The Cryptonomicon brings up an interesting idea when Sergeant Shaftoe, Corporal Benjamin and Lieutenant Monkberg get in an argument after they ram their ship into Normandy. The reader already knows the purpose of the mission because it is alluded to in earlier chapters, but only Lieutenant Monkberg knows the exact orders, which causes problems when he tells them to do something that seemed like treason. The purpose of the mission was to leave behind the Allies’ code book in order to have an excuse to change their codes, which they know the Germans have cracked, without alerting the Germans that they have cracked Enigma. Hiding the fact that they have cracked Enigma while still taking advantage of what they know is basically the entire purpose of Detachment 2702. The concept of Detachment 2702 raises an interesting point because they have to deliberately hurt themselves in order to not reveal their resources. The concept behind 2702 is an answer to one of the things discussed in class, mainly the problem of revealing that a code has been cracked. Because of Detachment 2702, the Allies were able to fool the Axis into believing that Enigma was same and because of that, the Allies were able to keep a crucial advantage that was desperately needed in order to gain the upper hand in World War II. The Allies even had 2702 fooled, they couldn’t possibly comprehend why they would ever leave behind the code book, though this secrecy turned into a double sided sword. When Corporal Benjamin is told to leave behind the code book, the Corporal assumes that his commanding officer is a spy and it didn’t help that Lieutenant Monkberg was the only person that had received the orders. If they would have continue with taking the code book with them, they would have failed in their mission though they wouldn’t realize it and it would have ended up costing Allied lives because the Allies would have needed to come up with a new way in which to justify switching code books, and until then all Allied conveys would be at risk of being destroyed by German U-boats.
Picture: U-Boat Surrender by Wessex Andy (Flickr)