One of only 3 "enigma machine" stolen; A piece of ENIAC was up for auction.

From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Tue Apr 4 08:04:13 2000

> > An Enigma machine used by the Nazis to send coded messages during World
> > War Two, has been stolen from the code-cracking Station X at Bletchley Park,
> > Buckinghamshire. The machine, worth about 100,000, is one of only three
> > in the world. It was brought to the UK after the war.

> FYI, and I haven't read through all of this tread yet, ...
> There is someone who actually brought a near replica
> to the MIT swap meet a couple of years ago.
> I was lucky enough to see it, open the doors, push a
> key, etc.

> Turns out that the base machine was produced by someone
> in Europe (the Swiss?) for Years before the war. There
> were supposedly thousands (hundreds?) produced for use
> outside that of the military. The thing that made the Nazi's
> Unique was the rotor wiring (again, i'm just catching up
> if this was posted already, Hans?).

Well, mostly true. AFAIK the enigma series was a complete new
design developed in Germany in the late 20's and put into
service in 1930 for military and German embasys. There has
been no prior swiss design. But of course there have been
en/decryption machines of similar basic design (i.e. using
wheels and gears).

The Enigma code was based on 4 parts:
a) The Wheels, the most esential part
b) The Wheelposition - each of the wheels could be put on each position
c) The Patch Panel - a whireing to interchange the code lines
d) The Start Position.

Prior to encoding each of this parameters has to be set.
The start positions have been changed acording to a code
tabel assigned individual for each station, sometimes even
each message did use a different start position.

Patch panel and wheel position have been changed in predefind
intervals, while wheels have not been exchanged often - please
not that these behaviours did change durnig the war.

Until the war only 3 wheel types where produced. Before the
polish 'borrowing', the machine structure has been a total
secret and not knowing about the basic components and design
a decoding was strictly impossible (at this time). In 1939
the British did know about the structure and about a set of
wheels (AFAIK less than 6) and the general code scheme and
the Warschau embasy code scheme (code scheme == setings and
algorythm to change them according to message, date and sender).

The wheels in question have been put out of service imidiate
and the general code scheme has NOT been changed, just the
interpretation. The Warschau table was of course irrelevant.
This took several month, until all German dependancies have
been changed (Remember, the production was top secret and
so the capacity to produce wheels was limited). A short time
later the 4 wheel system was introduced - first for military
only use.

Due their luck (and the Polish 'borrowing') the Britisch now
knew about the machines structure and the possibilities, so
they had 'only' to generate possible setings and check them.
Of course they where able to gather more informations about
code schemes due spys and traitors, so cracking was a
posibility. Also code scheme changes where often initiated
due coded messages in special formats - so cracking these
messaged did help to go around.

Of course German counter inteligence did not rely soly on
the basic machines - as time advanced, more add on coders
have been developed. The Enigma coded messages have been
send thru other devices with different schemes and settings.
The first of these add ons where to be 'conected' manuals,
say one had to type it in again, later on they where connected
due the patch panel and eventualy the Enigma did get special
output lines for add ons. Especialy for the U-Boot fleet
several extraordinary machines have been designed. Due their
long of port time additional security was a must.

For the records, Bletchley Park did not decode _all_ variants
used during the war - but they did a prety good job for most
of the stuff. The key was luck and a lot of good work.

The Swiss come into this only way after the war, when they
did build teir NEMA system, a direct follow up design of the
Enigma, enhanced and looking complete different. They also
sold a lot of machines of this design to other countries.
But not only the Swiss did 'clone' the design - almost any
country who could get hands on one of the machines did clone
them (keep in mind that Germany did supply them until some
degree to alies). Especialy in South America, Enigmas
derivates have been in une until the late 70s. East European
countries did use electromechanical designs also until the
mid 70s to early 80s, but beside the basic principle these
machines had nothing in common with their ancessor.

> 'Tom Perera - W1TP'

Cute page, and most stuff correct and very fine done - just
one thing: the Polish did never 'break' the code - they did
only raid the German embasy in Warschau and got a machine
for about 3 days ... The time German forces needed to capture
the city. They dismanteled the machine and did send all
possible information to Britain. The machine eventualy was
recovered by German troops.

> First impressions on seeing such a thing >For Sale< are
> thrilling, but be warned that Enigma looking things
> need not be Enigmas of folklore, esp. w/o the rotors.

True, but still an interesting theme to search for.
Althou it was mandatory for German coding stations to
destroy the equipment in a way that it cant be recognized
a lot of original German machines did survive the number
directly after the war is said to be >1500 of >25,000
produced units. More than some microcomputers had ever
produced :)


VCF Europa am 29./30. April 2000 in Muenchen
Received on Tue Apr 04 2000 - 08:04:13 BST

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