An important resource for the aviation:
O.M.I. Nistri

At the start of WWII (1939-1940), OMI secretly produced an electro­mechanical cipher machine that was used by the Italian Army (Regio Ersetico), the Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) and the Navy (Regia Marina).

The machine was called Cryptograph Alpha and was based on the same principle as the German Enigma.

It had 5 moving cipher wheels of which the leftmost one was the reflector.

Unlike the Enigma however, it had a built-in printer that produced its output directly onto a paper strip.

The OMI Cryptograph featured irregular wheel stepping, similar to the Zahlwerk Enigma.

In the early 1950s, OMI developed the successor to the wartime machine, which was also known as Criptograph (note the 'i').

It was larger than its predecessor and contained an improved 7-wheel drum, consisting of 5 cipher wheels with 2 wiring cores each, a settable cipher wheel and a settable reflector.

Like the earlier Cryptograph, this machine featured irregular wheel stepping.

The Cryptograph evolved into the Cryptograph-CR, probably in the late 1950s.

Its case was more rounded and was painted in green hammerite.

Furthermore, it was given an improved power supply unit (PSU), a slightly different printing mechanism and a different keyboard.

As a result the motor had to be rotated by 90° (left to right rather than front to back).

The wheels were identical. Sometime during its operational life, the Cryptograph-CR received a mid-life upgrade in which the mechanical keyboard parts were replaced by 26 electric relais.

Furthermore, the spacebar was removed and the letter 'W' was added, resulting in a completely new keyboard.

After the upgrade, the machines were re-painted grey hammerite.

This was typically the case for the Italian Navy machines.

In order to avoid confusion, we will call this machine Cryptograph-CR Mark II.


Paul Bennett

..."I've been a little bit in your story. Today I relived my story."...

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