Saturday, March 23, 2013


Story by Mitchel Thomas
Artwork by Indiana Popovich
In February, Mitchel Thomas and Indiana Popovich started a  unique project called OPERATION TURING. They are the first to blend a mysterious espionage story with the blistering pre-ware atmosphere of 1938 and encoded messages.

The British SIS, the American OSS and French DB have formed an Intelligence Task Force, code-named LABYRINTH, to identify the main threats to the Allies. Unfortunately, George Paxton, the original head of LABYRINTH, turned out to be a counter-intelligence agent of the German SS Sicherheitsdienst. One of the first priorities for the new head of LABYRINTH, SIS operative Peter Hansen, is to find Praxton and bring him to justice. Meanwhile, Paxton has his own agenda and forges some dark plans.

The story is cast into a weblog. After a brief introduction on OPERATION TURING, the reader is presented with various pieces of information: communications between the operatives by cable or radio, newspaper articles, photo's and Enigma encrypted messages. With each new blog post, a new bit of the hunt for Praxton and the battle between Allied and Nazi security services in unveiled.

Artwork by Indiana Popovich
The whole website breathes the atmosphere of shadowy operations in the pre-ware era. The images, black-and-white photos, old postcards, telegrams, maps and even 1938 PanAm flight tickets, combined with a beautiful art-deco background,  immerse you in that fascinating period at the brink of war.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a well brought and exciting story, where the Enigma messages play the smaller role, and not the other way around. Here, attention goes in the first place to the story-line, not to the tools to bring the story, and that's a great idea. Moreover, its a unique idea.

I can highly recommend a visit to OPERATION TURING, to absorb the story and atmosphere. Each new post brings new information in various forms. Often, there's and Enigma encrypted radio or cable message. The Enigma key sheets are provided and you can click your way to additional info and help. No codebreaking or cryptanalysis is needed, all settings to decipher the messages is provided.

However, being such a mysterious website, you should first continue reading here below, to understand how things work at OPERATION TURING. You might get lost in the fog of the shadowy world of intelligence and spies, when you're not 'in the picture'!

The newcomers on OPERATION TURING should first do some read-up before reading the episodes, published every few days. Warning: the most recent episode of the story is found first (weblog system). If you're new and want to start at the beginning of the story, you should go directly to the bottom of the main pages and click on the "=>Older" link your way through the blog pages to the oldest (first) message where the story begins.

There are three other pages that you can visit by links at the top of the page (under the green logo): You'll fist need a read-up at About Operation Turing to travel back to 1938 and to get familiar with the main characters. How to decode the messages provides the ways an tools to decipher the messages.

Transcripts and decoded messages is the spoiler page for those who really are unable to decrypt the messages (you should try, it's not that hard). However, only the decrypts of the previous month are provided. If you want to know right away how the story develops, you'll need to decipher the messages yourself. It does however pays off, as nothing beats the thrill of decoding a message and finally read its content. Finally, you can always go back to the main page by clicking the green logo (Enigma in circle).

Artwork by Indiana Popovich

I discovered the website by accident, as they linked to my Enigma software to enable decrypting some of the messages. However, the unique thing about OPERATION TURING is not the use of Enigma or some challenge to decipher encrypted messages. Enigma is merely a means to bring information to the reader. 

Mitchel and Indiana did a wonderful job on the story and the graphics. For the two friends, it all started years ago when they used coded messages to communicate, just for fun. A few years later, after graduation, they moved apart and brought the coded messages back to life to keep contact. To make thing interesting for themselves, they developed characters and a story-line which resulted in this jewel called OPERATION TURING.

I truly believe it deserves much more attention and readers than it was meant for. Their childhood pastime evolved into a unique and beautiful project. I'm sure Mitchel and Indiana will love your feedback (see their Inquiries link). Rendez-vous at the OPERATION TURING website... and watch your back!

A similar adventure is created at Cipher Machines and Cryptology. Operation Tinker Bell is the 1964 hunt for a KGB defector. Bookmark that page and get ready to track down your Cold War enemies!


Anonymous said...

Sie haben aber eines vergessen (?), nämlich die Tatsache, dass die Eingma-Code wurde lange before Turing in Polen geknackt, im Jahr 1932 und dann kurz vor dem Krieg den Francozen und Engläandern übergeben...

Dirk Rijmenants said...

@ Anonymous,

Operation Turing ist eine Fiktion Spiel (und nicht von mir). Ich weiß natürlich wie wichtig die polnischen Codeknacker waren. Viel mehr genaue Informationen sind auf auf meiner Website verfügbar: