back to article Marine archaeologists catch a break on the bottom of the Baltic Sea: A 75-year-old Enigma Machine

Divers clearing out a sprawl of abandoned fishing nets stuck in the Baltic Sea discovered more than they bargained for when they spotted an Enigma Machine, a device that encrypted secret messages used by the Germans in World War II. The leftover relic is a prized possession for history buffs and cryptography geeks. Pristine …

  1. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Old typewriter

    The marine biologists thought it was an old typewriter. Micro biologists and molecular biologists get annoyed at being lumped together with marine biologists, whose only qualification is looking good in woollen sweaters.

    Apparently they had different Enigmas on u-boats, so this was thrown off a warship. I'm not sure why they'd dump them when the war had ended, I guess it was like clearing your browsing history while having a heart attack.

    [Speaking of heart attacks, here is my recipe for Cullen skink soap. It's this recipe, then you double the double cream and add a cup of Islay malt]

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Old typewriter

      >Micro biologists and molecular biologists get annoyed

      But they are so small you can generally ignore them

    2. ClockworkOwl
      Alert

      Re: Old typewriter

      "Cullen skink soap"

      I love smoked haddock, however I'll not be showering in it!

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        Cullen skink soap is what we comedy writers refer to as a 'call back'.

        When the covid warnings started I posted here that Scots were happy to wash our hands for twenty seconds in soup but we weren't told Cullen skink or cockaleekie.

        For decades Edinburgh folk called Glasgow folk 'soap dodgers', which led to the unfortunate circumstance of English folk calling Scottish folk 'soap dodgers'. My ongoing soap/soup confusion is self-depreciatory humour as many readers here don't appreciate how majestic Scotland is - well, apart from Glasgow.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          That was because soap was taxed so it was expensive, right?

        2. PhilipN Silver badge

          Self-depreciatory

          That's ok. It diminishes over time.

        3. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          Any city which point blank REFUSES to stop putting traffic cones on an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington so much the council relents is a majestic place. It’s just a different sort of majestic than Edinburgh or the Highlands have.

          Dundee is pretty majestic with our position on the Firth of Tay with our bridges and our Law Hill. I live above the beach and that can be majestic, when the North Sea looks blue. It can happen. We have a castle too. Nice local museum inside.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Old typewriter

      "I'm not sure why they'd dump them when the war had ended"

      The German PTB, not realising Enigma had been cracked, ordered them to be dumped. Rather like our PTB ordering Colossus to be scrapped.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Old typewriter

        Colossus is the PTB.

        Calling Doctor Forbin.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Old typewriter

      No, the diver said he instantly realised it was an Enigma.

      However this video was hardly made when it was first found but later when it was brought up.

      PS. what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war, no great articles regarding that topic I can remember.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        I think the lack of articles on British cryptography is mostly because there wasn't as interesting a mechanism used to crack them. The mathematical details regarding the text codes are doubtlessly available, but they're likely relatively boring compared to the interesting minutia I more regularly see coverage about. For example, a program to broadcast a specific piece of music to indicate where to plant bombs. Old cryptography can be surprisingly boring because the algorithms had to be easily mechanized or performed by the human brain. The quality of modern cryptography is stunning compared to that just because we can afford to XOR something a couple million times if we want to.

        1. swm Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          "we can afford to XOR something a couple million times if we want to."

          This is just the same as XORing once with the appropriate pattern.

          1. bpfh
            Joke

            Re: Old typewriter

            Re-inventing ROT-26 :)

          2. Def Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Old typewriter

            "we can afford to XOR something a couple million times if we want to."

            This is just the same as XORing once with the appropriate pattern.

            Actually, it doesn't matter how many million times you XOR something. The result will always be the number you started with. XORing a couple of million times plus one, on the other hand...

          3. nijam Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            > This is just the same as XORing once with the appropriate pattern.

            Or possibly zero times, if you miscounted your "couple of million".

          4. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            XOring something is ambiguous, but I think you all know what I meant. I meant that your plain text can be XOred with some key, then another key, and on and on. This is sometimes done to deliberately increase the complexity of the encryption operation by making the user create a large number of keys, each being used. Also, it was a general comment on the ability to perform repetitive mathematical tasks.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          For example, a program to broadcast a specific piece of music to indicate where to plant bombs.

