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A long-lost machine that allowed Nazis to send secret messages has been found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
The notorious Enigma device allowed users to write coded notes, and helped Hitler’s leading officers send secure military commands.
Copies of the machine were highly-razed by Allies, who needed its parts to decrypt the messages.
The machines were featured heavily in the 2014 historical drama The Imitation Garden.
Decrypting German intelligence was a vital operation for code-breakers during the Second World War and played a part in getting the Allies on top.
One of the elusive machines has now been found by gobsmacked divers during an operation to protect marine life from abandoned fishing nets.
The decades-old wartime technology was found resting on the seabed in the Baltic Sea.
Gabriele Dederer from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which hired the divers, said it was a discovery unlike any other.
“The WWF has been working for many years to rid the Baltic Sea of dangerous ghost nets,” she said.
“We regularly find larger objects on which the nets get tangled underwater.
“Such so-called ‘hook points’ are often tree trunks or stones. The Enigma is by far the most exciting historic find.”
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The machine was recovered from the bottom of Gelting Bay in northern Germany.
It was found after Submaris, a company based in Kiel, used side-viewing sonar technology to identify the net it was caught in.
Florian Huber, a diver with Submaris, said the machine was most likely sent to its watery resting place in May 1945.
In that month, 47 German U-boats were scuttled in Gelting Bay by crewmen determined not to let them fall into the hands of the Allies.
“We suspect that our Enigma went overboard in the course of this event,” said Mr Huber.
He added that copies of the machine are now “extremely rare” and “only a few specimens are available in German museums”.
“As an underwater archaeologist, I have already made many exciting and strange finds,” he continued.
“However, I didn’t dream that we would once find an Enigma machine.
“It was a grey November day I will not forget so soon.”
The newly-discovered Enigma has now been sent to the restoration workshop at the Museum of Archaeology in Schleswig for preservation and further examination.
- World War 2
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