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The Enigma machine.

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Question 2 Before war broke out in 1939 the Germans had planned a special way of keeping their communications secret. The army, navy and air force were told to encode their messages using cipher machines called Enigma. Enigma could put a message into code in over 159 million, million, million different ways. The Enigma machine looks like a typewriter in a wooden box. An electric current went from the keyboard through a set of rotors and a plugboard to light up the 'code' alphabet. At least once a day the Germans changed the order of the rotors, their starting positions and the plugboard connections. To decipher a message sent using Enigma, you had to work out exactly how all of these had been set. This is the way a message was sent: * The rotors and plugs on the Enigma machine were changed to that day's setting given in a codebook. ...read more.


Throughout the war German operators made many mistakes when sending messages, they assumed that the Enigma was unbreakable and became overconfident and lazy, occasionally the German operators would not reset the machines, sometimes messages would be under 26 letters long therefore the middle rotor was never used which meant that there were less combinations and less combinations meant that the settings were much easier to crack. The German mistakes helped the British by giving them clues which made breaking the codes easier. Although many people worked at Bletchley Park, without the role of certain individuals the Enigma codes would have never been broken during the course of the war. Such individuals as Turing, Herival and Rejewski made an enormous difference at Bletchley Park. Alan Turing was the inventor of the bombes which were early computers that speeded up the process of decoding enigma messages. ...read more.


It read 5,000 letters a second. All possible combinations of the coded message were checked with the cipher key generated by Colossus. A teleprinter typed out the results of Colossus's search, revealing the settings which had been used by the Germans to send their messages. Without the role of certain individuals such as Turing and Herival or certain machines such as the bombes and colossus, the task of cracking the enigma would have taken many more years and years were what the British didn't have considering that the British were weeks from surrendering. Luck also played an important role in breaking the Enigma, without luck you wouldn't get German mistakes, without the German mistakes there wouldn't be the role of individuals, without the role of individuals, there wouldn't be machines or technology such as the bombes or colossus. The most important reason for why the Enigma codes were broken would be luck because luck was the trigger that started the chain reaction and therefore eventually broke the Enigma codes. ...read more.

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