          That's code, not encryption, and depends on the receiver(s) having been given a set of pre-defined actions corresponding to the messages that are going to be sent, the most famous ones likely being the two that announced the Allied invasion of France, one a day ahead, the second at the actual start. Getting such a list of actions to, in that case, the French Resistance may well have employed cryptography, but the messaging mechanism itself is code.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            Correct. This doesn't much matter though, because I didn't say it was. I was commenting on the original question, which asked about methods of hiding communication. Cryptography and code are two such methods. Additionally, it's frequently discussed in the same places, or often instead of discussing the cryptography. The same is true of Enigma. Although the efforts to break it are frequently discussed, I rarely see articles such as the one here describe how enigma machines worked. Perhaps the appetite among the nontechnical public to hear about the design of a multirotor typewriter encryption system is not very high, whether it was the German, British, American, Soviet, Japanese, or any other model. It's also complex enough that, should someone be interested, they would better be served by looking up the longer technical descriptions of the machines. As a news article, it's too much detail about which few care.

        3. I am the liquor

          Re: Old typewriter

          Despite the downvotes, I think your first sentence at least is accurate. The Enigma machine was made famous by the effort and ingenuity that the other side put in to breaking it.

          The British equivalent was Typex. The Germans probably did not effectively break it, for a number of reasons, a major one being that they didn't put anywhere near the same resources into it. The machine was intrinsically somewhat more secure than Enigma. It was also less widely used, so there was less ciphertext to go at and less chance of getting a crib. Several times more Enigma machines were manufactured than Typex machines, and the Germans used them for everything, even mundane stuff like weather reports.

          The American SIGSALY system that was used to secure top-level voice traffic between London and Washington is another interesting Allied cryptosystem.

          1. Conrad Longmore

            Re: Old typewriter

            Aye, and it was those mundane reports which could often provide a crib for decrypting the cypher. Some stations sent the same message every day (e.g. "NOTHING TO REPORT HH") - if you knew the message then it's much quicker to find the rotor and plug settings. So in a way, over-use made it weaker.

        4. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          Bletchley Park has a few books available describing the crypto, and it is most definitely highly interesting.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        >what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war

        Telephone, Britain had less need to use radio for most comms.

        Less centralized, so wider variety of codes rather than everything being enigma while ironically a more concentrated and centralized analysis effort compared to political separate organizations on the other sode

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Old typewriter

          what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war

          "Don't tell him Pike!"

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YMVPXmaKds

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Old typewriter

          "Telephone".

          Not at sea or in the air.'

          I was actually thinking of the "wolf packs" and their "ability" on the Atlantic.

          The code breaking is interesting and well documented but also damned tragic regarding Turing.

          There is also a fair amount of look at what WE did in that the Polish part tend to be forgotten like also the Russian part in taking Berlin and ending the war.

          The "for saving millions of lives." reminds me of how the number of saved lives, due to the bomb, started to climb from about one hundred thousandths to the millions after the war.

          Britain and the USA lost less than half a million lives each during the war. To call that much or not much would of course be idiotic but the real high numbers are found in the rest of the world.

          https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-worldwide-deaths-world-war

          As I am nor British or German I suppose I can write this without any strong nationalistic bias.

          According to that list the Americans lost 418,500 in the war, and looking at that, Covid-19 has to enter ones mind.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            >"Telephone".

            >Not at sea or in the air.'

            You don't generally send encrypted messages to the air.

            Dear spitfire pilot in the battle of Britain, switch to autopilot and get out your typex machine to decode this message telling you where the German fighters are

            Similarly you don't transmit a powerful radio signal from London telling your convoys where to sail to tomorrow in the same way that a U-boat HQ has to

            1. EvilDrSmith

              Re: Old typewriter

              Though if you have cracked an Enigma message regarding the assembly of a U-boat Wolfpack, you have to tell the convoys at sea to change course to avoid it (the Wolfpack) in some manner without the German's knowing or at least without the German's realising why you sent the message to change course

              I seem to recall that the German's did actually break the code the British used for merchant convoys, or rather the codes - I think the British relied more on changing the code periodically to maintain security.

              1. Gerhard den Hollander

                Re: Old typewriter

                Cryptomonicon by Neal Stepehnson discusses this (and other issues) as well as spinning a yarn about cryptocurrency.

                How to sink the german convoys without the germans getting the hint that you may have broken their cipher ....

          2. eionmac

            Re: Old typewriter

            Quote There is also a fair amount of look at what WE did in that the Polish part tend to be forgotten like also the Russian part in taking Berlin and ending the war. unquote

            The poles are NOT forgotten by any who understand the joint effort.

            Russia's effort is remembered, but from personal experience, when Soviet Russia embassy in a foreign land was invited to join with other embassies' folk and others at a UK graveyard and memorial (where a Russian soldier was buried) they did not attend!

            I will never forget that put down to an enlisted Soviet Sapper who gave his life in a very bad middle eastern theatre.

            1. Dabooka Silver badge

              Re: Old typewriter

              @Eionmac

              This. I find even new material (the recent Berlin three parter on the BBC as an example) places relevance and emphasis when needed. I can't see anyone who knows anything about Bletchley not knowing about the Polish work on the Bombes prior to the invasion.

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: Old typewriter

              I guess Soviet Russia had strong ideological reasons for the snub. However, things have changed somewhat on another front as it were - or at least their acknowledgement and support for the contribution and sacrifices made by the Arctic Convoys. Perhaps someone can shed some light on the current view from the top regarding the sacrifices made by their civilians and enlisted.

              https://www.rusemb.org.uk/article/60

              Admiral Lord West [(right)], the former First Sea Lord who is a trustee of the Imperial War Museum, told the Standard: "She has played her part in history, Belfast. I’m really delighted the Russians now recognise what the Arctic convoys did for their nation, and the bravery of our sailors. Admiral Lord West

              "It was very arduous but very important for keeping Russia in the war. That was the key reason we managed to defeat the Germans. The Russian Army ripped the guts out of the German Army."

              HMS Belfast - worth a visit if you ever visit London

              1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: Old typewriter

                There is a brilliant museum dedicated to the Russian Arctic Convoys between Gairloch and Aultbea on the north-west coast of Scotland - https://racmp.co.uk. It doesn't look much from the outside (an old schoolhouse), but it has so much information. One of those places you never quite schedule enough time to visit! I hope they are weathering the Covid storm so I can visit them next year.

            3. Muscleguy Silver badge

              Re: Old typewriter

              In the South of St Petersburg on the road to Moscow there’s a war memorial in an island in the middle of the road. It was opposite our hotel so we wondered over. Lots of marble, heroic statues, stone flags rather tasteful. An eternal flame and an elderly caretaker who was very friendly, pleased to have visitors.

              It marks the closest approach of the Wermacht to the centre of St Petersburg. It’s quite a moving place.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It’s quite a moving place.

                If the closest approach of the Wermacht to the centre of St Petersburg is still moving, does that means we have somewhere [1] missed a top secret group of Nazis armed with a time machine? :-)

                +

                [1] Or somewhen, I suppose.

          3. Dabooka Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            @Lars

            Not sure about some of these points. Certainly everything I read and see in reaction to Polish contribution to Enigma and the Russian involvement in Berlin seems to cover everything fairly well. It's tosh such as U-571 etc that derails fact for fiction

            The point about lives saved is interesting as of course time brings more reflection and more modelling (all hypothetical of course) but you are correct; we'll never ever know. I have never really been aware that the number of UK or American deaths, military or civilian, are somehow greater or more 'significant' than others. Rather to the contrary I would state that most would think of Germany and Russia first and foremost.

        3. Conrad Longmore

          Re: Old typewriter

          Of course the Germans had telephones too, but in occupied Europe the resistance would keep cutting the lines. This forced the Germans to use radio while the lines were repaired. The Germans thought it was just an annoyance, they didn't understand that they were exposing their communications.

          As the Germans were pushed back inside their own borders, then they tended to switch to telephone and teleprinters which meant that the intelligence dried up. This is one of the reasons that the Germans achieved surprise at the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45.

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        The Germans were actively cracking Britain's codes at various points throughout WW2 but didn't have the resources to mount an equivalent codebreaking effort to Ultra.

        Interestingly, the Germans considered Britain's apparent (as they saw it) carelessness in its own encryption to be evidence that they were unlikely to be reading Enigma.

