the Red Army has again secured safety and a lasting peace!
Battle of the Atlantic: British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle suffers damage near the Nicobar Islands when a stowed 250 lb. aircraft bomb accidentally explodes. There are 14 deaths, 3 injured. The aircraft carrier needs minor repairs.

British freighter Melrose hits a mine and sinks off Dunkirk.

British freighter Peridot hits a mine and sinks off Dover.

Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser Kanimbla, a converted Australian passenger ships, is operating in the Sea of Japan. It captures two Soviet freighters, the Selenga and the Vladimir Mayakovsky (US copper), carrying ore to Germany. The captured ships are taken to Saigon in French Indochina via Hong Kong.

Convoy OA 110G departs from Southend.

European Air Operations: The RAF drops leaflets over Warsaw after dark. In an odd interlude during the Phony War, one of the Whitleys lands by mistake in a field behind the Siegfried Line. The startled inhabitants not only do not call the authorities, but they also chat with the British airmen and refuel their plane. They take off again before the authorities arrive amidst some small-arms fire.

Military Intelligence: Alan Turing's Government Code and Cypher School group at Bletchley Park makes a giant stride in reading German codes. Its first working Bombe, the "Victory," is completed at the British Tabulating Machine Company at Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The Bombe goes operational and begins reading some German codes in virtually real-time.

Terrorism: Indian nationalist Udham Singh is charged with the assassination of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, colonial ex-governor of Punjab.

US Government: Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles returns to Rome.

Middle East: Turkish and French commands hold a conference at Aleppo.

Czechoslovakia: There is unrest on the first anniversary of the German takeover. The SS imposes harsh discipline with numerous arrests.

Romania: The government grants an amnesty for the fascist Iron Guard ("Greenshirts"), outlawed since the 21 September 1939 assassination of Prime Minister Calinescu. The 800 released from prison must swear an oath of allegiance to King Carol II. This is a key moment in the gradual shift of the country's allegiance away from the Western Allies due to their ineffectiveness on the Continent.

Australia: The new Chief of the General Staff is Sir Cyril Brudenell White. He had held the same position from 1920-1923 and is recalled to service and promoted to General to take this position, which became available when his predecessor Lieutenant-General Ernest Squires unexpected passed away.

China: At the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 22nd Army captures Yung-shun east of Nanning.

American Homefront: "The Grapes of Wrath," starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford from the novel by John Steinbeck, is released.

Future History: Phil Lesh is born in Berkeley, California. He becomes famous in the '60s and '70s as a bass guitarist for the Grateful Dead.

15 March 1940 HMS Eagle
HMS Eagle.

March 1940

March 1, 1940: Soviet Breakthroughs Past Viipuri
March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland
March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri
March 4, 1940: USSR Apologizes to Sweden
March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved
March 6, 1940: Finns Head to Moscow
March 7, 1940: The Coal Ships Affair
March 8, 1940: Peace Talks Begin in Moscow
March 9, 1940: Soviets Harden Peace Terms
March 10, 1940: Germany Draws Closer to Italy
March 11, 1940: Winter War Peace Terms Finalized
March 12, 1940: War is Over (If You Want It)
March 13, 1940: Winter War Ends
March 14, 1940: Evacuating Karelia
March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe
March 16, 1940: First British Civilian Killed
March 17, 1940: Enter Dr. Todt
March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War
March 19, 1940: Daladier Resigns
March 20, 1940: Soviets Occupy Hango Naval Base
March 21, 1940: Paul Reynaud Leads France
March 22, 1940: Night Fighters Arise!
March 24, 1940: French Consider Alternatives
March 25, 1940: Reynaud Proposes Action
March 26, 1940: C-46 First Flight
March 27, 1940: Himmler Authorizes Auschwitz Construction
March 28, 1940: Allies Ponder Invading Norway
March 29, 1940: Soviets Prefer Neutrality
March 30, 1940: Allied Uncertainty
March 31, 1940: The Tiger Cage


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