Enigma Machine

By Laura Hale

FACTS

  • 1915, two Dutch Naval officers invented a machine to encrypt messages. This became known as the Enigma machine.
  • Mid 1920s, mass production of Enigma machine with 30,000 machines being sold to the German military over the next 2 decades
  • In 1931, a German traitor told Rejewski that the Germans routinely changed the daily key indicator setting for the codes.

  • In 1931, a German traitor told Rejewski that the Germans routinely changed the daily key indicator setting for the codes.
  • The new machine could run through more than 17,000 indicator settings. He called this machine, ‘the bomb’.

  • The new machine could run through more than 17,000 indicator settings. He called this machine, ‘the bomb’. The bomb was used to secretly read the traffic from the German Enigma machines for several years.

  • In 1938 Germans added two new roters into the Enigma machine. This made it harder for the Poles to read the traffic
  • The Poles asked their allies, Britian and France to help them with the analysis and codebreaking of the German messages.

  • The British smuggle out the Enigma replica machines two weeks before Germany invaded Poland

  • Alan Turing, a British mathematician at Bletchley Park thought of a different way of using the ‘bombs’ for testing the German codes. Turing used 180 ‘bombs’ which clicked round letter-by-letter, 20 every second, until they hit the correct one.
  • In 1943, British engineer, Tommy Flowers, created Colossus, Colossus changed the way code breaking was done from electro-mechanical to electronic – it was the first modern day computer. Colossus could read paper tape at 5,000 characters a second.
  • The Allied work on codebreaking played a key role in victories such as D-Day. It shortened the length of WW2.