• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Enigma machine.

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Computer Science section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Computer Science essays

  1. Bletchley Park

    Pile 4 was the useless messages and was left. As the war expanded Bletchley had to expand. By 1942 Bletchley received 8,000 messages a day. Winston Churchill the Prime Minister of England was very interested in the work done at Station X. because of the increase in the number of messages Bletchley Park needed more buildings and recruits.

  2. Smart Card System

    They also have to select which domain is they in. Like whether they are student or staff. If the user enters the wrong username or password, the system will remain in this form until they enter the correct username and password and will not proceed.

  1. Signal Theory

    It lets you voice calling, text messaging, the some other advanced phones even allow video calling and internet browsing. Cell phone is a full duplex device therefore you can connect it to your computer and use it as a modem even though it would be very slow.

  2. Signalling Theory

    For information to be sent over the internet it MUST be passed through a phone line. The phone line is the channel where the signaling error takes place. As previously mentioned phone lines only send analogue signals, so how do they pass through as digital?

  1. Why was BletchleyPark able to break the Enigma codes?

    In April 1940 a German trawler is captured off the coast of Norway along with the Enigma operators' logs, some Enigma settings and explanations specifying how the Naval Enigma indicating system worked. More German vessels are captured containing vital information about reading enigma messages are captured from 4 March to

  2. The Von Neumann Machine

    It is different to the other two buses in that, although it is a collection of lines in the same way as they are, these lines are totally unrelated. In the address and data buses, the lines all form part of the same information.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work