In September 1942 the British position was a little less hopeless, but only inasmuch as there had been no serious loss since that of Tobruk.
Rommel's eastward advance on Egypt had been checked by Auchinleck in July and by Montgomery in August, the latter being particularly helped by deciphered signals.
The desert war was more like a naval war than a conventional front, and was particularly dependent upon information.
By May 1942 they were breaking every Enigma key system of the African theatre.
In August this was joined by a new Hut 8 success, the breaking of the system used by Mediterranean surface ships.
Rommel was now losing one quarter of his supplies through British attacks which were almost totally dependent on detailed Enigma information—sometimes enabling them to pick out the more important cargoes for destruction.
News of this triumph was passed back to the analysts in Hut 8 to encourage them in their work.
But the Mediterranean was, ultimately, an Anglo-German diversion. In the world struggle there had been a major setback for Japan at the battle of Midway,
where the US Navy proved it could put its own Intelligence to devastating effect.
But in Europe there was no such hint of a reverse.
The Axis attack on Russia had reached Stalingrad, and the Dieppe raid had ended lingering fantasies of an easy victory in the west.
More frightening than either of these developments, however, for Churchill and for everyone else, was the state of the fragile Atlantic bridge. Without it Britain was nothing.