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During World War II, radio signals in Morse code were often used for communication within the armies on both sides. Because radio signals could be easily intercepted, they began encoding the messages with increasingly complicated codes and ciphers. However, cryptologists frequently broke the codes and were able to read the messages anyway.
But then suddenly, all that changed. The Germans had begun using a special machine that could produce thousands of different cipher codes. It was called the Enigma machine, and the codes it produced were said to be unbreakable. All of a sudden the British code breakers could not read any of the German communications. At the time, the biggest threat was the German U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean. They were constantly sinking the allied supply ships, and because the allies couldn’t read the German messages, they had no way of knowing where the U-boats were going to be at any given time. British cryptologists were working around the clock to find a way to break the Enigma’s codes, but the code changed every day, and with 150 million, million, million possible combinations for each message, the task seemed impossible! The Allies built a machine that could help break the codes, but it took so long to decipher the messages that by the time they knew what the message was, the information in it was no longer relevant. At last, they realized that every day the German communications would send a weather report and that most messages ended with “Heil Hitler!” Knowing the words “weather” and “Heil Hitler” were in each message helped them figure out the key and to once again read the German messages.
They were able to find out where the U-boats would be, and then alert their supply ships, so they could avoid them. The much-needed supplies were able to reach Europe, and the Allies were also able to decode other intercepted communications giving them advanced knowledge of German tactics. It has been estimated that the crack- ing of the Enigma codes shortened the war by about two years, saving millions of lives!
In a war there is obviously a huge advantage to knowing the enemy’s plans ahead of time. If you know where and when he will attack, you can fortify the spot. If you know what weapons and tactics he will use, you can know which defenses to prepare. We are in a war now—a war against evil and Satan, the father of all lies. And it is just as vital for us to know his tactics so we can be prepared and better protected. Keep reading to learn about one of those tactics.
INCENDIARY BOMBS: THE BOMBING OF ST. PAUL’S
"Glares of many fires and sweeping clouds of smoke kept hiding the shape. Suddenly, the shining cross, dome and towers stood out like a symbol in the inferno."
During World War II the Germans repeatedly bombed London in what would become known as the Blitz. More than 30,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the city from September 1940 to May 1941. After a few months, much of London lay in ruins.
On the night of December 29th, the bombing, which had briefly stopped for Christmas, began again. When the bombs began to fall around St. Paul’s Cathedral, a group of volunteers rushed to save that sacred and historic landmark.
The bombers were using a special kind of device called an incendiary bomb. Instead of blowing up whatever it hit, these bombs were designed to start a fire that would then spread throughout the buildings. It started small, but the fire would quickly rage out of control. The volunteers spent all night racing up, down, and around the cathedral, wherever the bombs fell, so they could put out the fires. The bombing was relentless, but the volunteers continued putting them out, one after another.
The next morning, as dawn broke over London a scene of devastation was seen on all sides. But from the smoke and piles of rubble rose the unharmed dome of St. Paul’s.
TALK ABOUT IT
Incendiary bombs might seem less harmful than a regular bomb, because they don’t explode, but what do you think can make them more dangerous? What kind of subtle or seemingly less harmful devices does Satan try to use on you?
Do you ever find yourself focusing on the “big” sins, and not worrying so much about the “little” sins? What does this story help you learn about that?
What can you learn from the way the volunteers responded to these bombs?