Military Review

Encryption equipment of the Soviet Union. Russian "Enigma". Part of 5

Paradoxically, in the USSR, speech coders appeared before the technology for classifying text telegraph messages. The pioneers in this field were also the engineers from Ostechbureau, who were the first to create a mock disk encoder. The first copies of existing encryption machines, in many respects different from foreign models, were proposed by Russian engineer Ivan Pavlovich Volosky in 1932 year.

Encryption equipment of the Soviet Union. Russian "Enigma". Part of 5

Ivan Pavlovich Volosok. Head of the 2 Division of the 8 Division of the Red Army Headquarters, Chief Designer of the First Domestic Serial Encryption Equipment B-4 in 1935 – 1938, Stalin Prize Laureate

One of them was a cumbersome and not very reliable equipment, which received the sonorous name ShMV-1 (1 Hair encryption machine). At the heart of her work was the principle of imposing a gamma (random sequence of characters) on a combination of plaintext characters, which ultimately created an illegible cryptogram, which was almost impossible to crack at that time. On a punched tape, the signs of a random scale, which was made on a special device under the code "X", were marked. All work on this topic was carried out in the 8 department of the General Staff of the Red Army, which was organized in 1931. To replace ShMV-1, on which most of the new solutions were tested, in the 1934 came the cipher machine B-4. After four years of improvements and trial operation at the plant number XXUMX them. A.A. Kulakov (a carpenter of the plant who died as a hero in clashes with the White Guards on the Don) collected the first serial copies. In this regard, I. P. Volosok wrote: “The complexity of the task ahead was that, since previously there was no cryptographic technology in the country at all, it was necessary only to orient oneself.” Production was launched, but already in 209, engineer Nikolai Mikhailovich Sharygin conducted a major modernization of the hair of Volosk. The new device received the name M-1939 "Spectrum" and from the year 100 produced in parallel with the prototype. The M-1940, in its entirety, weighed an impressive 100 kg and consisted of three key components: a keyboard with a contact group, a belt-pulling mechanism with a transmitter, and a special keyboard attachment. The level of energy consumption of all this mechanics is very clearly displayed by the mass of batteries - 141 kg. Despite such gigantic mass-dimensional parameters, the Spectrum was quite tolerably used in real combat operations: in Spain, 32, on Lake Hassan, in 1939, on Khalkin Gol, in 1938, and during the Soviet-Finnish war. The awareness of contemporaries about the national school of encryption is evidenced by the fact that the combat use of M-1939 and B-100 is still not fully declassified. In this regard, there is an assumption that the Soviet cryptographic equipment experienced its first use on the battlefield only in the 4 year. Of course, such “monsters” saw the battlefield very conditionally - an encrypted communication was made between the General Staff and army headquarters. The experience of use in the troops was comprehended (Volosok personally supervised the operation) and it was decided to increase the mobility of the cipher units at the front. In 1939, in the USA, 1939 Studebaker buses were purchased immediately, which later became mobile special hardware of the cryptographic service. Receipt and reception of telegrams in such “volunteers” became possible even during the march of subunits.

Rytov Valentin Nikolaevich. Chief designer of nine encryption-coding machines and equipment with disk encoders in the period from 1938 to 1967. Winner of the Stalin Prize

Plant number XXUMX also became the ancestor of the new direction of the domestic encryption technology - the production of disk encryptors. Engineer Valentin Nikolaevich Rytov worked in this connection on the problem of replacing hand-held ciphers in the army-corps-division operational unit. It was possible to create a compact device with a mass of 209 kg, working on multi-alphabetic encryption. The name of the novelty was given to K-19 "Crystal" and launched into a series in 37 year with a plan for the release of 1939 pieces per year. They produced a typewriter in Leningrad, then they evacuated to Sverdlovsk (plant number XXUMX), and 100 was removed from production in the year.

K-37 "Crystal"

The total number of text-based encryption machines before the war in the USSR was on the order of 246 copies, of which 150 were K-37 type, the rest M-100. The 1857 man of the cryptographic service worked with this technique. On average, the speed of transmission and processing of coded information on the fronts of the war increased 5-6 times, and there are no documented facts of hacking by this technique by the Germans.

In this история text encoders does not end, as in 1939, in the depths of the aforementioned plant No. 209, prototypes of technology for coding telegraph messages were developed. It was C-308 (the most popular afterwards) for the Bodo apparatus and C-309 for the Soviet telegraph CT-35, the production of which during the war was transferred to Sverdlovsk to the mentioned factory No. 707. C-307 was also developed as a field encryption set-top box for a telegraph device with battery power and a C-306 for connection to the classic Morse device (mains supply). The whole story was a consequence of the technical task, which came to the plant in December 1938 from the Research Institute of Communications and the special equipment of the Red Army to them. KE Voroshilov. Also, just before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, in the 1940 year, the design engineer group P. A. Sudakova developed a military direct-printing start-stop telegraph with a removable NT-20 encryption unit.