      4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        @Lars: two books I can highly recommend on the subject:

        - Between Silk and Cyanide, by Leo Marks

        - Most Secret War, by R V Jones

        And another classic is The Codebreakers, by David Kahn though that doesn't as far as I recall address the UK communications practice directly.

        The first two were written by people who were there, doing it... though both may be out of print by now.

        1. harmjschoonhoven

          Re: Old typewriter

          @Neil Barnes: Do not forget X Y & Z by Dermot Turing, The real story of how Enigma was broken.

        2. Purple_Monkey

          Re: Old typewriter

          I was lucky enough to get a copy of Most Secret War from my Father. A fascinating book by someone who was right in the thick of other (non enigma) technical efforts at the time. Radar, Window (chaff) and terrain following radar to name just a few.

        3. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          And that excellent BBC Radio comedy "Hut 33". It took bits of history and wove a series of sketches around it. I particularly like the one "Big Machine" where they take an idea of "a computing machine" to Alan Turin but have it rejected.

          Spam, the iTube and various other current phenomena cleverly get woven into the plot.

      5. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        "what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war"

        Obfuscation and contradictory messages. Those in the know would know which was valid, to others it would look like nobody was in charge.

        Subtle non verbal message passing, as has already been mentioned, playing certain pieces of music at certain times of the day.

        Then the Americans brought in the ultimate encryption device - a dude that spoke Navajo.

        1. TheProf Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          "a dude that spoke Navajo"

          Did they ever find another dude to decode for them?

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            My mother's younger sister married a Navajo whose father was a code talker.

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Old typewriter

              "Navajo code talker".

              Perhaps the British got along with the Cockney code talkers very well.

              1. Vometia Munro

                Re: Old typewriter

                My grandfather was a RAF signals guy and apparently confounded the eavesdroppers by talking in Geordie.

                1. tygrus.au

                  Re: Old typewriter

                  I could not keep up with Guy Martin, I miss every second word on average. English as 1st language for me in Australia but some UK+Ireland accents are hard to get used to.

                  1. Hairy Wolf

                    Re: Old typewriter

                    English as 1st language for me in England but some UK+Ireland accents are hard to get used to.

            2. Steve K Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Old typewriter

              How?

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          "what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war"

          Obfuscation and contradictory messages. Those in the know would know which was valid, to others it would look like nobody was in charge.

          It would seem that the British government is still using this technique today.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Old typewriter

            Except that nobody's sufficiently in the know to know what's valid, don't you know.

        3. Steve K Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Old typewriter

          Then the Americans brought in the ultimate encryption device - a dude that spoke Navajo.

          Outsourcing to Indians even back then!

          (Plus surely they need n+1 here to decode it...)

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Old typewriter

            In my experience, it was more like n!

      6. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        PS. what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war, no great articles regarding that topic I can remember.

        Frankly, British communication was intercepted, see the Englandspiel.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Old typewriter

          "see the Englandspiel"

          Hmm, rank incompetence in London surrounded by a complete denial that anything is wrong lest their peers be seen to best them.

          So, nothing has changed then.....

      7. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        >what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war...

        The British used Typex machines. These are teleprinters that had a rotor based substitution mechanism not unlike the Enigma's, the device being closer to the Lorenz cypher machine that Colossus was built to crack than Enigma proper. Typex type machines remained the standard for communication until the 80s when more sophisticated computer based encryption took over.

        Typexs aren't very portable so I'd guess they used one time pads for communications between agents. They also came up with some surprisingly ingenious coding techniques to transfer information into and out of PoW camps.

        1. khjohansen

          Re: Old typewriter

          Famously, communications to various resistance networks went out by BBC [insert nation] broadcast in the form of an inordinate number of "personal greetings" at the end of each show.

      8. MadAsHell

        Re: Old typewriter

        Lack of articles on crypto efforts against British WWII ciphers: easy. Too embarrassing. It's one of the great unsung scandals of WWII crypto in the UK that while we realised the value of breaking Enigma (and later Lorenz), we completely failed to understand the linkage between U-boat successes (esp. in N Atlantic convoys) and German breaking of UK Admiralty Naval ciphers.

        Typex was never broken, but we didn't put Typex on board ship.

        We lost a lot of good men, material and ships due to this massive blind spot.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Old typewriter

          Typex.

