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Instruments of Science & Technology / A RARE HEIMSOETH UND RINKE 3-ROTOR ENIGMA CIPHER MACHINE, BERLIN, 1938,

Lot 26
*
A RARE HEIMSOETH UND RINKE 3-ROTOR ENIGMA CIPHER MACHINE,
BERLIN, 1938,
28 September 2022, 14:00 BST
London, Knightsbridge

£75,000 - £100,000

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A RARE HEIMSOETH UND RINKE 3-ROTOR ENIGMA CIPHER MACHINE, BERLIN, 1938,

serial number A 8904, inner front panel with "Klappe schliessen" and "ENIGMA" stamps, rotors I (A5042), II (A18219) Wa69, III (A8152) WaA316, and metal stamped Enigma label inside the lid, original, and D reflector serial no. A11389, standard QWERTZ keyboard of 26 keys, white on black backgrounds, battery switch, ebonite Steckerbrett [plugboard] with 8 stecker cables (6 plugged into the Steckerbrett and 2 spares stored in the top lid of case), battery casing, upper lid with 9 bulbs, contrast filter, and original "Zur Beachtung" instructions inside the lid, in original stained oak box, with hinged front panel and leather carrying handle,
11in x 6in x 13 1/2in (28cm x 15.2cm x 34.5cm) overall

Footnotes

The Enigma D reflector (Umkehrwalze D) in Enigma machine A8904 is of particular importance. It is a field re-wirable reflector introduced by the Luftwaffe in 1944 as a means to improve the cipher security of the Enigma. It was first observed on January 2, 1944 in Norwegian traffic. As the UKW-D was not distributed very widely and introduced late into the War, it is very rare. This factor also stopped it from causing as significant a headache for Allied codebreakers as it could have caused. More information about the Umkehrwalze D is available at:

https://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/enigma/ukwd/index.htm

This example of the three rotor enigma machine "Modell 1" was used principally by the army (Wehrmacht), and was their favoured enciphering device. British attempts to break the Enigma code were fruitless for years. The breakthrough eventually came after the creation of the famous British codebreaking centre Bletchley Park. Using the technology transferred to them from the brilliant Polish codebreaking team, as well as documents supplied by the French Intelligence from a German spy. Alan Turing, along with Knox, Foss and many others were able to break the Enigma code in 1941, shortening the war by an estimated two years, and saving countless lives.

It is unknown exactly how many enigma machines were made, but we know that relatively few survived the war. Rather than have the machines fall into enemy hands, commanders were ordered to destroy these secret machines upon retreat, and documents pertaining to their manufacture were burned or in many cases simply lost. On top of this, Churchill announced that he had ordered all Enigma machines to be destroyed at the end of the war.

Additional information