Morse Code

Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between stations. In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse developed a code (bearing his name) that assigned a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the English alphabet and allowed for the simple transmission of complex  messages  across telegraph lines. 

Initially, the code, when transmitted over the telegraph system, was rendered as marks on a piece of paper that the telegraph operator would then translate back into English. Rather quickly, however, it became apparent that the operators were able to hear and understand the code just by listening to the clicking of the receiver, so the paper was replaced by a receiver that created more pronounced beeping sounds.

In 1844, Morse sent his first telegraph message, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland; by 1866, a telegraph line had been laid across the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Europe. Although the telegraph had fallen out of widespread use by the start of the 21st century, replaced by the telephone, fax machine and Internet, it laid the groundwork for the communications revolution that led to those later innovations.

 

FYI - "SOS", the internationally recognized distress signal, does not stand for any particular words. Instead, the letters were chosen because they are easy to transmit in Morse code: "S" is three dots, and "O" is three dashes.

Source - https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/telegraph

International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (IRSA)

A - Alpha

B - Bravo

C - Charlie

D - Delta

E - Echo

F - Foxtrot

G - Golf

H - Hotel

I - India

J - Juliett

K - Kilo

L - Lima

M - Mike

N - November

O - Oscar

P - Papa

Q - Quebec

R - Romeo

S - Sierra

T - Tango

U - Uniform

V - Victor

W - Whiskey

X - X-ray

Y - Yankee

Z - Zulu

All of us have experienced the frustration of talking on a call with poor reception or noisy background and know how difficult it can be to communicate certain words under these conditions.  Because many words & letters sound the same under terrible listening conditions they can be easily misinterpreted.  Military leaders understand the importance of concise communication on the battlefield.  They know battles can be won or lost and lives saved or lost depending on information given & perceived.  The US military uses the same phonetic alphabet that was adopted by NATO in 1957 to communicate. Also known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, it is used by military, emergency & civil aviation organizations worldwide. Next time you find yourself struggling to communicate & have to spell a word over a bad connection try using these....

German Enigma Machine

The Enigma machine is an encryption device developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication. It was employed extensively by Nazi Germany during World War II, in all branches of the German military.

As used in practice, the Enigma encryption was broken from 1932 by cryptanalytic attacks from the Polish Cipher Bureau, which passed its techniques to their French and British allies in 1939. Subsequently, a dedicated decryption centre was established by the United Kingdom at Bletchley Park as part of the Ultra program for the rest of the war.

 

While Germany introduced a series of improvements to Enigma, and these hampered decryption efforts to varying degrees, they did not ultimately prevent Britain and its allies from exploiting Enigma-encoded messages as a major source of intelligence during the war. Many commentators say the flow of communications intelligence from Ultra's decryption of Enigma, the Lorenz and other cipher machines shortened the war significantly and may even have altered its outcome.

Source  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigma_machine

Enigma has an electro-mechanical rotor mechanism that scrambles the 26 letters of the alphabet. In typical use, one person enters text on the Enigma's keyboard and another person writes down which of 26 lights above the keyboard lights up at each key press. If plain text is entered, the lit-up letters are the encoded ciphertext. Entering ciphertext transforms it back into readable plaintext. The rotor mechanism changes the electrical connections between the keys and the lights with each keypress. The security of the system depends on Enigma machine settings that were changed daily, based on secret key lists distributed in advance, and on other settings that change for each message. The receiving station has to know and use the exact settings employed by the transmitting station to successfully decrypt a message.

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