A dead pigeon discovered recently in a chimney in Surrey may be able to provide new answers to the secrets of World War II. The pigeon had a secret coded message attached to it, which has stumped code-breakers at GCHQ. Can you help crack the code? The pigeon message is as follows:

AOAKN HVPKD FNFJW YIDDC
RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX
PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRZH
NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AKEEQ
WAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH
LKXGH RGGHT JRZCQ FNKTQ
KLDTS FQIRW AOAKN 27 1525/6



  1. Uncle Dave says:

    Yes, Alfred, I know before you post a comment. The message was from the future warning someone about Obama and progressives and everything else that doesn’t fit your world view.

  2. Chas Moser says:

    The code is from an enigma machine. The five letter grouping is the tip off on that. You need a room full of those machines each with a typist to set the rotors and type a few lines of code. If the text comes out garbled then reset the rotors to a different start position and try again. Sooner or later one of the typists will hit the correct start sequence.

  3. Uncle Patso says:

    Hmm. 135 letters in 27 groups of 5, just under 140 characters — I’ve got it! It’s the first text message!

    If this was enciphered with a one-time pad it may never be deciphered, unless records of the series of which it was probably a part are found, which is pretty unlikely.

    Surrey is not far from Buckinghamshire, where Bletchley Park, Britain’s main code-breaking installation was located. The pigeon may have stopped for a rest on the way and died in that chimney.

    On the other hand, it may say something like “Blimey, the fog is bad today. Let’s meet for luncheon on Friday. Don’t forget you still owe me three shillings tuppence from last time.”

    Some initial observations:

    * Begins and ends with the same group, AOAKN.

    * Contains 5 double letters: DD, YY, KK, EE, GG. Would there be that many in a random selection of letters?

    Has anyone done a letter frequency analysis?

    • hope? says:

      It says.

      Please send more pigeons, they keep getting stuck in some damn chimney.

    • LibertyLover says:

      Double letters are only useful in a non-progressive replacement cypher. By WWII, these types of cyphers were obsolete so the double letters are useless.

  4. Yankinwaoz says:

    I cracked it…
    “I am the window if the late Nigerian Prince Uboo Juboo III. I have $6 million USD in a secret account. If you will let me cash it using your account, I will split it with you. I am also a god fearing christian and I do not lie.”

  5. AC_in_Mich says:

    Obviously it is Microsoft’s master Key for Windows 1945

  6. jim g says:

    It says:
    “Drink More Ovaltine!”

  7. SEND NO MORE SCOTCH STOP SIR WINSTON IS TRYING TO GET INTO THE QUEENS KNICKERS STOP SHE SEEMS TO BE ENJOYING IT STOP

  8. MikeN says:

    ONOIB

    Our Number One Idiot Bobbo.

  9. Haymoose says:

    @Yankinwaoz Wins.

    It’s either that or a “Free gift Certificate for the Cracker Barrel from Microsoft if you forward this message to 10 other friends and include this message.”

  10. Uncle Patso says:

    Here’s the letter count:

    A 9, B 3, C 3, D 6, E 4, F 7, G 5, H 8, I 4, J 5, K 10, L 3, M 5
    N 9, O 7, P 7, Q 6, R 8, S 2, T 5, U 1, V 2, W 5, X 4, Y 3, Z 4

    • MikeN says:

      THe chances of every letter being used is very low. This is not a letter substitution cipher, which would be decoded easily.

    • Dallas says:

      This is why nobody invited you for Thanksgiving dinner

  11. Captain Obvious says:

    “Satan oscillate my metallic sonatas”

    Whatever you do, don’t say it backwards.

  12. Wan Khairil says:

    Get me Langdon! NOW!

  13. Wan Khairil says:

    Also, it looks a lot like Microsoft Office product key.

  14. John Nash Rambler says:

    It doesn’t say anything, dummy. It’s designed to tie up enemy cryptographer man-hours. Now, quick, somebody say something about Obama. It’s about all you’re good for.

  15. Peppeddu says:

    Easy to do.

    #1
    Run the code against one of the many downloadable enigma machine emulators.

    #2
    Get the results and compare each word againt a dictionary to see if it’s an English (or whatever language) word.

    #3
    Once you find the sequence that gives you the most words found in a dictionary, that’s the result.

    Or if you just wait a few weeks, someone else will do it for you and post the results online. 🙂

  16. Tim says:

    Might want to check out the Knight’s Templer Knight’s Tour Cipher

    It’s also done with the five letter blocks to start. It is explained on Borderschess dot org

  17. Russ says:

    “Drink more Ovaltine”

  18. crypto guy says:

    No this is not an enigma cipher. This was a field message meaning it was encrypted using what is known as a “one time pad”. Unless you have the sheet that was used to encrypt the message you are not going to decrypt it, plain and simple. Even in todays high tech encryption world of radios and other forms of communication, we still use OTP’s in the field. In this circumstance the only way to decrypt this particular OTP message you would have to find the guy who encrypted it and be lucky enough to have access to the OTP’s he used and hope he remembers which one it was.
    http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/en/onetimepad.htm

  19. Scott M. says:

    As someone already pointed out, it looks like an Enigma code run. The grouping of five characters is for operator convenience.

    Yes, there are virtual enigma machines available on the internet, but there are several problems:

    1. The daily setup of the communicating machines (which then allows two machines to talk to one another on that day) seems to be missing here. This could have come from a book.

    2. Of the number of wheels which could be used, no indication is offered of which wheels (by Roman numeral) are to be used. Again, this could have been communicated separately.

    3. The plugboard setup is missing. As I understand it after brief review, this further scrambled the code beyond the shifting of the code wheels following each key being depressed.

    The assumption is made that the code is military or the work of spies when in fact these machines existed prior to WWII and were used in commercial avenues.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      The groupings of 5 letters bear a resemblance to the Wheatstone/playfair cipher. It was used by the British in World War I and in World War II by John F. Kennedy in the Pacific Ocean when he used it to encode the message written on a coconut.

      The numbers at the end I don’t know.

  20. Tim says:

    Na, that is FORTRAN variable type declarations; It reads *Greetings, loyal spy; If you wish to continue decoding these secret messages then you will need to update by admitting and feeding next tuesday’s pigeon — then hit him on the head — then revive him. Twice.*

  21. MartinJJ says:

    What was left of the pigeon after seven decades? Assuming it’s from WW2 might be wrong in the first place and with that you can rule out Enigma’s. The note does not appear to be very WW2-ish either. Best first figure out who had a pigeon service in the UK. It could also be a prank. When you decipher it, it may read something like you are hired as a decoder. Contact your government. Or MI6 and get shot as you are too smart for them.

    🙂

  22. GregAllen says:

    Didn’t they use obscure languages for the underlying language in WWII? Like Cherokee? (I think they made a move about that.)

    That could make it immensely harder to decipher, I assume.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      Possibly a language the sender knew:
      Manx, Middle English, Old English, Irish or Scottish (Gaelic), Old Norse, or Welsh.

      Interesting.

  23. ivan says:

    Chantalle, rue Nancy 4 flat 2b, 50 francs ***
    Noelle, Auberge Nouvelle upstairs, 40 francs **
    Yvonne, Chez Pierre upstairs, 45 francs ***
    Rita, Place de Paris 10 flat 6a, 55 ****
    Going to Bordeaux on friday

  24. JD says:

    “Drink more Olvaltine”

  25. Gwad his own self says:

    One time pad. Commonly used by pigeon couriers during dubya-dubya-deuce. They’re not practical nowdays, but they were unbreakable then and they’re unbreakable now.

  26. Johnboy says:

    They look like software serial codes, boy have times changed.

  27. BackwardMasker666 says:

    Now, let’s see:

    6/5251 72 NKAOA WRIQF STDLK
    QTKNF QCZRJ THGGR HGXKL

    Nope! Playing it backwards didn’t crack the code, but I JUST KNOW there’s a message from the Satan in there somewhere…

  28. JimD says:

    Song “Hitler’s only got one ball …

  29. HUGSALOT says:

    looks like product key codes f0r microsoft windows registration.

  30. Matryem says:

    Not rocket science, or difficult to decipher the code at all. NURP 40 TW 194 is the pigeon with ciphered message, and NURP 37 DK 76 is the pigeon with the cipher key.


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