Meader/Postwar Report, pages 13-20


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Early in 1941, Op-20-G began work on German Naval Cipher, and a cooperative effort was attempted with GC & CS. Complete cooperation was not achieved, and in April 1942, Col. John Tiltman of GC & CS sent a dispatch to Commander Travis stating in part

“Unless a rapid and satisfactory solution is found, the high command will insist on their Naval Cryptanalysts attempting to duplicate our work on ‘E'”.

The reply from Commander Travis contained a statement that the 4-wheel submarine traffic was, for the time being at least, unreadable. This failure to receive anything assuring from the British and the urgency of the situation led to the establishment on 1 July 1942 of a development contract (#NXs 7892) with the National Cash Register Company, Dayton, Ohio for the investigation of a high speed cipher machine of the Enigma type.

During July 1942 and early August 1942, the NCR Co. Engineers indicated that proposed electronic equipment (necessary to the solution of the 4-wheel traffic) would use vast quantities of critical material and that the successful maintenance of such electronic equipment was highly doubtful. Therefore, an electro-mechanical approach was substituted and on 15 Sept. 1942 an outline of a design plan was submitted to Op-20-G by the NCR Co. This plan was approved on 23 September 1942. The scope of Contract NXs 7892 was enlarged and actual development work started. The design of the Bombe eventually required material and components from some 12,000 different suppliers. Certain components had to be designed and developed, and production equipment obtained and put in operation. Among these were the

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4 section diode, the 2C4 miniature gas tube, and a commutator capable of taking 104 inserts and designed to rotate at 1850 R.P.M. while in contact with 104 carbon brushes. Personnel in the Electrical Research Department of the NCR Co. had to be increased from 17 in August 1942 to 800 in May 1943, a period of 8 months. Furthermore, segregated areas had to be arranged for in order to maintain the high degree of security required. Facilities for messing and housing, etc. WAVE officer and enlisted personnel was arranged for at the “Sugar Camp” of the NCR Co. A folder is attached showing in part these facilities and a report submitted by the N.C .R> to the Commandant of the 9th NAVAL DISTRICT.

This Bombe program was carried on under Contract NXs 7892. This contract was dated 1 July 1942 and terminated 1 December 1943. The entire bombe technique was developed there including components which heretofore did not exist. Two experimental bombes were put into operation at Dayton just seven months after the Military Characteristics has been approved. These were followed by a production of 99 Bombes under the same contract, all of which were delivered and in operation during 1943. In addition to the regular Bombes, two double Bombes were designed, built, and put into operation and 35 M-9 machines with their associated wheels were produced. A total of $4,599,685.32 was expended under this contract. In as much as 103 Bombe units were constructed, this represented a total unit cost (including development) of approximately $45,000 each. However, included in this cost was $281,076.80 worth of Navy owned capital equipment, all costs of maintenance, parts, design changes, etc. up until December 1943.

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Contract NXs 7892 was followed in December 1943 by Contract NXs 49702 which ran from 1 December 1943 to 1 July 1945. The total expenditures under this contract were $2,466,671.67. For this amount, NCR Co. designed, developed, fabricated, and put into operation the following equipments.

Copperheads I 5 Scanners

6 Punches

Vipers 10
Mike 1
Pythons 6
Rattler 3
Gypsy-Topas (sic) 2
Duenna 5
Statistical Bombe 1
Double Bombe 1
Asp 1
Sliding Grenade 2
M-9 60 (506 extra wheels)
M-8 8
Parallel Grenade 1
Mamba 1
Wave filters 30
Boa 60
Special Boa’s for


Satyr 1
Pluggable Reflectors 495

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Standard Grenades 4
Drag Grenade 1
Coast Guard Grenade 1
Cilli Grenade 1
Inverted Bombes 8
Inverted Bombes 8
Bombes modified for

double input

Special Cryptographic

model for DNC

Squelcher Circuit

In addition to the above, development work on Copperhead IV & V, Mona, Recording Devices, Special Chassis #7 for Bombes, Electronic Roto, Electric Hagelin in process, General Purpose Comparator in process, Slide Grenade for Jap Enigma in process, Geheimschreiber in process, and Subtractor Ciphers-studies in process, was accomplished.

The magnitude of the above equipments is a matter of record and need not be amplified here, other than to give one example. One Duenna contained 2,000 relays and 3,000 tubes. In the overall performance at Dayton, over 200,000 items were shipped to Washington from Dayton. Some 56 carloads weighing 17 tons each were sent.

