gistofthegrist

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ENIGMA MACHINES

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If you are a big code fan [as well as mechanical gizmo fan] there can be no higher prize than to own an original German WWII Enigma machine? When you are young and you read about the part played in the winning of the war by the code-breaking men and women at Bletchley Park, you don’t quite realise though the true nature of the situation. Perhaps because codes are secret writing and spies work in secret you also assume that the machines were also secret [and therefore hidden away]? The fact is the machines were if not quite ubiquitous then at least fairly common in all arms of the German Forces.

Their rarity is down to most having been damaged in action or more often destroyed on order at the end of the war, to stop them falling into enemy hands. Little did the Germans know of course that their codes had been cracked for years; and this played a huge part in the winning of the war.

Amazing to think that through both scavenging of working parts from several machines or by the careful restoration/remake of parts, it is still possible [at a price] to actually buy working enigma machines.

Cipher-Machine-3

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One thought on “ENIGMA MACHINES

  1. Democritus Junior. on said:

    Enigma machines…pah

    even more impressive were the Lorenz SZ machines
    which had twelve wheels

    the Enigma machine only had three or four rotors

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_Machine

    it is also a little known fact that German military texts enciphered on the Enigma Machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau starting in December 1932

    i.e. well before the British got to work on the problem at Bletchley Park

    the first breakthrough in the cracking of Lorenz Machine cipher traffic (known by the British as “Tunny”) was made by the mathematician Bill Tutte:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptanalysis_of_the_Lorenz_cipher

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