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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bits of code-breaking Enigma machine to be reunited

A set of cogs from Britain's World War II Enigma code-breaking machine has been discovered after languishing in a cupboard for up to 30 years.

The three rotors were found at the Royal Navy training establishment HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire, in a cupboard used to store flags and other equipment.

At first it was thought they were imitations and they were put back into storage only to be re-examined several weeks later.

It is now believed the items were spares for an Enigma machine donated to the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) at Portsmouth in 1983.

Now the box of three rotors is to be reunited with the machine when they are donated to the NMRN on Wednesday - the 71st anniversary of the Royal Navy's first capture of a fully functioning Enigma machine.

The German military used the Enigma cipher machine during the Second World War to keep communications secret.

It works using a series of rotating "wheels" or "rotors" to scramble plaintext messages into incoherent ciphertext with billions of combinations possible.

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