The speed and efficiency with which those projects were processed is indicated in a letter of 30 January 1945 from DNC [Director, Naval Communications] to DinC [Director in Charge], USNCML stating in part

“The skillful and expeditious handling of a special project for the Asst DNC, Op-20-G, during the months of December 1944 is an outstanding example of magnificent accomplishment and

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a most important contribution to the war effort.”

And the endorsement forwarded by the Chief of the Bureau of Ships stating in part

“The Chief of the Bureau of Ships notes with complete satisfaction the continued accomplishments of the personnel and the arrangement of the U.S. Naval Computing Machine Laboratory in providing highly specialized equipment to the DNC in record time.”

A continuation of the Research and Development work at Dayton was covered by a third Contract, #NXs7581 dated 1 July 1945 and terminated 15 August 1946. Under this contract, a total of $369,024.54 was expended. For this amount, the NCR Co. developed and produced

6 Special Counter Printer Punches
1 Full Selector
2 Amber Projectors
12 Morse Printers, and continued development on the Electric Hagelin and General Purpose Comparator.

Simultaneously with the processing of the above, two contracts were carried on for “Replacement Parts, Services in Repairing, Altering, Overhauling and Maintaining equipments designed and constructed” under the Research and Development contracts.

Contract NXs 46045 – 1 Dec. 43 to 30 June 45 – $455,140.63
NXs 9580 – 1 July 45 to 31 Dec. 46 – 50,762.26
Total $505,502.89

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Another contract was entered into providing for “Services of Procuring and Purchasing Material for Naval Personnel Projects”. Contract NXs 9582 from 1 June 1946 to 31 December 1946 – $90,597.10. Work done by Naval personnel for which this contract was utilized included 15 Recorders, 10 Amplifiers, 10 Morse Printers, and certain phases of a Full Selector.

The NCR Co. also processed a fixed price contract calling for 50 Bombes. The contract was cut back after 29 Bombes had been delivered.

Contract NXs 53322 – 29 Bombes delivered @ $36,000. $1,044,000.00
Cancellation charges 315,731.79
Total $1,359,731.79

Contract NXs 25120, a fixed price contract calling for 3 Counter Printer Units and 3 Relay Control Units, was also processed.

Contract NXs 25120 – 3 Counter Printer Units

at $38,750 each

3 Relay Control Units

at $4,800 each


A recapitulation of these various contracts is made on the last page of this report.

The phenomenal record made at Dayton, Ohio may be challenged on the grounds that during war-time it was possible to work 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. While this is true, it must also be borne in mind that work being done by Engineers in Research and Development cannot be passed on shift to shift. Engineers must personally see their work thru to a conclusion and obviously no engineer could work 24 hours a day nor seven days a week. The advantage of the full time operation was really effective only in the production of parts and the assembly of components. It is felt

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that the important factors which combined to make possible this war time record were:

  • 1. All possible Bureau red tape was eliminated.
  • 2. Direct liaison and mutual understanding between DNC (Op-20-G) and Dayton.
  • 3. Overall dedicated-administration of all work vested in one head.
  • 4. Complete flexibility of the entire engineering force.
  • 5. The efficiency of the maintenance and operating plan which was originated at Dayton.
  • 6. Readily available facilities for production and assembly.

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Date Date Navy Owned Total
Contract Begun Ended Purpose Equipment Amount
7892 7-1-42 12-1-43 Research & Development $281,076.80 $4,599,685.32
49702 12-1-43 7-1-45 Research & Development 9,177.60 2,466,671.67
9581 7-1-45 8-15-46 Research & Development 369,024.54
Total $290,254.40 $7,435,381.55
46045 12-1-43 6-30-45 Replacement Parts $4,638.73 $455,140.63
9580 7-1-45 12-31-46 Replacement Parts 50,762.26
Total $4,638.73 $505,902.89
9582 6-1-46 12-31-46 Procuring & Purchasing Material
for Naval Personnel Projects $90,597.10
Total $90,597.10
25120 3 Counter Printer Units @$38,750. $116,250.00
3 Relay Control Units @$4,800. 14,400.00
Total $130,650.00
53322 3-1-44 Cancelled 29 Bombe Units @$36,0000 $1,044,000.00
10-1-44 Cancellation charges 315,731.79
Total $1,359,731.79

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    WHO worked during the war? Find the Personnel section. Also, Joseph R. Desch
    WHAT were their goals? By the Numbers. Also, The US Bombe
    WHY? History of the Bombe Project A contemporary account of the reasons and the plans for their project for the Director of Naval Communications, 1944.
    WHERE was the project: In Dayton, it was in Building 26. In Washington, it was housed at the Naval Communications Annex