Bodo's telegraphic direct-printing machine (2BD-41) of double wiring. Dispensers table. USSR, 1940-s

Bodo's telegraphic direct-printing machine (2BD-41) of double wiring. Table service tools. USSR, 1940-s

Bodo's telegraphic direct-printing machine (2BD-41) of double wiring. Desk transmitter. USSR, 1934 year

Bodo's telegraphic direct-printing machine (2BD-41) of double wiring. Receiver table. USSR, 1940-year

It was used in accordance with the order of NCO No. XXUMX, which directly prohibited the transmission of plaintext on the Bodo apparatus. The device under the code “Sova”, developed at the Institute №0095 of the People’s Commissariat of the Electric Industry in 56, was particularly difficult. The scheme was based on the use of special coding, which was intended to close the RF channels formed by the NFTV-1944 “Falcon” technique in the spectrum up to 42 kHz. NVCHT-10 is a field channel-forming equipment that allows you to organize communication over high frequency on copper and iron circuits, as well as on cable. This class also includes the Neva equipment, which classifies on the Moscow-Leningrad line from the summer of 42. The charm of the Neva was that it could be used on the entire network of government communications, since it interfaced with all types of channel-forming RF communications technology.

In what operating conditions did the text encryption technology work during the war years? For example: only the 8-e The Red Army Directorate has processed more than 1600 thousands of cipher telegrams and codograms in four years! The daily load on the front headquarters was considered normal within the 400 cipher, and the army headquarters was considered to be 60. The cipher service of the General Staff of the Red Army sent on fronts more than 3200 thousands of cipher suites for the entire period of the Great Patriotic War.

Specialists of the 8th Directorate of the General Staff, in addition to creating new models of equipment, were engaged in the training of cryptographers at the fronts. So, only designer M. S. Kozlov was sent to the army during the war 32 times. The designer became famous even before the war, when in 1937 he took part in the development of the encryption machine M-101 "Emerald", which compares favorably with its predecessors in its compactness and lightness. Later, in May 1945, it was Kozlov’s group that removed three wagons of special equipment from Karlhorst and Potsdam as part of the reparations, which were later used in workshops for the repair of domestic encryption and coding equipment. It is noteworthy that after the war on navy divisions of divers were created, exclusively engaged in the survey of sunken German ships with a view to searching for everything related to communication encryption. Understanding the cryptographic experience of Nazi Germany was a milestone in the national engineering school of cryptographers.

Продолжение следует ...

Based on:
Babash A.V., Golev Y.I., Larin D.A., Shankin G.P. Cryptologic Ideas of the 19th Century // Information Security.
Bykhovsky MA Circles of memory. Essays on the history of the development of radio communications and broadcasting in the twentieth century. "
Gareev M. A. The Everlasting Lessons of the Forty-First. Independent Military Review.
Yu. I. Golev., D. A. Larin, A. E. Trishin, G. P. Shankin. Cryptography: pages of the history of secret operations.
Larin D. А. Soviet cryptographic service in the years of the Great Patriotic War.
Photos used:,,
Articles from this series:
The cryptographic service of the Soviet Union. "Hellish machines." Part of 4
The encryption business of the Soviet Union. 3 part
The encryption business of the Soviet Union. 2 part
The encryption business of the Soviet Union. 1 part
21 comment
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  1. Albatroz
    Albatroz 27 December 2018 06: 22
    Interesting. Thank you!
  2. bubalik
    bubalik 27 December 2018 08: 18
    and the documented facts of hacking this technique by the Germans do not exist.

    ,, otherwise all "Enigma Enigma", good Only here such technology in the army was not enough recourse
  3. Altona
    Altona 27 December 2018 09: 05
    Finally, articles about ZAS began to be published. And the impression is that our service was something unnecessary.
    1. thinker
      thinker 27 December 2018 11: 38
      On "VO", perhaps, but in general, a whole volume in the 14-volume "Great Victory" is devoted to this topic. The seventh volume "Radiofront" "Cryptographers Enter the Battle". 483 pages, downloads to PDF.
  4. Avior
    Avior 27 December 2018 09: 32
    honestly, it would be interesting to see a comparison of the cryptographic strength of devices of the appropriate level compared to the German Enigma.
    Could the English decipher them, like Enigma?
    1. Altona
      Altona 27 December 2018 10: 23
      Quote: Avior
      Could the English decipher them, like Enigma?

      And weren't the Enigma ciphers obtained by betrayal? Or an honest crypto fight?
      1. Avior
        Avior 27 December 2018 10: 55
        the word "honest" is generally poorly suited for such cases winkedКриптоанализ_«Энигмы»

        the texts of secret messages themselves were obtained by decoding with the help of a Bomb, an electromechanical calculating machine.
        but any additional information in different ways, including sabotage, in battle and with the help of traitors.
        there the problem was that it was not enough to get information once the codes and design changed all the time.
        1. Altona
          Altona 27 December 2018 12: 02
          Quote: Avior
          the word "honest" is generally poorly suited for such cases

          It is clear that conditionally honest, that is, all kinds of analysts and cryptographers.
      2. Avior
        Avior 27 December 2018 10: 59
        By the way, there is a film on this subject with the participation of musician Bon Jovi.
        called U-571
        you can watch it once
        1. bubalik
          bubalik 27 December 2018 11: 48
          you can watch it once
          ,, If only once, I assume that the film was based on the story of the capture of U-110 9 in May 1941 of the year ,,
    2. cavl
      cavl 4 January 2019 19: 27
      At present, it is not known whether our encryption correspondence between the enemy and the allies was read. Probably still not. But in the first two years after the war, the Americans were able to open the machine code. There was a replacement of equipment, after which theoretically they could not read correspondence transmitted using technology, intercepted by radio channels.

