By Robert Harris
The first Enigma machine was created by Arthur Scherbius, who made it for the use of companies that wanted secure communications. After modifications, German forces started using it to send encrypted messages. It was made of a keyboard of 26 letters with no punctuation, a scrambler unit, 26 bulbs that were A-Z as well, where the "ciphertext" came out, and a plugboard, again of 26 letters with no punctuation. The scrambler unit consisted of three wheels chosen out of five, labeled I-V, with A-Z on around the outside. The plugboard connected letters to other letters so that when one was typed, another was printed. The wheels gave added scrambling. To see what encrypted messages said, one needed an Enigma machine set up the same way as the one who sent it. Since there were 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 different ways to encrypt the same message, Hitler thought Enigma was unbreakable. Enigma was first broken by the Poles in 1933-1938 with an Enigma replica they created, and the British helped finally break it with the help of early versions of computers called bombes.
Without the Enigma machine, the book probably would have never been written. In the book, the author portrayed the Enigma machine very well, describing it as nearly unbreakable and the German's secure communication. There were five different kinds of Enigma in the story, the most important being Shark, the U-boat's communications, which were even harder to break due to a fourth wheel. To beat Enigma, the British used bombes (early versions of computers) against Enigma, which was accurately portrayed in the story. In the book, on pages 53-55, it describes the use of Enigmas in the German forces, how the machine works, and how the British attempted breaking it, all extremely accurate.
"The Enigma Machine: How Alan Turing Helped Break the Unbreakable Nazi Code." Open Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.