Welcome

I’m so happy to be able to announce that a project I helped with is on its way to reality. In the summer of 2015 I was contacted by an author interested in the stories of the Sugar Camp WAVES–one of my favorite topics. Now their story as well as that of the WACS at Arlington Hall is approaching release.

Read more at Goodreads, pre-order at Amazon, read a great review and pre-order at Barnes & Noble. Among the remarks there:

“Code Girls is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary author. Liza Mundy’s portraits of World War II codebreakers are so skillfully and vividly drawn that I felt as if I were right there with them—mastering ciphers, outwitting the Japanese army, sinking ships, breaking hearts, and even accidentally insulting Eleanor Roosevelt. I am an evangelist for this book: You must read it.”
author of The Good Girls Revolt – Lynn Povich

I’m so proud to have been part of this project.


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

 

…I wondered whether codebreaking’s contribution to the war could be quantified. Would someone in a position to know say how many divisions it was worth, or how many months or years it shortened the war by? The literature showed a few such statements. They all dealt with the Pacific and said that codebreaking had saved a year of war — one high-level operations officer said two years [History of the Army Security Agency].The only comment about the European theater that I could get was Mr. Beesly’s, who to be nice to me guessed that codebreaking save nine months in the battle of the Atlantic. Most people declined to make this kind of an estimate. They thought it was impossible and probably meaningless. The most cogent remark came from someone who might have been expected to say quite the opposite. This was General W. Preston Cornerman, the wartime head of the Army codebreaking agency. “If you try to do that,” he said, “you’d have the quartermaster claiming so many years, the air force so many, and everybody claiming some, and before you know it you’d find that the war should have been over 25 years before it began.”

David Kahn. “The Significance of Codebreaking and Intelligence in Allied Strategy and Tactics.” from remarks delivered 1976 before the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, reprinted in Cryptology.

  • 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.
    News: the stock of DVDs at both Dayton History/Carillon Park and at Wright-Dunbar has been replenished.