      But the struggle continued. On ciphers widely used in large headquarters and embassies, M104, M105 and M154 each letter (30 letters and a space character were used) corresponded to its own electromagnet. As a result, each of them hit a sheet of paper with different strengths. Under the floor of one of the encryption embassies, the Americans managed to install a sensor that detects vibrations during the operation of cryptographic machines. They managed (it is not known how quickly) to compare the power of the blows of electromagnets in ciphers with the corresponding letter in the letter-printing mechanism. They began to read correspondence only in this embassy and only from one of the special services. As a result, after a long period of time in this country there was a huge problem with the expulsion of Soviet units from it within XNUMX hours. But it was possible to reveal such a fact when the cipher was compromised and organizational measures such actions were excluded in the future.

      At the same time, two similar attempts by the Americans were suppressed: the suppression of reading the same information through the vibration of the glass of the ciphering window.
      The second concerned the power consumption mode of encryption technology. It turned out that each electromagnet in the above ciphering had a different power consumption. In one of the parts deployed abroad, parallel wiring of two lines along the power line leading to the cipher communication room was discovered. I personally do not know if there was an information leak in this case. After this, a mandatory check of the power lines was introduced, but this did not last long. Quickly enough, electric generators were created, placed in some cipher divisions (I don’t know about everything), of a random load, which made using this method the possibility of compromising the cipher was impossible. I also know that in the cryptographic units of our army, at the same time, autonomous power supply units were used during operation during the operation of encryption technology, which made them non-volatile from external networks during operation.
      1. cavl
        cavl 4 January 2019 19: 34
        Coding machines "Violet" could be used as cipher machines in the airborne forces, air defense, and sabotage units of the GRU. This technique had ten discs and an insertable punch card. It meant that they could only be used for information with a stamp not higher than "secret" in peacetime. In wartime, rapidly aging information with a ss stamp could be transmitted. It was believed that within 1-3 days, a probable enemy would be able to decipher the transmitted information. Therefore, the transmitted information would have to become outdated within a day (at least two). I do not know whether there were any facts of decryption of such information, but as I know, insignificant information was transmitted through this channel.
        1. cavl
          cavl 4 January 2019 19: 53
          The basics of understanding the work of encryption organs, methods of encryption were described by the author Vik in the fourth (partly in the 17th) part of the series "The Unexpected War of Hitlerite Germany and the USSR".
  5. NordUral
    NordUral 27 December 2018 10: 31
    Thanks! We look forward to continuing.
  6. ccsr
    ccsr 27 December 2018 14: 03
    Very interesting material, the author touched on little-known pages of our military history. We are waiting for the continuation of the topic.
    The truth is not entirely clear from what source the author found out about this:
    Evgeny Fedorov writes:

    Despite such gigantic mass-dimensional parameters, the Spectrum was quite tolerably used in real hostilities: in Spain in 1939,

    As far as we know, in Spain they used manual encryption even to communicate advisers with Moscow, so it is highly doubtful that such a technique could participate in battles, even if it was at our embassy.
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 27 December 2018 18: 57
      I agree, this is unlikely. In my opinion, in Moscow, they should have calculated such an opportunity as the defeat of the Republicans, which means that the enemy can seize the apparatus
  7. NF68
    NF68 27 December 2018 17: 37
    Interesting article.
  8. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 27 December 2018 20: 52
    Very interesting. I did not understand only about combat use
    In this regard, there is an assumption that the first use on the battlefield of the Soviet encryption equipment survived only in 1939 year.

    Is it said that this equipment is completely unsuitable on the battlefield? Did she really prepare for the battlefield?
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 27 December 2018 21: 12
      Quote: Aviator_
      Is it said that this equipment is completely unsuitable on the battlefield? Did she really prepare for the battlefield?

      This is most likely a figurative expression, and we are talking about field conditions. In fact, such equipment could be mounted on staff buses that were purchased from the Americans and used at the army-front, front-rate level.
  9. Decimam
    Decimam 27 December 2018 22: 10
    "It is noteworthy that after the war, diving units were created in the navy, exclusively engaged in examining sunken German ships in order to search for everything related to encryption of communication. Comprehension of the cipher experience of Nazi Germany has become a definite milestone in the Russian engineering school of cryptographers. "

    Violet 125 is the result of a comprehension of German experience. Used from 1956 until the collapse of the USSR.
    1. Avior
      Avior 28 December 2018 01: 14
      V-2 diesel is still used in different versions :)