Version 0.50 - 27 January 2019
- under construction
This page shows all currently known Enigma models and how they are
related to each other, in the form of a family tree.
The family tree is the result of a co-operation between
Paul Reuvers and Frode Weierud and is subject to copyright.
If you want to use it for your own publication, please read
and the disclaimer below.
Important notice —
An earlier version of this page was based on the classical understanding of
the Enigma model names, such as Enigma A, Enigma B, Enigma C, etc.
Recently discovered documents have shown however, that some of these
model names are incorrect. This affects in particular our view
on the printing Enigma machines (Schreibende Enigma) and the
early glowlamp-based machines. The information below is based on the
new insights, but is currently under development and may be changed
The large family of different Enigma machines that were developed between
1923 and 1945, can roughly be divided into two branches: (1) a line of large
complex machines that printed directly to paper — introduced in 1923 —
and (2) a line of simpler – and therefore much cheaper – machines that used
glowlamps (light bulbs) for their output.
The latter is the most well-known branch.
The first Enigma machine to be developed – some time in 1923 –
was Die Handelsmaschine
(the commercial machine, or trade machine).
It was first discussed by Arthur Scherbius – the inventor – in a technical
magazine in November 1923. It prints directly to paper using a print wheel,
and has four cipher wheels, with 28 contacts each. This machine has
In the following year –1924 –
a different approach was tried, with type bars instead of a print wheel, but it
was not until 1926 that the mechanical and production problems had been solved,
and the machine was mature enough to be sold. It became known as
Die schreibende Enigma (the printing Enigma),
but is also known as Die Typenhebelmaschine
(the type bar machine).
The last printing Enigma machine was introduced in 1929. It was given the
model name Enigma H29
(internal designator Ch.14) and used push-bars instead of
the error-prone type-bars of the earlier machine. It was sold to the
Hungarian Army, and to the German Reichswehr (Wehrmacht) were it
was known as the Enigma II. It was also used as a printer for other models.
Shortly after the introduction of the first Enigma machine – in 1923 –
development of a simpler, more portable, and more affordable machine
was started. Rather than printing its output directly to paper, this
machine produced its output on a panel with light bulbs; one for each
letter of the alphabet. This branch was known as the Glühlampenmaschine
(glowlamp machine) and would eventually evolve into a complex line
of machines of which many thousands were manufactured.
The branch of glowlamp machines started in 1924 with the introduction of
the Enigma A,
which was also known as Die kleine Militärmaschine
(the small military machine). It was soon followed by the
which eventually evolved into the Enigma C.
Several variants of the
Enigma A, B and C were developed, before the design evolved into the
Enigma D (internal designator Ch.8), or
Enigma Model A26, that can be seen as the basic
design on which all later machines were based.
Exclusively for use by the German war machine, a Steckerbrett
(plug board) was added to the design of the Enigma D in 1927 (internal
designator Ch.11a). This would be the starting point of the military
machine that was known by the Wehrmacht as the
Enigma I. This branch
is shown in green in the above diagram, and includes the naval machines
M1, M2, M3
and M4 (Ch.11g & g4).
This is arguably the most famous Enigma branch, of which
tens of thousands were manufactured.
A special branch, which also descends from the Enigma D,
is the line of cogwheel-driven Enigma machines, known
as Die Zählwerksmaschinen
(the counter machines, or cogwheel machines).
Starting with an early variant in 1927 and the improved
Enigma Model A28
(Ch.15) in 1928, this line eventually evolved into the
somewhat smaller Enigma Model G31,
or Enigma G (Ch.15a).
Several varants of the latter were developed (Ch.15b & Ch.15c),
one of which has survived.
A little-known branch is the line of numbers-only machines, known
as Enigma Model Z30,
or Enigma Z, here shown in yellow.
There are two known versions, one of which descends
from the Enigma D,
whilst the other one contains influences of the
Zählwerk Enigma A28.
It is believed that only a small number was
manufactured. Examples of the first variant (Ch.16) have
In parallel with the other branches, a line of commercial machines
was developed between 1927 and 1944, all of which were based on the
Enigma D. This line is generally known as the
Enigma Model A27
or Enigma K,
although the letter K was not used as a serial number prefix
The table consists of a number of circular 'balloons' each of which
describes a single model or variant. We've tried to provide as much
information as possible both inside and outside the balloons.
Arrows are used to point to descendants and variants of a particular
machine or model.
Inside each balloon are three pieces of information. The topmost
one is the official model number (when known) that was used in brochures
At the centre is the popular name by which the machine
is commonly known, for example:
or Enigma M4.
At the bottom is the internal designator used by the manufacturer
in internal documents and drawings (Ch. xx).
At the top left is the year of development or introduction shown
in red. When known, the green number to the right of the year, shows how
many machines of this model were made on average.
At the bottom right are two numbers printed in blue.
The topmost one shows the number of contacts on each wheel.
Just below that is the number of turnover notches on each wheel.
The Enigma family tree is largely based on many years of historical
research of the Enigma machine, that is currently being carried out by
Frode Weierud in Norway.
The full results of his research are expected
in the form of a future publication in Cryptologia.
Until that time, the tree may change regularly as new information
is discovered. The bottom right of the tree shows the current
version number and release date. This information is also printed
at the top of this page.
Conditions for using the Enigma Family Tree
Please note that the copyright of the Enigma Family Tree belongs
to Paul Reuvers and Frode Weierud. If you want to use it in
your own publication, you may do so without prior permission,
if you meet all of the following conditions:
- It is not used for commercial purposes.
- You do not modify or alter the tree.
- You do not remove or alter the copyright notice.
- You show the version number and release date.
- You give full credits to the authors plus a link to this page.
- You state that this is preliminary information.
If any of the above conditions can not be met, you should
first in order to ask for permission.
When requesting permission, please provide as much information
about yourself and your intended publication as possible.
All information on this page is believed to be correct at the time of
writing but there is no guarantee that this is the case,
nor that the information is suitable for any purpose whatsoever.
Please note that this page is subject to continuous
changes without notice.
Under no circumstances can we be held responsible for the
information presented here.
If you have additional information, or if you believe that
some of the information is incorrect, please do not hesitate
- Enigma Family Tree
The current version of the family tree is currently not
available for download, as it is undergoing a major revision.
Until that time, you may want to use the