This page includes various examples of real, contemporary Enigma messages (collected from several sources, acknowledged below). You can decrypt these with the Enigma Simulator app (see the User Guide).
The plain text of the messages is of course in the German language, and may include abbreviations and conventions such as "X" for a space, "J" for a quotation mark or "Q" for the two characters "CH", so further interpretation and translation will be needed to produce an understandable message in English. Also, being real messages and Enigma machines having no backspace key, there are occasional typos! The decrypts and translations are on another page if you would like to check your results.
Enigma Instruction Manual, 1930
This message is taken from a German army instruction manual for the Enigma I (interoperable with the later navy machine, Enigma M3).
Message key: ABL
GCDSE AHUGW TQGRK VLFGX UCALX VYMIG MMNMF DXTGN VHVRM MEVOU YFZSL RHDRR XFJWC FHUHM UNZEF RDISI KBGPM YVXUZ
Turing's Treatise, 1940
Message included in a document written by Alan Turing for new codebreaker recruits at Bletchley Park.
Message key: JEZA
QSZVI DVMPN EXACM RWWXU IYOTY NGVVX DZ---
Operation Barbarossa, 1941
Sent from the Russian front on 7th July 1941. The message is in two parts:
Message key: BLA
EDPUD NRGYS ZRCXN UYTPO MRMBO FKTBZ REZKM LXLVE FGUEY SIOZV EQMIK UBPMM YLKLT TDEIS MDICA GYKUA CTCDO MOHWX MUUIA UBSTS LRNBZ SZWNR FXWFY SSXJZ VIJHI DISHP RKLKA YUPAD TXQSP INQMA TLPIF SVKDA SCTAC DPBOP VHJK-
Message key: LSD
SFBWD NJUSE GQOBH KRTAR EEZMW KPPRB XOHDR OEQGB BGTQV PGVKB VVGBI MHUSZ YDAJQ IROAX SSSNR EHYGG RPISE ZBOVM QIEMM ZCYSG QDGRE RVBIL EKXYQ IRGIR QNRDN VRXCY YTNJR
U-264 (Kapitänleutnant Hartwig Looks), 1942
Sent from a U-boat on 25th November 1942, this message was enciphered using their standard-equipment Enigma M4 machine.
Message key: VJNA
NCZW VUSX PNYM INHZ XMQX SFWX WLKJ AHSH NMCO CCAK UQPM KCSM HKSE INJU SBLK IOSX CKUB HMLL XCSJ USRR DVKO HULX WCCB GVLI YXEO AHXR HKKF VDRE WEZL XOBA FGYU JQUK GRTV UKAM EURB VEKS UHHV OYHA BCJW MAKL FKLM YFVN RIZR VVRT KOFD ANJM OLBG FFLE OPRG TFLV RHOW OPBE KVWM UQFM PWPA RMFH AGKX IIBG
Scharnhorst (Konteradmiral Erich Bey), 1943
This message was sent from the battleship Scharnhorst on 26th December 1943, the day on which it was sunk by torpedoes from British destroyers.
Message key: UZV
YKAE NZAP MSCH ZBFO CUVM RMDP YCOF HADZ IZME FXTH FLOL PZLF GGBO TGOX GRET DWTJ IQHL MXVJ WKZU ASTR
Enigma Tirpitz, 1944
The "Tirpitz" network was used for communication between the German and Japanese navies. This message was sent on 10th March 1944.
A particular quirk on this network was that the Enigma machine operators manually advanced the left hand wheel (the reflector) one step after every 5th letter group. These points are shown below with the "/" symbol.
Message key: FQDC
IRCYP XNVSF ERKMK MNJZZ ZTDBF / GMFBO JGADL KJSVG JKSGB JQFKU / FXWVS MWGKO CPKMQ KFDDR MRDSQ / OAOIU GAIRM ZZCBQ MEFMG ZVAOQ / QWJXN JENOF DBHVK
Thanks to Ralph Erskine for discovering the 1930 example message, published by Frode Weierud. Turing's Treatise on the Enigma was preserved in the US National Security Agency archives and released to the public in 1996; a version transcribed by Ralph Erskine, Philip Marks and Frode Weierud is available. The Operation Barbarossa message was published by Geoff Sullivan and Frode Weierud as part of their project to discover the keys for many unbroken Enigma messages. The machine settings for the U-264 message were discovered as part of Stefan Krah's M4 Message Breaking Project. The Scharnhorst message was also decrypted as part of the M4 Project. The Enigma T message was published by Frode Weierud and the key for the message was discovered by Dan Girard.