Before and during WWII, many different Enigma machines were developed and built. Some of these machines are compatible with each other, but others are not.

The Enigma I was developed especially for the German Reichswehr (later: Wehrmacht) and forms the basic design on which all German Army Enigma machines are based. The Standard Naval Enigma (M3) is functionally identical to this machine, but has letters on the wheels rather than numbers.

On 2 February 1942, the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) suddenly introduced this new version of the Enigma machine. The M4 had 4 wheels instead of the usual 3 and caused great upset with the allied codebreakers. The M4 was used exclusively by the U-Boot division of the German Navy. The rest of the Navy kept using the M3.

It is sometimes thought that the Enigma was broken by Colossus, the first electronic digital computer. This was not the case, however.

The Enigma was broken manually (using hand methods) and with help of an electro-mechanical device, called the Bomba (Polish), and Bombe (British). The latter has been rebuilt and is now on public display at Bletchley Park (UK).




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