Divers have recovered six World War II Enigma machines from the Baltic Sea off the coast of Germany, authorities reported on Thursday.
The cypher devices were discovered near the small island of Schleimuende, the state of Schleswig-Holstein’s archaeological office said.
“While looking for a lost propeller, I landed upon a load of discarded Enigma machines,’’ the office cited Christian Huettner, who made the discovery, as saying.
“They appear in part to having been rendered unusable before being thrown away.’’
The devices were used by the Nazis to encode strategic messages during World War II.
Mathematicians in Poland were able to crack the Enigma code in the early 1930s.
They shared their work with the British at the end of that decade, and a secret code-breaking group led by mathematician Alan Turing was able to provide the Allies with key intelligence.
Research divers had already discovered one of the Enigma machines in November 2020 while looking for abandoned fishing nets in the Baltic Sea.
It is now undergoing restoration work at the Archaeological Museum in Schleswig town.
The machines located by Huettner are also to be restored and ultimately go on display.
The state archaeological office said it was not yet clear how the machines ended up where they were found.
Archaeologists believe that numerous other Enigma machines could be lurking in the waters off Germany.