          The Wiki has some about it, like.

          "In the history of cryptography, Typex (alternatively, Type X or TypeX) machines were British cipher machines used from 1937. It was an adaptation of the commercial German Enigma with a number of enhancements that greatly increased its security...."

          "Although the Typex has been attributed as having good security, the historic record is much less clear. ..."

          It was used by the navy at some point but not by submarines.

      9. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        >PS. what methods did the British have to hide their communication from the Germans during the war, no great articles regarding that topic I can remember.

        It distracts from the "we (the English) are superior" narrative.

        Your average Joe will just assume that the Germans didn't break British communications but as our boffins broke theirs, our's must have been better...

      10. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        >PS. what methods did the British have to hide their communication

        They spoke with a Scottish accent.

    5. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Old typewriter

      'Apparently they had different Enigmas on u-boats'

      My understanding is that the U-boats ran with a forth wheel whereas the standard one had three. I'm sure I read once that this contributed in the early days of Bletchley, as the forth cog was in essence superfluous for certain transmissions and was therefore always set in a certain place. This gave a constant of sorts which was identified and gave the boffins an 'in'. If memory serves routine weather reports was one example of this happening.

      I may be off in detail and I'm sure someone else on here can explain it more clearly but I'm sure that's basically it

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        It was to make it 'backward compatible' with other lower security services that only had 3 wheel systems.

        Generally this is a 'good thing', sending exactly the same message, eg a weather forecast, in easy code for fishing boats and ultra top super security mode for u-boats is a 'bad thing'

        1. WonkoTheSane

          Re: Old typewriter

          "Generally this is a 'good thing', sending exactly the same message, eg a weather forecast, in easy code for fishing boats and ultra top super security mode for u-boats is a 'bad thing'"

          As was starting and ending every message with "Heil Hitler".

      2. Dante Alighieri
        Coat

        Re: Old typewriter

        A FORTH wheel or wa s it PASCAL or COBOL...

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Old typewriter

        as the forth cog was in essence superfluous for certain transmissions

        If you look at the mechanics of an Enigma, you'll see the rightmost rotor moving one step every character, then the next on every complete revolution of the rightmost one, so after 26 characters. The third rotor moves one step every 676 (26^2) characters, and a fourth rotor would move only one step every 17576 character, so for all in tents and porpoises it would be stationary, and only the starting position and the rotor wiring would matter. Later modifications would have rotors stepping twice on every full revolution of the one to its right, but that would still leave that fourth one stationary except for very long messages (2197 chars).

        Backwards move would rotors Forth, way the By.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Old typewriter

          Forth is like forwards.

          Fourth is like four words.

          It's the fourth rotor that you're trying to refer to.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Old typewriter

            Comment wrong the to replying are you.

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: Old typewriter

              May the ForceFORTH be with you

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Apparently they had different Enigmas on u-boats"

      They did.

      As anyone who has seen the film "Enigma" will know it was called "Shark" (Sharq?) and had an extra rotor because they felt 5 didn't make the challenge hard enough.

      I don't know if the British ever saw one until after WWII. IOW it was entirely broken by analyzing its product.

  2. sbt Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    That's pretty good sonar...

    ...to pick up an object of the Enigma's size.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: That's pretty good sonar...

      Yes, and it's a sonar set available to civilians, make of that what you will.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Re: That's pretty good sonar...

        I'm going to organize a privately funded hunt for Red October. Are any of you guys in? (Yarrggghhh!!)

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      MH370

      Hopefully that too will turn up one day when not actively searching for it

      1. the hatter

        Re: MH370

        It's possible, but the pacific is 500x larger in surface area, but more critically, massively deeper (500m vs upto 12km, according to a very quick google) That's a huge obstacle in terms of observing the bottom for any reason other than already having a reason to beat that precise spot.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: MH370

          It's possible, but the pacific is 500x larger in surface area,

          Indian ocean, not the Pacific. Still about 40 times as large as the Baltic sea, and while not as deep as the Pacific, 7.2km is not to be sniffed at either.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MH370

        There is always a chance that MH370 will be found, but I would not bet on it within our lifetimes. The area it could have come down in is enormous, and the water depths are often beyond 10K feet.

        For example, recently I read a bit about the search for the remains of the Japanese battleship Yamato, which was sunk between Kyushu and Okinawa by hundreds of U.S. Navy planes as the Yamato and its task force was trying to intercept the U.S. landings there in April, 1945. Apparently, there was some confusion about the location of the actual sinking, despite there being hundreds of survivors from the battleship, thousands of survivors from the Yamato's escort group and hundreds of U.S. naval aviators who participated in the actual attack that sunk the battleship. Plus the water in that area was a bit over 1,000 feet deep, so not deep by the standards of modern submersible and sonar technology. But apparently it took a significant search effort to find the remains of a 70,000 ton ship that sank in only 1200 feet of water, whose demise had been witnessed and plotted by thousands of U.S. and Imperial Japanese navy personnel in what is a very busy sea lane where most or all of the area has been swept by active sonar at various points in the last 50 or 60 years.

        If that is required to find a 70,000 ton ship in those conditions, imagine the stars that will need to align to find a vastly smaller wreck, that obviously at least largely broke up upon impact with the ocean (They've found large sections of MH370 wreckage washed up on various Indian Ocean coastlines.) and most of that wreck is made up of materials that provide a much weaker sonar echo than the steel hull of a battleship.

  3. skeptical i
    Thumb Up

    Neato!

    And good on them for removing abandoned nets too.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Neato!

      Was going to say, hope you cleaned up all the other crap as well.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Neato!

        Cleaning up the other crap is why they were their. The Enigma find was just happy happenstance.

  4. Wally Dug
    Facepalm

    Film Version

    US divers clearing out a sprawl of abandoned fishing nets stuck in the unnamed but obviously European sea due to the funny little cars that they hired and all of the weird local bumpkins discovered more than they bargained for when they spotted an Enigma Machine, a device that encrypted secret messages used by the enemy in The 1941-45 War.

    A pair of hobbyist divers from Death Valley Dives, a diving company located in Pheonix, Arizona, Good Ole US of A, working with wealthy financiers the World Wide Hedge Fund (WWHF), knew they had spotted something unusual, thanks to a sonar scan.

    The team reckons the machine was thrown overboard in 1945 by those pesky soldiers that kind of look like Germans but not really as we can't cause offense these days, after the unnamed country's navy scuttled its own submarines to prevent the Americans from nabbing the tech toward the end of the war. The Enigma code was cracked by the American boffin Alan Turner in 1932 at Bletchley University, Good Ole US of A, an instrumental figure credited for helping the Americans win the war and for saving billions of lives.

    1. Christoph

      Re: Film Version

      You forgot the dastardly Brit who nearly wrecked the operation.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Film Version

        I thought us Brits were ALWAYS the baddies?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Film Version

        Nah, that would be a Pole, actually. Because, that way, not only can the stereotypical American movie maker have a villain with a suitable accent, but also join in on the tradition of fudging up the full history of Enigma code cracking.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Uninteresting

      There are many war ships around the world. Why bother with rusty ones on the sea bed. After all many modern liners are way bigger than the boring titanic.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Uninteresting

      There are many coins machines in pristine condition in wallets around the world.

      Why would anyone bother with some which has been rotting away under the ground for 1000 years?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unbroken Enigma

    The Enigma code was cracked by British boffin Alan Turing in 1942 at Bletchley Park

    They did not crack the navy 4-rotor variant. Up until a few years ago, a distributed computing project (Enigma@Home) worked on brute-forcing the remaining ciphertexts. It's done now and all the last status reports have been decoded. They were pretty boring, too.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Unbroken Enigma

      More importantly... Turing didn't do it alone.

      And I'm sure that had he survived until the work at Bletchley was declassified then he would have called out many other people.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Unbroken Enigma

        3 Polish mathematicians made the first analysis and break of Enigma. Rejewski, Zygalsi and Rozycki also built the first machine to assist in the breaking, the "Bombe".

        https://www.nsa.gov/About-Us/Current-Leadership/Article-View/Article/1621548/marian-rejewski/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last message

    I sink therefore I am

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last message

      I sank therefore I was

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last message

      Distress call: Mayday, mayday, we're sinking.....

      Response: What are you sinking about?

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Last message

        uhm, sinking!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last message

      What are you sinking about?

      Überlebens-Radar!

