Enigma Message Decyphered

Ken AshfordHistoryLeave a Comment

In WWII, the Germans used the Enigma coding machine to send messages back and forth.  The Enigma code, which you can read about here, was so good that even after the Allies obtained an Enigma machine, it still was difficult — if not impossible — to crack certain messages.

The M4 Project is a shared computing project.  Shared computing is an interesting research tool where volunteers (like you and me) essentially donate our PC resources, allowing our computers to run programs in the background to accomplish some goal.  In effect, it’s like one massive computer engaging in one massive task. 

The M4 Project is designed to crack some still-uncracked German messages created with Enigma.

Last week, they succeeded in cracking one.

The cyphertext:


The decrypted (and formatted text):

Von Looks:

Funktelegramm 1132/19 Inhalt:

Bei Angriff unter Wasser gedrueckt, Wasserbomben. Letzter Gegnerstandort
08:30 Uhr, Marqu AJ 9863, 220 Grad, 8 Seemeilen, stosse nach. 14 Millibar
faellt, NNO 4, Sicht 10.

Translated to English:

From Looks:

Radio signal 1132/19 contents:

Forced to submerge during attack, depth charges. Last enemy location
08:30h, Marqu AJ 9863, 220 degrees, 8 nautical miles, (I am) following
(the enemy). (Barometer) falls (by) 14 Millibar, NNO 4, visibility 10.