Enigma Machine Recovered from the Baltic Sea

Neat story:

German divers searching the Baltic Sea for discarded fishing nets have stumbled upon a rare Enigma cipher machine used by the Nazi military during World War Two which they believe was thrown overboard from a scuttled submarine.

Thinking they had discovered a typewriter entangled in a net on the seabed of Gelting Bay, underwater archaeologist Florian Huber quickly realised the historical significance of the find.

EDITED TO ADD: Slashdot thread.

Posted on December 4, 2020 at 9:18 AM10 Comments


Clive Robinson December 4, 2020 10:05 AM

It looks a little “beat up”, I wonder if that is just 70 odd years of wind and wave movment of water and the odd fishing net, or if the German sailers took a sledge hammer to it before turning it into jetsam.

Hopefully there will be enough evidence such as serial numbers to trace which U-Boat it was on and trace if any of those on board at the time are still alive to tell their story and that of their crew mates.

I get the feeling looking at the photo it can not be restored to a working state, so maybe it would be best to clean it up and preserve it in it’s current condition as testiment to just how well built they were.

vas pup December 4, 2020 3:19 PM

@Bruce and all:
“they believe was thrown overboard from a scuttled submarine.”

Not really, following German source of information on the subject:

“It is believed that the machine was ===>thrown overboard from a German warship in the final days of the war. Experts ===>think it unlikely that the three-rotor Enigma machine came from a submarine because Nazi U-boats used more complex four-rotor devices.”

Have a good weekend!

vas pup December 4, 2020 3:23 PM

Some addition to the post related:

“The British mathematician Alan Turing, regarded as the father of modern computing, led a team at Britain’s Bletchley Park code-breaking center, which cracked the cipher system in 1941.

The breakthrough helped the Allies decipher crucial radio messages about German military operations.
Historians estimate that it shortened the ====>war by about two years.
!!!Only hubris led to the Nazi code being cracked: the insistence on signing some messages with “HH” (Heil Hitler)
!!!ultimately provided the weak spot that the code-breakers were able to exploit.”

Grandson of Polish soldier December 5, 2020 9:00 AM

Not “Nazi” army – German army, consisting of Germans, speaking German language, who came from Germany.

And it was the second time in a century that they started a world war. At least give them some credit for their “achievements”.

Barry Goddard December 6, 2020 2:09 PM

Fascinating discovery from 100 years ago!

If scientists can but decipher the final rotor positions they may as yet reveal the final message that Enigma received.

It would indeed be ironic if said final message were to be the instructions to heft it overboard as a precursor to it’s destruction!

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