  8. Blake St. Claire

    WTF? WWF

    Last I checked, WWF is World Wildlife Fund, aka. wwf.org which redirects to worldwildlife.org.

    And not World Wide Fund for Nature as the fine article claims.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: WTF? WWF

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Fund_for_Nature

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: WTF? WWF

      You last checked in the mid 1980s?

    3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: WTF? WWF

      "which redirects to worldwildlife.org"

      And after all that whining and crying they did to get the wwf.org domain away from the World Wrestling Federation.

      1. WonkoTheSane

        Re: WTF? WWF

        You mean World Wrestling Entertainment Inc?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE

  9. KBeee Bronze badge

    Unbreakable Enigma

    I was surprised at how many, and the number of different types of Enigma machines they had at Bletchley Park when I visited last summer. I'd somehow got it into my head that there were basically two types - 3 rotor and 4 rotor.

    On a side note, the Nazi inability to believe Enigma could be broken gave an unexpected bonus to the Allies. The Nazi high command knew that the Allies were somehow gleaning intelligence about the whereabouts of U-boats in the Atlantic and seemed to be re-routing convoys to avoid them. As Enigma was unbreakable, there must be something else that was letting the Allies detect them other than HFDF which only gave away their position when actually broadcasting. Maybe the Allies were somehow detecting the U-boats radar detectors? So the order went out forbidding the U-boats to use their radar detecting equipment...

    1. naive Silver badge

      Re: Unbreakable Enigma

      It is fascinating how a nation capable to air V2's and jet powered fighter planes in WW2 didn't have the wit to setup an effective counter intelligence service.

      The terrible losses of U-Boat crews, over 70% perished, and many of the failed offensive where there was no element of surprise working for the Germans should have rung some bells.

      There are several clues that not only code breaking aided the Allied forces in their victory.

      Field Marschal von Manstein and other generals on the Eastern front complained that the OKW head quarters were a spy nest, their most successful counter offensives against the Russians were those hidden from the OKW.

      After July 20 1944 the German army managed to surprise the Allies twice, namely with the defense of the Arnhem area during operation market garden and during the battle of the Bulge where they ran over surprised Americans who thought the war was won. So either by that time the Germans knew Enigma was broken, or by accident some spy was hanged after the assassination attempt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unbreakable Enigma

        Not sure that the German's thinking Enigma broken were factors in Arnhem or the Bulge. Certainly for Arnhem Ultra was fairly explicit in identifying the threat from Panzers, it's just that the intelligence was either ignored, lost or discounted. Similarly any specific intelligence re the Bulge attacks was weighed against a view that the Germans couldn't mount an effective attack. And as the fighting got closer to Germany more messages would have been via telephony, rather than by radio.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Unbreakable Enigma

          The Germans had also effectively hobbled any involvement of the Dutch resistance through Das Englandspiel meaning that any intelligence gleaned from Dutch resistance through SOE was not believed (even though it told them the fields right next to the bridge at arnhem where dry enough to land on, and not flooded like the army believed for instance) and Dutch resistance itself was neither armed nor aware of the attacks until the troops were already on the ground.

          Operation Market-Garden could have been way more successful than it turned out had the resistance been aware and been able to sabotage supply lines or block roads and had the planning for the operation been better. As it was, it was the plan and especially the timeline was just way too ambitious ("A bridge too far").

  10. Chawkida21

    Enigma code broken in the 1930s, not 1942

    Hi all

    I think you'll find that the Enigma code was broken in the mid to late 1930s, check out Marian Rejewski - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Rejewski

    Hats off to Alan Turing, none the less for his great work at Bletchley.

    All the best (just saw the other post regarding Rejewski)

    1. david 12

      Re: Enigma code broken in the 1930s, not 1942

      Yes, an Enigma code was broken in the 30's. It wasn't the machine, process, or code used in the 40's, but it was the starting point for the later work.

  11. AK565

    Enigma Cracked by Poland

    ... late December, 1932, actually.

    https://scienceinpoland.pap.pl/en/news/news%2C78071%2C80-years-ago-polish-intelligence-handed-over-enigma-code-french-and-british-allies

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enigma Cracked by Poland

      <toxic>if you wonder where USA got their savior complex/delusions of grandeur that is a clue.<\toxic>

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021