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Breaking the code: Enigma

Nazi code decipher Machine

By Haris Bin NadeemPublished 3 months ago 3 min read

It was the height of World War II, and the Allied forces were struggling to gain the upper hand against the Axis powers. One of the biggest challenges they faced was the difficulty of intercepting and decoding the messages sent by the Germans. The Enigma machine, a sophisticated encryption device that generated millions of possible codes, was considered unbreakable by many. However, a small team of British cryptanalysts led by Alan Turing was determined to find a way.

Turing was a brilliant mathematician with a keen interest in codebreaking. He had already made a name for himself in the field, having developed a machine called the Bombe that was used to decrypt messages sent by the German military. However, the Enigma code was a much tougher nut to crack.

The Enigma machine consisted of a keyboard, a series of rotors, and a lampboard that displayed the encrypted message. The rotors could be set to different positions, generating a seemingly endless stream of possible codes. The Germans changed the code daily, making it even more difficult to decipher.

Turing and his team knew that brute force methods were unlikely to be successful. There were simply too many possible combinations of rotor settings. However, they believed that there were certain vulnerabilities in the Enigma machine that could be exploited.

For example, they knew that certain letters, such as 'E' and 'T', were more common in the German language than others. They developed a technique called "cribbing" to guess the settings of the rotors based on the known plaintext. They would take a piece of German text that they knew had been encrypted using the Enigma machine, and look for repeated patterns in the encrypted text. They would then make an educated guess about the settings of the rotors based on those patterns.

This technique was time-consuming, but it was effective. However, it wasn't enough to crack the Enigma code on its own. Turing realized that they needed a more powerful machine that could test millions of possible rotor settings in a matter of hours.

Turing set to work designing the Bombe Mark II, a machine that could test up to 17,576 possible rotor settings at once. The machine was a feat of engineering, with thousands of moving parts and a complex system of electrical circuits. Turing and his team worked tirelessly to perfect the machine, testing and retesting until they were confident it would work.

Finally, in December 1941, the Bombe Mark II was ready for its first test. The team fed in a message that had been intercepted by Allied forces, hoping that the machine would be able to decrypt it. They waited anxiously as the machine whirred and clicked, testing each possible rotor setting in turn.

Suddenly, the machine stopped. The lampboard lit up, displaying a decrypted message. The team was overjoyed. They had cracked the Enigma code.

Over the next few months, the team refined their methods, using intercepted messages to identify the daily settings of the Enigma machine. They also worked on developing a system for quickly distributing the decrypted messages to Allied commanders, so that they could act on the intelligence they had gained.

The intelligence gathered from the decrypted messages was crucial in a number of Allied operations, including the Battle of the Atlantic and the D-Day landings. The Enigma code had been broken, and the war was turning in the Allies' favor.

However, Turing's success came at a great cost. He was working in secret, and many people didn't understand the importance of his work. He was also a homosexual, which was then illegal in the UK. When his sexuality was discovered, he was arrested and charged with indecency.

Turing was forced to undergo chemical castration, and his security clearance was revoked. He was a broken man, his brilliant mind

vintagehistorybusiness warsshort storycapital punishmentinvestigationfact or fiction

About the Creator

Haris Bin Nadeem

Warm Welcome to all of the Community!

I am a young law student who loves to write thrilling and mysterious articles.

Stay tuned for some wonderful stories and original writings.


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