The fire is everything
THE Nazi code which sent thousands of allied sailors to their deaths in the Second World War has been cracked more than 60 years after Britain's best mathematical minds failed to break it.
All the codes except three were broken. Now, the work of a German amateur cryptographer has led to the solving of one of the three unresolved Enigma puzzles dating from 1942.
Seemingly random ranks of letters took on a clear meaning by running code-breaking software on a "grid" of internet-linked home computers.
The three unsolved Enigma intercepts were published in a cryptography journal in 1995 and have intrigued enthusiasts ever since.
The latest attempt to crack the codes was launched by Stefan Krah, a violinist with an interest in cryptography.
In a little over a month the message had been decoded into a real wartime communication.
A check against existing records confirmed that the message was sent by Kapitanleutnant Hartwig Looks, commander of the U264 submarine, on 25 November, 1942.
Mr Krah said his codebreaking software uses a combination of "brute force" and complex maths to get at the truth.
Here's the original Enigma code:
"NCZW VUSX PNYM INHZ XMQX SFWX WLKJ AHSH NMCO CCAK UQPM KCSM HKSE INJU SBLK IOSX CKUB HMLL XCSJ USRR DVKO HULX WCCB GVLI YXEO AHXR HKKF VDRE WEZL XOBA FGYU JQUK GRTV UKAM EURB VEKS UHHV OYHA BCJW MAKL FKLM YFVN RIZR VVRT KOFD ANJM OLBG FFLE OPRG TFLV RHOW OPBE KVWM UQFM PWPA RMFH AGKX IIBG"
And here's the translated version:
"Forced to submerge during attack. Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy]. [barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles]."
The German submarine which sent the message, U-264, was sunk at 17:07hrs on 19 February, 1944 in the North Atlantic, by depth charges from the Royal Navy sloops HMS Woodpecker and HMS Starling, having survived five patrols. All the crew of 52 were rescued.
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Learn more about the Enigma machine and code here: