The device is made of brass and is small enough to be carried in a pocket.
It has a hinged lid at the top and
can be loaded with
regular ¼" ferro-magnetic audio tape
of the type that
was used with the tape recorders of the 1960s and 70s. It could be
obtained from any regular audio store in Western Europe without
East-German agents — working covertly in a West-European country —
used the device to prepare messages for transmission via radio.
This was only done in case of an emergency, as they would normally be
passed via dead-drops.
The device shown here, was probably made around 1962.
It was found in 2018 in a
forgotten cache 3 in a
West European country, together with a complete (and fully functional)
East-German spy radio transmitter
It had been stored underground for nearly 60 years.
Stanze was also issued with the East-German
SE-25 spy radio set, but only
as a gap-fill solution until the automatic
Geber E became available.
After that, it was used as a backup in case Geber E failed.
For this reason, Stanze is also known as Ersatzschnellgeber
(replacement burst encoder).
Stanze is the German word for Puncher.
OTS = Operative Technische Sektor (Operational Technical Division).
In this context, a cache is a secret – generally underground – hiding place.
The diagram below gives an overview of the features of the Stanze.
The devices measures 78 x 56 x 22.5 mm and weights 312 grams. It is made
of brass and has a hinged lid at the top, that can be opened by releasing
a spring clip at the right with a finger nail. Inside the device
– at the top left –
is a lever that should be removed, and
fitted at the bottom
by means of the knurled bolt.
Before loading the device with tape, it is important to place the red
pinch roller in the parking position,
so that the tape way is free. To do this, push the
pinch roller parking stub towards the rear until it locks.
The tape should then be guided from the entry port at the left,
through the mechanism as indicated in the drawing inside the
top lid, until it leaves the device through the exit port at the right.
Engage the pinch roller again, by
lifting the pinch roller parking clamp.
Next, rotate the knob at the left so
that the first number of the message is at the top, and
press the punch lever at the rear.
This advances the tape and then punches the pattern of the selected number
in the tape. Repeat this process for all numbers of the message. The
image above shows what the punched tape looks like. The tape chad (i.e.
the cut-out pieces of tape) end up in a
small compartment at the front left.
It should be emptied after every five groups (i.e. every 25 digits).
- Crypto Museum, DDR Type 2 spy radio set
- Louis Meulstee, Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4
ISBN 0952063-36-0, September 2004
- Louis Meulstee, Handschnellgeber
Supplement Chapter 98, March 2016.
- Detlev Vreisleben, personal correspondence
June — December 2018.
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