Welcome

The mission of this site is to tell the story of hundreds of people who worked at the United States Naval Computing Machine Laboratory, a top secret project in Dayton during World War Two. These people kept their secret for over fifty years.

Please take a look–there are hundreds of pages of declassified documents, rosters of personnel, photographs and more. I have added a new bibliography page brought up to date to include burgeoning information about cryptography on the web.

This site originates with and is maintained by Debbie Anderson in Dayton, Ohio. This site is an outgrowth of my own efforts to learn more about this story and a desire to share what I have learned. It also is a resource for documentation behind the documentary Dayton Codebreakers.

I am grateful to the Archive Center at Dayton History, the Wenger Command Display in Pensacola, Florida, friends at the NSA Cryptologic History Center and the National Cryptologic Museum, and the many veterans–WAVES and sailors– who have been so generous over the years for a share of the photographs presented here.

Thanks for learning about a part of Dayton’s, and the nation’s, history.


see also This Date in Naval History (hosted by the US Navy), This Date in Cryptologic History (hosted by the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation)


Stray thoughts

Although the calculating technologies available through the 1930s served business and scientific users well, during World War II they were not up to the demands of the military, which wanted to break codes, prepare firing tables for new guns, and design atomic weapons. The old technologies had three shortcomings: they were too slow in doing their calculating, they required human intervention in the course of computation, and many of the most advanced calculating systems were special purpose rather than general-purpose devices.

Because of the exigencies of the war, the military was willing to pay whatever it would take to develop the kinds of calculating machines it needed…

Computer, Martin Campbell-Kelly et al., p. xii

  • DAYTON CODEBREAKERS DOCUMENTARY

    Broadcast extended 2006-2018 (!) on American Public Television. DVD sales--

    DVDs of our documentary can be obtained in several ways:

    If you live in the Dayton area, DVDs are sold at the Museum Store at Carillon Historical Park, and at the book store at the Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center, West Third Street.

    13 Mar: My stock of DVDs is currently depleted. A 3rd printing is being prepared. If Dayton History/Carillon Historical Park cannot ship, I ask your patience. Debbie Anderson

  • Dayton codebreakers’ news

    Be sure to check in here for news related to the Dayton Codebreaking story or the history of cryptography in general. I'll be taking a hiatus from public speaking so I can devote more time to this web site. Debbie Anderson
  • 2016 Stibitz Awards

    Received Oct. 7th, Bozeman MT, the two individuals most responsible for developing the advanced technologies, with their respective teams - in England and the United States of America, that cracked the secret World War II German Enigma Machine Code: ALAN TURING (posthumously), Bletchley Park, England for Seminal & Pioneering Contributions to the Breaking of the German Enigma Machine Code; JOSEPH DESCH (posthumously), NCR, Dayton, Ohio. For Seminal & Pioneering Contributions to the Breaking of the German Enigma Machine Code.