The Use of Computers in War

With the invasion of the Ukraine by Russian armed forces, which in this modern age seems unbelievable and the reports of the inhumane damage to the cities, people and infrastructure coming not on a diaily basis as in the past, but as it happens via the news and social media, it seemed the right time to show how computers have been used for good and bad in war time.

In the 1800’s Charles Babbage invented possibly the first mechanical computer, The Difference Engine. A wonder of British engineering.

It’s primary aim was to calculate ballistic trajectories. His machine could produce printed tables of the angles and distances to ensure our military were more than capable of delivering cannon balls on target.

These tables were used pretty much until the modern era.

During WW2 Alan Turing led a team of people at Bletchley Park to decode the German messages which had been encrypted with an Enigma machine.

Originally developed for the financial industry, the German military used this machine to send messages in an impossible to read code without another Enigma machine and the correct settings.

Alan Turing and his team, manage to work out how to find the settings with the use of an computer using telephone selectors to try every possible combination until found.

Later developments at Bletchley included Colossus, which used valves (the transistor of it’s day).

Today, with computers guiding shells and missiles to their target with pinpoint accuracy, the Internet being used as a propaganda tool or weapon, one of the first onslaughts used was a cyber attack by Russian hackers on Ukrainian infrastructure. Aimed at destabilising the Ukrainian government and creating confusion.

The Ukraine hackers along with many from other countries have also responded.

The Internet, Satelites and the computing power behind it have become a weapon of war again. This time much more effective and extremely deadly.

Comments are closed.